Chris Bosh, a member of the 2012 NBA Champion Miami HEAT, was the guest speaker at today’s kick-off event for Carnival’s Scholarship & Mentoring Program, which matches Miami-Dade County high school students with a member of the company’s management team to provide students with a first-hand look at the business world. The students are all former attendees of the Miami HEAT Academy, an after-school enrichment program for at-risk youth sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines.

A seven-time NBA All-Star, Bosh offered an inspirational and thought-provoking speech to more than 90 students and their mentors that focused on the challenges he faced growing up, the importance of education and what it takes to be successful. Following Bosh’s comments, he opened up the floor for questions by the students and posed for photos.

Now in its sixth year, Carnival’s Scholarship & Mentoring Program is operated in conjunction with Big Brothers Big Sisters and includes an opportunity for students to apply for full four-year college scholarships purchased by Carnival through the Florida Pre-Paid Scholarship Program.  Thus far, Carnival has awarded 43 scholarships to graduating seniors and has purchased a total of 135 scholarships worth an estimated $1.5 million.