All six of Brandon Lloyd’s siblings have college degrees. And he would have had one too — if he didn’t leave school early to play in the National Football League.
“I never saw sports as my future,” Lloyd told a room of Lowell High School students. “I looked at it as a means to an end. I knew I wanted a major institutional degree in broadcast journalism.”
It was this drive for success that the Patriots wide receiver stressed in his visit to Lowell High on Tuesday morning. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, along with the National Financial Educators Council, sponsored Lloyd’s visit as part of its MoneyStrong program, which educates teens to be financially responsible through talks, workshops and first-loan programs.
“The program is such a great education for kids coming out of school or going into college to learn about saving,” said Michelle Silveira, senior vice president at Jeanne D’Arc. “Even if they’re saving as little as $10, that’s still making a difference.”
Members of Jeanne D’Arc’s financial-education department put on a presentation for about 100 Lowell High seniors, covering everything from the mysterious fine print of credit-card agreements to the financial implications of choosing the right college. The students watched video clips of celebrities such as John Salley, Christian Hosoi and Wilmer Valderrama, each of whom talked about the tough path he faced in achieving his dream.
But the real star of the show was Lloyd, who spoke to thestudents for about 20 minutes about how hard work can lead to financial success. He told of his hardworking hometown of Blue Springs, Mo., the type of place where the varsity quarterback was also the valedictorian and got a scholarship to Dartmouth. He recalled a moment in his youth when he asked his parents to buy him a video-game system, which he soon learned he would have to buy himself after mowing more than a couple of lawns.
“Once you view money as something that requires labor, youhave more respect for it,” said Lloyd.
Wanting to get a degree just like the rest of his family, each of whom was able to afford college through academic scholarships, athletic scholarships or even enlistment in the Air Force, Lloyd parlayed his considerable athletic ability (and dinner-plate-sized hands) into a football scholarship at the University of Illinois.
“When you have that discipline and focus, that’s what helps you stay on course with all the distractions that high school and college throw you,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd took a tour of Lowell High when he arrived at about 9 a.m. After the presentation, he sat in on a business class and ate lunch in the school restaurant. Though he encountered many Patriots fans, Lloyd feels like his life lessons are universal and that as long as somebody learns a thing or two, he’s happy.
“I think that it doesn’t matter how much money that (the students) will have in their future, because each of them, in some way, will have money in their future,” said Lloyd. “But all it takes is one kid. I come from a family of educators, and one thing my dad would always say is that he’d teach all these years for one student to get something out of it.”
Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete.