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BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did his part to help his alma mater raise some money Thursday night.
Brady spoke at Serra High’s Fund-A-Dream Scholarship Benefit in San Mateo, Calif., asking a packed house to help raise money to help local boys get the education and experience he did.
“Tonight is about funding a dream and funding the dream of a Serra foundation and the incredible foundation for a career and life it can provide,” Brady said, thanking his parents for working hard to have him attend school at the all-boys Catholic school. “There are many other willing and capable students that need nights like this, and the generosity of the community to help fund their dreams of an education.”
Brady shared stories of his career, both at Serra and now in the NFL with the Patriots, and thanked all his old coaches, from football to baseball to basketball. He said in the time leading up to Super Bowl XLVI last month, he reflected on all those who had helped him get to that point in his career.
WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton reports
First on that list was his quarterback coach and mentor, Tom Martinez, who passed away earlier this week.
“For me I spent a lot of time reflecting on the things I value most in my life, along with the things that happened over the course of my academic and athletic career that led me to that point. Coaches like Tom Martinez, whose spirit is here with us all tonight,” he said, fighting back tears. “Who taught me how to throw a football when I was 12-years-old.”
Brady said, most importantly, he learned about the team game during his time at Serra.
“Team sports are all about the team. That was true my freshman year here at Serra, and my 13th year with the Patriots. As I first learned here, football — and life for that matter – is about competition. I took my first ever reps here for the football team in 1991. … I lost the competition, but I was excited to be a part of the team anyway. I was second string that year, and learned from the reps I got in practice and I was able to get into a few games.”
Photos: Tom Brady: Through The Years
“It was great to finally be playing, until coach Joe Conner yelled from the sideline, ‘Brady, it looks like you’re running in slow motion.’ And it was true then, and it’s still true today,” he said, joking about his speed, or lack thereof.
“I’ve learned to embrace every hardship,” said Brady. “Lord knows, I make plenty of mistakes.”
Through those mistakes, Brady later developed into a football star at Serra, and said he will be a Padre for life.
“I can’t remember how many times when I was at Michigan or now with the Patriots that I hear ‘Go Padres’ walking off the field. It means so much to me,” he said. “Once a Padre, always a Padre.”
An auction was held after his speech to raise money for scholarships, with a Brady Serra football jersey selling for $20,000. Brady also made a $100,000 donation.