Willamina High School Takes The Respect Pledge
In the first year of the RESPECT: Pass It On campaign, Damian Lillard invited people to take the RESPECT pledge. The results were overwhelming. RESPECT, which was sponsored by Les Schwab Tires and adidas, was a success. People, literally, from all over the world went to www.nba.com/blazers/respect and pledged to respect others and themselves. By the end of the season, fans wearing RESPECT t-shirt or RESPECT wristbands were everywhere.
The challenge this season was to build on that success. To use the momentum created in the first season to grow the program. This year, Dame’s plan to take it a step further was to ask fans to share their stories of how they had passed RESPECT on. We have heard from teens who have turned the other cheek; students who work with people less fortunate; and young people who pass RESPECT on by honoring and helping their elders. We received many hundreds of emails from people sharing their examples. One email was from an educator whose school had implemented RESPECT into the curriculum for fifth and sixth graders there.
After a series of phone calls and more emails, where the school invited the Trail Blazers for a short assembly to recognize the great work the students had done there. Trail Blazers Ambassador and all-time great, Jerome Kersey drove to Willamina to meet the outstanding students there. He did not go empty handed, though. Of the 60 students who participated in the program, ten had taken RESPECT a step further. Jerome had RESPECT t-shirts and tickets, provided by Les Schwab, for the March 30 game versus the Memphis Grizzlies for those students. The other students also received RESPECT shirts. Like every other day, to quote the great Bill Schonely, it was a great day to be a Blazer.
As it happened, the Memphis game was the last day of Spring Break. Normally, students like to extend their time away from school, but these students had already demonstrated that they were a step ahead of normal. They met their the school principal, Ms. Zimbrook and piled into a school bus for the ride to the Moda Center. Unbeknownst to them, Damian had arranged for a postgame meeting with group to pass on his appreciation of their actions and attitudes. Dame greeted outside the Trail Blazers locker room and encouraged them to continue the good work and thanked them for all that they did. RESPECT.
To share your story about RESPECT and how you passed it on, go to www.nba.com/blazers/respect.