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Steelers player speaks about good character, courage

  • ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Receiving signatures from Cole are Luke Mateyak, 11; Jacob Mateyak, 13; Nick Onea, 11.
    ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Receiving signatures from Cole are Luke Mateyak, 11; Jacob Mateyak, 13; Nick Onea, 11.
Published October 29. 2012 05:05PM

"Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly until you can do it well," said Former NFL Player and Pittsburgh Steeler Robin Cole as he quoted his mother during a community talk held for Tamaqua Area students, parents, staff and fans Thursday night in the Tamaqua Area School District auditorium.

The Tamaqua Area School District partnered with the National Character Education Foundation (NCEF) to host Cole's visit. He spent time addressing visitors on the benefits of good character, as well as shared his compelling and adventurous story of how he played football and ended up becoming an All-Pro linebacker.

During his talk, Cole encouraged students to work hard in school and stresses that achieving good grades is important. He combined humor and stories to show the importance of determination, strong character and hard work. At times, students appeared to be captivated by Cole's presentation of how he overcame many obstacles, learned to never give up and used courage to persevere.

"Cole offered inspirational advice when dealing with bullies, said Tamaqua Area School District Superintendent Carol Makuta. "Strength comes from having courage to stand up and walk away," added Cole, as he stressed the importance of being able to bravely take advantage of school staff and family members.

He added that family members greatly influenced his decision earlier in life, recalling how his brother, Eddie, initially pushed him to try out for high school football.

Cole's message addressed current youth cultural issues and encouraged students to overcome life obstacles, work hard and respect authority.

"We believe in trying to push our students to chase their dreams, develop a solid character and healthy relationships," said Stephen Toth, Tamaqua High School principal.

The NCEF is a state and federally funded program founded in 2003. Their goal through a variety of programs and speakers is to deliver messages of personal integrity, respect and courage to students, faculty, administration and the community. According to their website, the foundation routinely uses high profile athletes and motivational speakers, NCEF creates an impact with memorable presentations that are widely accepted by society.

Cole ended his talk stating, "It is all about courage and simply not giving up."

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