High school students participating in Carnival’s Scholarship & Mentoring program recently had a special visitor – NFL All-Pro linebacker and University of Miami alum Ray Lewis who offered a truly inspirational speech about staying on the right path and following your dreams.

Lewis, whose passion for the football field obviously is a reflection of his everyday life, addressed the students and their mentors for more than an hour, captivating their attention with poignant tales of his upbringing, his life beyond the gridiron, and overcoming obstacles on the road to success.  He also detailed his volunteer service efforts and implored the students to help make a difference in their communities.

The students are part of an innovative program sponsored by Carnival in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters that pairs nearly 100 Miami-Dade county high school students with a member of the company’s management team to offer a first-hand look at the business world and real-life work experience.

Now in its fifth year, the program also includes an opportunity for the students to apply for full four-year college scholarships purchased by Carnival through the Florida Pre-Paid Scholarship Program.  Thus far, Carnival has purchased 135 scholarships worth an estimated $1.5 million.