On February 1st, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Theo Epstein, President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, joined Becoming a Man (BAM) students and staff at Hyde Park High School for a very special group session. The discussion of academic integrity coincided with winter finals for students, with both the Mayor and Epstein offering words of encouragement and sharing hard lessons they learned during adolescence. Epstein told students, “It’s not if you fail at a given moment, but how you respond.” The Mayor added, “Every successful person you see today, failed at something at one time or another. Don’t ever let that stop you.” Epstein was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times as saying that he walked away from the BAM visit “a better man.”
The session was followed by a press conference in which the Mayor addressed Chicago violence and spoke about the value of the city’s new Mentoring Initiative which is helping BAM reach a record 4,000 students this year.