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Bolt Academy Celebrates Graduation Event at SoFi Stadium

SoFi

Graduates of the Bolt Academy had quite the experience at SoFi Stadium to celebrate their accomplishments.

Bolt Academy — presented by SoFi —helps students prepare for their careers and is a partnership between the Chargers Impact Fund, Inglewood Unified School District and Brotherhood Crusade, a nonprofit building organization based in South Los Angeles for over 50 years.

Students from Inglewood High Schools, specifically juniors and seniors, who are a part of the Bolt Academy participate in a 6-plus month after-school program that teaches them a variety of skills to build towards the future.

After the students complete the program, they then will have the opportunity to work for the Chargers on game days, gaining experience that Arthur Hightower II, the team's Senior Director of Player Engagement, says has tremendous worth for the future of the students.

"You're talking about being able to give those students professional development skills and also being able to give them actual working experience on Sundays at the stadium," Hightower said at the event. "That is invaluable as they go on to pursue their colleges studies, it's invaluable for what it is they're looking to do professionally later in their lives."

The Bolt Academy Graduation Event, which took place at SoFi Stadium recently, brought together all the students, supporters and partners of the program together.

It was a culmination of all the work the students put in throughout the entirety of the program, where they learned about how to work inside sports business and how to gain connections to help build toward the future among other things.

"It's affected me tremendously," Nasir Lucas, a student at City Honors International Preparatory School in Inglewood said at the event. "Before, I wasn't even worried about going up to somebody and introducing myself. I'd usually wait until they come to me.

"Now it's more so like I've got to show them who I am and let them know and what I'm about and how I want to connect business," Lucas added. "I feel like it's a big part of what I am now."

Presented by SoFi, Bolt Academy is a collaborative partnership between the Los Angeles Chargers Impact Fund, Inglewood Unified School District, and Brotherhood Crusade, a nonprofit building power in South L.A. for over 50 years, created to prepare students for careers. The group came together at SoFi Stadium to celebrate the young scholars from the Bolt Academy who successfully completed and graduated from the program.

Students at the event got to take a tour of SoFi Stadium and where they will work during the Bolts home games. And after walking around and going through many different areas of the stadium, the afternoon culminated in the Owner's Suite, where they enjoyed light refreshments to close it out.

They also got a chance to hear from many speakers including former Chargers defensive end and Chargers Impact Fund Board Member Larry English, who mentioned how these events resonate with him.

"I just see a little bit of myself in each one of these kids," English said. "I remember when I was in their shoes so any time I have an opportunity to be involved in programs such as this, that I feel had been in a program like this at that age would have been impactful for me, I always jump at the opportunity."

"I think there's been a lot of development in each one of the students in and throughout this program," English later added. "There's so many that have come up to me already this evening and we've conducted incredible conversations."

During the tour of the stadium, the students also got a chance to walk around the Chargers locker room, something the students marveled at.

With the names of different Chargers players on the top of each locker room, George Weaver of Brotherhood Crusade explained how a moment like that meant a lot for the students who got to experience something they had only dreamed of.

"One of the things I love about the culmination event is there is a thing called reality, and a thing called dreams. There's a thing called, 'I've seen it and I know what it is,' and there's a thing called, 'I know what it because I've been there'," Weaver said. "And for so many of us, we've seen what goes on the football field and we see what goes on television and all these other things, but the impact of actually walking into an NFL locker room."

"The reality of the vision is so much greater and what you saw today as the students uncontrollably not stop from laughing, from smiling, from even becoming emotional was the manifestation of reality versus the dream of, 'Oh, that would be nice', because the reality is so much nicer," Weaver later added.

The Bolt Academy Graduation Event marked another step in the impactful program, as the students now get to begin a new journey — and experience what it's like working on NFL gamedays.

"What I've seen is just joy, excitement, surprise," Hightower said. "You're talking about the completion of a six-month journey. Just being able to have self-confidence in yourself, being able to reflect on where they started and where they are at this moment.

"And then another journey begins on Sundays when they begin to be able to work in their position at the stadium," Hightower added.

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