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Bahamas Paradise, Port of Palm Beach Host Local Athletes

Each team stepped aboard Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Classica with their own style. The young men of Palm Beach Lakes had on crimson and white letterman jackets proudly displaying their undefeated record and “District Champs” on the back. Inlet Grove sported their game jerseys, dark grey with royal blue numbers. Suncoast, Palm Beach Gardens, Inlet Grove; each team entered the Regal Room on board the Palm Beach-based cruise ship for an afternoon of celebration, but also a valuable dose of life lessons from people who had been in their exact position before. 

In coordination with the City of Riviera Beach, Port of Palm Beach, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and the Elam Foundation, the lunch event featured current and former NFL players from Riviera Beach and Palm Beach County who spoke to the student athletes and answered questions about what life was life after high school. 

On Board Grand Classica 

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is known for its dedication to their local community. Their humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas was vital to the health and safety of countless people. Sailing from Port of Palm Beach, the cruise line graciously offered to cater and host the luncheon for the players and their coaches. 

After boarding the ship, guests made their way aft to the Regal Room on Grand Classica’s 9th deck. There, a buffet lunch, complete with a cake celebrating the upcoming game between the Chiefs and 49ers, was ready and waiting. 

 

T.E.A.M. Elam Foundation 

Following lunch, Abe Elam of the T.E.A.M. Elam Foundation spoke to those in attendance. Elam played 7 seasons in the NFL after attending Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach. Also joining Elam were former NFL players Lemar Parish, Vinnie Sutherland, Willie Young Jr., Pierre Garcon and DaJuan Morgan. The players were asked questions about managing life in college, the biggest challenges of living away from home and how to keep focused on improving every day. 

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Not all the pro players in attendance had hung up their cleats. Jacoby Brissett of the Indianapolis Colts and Tommylee Lewis of the New Orleans Saints, both West Palm Beach natives, were also there signing autographs supporting the cause.  

 

Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans explained to the students that the overall goal was to invest in them. 

“This program was intended for you to hear everything, to soak up as much information as you possibly can so you can be a better version of yourself than you were when you entered this particular room,” he said. “These athletes chose to be with you today, they have the opportunity and the means to be anywhere else in South Florida but they made it a point to be here today in Riviera Beach on this ship, with you.” 

Bits of sage wisdom floated all over the room, ranging from abstract to the concrete. 

“Take one, if not two, accounting courses,” offered up Manuel Almira, Executive Director of Port of Palm Beach. 

Ronnie Felder, Mayor of Riviera Beach, used part of his time on the microphone to hold a moment of silence to remember Kobe Bryant, and left the students with one of Bryant’s most poignant quotations about hard work and success. 

“I have nothing in common with lazy people who blame others for their lack of success. Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.” – Kobe Bryant 

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