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Originally published: 2013-04-30 15:34:21
Last modified: 2013-04-30 15:34:20

'Sold Out' aimed at motivating students to do the right thing

by Jesse Campbell

During a drug abstinence presentation at Watauga High School Wednesday, Roman Gabriel pleaded with the junior and senior classes to avoid potential pitfalls that could prevent them from finding their true passion in life.

Gabriel, a former quarterback in the National Football League, is the president of "Sold Out Youth Ministries," a Boone-based youth motivational company.

Sold Out is a national movement dedicated to impacting youth and family by using the passion of the sports and entertainment industries to motivate students to make positive life choices and to be held accountable, according to their Facebook page.

Aside from the immediate difficult decisions students face on a daily basis, Gabriel talked about making the right moves, not just now but throughout their adult lives.

Gabriel said today's generation will encounter unique challenges that they must tackle head-on in order to be successful.

For those who do finish college, Gabriel said only half of those graduates would find a job related to their chosen field of study.

"The No. 1 hardest hit during the recession has been college kids," Gabriel said. "You need to be able to compete with those who are just as excited and hard working as you to get that job. I'm not saying this to scare you, but to motivate you."

Tomorrow's generation must be ready to compete, he said.

"Learning how to enjoy competing will go a long way in the rest of your life,"  Gabriel said. "Always be ready to compete in life, because it will get tougher and tougher."

Gabriel told the students the quickest way to having their dreams derailed is by becoming a victim of peer pressure.

This external force, Gabriel said, is something you will have to battle far beyond their days as high school students.

"Just because you say no now, doesn't mean you won't tomorrow," he said. "That's called character."
Above all else, Gabriel stressed the significance of finding a passion in life and holding onto it.
"There is a principle you have to follow to find your passion in life," he said. "Failure is a part of success. Success and failure go together. When you step out of your comfort zone and fail, you have a tendency to want to quit and you don't push through and you don't find your passion."

Students must also prepare for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Be ready for open doors," Gabriel said. "Be ready for surprises. Be ready for whatever life brings. The only time you fail in life is when you quit trying."

Following a motivational video that featured popular professional athletes, including players from the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49'ers from this past year's Super Bowl, Gabriel introduced students to a local athlete who has found his true passion.

Logan Hallock, a West Wilkes High graduate, is the backup quarterback for the Appalachian State football team.

He walked on to the football team without a scholarship.

Hallock, after impressing his coaches with his work ethic, started out as a scout quarterback on the team's practice squad before earning playing time.

He said his hard work and positive attitude paid off.

His first career touchdown came against a Mountaineer archrival when he recovered a fumble in the end zone.

Hallock, upon the request of his coaches, was moved to a wide receiver at one point before finding game time at the position he loved.

He said his big opportunity came against Western Carolina this past season when he replaced an injured Jamal Jackson.

Hallock was spot-on in that game, completing 20 or his 21 passing attempts and helped lead his team to victory, while keeping the Mountaineers in the playoff hunt.

He told the students that they, too, must be ready for their big opportunity.

"You have to work hard and you have to sacrifice," Hallock said. "Things in life worth going after are worth sacrificing for."

Hallock said to not let others jeopardize the students' goals.

"Some people don't have goals, dreams or passion, but you do," he said.

"Don't let those people affect you."

  "Chase after your dreams. I'm 5 foot, 11. Not your stereotypical quarterback. Drew Brees is 6 foot. People told him he wouldn't make it, but he won a Super Bowl," he said.

Hallock also stressed focus and determination. "There are two things in life you can control," he said. "One is your attitude and second is your effort."

For more information on the Sold Out program, visit Facebook page and enter "Sold Out" in the search box.