Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is giving back to the high schools that helped shape him into the man he is today.
Earlier this month, the 49-year-old actor and his partner Under Armour provided brand-new Project Rock performance gear to the football teams at his two alma maters — McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
In a video uploaded to his official YouTube page, Johnson is seen addressing the football players at Freedom High School ahead of their then-upcoming homecoming game and tells the young athletes some important things to remember.
“Number one, I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you guys,” the former WWE star began. “Here’s why I’m proud — I’m proud of the hard work you put in ’cause that’s what it all comes down to. Whether you win or lose, succeed or fail, it all comes down to the effort that you put in and the hard work that you commit yourselves to.”
The Jumanji star added, “… You know, I have a few mottos, one of which is blood, sweat and respect. The first two you got to give. You got to give the blood, you got to give the sweat, because it’s the third one, the last one, and oftentimes the most important one, is respect. You gotta earn that one.”
Samir Hussein/WireImage Dwayne Johnson
Continuing his surprise video message, Johnson also told the teenagers watching that it is important for them to uncover the impact they want their legacy to have. “I want you to think about how you wanna be remembered on the field, how you wanna be remembered throughout the halls of Freedom High School,” he said.
“I walked those halls of Freedom High … we worked our asses off in the weight room, off-season [and] during the season, we worked our asses off in the classroom and we always talked about back then, like, ‘How do we want to be remembered?’ ” Johnson continued. “… The most important thing is, I want you guys to think about that: How do you want to be remembered?”
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Noting that things such as “performance” and “commitment” live on “forever,” the father of three also explained that being the hardest worker in the room is just as important. “I’ve been doing it every day since Freedom High School and I’ll do it every day until I’m walking in the clouds,” he said.
“And I want you guys to do the same thing. Always be the hardest worker in the room, always be the smartest worker in the room,” he added, before quoting a saying he discovered while in high school: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
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As the video came to a close, Johnson told the students about his Project Rock collaboration with Under Armour and gifted them each with some new gear ahead of their big game. “This is fire right here,” one student exclaimed in the clip as others cheered and thanked Johnson for his generous donation. “We appreciate you,” another student said.
The video then showed scenes from Freedom High School’s homecoming game, where their football team went up against rival institution Central Catholic.
There, Johnson’s former high school beat their competitors 42-7. “You played hard, you played like the hardest workers in the room,” he said. “You played for blood, sweat and respect. You played like champions, you played like patriots.”
Current students also spoke in the video about Johnson and the impact that he has had on their lives as a role model.
“I don’t say this about many people, but Dwayne Johnson is a hero to me,” student Aamire Gaskins said as classmate Braeline Moore added, “The thing I look up to is his work ethic.”
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