With Super Bowl champion Matt Light standing beside him, Bridgewater State University President Frederick W. Clark Jr. faced 150 high school students and said something that got their attention.
“Tom Brady wouldn’t be Tom Brady if it wasn’t for Matt Light,” he said. President Clark was delivering the opening remarks of the Light Foundation’s Leadership Conference held on campus Monday. “He blocked for Tom to allow him to succeed, and that’s what we’re trying to do for you. We want to block for you so you have an opportunity to get to that next level.”
BSU and the Light Foundation, which works with young people in an effort to instill values of responsibility and hard work through unique learning experiences, hosted 50 students each from Brockton, Fall River and New Bedford for a day of leadership training.
“Why are we here today?” Mr. Light asked the capacity crowd in the Dana Mohler-Faria Science and Mathematics auditorium early in the morning. “One simple reason: We love working with young people and helping them succeed.”
The theme of the day was communication, and Mr. Light’s all-day presentation to centered on a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote often repeated by one of his coaches at Purdue University: “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.”
The All-Pro offensive tackle led students through a variety of leadership exercises, icebreakers and panel discussions with industry leaders and former Patriots teammate Dan Koppen. To illustrate the manner in which people communicate beyond their words, Mr. Light had small groups of students arrange themselves by their birth dates — without speaking.
Portions of the day also focused on social media, communication, career building and the power of personal networks. The thread through much of the day was instilling the belief that the future was bright for these students.
“You need to be able to present yourself as the best,” said Tim Kolojay, a senior vice president of Energi Insurance Services and member of Duke University’s 1966 Final Four basketball team, who addressed the students with Mr. Light before breaking for lunch. “And you know what? You are the best — so start telling yourself that.”
President Clark, a Brockton native, said one of the most powerful things a young person can do to start on the path to success is to ask for help.
“Something I’ve learned from when I was a little boy to standing here today is that nobody succeeds on their own. We all need to stand on the shoulders of someone else,” said President Clark. “Because you’re at Bridgewater today, you’re all now part of the Bridgewater family. So if I can help you, all you have to do is ask.” (Story by Charlie Peters, University News & Media; Video by TVS)