More than 3,000 students listened as Matt Mayberry of the Chicago Bears and three other professional athletes from Chicago spoke about living a productive and drug-free life Tuesday at Evanston Township High School.
Mayberry, who signed with the Bears in April, stressed the importance of staying active and maintaining a busy schedule to avoid drugs.
"In high school there can be a lot of bad influences and peer pressure," Mayberry said. "Find your true identity and know what you want to do at a young age."
ETHS senior Blaire Frett said the athletes delivered a strong and important message.
"Freshmen need to hear this message because it's easy for people to get distracted here," Frett said. "I've had some good friends who lost their way."
NBA players Luther Head and Bobby Simmons also spoke at the event.
Head and Simmons agreed they could have never achieved their dreams of playing in the NBA if they had used illegal drugs. Simmons, who has played for five NBA teams, talked specifically about the positive influence of family.
"I have a big family, my brothers and sisters kept me grounded as far as staying away from bad people," Simmons said.