Tom Brady joined the Forman School class of 2020 Saturday morning to deliver the commencement address during virtual ceremonies.
The Forman School is a private boarding school in Litchfield, Conn. exclusively for students with learning disabilities such as ADHD, ADD, and dyslexia. Helping children with intellectual disabilities is an important cause for Brady, as he was honorary co-chair of the Best Buddies Foundation before stepping down last December.
In a video provided to the Globe by the school, Brady began the speech by addressing the difficulties with online learning students have had to endure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve all had our difficult times overcoming different adversities and challenges that we’re facing, and this one is no different,” Brady said. “I think what you understand when you’re going through things like this is you learn from them and you make the best of them.”
Brady talked about how even though he’s now considered one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history, he had no idea what the future held when he graduated from high school, but he stressed the importance of continuous improvement.
“What I thought I could control was how hard I worked, the commitment to the other people on my team, the commitment I made to my family, the commitment I made to myself to continue to learn and improve,” Brady said. “Those are the important things that I continued to build on because they had served me well in high school.”
Brady then talked about being seventh on the depth chart at quarterback in his first year at Michigan, his early struggles in college, and how he used them to improve. He said he thought the lessons he learned in high school and college would lead to an easy transition to the NFL, but he quickly realized that was the wrong way to approach his new opportunity.
“I was a little disappointed that I got drafted so late in the draft,” said Brady, referring to his 199th overall selection by the Patriots in 2000. “I thought ‘I’m going to be a second-round pick or a third-round pick,’ but the scouts didn’t really see me that way.
“When I got drafted by the Patriots, nobody really believed I could be a high-caliber player in pro football, but you know what? I believed I could.”
Brady closed his speech by telling students to continue to learn, be humble, and take hold of their futures.
“Your future is going to be what you make of it,” Brady said. “Because you ‘re not going to be able to rely on people to do things for you. That’s not the way life is. If you want to be great at something, you’re going to have to put all your commitment and effort and discipline into doing just that.”