Salem native Sean Stellato wears many hats. A 1995 graduate of Salem High, Stellato quarterbacked the Witches to a Super Bowl run in 1994. As an author, Stellato chronicled his experiences with the Witches in a novel titled “No Backing Down.” As an NFL agent, he represents a number of clients including Patriots Ryan Allen and Nate Ebner. Thursday afternoon at St. Mary’s, Stellato wore the hat of a motivational speaker.
In front of a group of 99 St. Mary’s students from the class of 2017, Stellato delivered an empowering speech that touched on a number of themes. Among those were the challenges of life and the importance of refusing to back down.
“I hope these kids understand that all things are possible,” Stellato said. “Their lives are really just about to begin, graduating high school. They can accomplish anything they want. I think I’m a prime example of grit, resilience, faith and work ethic. If they can follow that and be passionate, they can accomplish anything.”
The afternoon began with Stellato giving an autographed photo of Patriots special teamer Brandon King, one of Stellato’s 18 NFL clients, to St. Mary’s football standout Joey Silvestri.
Per usual, Stellato attached a powerful message as he handed Silvestri the autographed photo.
“When you want something, what do you do?” he asked the seniors. “When you want something, you go out and get it.”
The afternoon included a 13-minute video highlighting the trials and tribulations of the 1994 Salem Witches football team. The Witches went undefeated in the regular season before losing to Whitman-Hanson in the Division 3A Super Bowl. In the midst of the run was a teachers’ strike that, on several occasions, threatened to end Salem’s season.
“It makes my heart feel good knowing that I can touch these seniors that were in attendance with my message that they can do something special,” Stellato said. “At the end of the day, we get caught up in small time stuff. If you can program your mind to dream big, don’t back down. I’m a prime example and I’m truly blessed.”
The opportunity for Stellato to share his life experiences with the seniors is one that allows him to step out of his shoes as an agent and engage in another activity that he reveres.
“I love being able to do these things,” Stellato said. “It’s therapeutic, to the up and down high stakes of being an agent. I can get out here, get out of the box, and be able to share my life’s journey and pass that on to the next generation.”
Stellato also offered advice to the seniors, as they prepare to set out for their future endeavors. To those who might be undecided about which career paths to follow, Stellato said it’s all about finding a passion and sticking to it.
“Really try to hone in and find out what you want to do,” Stellato said. “It’s going to take some time. Don’t be afraid to fail. With every failure there’s an opportunity to learn something new.”
He added, “Just go for it and put it all on the line for what you’re passionate about.”
The afternoon ended after a questions and answers session in which the students picked Stellato’s brain about his current whereabouts, his career as football player and his experiences as an agent.
A donation on behalf of the St. Mary’s student government to Salem’s Lifebridge Homeless Shelter was presented to Stellato by student-athlete Anthony DelVecchio.
Stellato will be back in the Lynn area when he hosts his annual football clinic at Manning Field in July.