“Does everybody know what the Legion of Boom is?” Seahawks defensive back DeShawn Shead asked AVID and SOAR students at Highland Middle School, citing the famous nickname for the Seahawks secondary, which also goes by the acronym LOB. Shead explained that Legion of Boom isn’t the acronym’s only meaning, however.
“We like to use the term LOB for Love Our Brothers, because it isn’t just one unit and one secondary, it’s about the team and the team dynamics,” Shead said. “A team that functions in unity together can help one another through hardships and challenges successfully.”
Shead was on campus to share his journey of overcoming challenges, playing in the NFL and being the first person in his family to graduate from college.
“Having DeShawn come speak was an amazing experience for our AVID students,” Snapke said. “Many of the kids could relate to the struggles DeShawn encountered in his life and take his positive message about mindset and work ethic to apply to their own life goals.”
AVID and SOAR programs teach skills and behaviors that help students be successful and inspires students, showing them that they can reach their goals by applying themselves.
“AVID students have a dream of going to college,” Snapke explained. “Having speakers like DeShawn come and inspire them to reach their dreams is a highlight of the program.”
Jubilee Reach, a local nonprofit that works with Highland, providing a variety of programs that range from academic to athletic in nature, arranged the visit by Shead.
“Growing up in Palmdale, it wasn’t easy,” Shead told the students. “I’m here to tell you guys about some of the choices I made and some of the choices you can make as well.”
One choice in particular that Shead had to make was to work hard in school so that he could go to college.
“There was one option, and there were two ways to get there,” Shead said of how he saw continuing his education after high school as crucial to achieving his goals. “It was either get a scholarship to college through sports or get a scholarship to college through education.”
All that hard work paid off for Shead, he earned scholarships and played football and ran track while earning a degree in exercise science.
“I had to do my homework, I had to study harder and longer,” Shead said. “I’ll tell you right now, I wasn’t the smartest kid in my class or in the house.”
After college Shead went undrafted in the NFL’s rookie draft, later signing with the Seahawks. And his time with the Seahawks hasn’t been without its own challenges to overcome. After getting cut twice and being signed to the practice squad, Shead earned a spot on the active roster. And, he said, the team has faced challenges collectively too, including the team’s infamous defeat in the Super Bowl this year.
“We definitely should have won that game,” he said. “But that’s the name of the game. You make a decision and you don’t know the outcome. Sometimes it’s a great outcome, and sometimes it’s a bad outcome. But the most important thing is what are you going to do after that?”
Shead stressed the importance of hard work, mindset, and never giving up, individually and when one is part of a team.
Students also had the chance to ask Shead questions, everything from ‘What is your biggest motivation growing up?’ to ‘What’s the hardest part about your job?’ and ‘What was an opportunity you turned down?’
In light of the success Shead has reached, one student asked, “What keeps you motivated now?”
“Honestly, I love success,” Shead said. “When I put all my time and energy and my hard work into something and I see it pay off, I love it.”