Monday, October 25, 2010

Delta Vista Students get a Hall of Fame Lesson from One of the Greatest

Well known for his incredible football career, as well as his numerous generous philanthropic gestures, Hall of Fame former San Francisco 49er Ronnie Lott took time out, on October 18, to spend the afternoon with the students at Delta Vista High School. Delta Vista is located inside the Orin Allen Youth Rehabilitation Facility (formerly known as the Byron Boys’ Ranch), in Byron. On this day, the All Pro offered up the boys plenty of encouragement, empowerment, and entertainment.

As the close-to-100-young men (clad in orange, blue, or kaki jumpsuits), took their seats, Lott made it a point to great each one of them with a handshake and a warm hello. When his hour-and-a-half presentation began, he held all of the boys’ undivided attention as he talked
about his younger days, football career, after-football career, the current status of the National Football League (NFL), and his philosophies on being successful in life. The only time the boys would look away was when they were passed Lott’s Super Bowl ring, for each of them to hold and try on for size.

Still looking like he could play this coming Sunday, Lott told the boys how important it is to take responsibility for your actions: “Every one of you has some game! It’s what you do with it that’s important.” Lott also talked about his important influences in his life: his coaches, friends, and especially his dad. “My dad always told me, ‘You have to exhaust life, because you never know when your number will come up.’” Lott’s accomplishments certainly prove that he was listening to his father.

Allan Cacciaroni, longtime Delta Vista teacher and program coordinator, has put together a number of these types of speaking engagements for his students. “I couldn't be more pleased with Ronnie Lott taking the time to talk to our kids; we can’t thank him enough, reported Cacciaroni. It was obvious to all the teachers, staff, and probation officers, that Lott shared the same desire of making a difference with this group of kids. “He had them fully captivated, like no other guest we’ve had in the past,” continued Cacciaroni. “It was his personable approach that caught the attention, not only with these youths, but with the full staff and administration. He was a true inspirational speaker with elaborate answers to all questions given, and I'm sure it will have an effect.”

An All-American defensive back at the University of Southern California in 1980, Lott was chosen by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 1981 National Football League (NFL) draft, and for the next 14 seasons he amassed one of the most successful football careers any player has experienced in the league. Along with the 49ers, Lott played with the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. His many NFL accolades include being four-time Super Bowl champion, playing in 10 Pro Bowls, fifth on the NFL all-time interception list, and was named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1995.
Lott answered plenty of questions about his professional football career with the 49ers and Raiders, as well as his collegiate play at the University of Sothern California. He answered many questions about today’s NFL players and teams. There was also plenty of interest about his post football life. Lott now enjoys a very successful business and family life. He owns a carwash and an auto dealership in Tracy, Calif.

Obviously understanding his audience, Lott finished the session by telling the incarcerated boys: “Take my advice, I know you have rage inside you, I do as well. I know it’s hard. But, like me, you need to turn that rage into something positive and productive in your life! I know every one of you can do that!”

The Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) operates many different programs, such as Delta Vista High, for high-risk juveniles, including those referred by probation and by local school districts for expulsion, behavioral issues or school attendance problems, and those in probation court facilities. The programs provide challenging academic curriculum and assist students in developing positive social skills. For additional info, visit our website.