Vick spoke to Martin Luther King High School pupils about his criminal dogfighting case and the 544 days he spent in prison, urging them to avoid a similar fate.
"Getting away from all the people that I was used to being around every day, that I thought had general love for me (was tough)," Vick said at the event in North Philadelphia, organized by the U.S. Attorney's Office. "The hardest decision was just dedicating my life to change."
Vick resumed his NFL career after pleading guilty to dogfighting conspiracy in 2007 and spending 18 months in prison. He had a standout season for the Eagles last fall after taking over as the starting quarterback.
Yet Vick told the small group of selected students that he still doesn't believe he has arrived. That day won't come until he raises his children to be successful adults, he said.
"Once I get a Super Bowl under my belt, and I sit back and I'm a proud parent, then I'll know I've made it," he said.
Class valedictorian Deidgre Green wished Vick had spoken more about school violence, the topic of the senior project she will turn in Friday. But she agreed with his advice about weeding out certain friends.
"You can't bring everybody with you," said Green, 19, who is bound for Kutztown University. "Some people weigh you down."
One student asked if Vick ever tires of talking about the dogfighting case.
"I get tired of talking about the prison experience, but you know, it's therapeutic to me," he said. "(Prison) made me a better person. I probably wouldn't change a thing in my life."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press