Members of the BC Lions visited schools in Prince Rupert and Port Edward last week as part of the Lions in the House program.
The Lions in the House program was created for students in Grades 6 through 9 with a focus on the power of choice. BC Lions players Solomon Elimimian, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Courtney Taylor were in Prince Rupert, Port Edward and Lax Kw’alaams last week to speak to students.
Elimimian shared the most personal experience of the bunch, talking about his life in South Central as a teenager.
“Growing up in the inner city we were faced with a lot of crime, a lot of drugs and a lot of gangs … and it so happened a lot of my friends were in gangs,” he said.
Despite the choices of his friends, Elimimian remained focused on his main goal in life of becoming a professional football player. His decision proved to be a smart one as Elimimian’s best friend was arrested for robbery charges during their senior year of high school and spent the next five years in prison.
“It saddened me because my best friend was going to prison for five years … the wrong choice affects you,” he said.
Elimimian, on the other hand, received a full scholarship to university and was able to fulfill his dreams. Ten years later, Elimimian said his friend still struggles to find a job because of his past.
“He’s not a bad person, but he made a bad choice,” he said.
Then Taylor took things over, talking about future opportunities that will be available to young people in the region in the coming years, encouraging students to look at the options in front of them.
“Know that you have an endless amount of opportunities and I want you guys to always, always push the button to be better and be something that you always wanted to be,” Taylor said.
Arceneaux spoke about keeping safe, challenging students to examine their choices in terms of personal safety around railway tracks.
“Don’t let a shortcut cut your life short,” Arceneaux warned students.
Lions in the House was presented by CN, along with supporting partners Industry Training Authority and Pacific NorthWest LNG.