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Seahawks player speaks to high school students about higher education at UW Bothell
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin spoke to a room filled with high school students about the importance of higher education.
"I didn't grow up in a community where college was encouraged or expected of me," Baldwin said. "I honestly did not think I would go to college, but then I started playing football in high school and I realized that in order to have a successful future in football, I needed to step up and focus on my academics."
UW Bothell invited Baldwin to the campus as part of their Black Opportunity Leadership Day. Around 300 high school students from Tacoma, Fife and Seattle attended the event Friday morning to hear Baldwin, meet with UW Bothell staff and students and attend workshops on social justice, higher education and the influence of hip hop in the community.
“The mission of this event was to promote the pursuit of post-secondary education in the Black Community," Sacha Nunn, who organized the event and is a UW Bothell Admissions Advisor and Recruiter. "Historically, higher education has been inaccessible to Black students. During this event, students, teachers, counselors, and university and community college staff members came together to identify the current barriers to higher education and then created a plan of action to navigate through those barriers and ultimately get our students to college.”
Baldwin told students to not worry if they didn't know what they wanted to do yet.
"It's ok not to have it altogether and to not know what you want; that's part of the process," he said. "All I can tell you is that it doesn't matter what you decide to do, education opens up everything for you."
Baldwin played football for Gulf Breeze High School and was a wide receiver at Stanford University from 2007-2010. He led the Cardinal in receiving yards and touchdowns his senior year.
"You guys might think I just wanted to focus on being a football player, but school and sports went hand-in-hand for me," he said to students. "I knew I had to bring in that competitive spirit from the football field to my studies in order to be a well-rounded person and to reach my goals."
Baldwin was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent following the end of the 2011 NFL lockout to a three-year contract. In Super Bowl XLVIII, he led the Seahawks, receiving corp with 5 receptions for 66 yards.
"I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't gone to college and applied myself," he said. "I hope the students here walk away realizing the importance of not succumbing to the comforts of what they know. I hope they take risks, broaden their minds and never take the opportunity they have to receive a higher education for granted."