NFL free agent Rennie Curran, a 2007 Brookwood High School graduate, gave back to his hometown over the weekend.
On Feb. 23, he and the school district's Community-Based Mentoring program hosted a summit at Curran's former stomping ground. The event focused on preparing young men in grades 6-12 for career success.
Curran encouraged participants to "dress for success," and offered advice on everything from choosing your friends wisely to performing well academically in order to go far in life.
--For a blast from the past, see the attached YouTube video of a 2006 game featuring Curran. In the video, he also reveals how he hopes to be seen as a man of character more than a sports icon.
Curran met James Rayford, director of academic support for Gwinnett County Public Schools, last year during a similar summit. The pair got to talking and thought it would be great to offer a similar annual event to Brookwood High.
"This really exceeded my expecatations," said Rayford, who only expected between 75-100 attendants.
Instead, there were around 150. Students were divided into smaller groups and offered sessions that focused on career choices, like medicine, law, business, technology and entrepreneurship, and had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer period with Curran.
Curran's own mother, Josie, attended the summit. An immigrant from Liberia, Africa, she said that Curran was "coachable" and found the help he needed at Brookwood High. It was his "respect for his family" and the work that he put into building his life that got him to where he is now, according to Josie, and her pride in her son was evident.
While a student at Brookwood High, Curran made 493 tackles his final three seasons, including a school-record 198 as a junior for state runner-up team, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. Following high school, he played for the University of Georgia before being drafted to the National Football League.