Former Dallas Cowboy Player Kicks Off Upward Bound

Russell Maryland
Former Dallas Cowboy Russell Maryland shares experiences with Upward Bound students.

South Campus’ Upward Bound program kicked off with an interesting twist this year when the students’ trip to Northwest Campus to explore TCC’s aviation program turned into an unexpected surprise.

Russell Maryland, a former three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Dallas Cowboys and two-time National Champion with the University of Miami, spoke to students about the importance of education and the need for careers in aviation. The larger-than-life speaker emphasized how imperative it is that students understand the significant role high school success plays in building their future.

Maryland explained how his hard work and dedication in the classroom helped him achieve his goals. After graduating from Whitney Young High School in Chicago with a football scholarship to the University of Miami, Maryland earned his bachelor’s degree and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Thankful for his education and drive to succeed on and off the field, Maryland now shares his message with North Texas students as he encourages them to reach their full potential in their chosen fields of study. He helps the students visualize the possibilities and opportunities that a successful career in aviation has to offer.

Offered to selected ninth and 10th graders, Upward Bound to provide year-round support in high school performance and preparation for entrance into college. Students receive academic advisement, test preparation, college tours, tutoring, financial aid, leadership, professional development, and social life skills. Approximately 140 students from Paschal, South Hills, Everman, and O.D. Wyatt high schools are enrolled in the five-week program, which ends Aug. 1 and includes a congratulatory banquet.

Upward Bound Assistant Director Dustin Phillips said the students were inspired by Maryland’s story and all the opportunities that were presented.

“This is the second year the students explored the aviation program, and they really saw the big picture of how the choices offered could ultimately lead to career opportunities in the future,” Phillips said. ”Students were very receptive to Maryland, who was hilarious.”

To get a sophisticated, realistic feel of what flight is like, students observed the inside of a cockpit and instrumental panels, experienced interactive flight simulators, and watched educational videos, which was made possible by the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Everman High School student Sade Bassett was motivated by Maryland’s presentation.

“He was a good speaker. He thought he wasn’t going to be able to go to college and play football, but he did,” Bassett said. “Plus, I liked seeing and touching the airplanes.”

Students get flight experience with simulators.
Upward Bound Students
Students react to former Dallas Cowboy.

Frankie Farrar-Helm

Submitted by Anna Frankie Farrar-Helm,
a summer intern in Public Relations and Marketing,
where she enjoys learning about TCC happenings
and sharing them with others.