Chicago Football Classic ambassadors focus on education

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The annual Chicago Football Classic kicks off on Saturday at Soldier Field. (WLS)

The annual Chicago Football Classic kicks off on Saturday at Soldier Field. The classic is a major event in Chicago and showcases historically black colleges and universities from around the country.

This year the game is Clark Atlanta University versus Central State from Ohio.

The half-time spectacle of this year's classic features a group of young people with a special message.

While the grid-iron action and the battle of the bands will draw the crowds, education is the real focus of this event.

21- year-old Latrell Philips and his mother Shaun Philips have come a long way together. The single mother raised her son on Chicago's Southside.

"We talk about it all the time. He says 'You kept me sheltered!' But it was to protect him and to let him know there's more in Chicago than what you see in Chicago," said Shaun.

"I thank my mother a lot because without her, she kept me focused. She protected me from distractions and always instilled education in me," said Latrell.

Those lessons paid off. Latrell graduated from Urban Prep in Englewood and went on to Clark Atlanta University where he is majoring in mass communications.

He's a campus leader and an aspiring documentarian. He even created a short film called "Hands Up, Don't Shoot."

Latrell's passion for his city and his activism on campus led to him being named an ambassador for his university and to encourage other young people and dispel those stereotypes.

"There are great individuals in this city and I feel like they don't get the acknowledgment because of the depiction of the negativity and the gun violence. I try to showcase that there are great things in Chicago and people need to be aware of that," said Latrell.

"There are a lot of great kids that come from Chicago. They are away at college accomplishing their goals and pursuing their dreams and showing that they are positive role models from right here in Chicago," said Shaun.

That's the message the Philips are bringing to this weekend's classic for both students and their parents.

"Cheerlead for your children and for the children, dream big, dream big. There's more to Chicago. There is so much life out there to live and it's so cool to be smart. Education is everything. It's so cool to be smart," said Shaun.

"I hate hearing that you're from Chi-raq! Just the negative connotations and I just feel like there is way more to Chicago that that," said Latrell.

Latrell's mother Shaun is a health-care professional and she has made it her mission to promote education as a means of curbing some of the violence in our city.

Her son and the other young college ambassadors will be doing just that at the Chicago Football Classic on this weekend.

Related Topics:
sportscollege footballsoldier fieldeducationChicago
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