Bears linebacker Roquan Smith heard students chattering as he was walking down the corridor toward the auditorium of St. Malachy School in the Near West Side on Monday. But he didn’t expect what the students were about to do next.
Led by a group of six girls, about 50 students surprised Smith by singing “Bear Down, Chicago Bears,” the team’s fight song as he walked through the double doors of the gym.
Smith smiled and enthusiastically applauded the group when they finished.
“I never actually heard it in person,” Smith said. “So that was great.”
Smith helped volunteers from UnitedHealthcare hand out new winter coats to the 225 students at St. Malachy.
“Do you like it?” Smith asked one young female student, who smiled at him before skipping away. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
The jackets were provided by Smith’s Dreambuilders program, which received an $11,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare.
Along with delivering the coats, Smith autographed footballs, loose-leaf papers and a rally towel. He also played catch with a few of the boys.
“It’s great to give back, especially to those who … can’t do anything for you,” Smith said. “That means a lot, and I’ve been that way since a young age, so it feels good to give back.”