Chicago Bears Chaplain Speaks to Everest Academy Students

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Chicago Bears Team Chaplain and motivational speaker Raymond McElroy on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 22nd, entertained and inspired middle school students at Everest Academy in Lemont.

"It's like an oasis to be here at Everest Academy," said former NFL player and Bears Chaplain Ray McElroy.

Middle School students at Everest Academy in Lemont were inspired and entertained by Chicago Bears Team Chaplain and motivational speaker Raymond McElroy. McElroy is a former member of the National Football League who played cornerback and on special teams for six seasons for the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears, and the Detroit Lions in the National Football League.

Students from fifth through eighth grade were presented with challenging ideas for making positive choices in their own lives as well as reaching out to others. McElroy confronted their courage by asking the students, “What sermon are you preaching every day by the way you live? Your life is a sermon. Some young people are reaching out for inappropriate substitutes for real happiness. You are called to make good choices. You are here to reach out to your friends. They have to see God working and moving through your life.”

McElroy shared his personal testimony and the role that faith in God has played in his life. With the winning combination of his high-energy and athleticism along with the powerful message of truth, McElroy successfully captured the minds and thoughts of the Everest Middle School students, as he has for thousands of youth across America. The assembly presentation was generously sponsored by CITGO, Seneca Petroleum Company and Oxbow Midwest Calcining of Lemont.

Quoting the bible from the first book of Jeremiah, McElroy read, “Do not say I am too young. You will speak whatever I tell you. I will be with you.” McElroy confessed that when he was at the height of his football career he was merely living for himself, but not for God or for others. There was a moment of grace when he responded to the call of God, and his life made a better turn. “I don’t want you to wait until you are 22 years old to give your life to God. God wants to use you right now. You are unique and special. Make yourself available to God.” McElroy continued, “God is going to put you in a position to be his voicebox. You have the ability to make stuff happen in your own city, to make a difference, to make things better.”

After his presentation, while speaking to second grade student Nick Wood, Ray McElroy dispensed one more piece of advice, "If you listen, you can learn and if you can learn, you can lead." When Nick asked McElroy for the most important advice to be a great football player he received this tip, "To be successful in football, work to get good grades at school because if you work smart at school, you will be able to work smart in the game. Getting good grades at school that is what is important to prepare for your football career."

McElroy distributed autographed football cards afterwards for students. The presentation was organized by Everest Principal Christine Gamache, Dean of Students Molly Maher, and Mr. Peter Colarelli of CITGO, a parent of two middle school students at Everest. Inspirational talks such as this are part of our leadership development program at Everest, which challenges students to develop all their talents and go out and make a difference in the world.

Afterwards, McElroy declared, “It’s like an oasis to be here [at Everest], to get into the Word [of the bible] and to speak about God to the students.” Students responded favorably. Jack Zabilka, a seventh grader said that “Mr. McElroy was awesome! He was so inspiring and funny. He was a total boss!”

Everest Academy is an independent Roman Catholic school in Lemont educating children from preschool through eighth grade. The teachers and staff are dedicated to forming the whole child by providing the highest level of academics, by building strong character, and by preparing generous leaders ready to serve the community. If you would like to learn more about Everest Academy’s unique approach to education, please contact Coleen Mast at 630-243-1995 or visit

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