Former NFL player Na’il Diggs visited Phillip O. Berry Academy on Friday, February 14, 2020, to discuss goal setting, motivation, and personal growth with teen high school students.

Throughout his twelve-year career playing football, Diggs played for the Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, and notable for this group of students in Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers.

While Diggs had a successful career during and after the NFL, life wasn’t always easy. He grew up among chaos in South Central Los Angeles. He was raised primarily by his older sister, who provided him with the direction to stay on a positive track. With her support and his own hard work, he moved on to attend The Ohio State University and majored in Aviation. It wasn’t until he was approaching graduation that he realized he might have a future in professional football. 

Since the tapering of his successful football career, Diggs has focused on youth and community development; he shares his story to help teens understand the importance of hard work, setting goals, and staying focused, even if external forces want to veer them toward another track. He also shares the challenges of transitioning to life after football and the reality of adulthood.

During his visit to Phillip O. Berry, students asked him about life in the NFL, financial savings and money management (a passion of his), and how he has gone about discovering his next steps for his post-football career.

Diggs’s visit coincided with a visit from Ascend, creator of goal-setting software. During the class period, students set goals to finish their school year strong. Students set goals to enhance their academic standing, to develop healthy habits, to save money, and to improve their mental and emotional health. They invited their teachers and other mentors to serve as accountability partners through the Ascend platform; their teachers will be tracking their goal progress throughout the course of the Spring semester.

“The ultimate mission of our time at Phillip O. Berry was to both inspire students and to help them develop actionable habits for a successful future,” said Ascend CEO Reg Gabriel. “Having Na’il Diggs share his story greatly supports us in that mission; we are happy to have him as a partner in youth development.”


About Ascend

Ascend is a student empowerment platform that enables schools and mentoring organizations to cultivate, track, and measure student goals and achievement. Ascend is proud to be a minority and woman-owned business and supports organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas, and beyond.