Read to Achieve - Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy

HYDE PARK, Mass. – Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy welcomed Celtics legend JoJo White, Team President Rich Gotham, Lucky and 30 other Celtics staff members Wednesday afternoon for their Read To Achieve event, presented by Kia Motors.

“Education and literacy are very important to children’s future success,” said Gotham. “Our Read To Achieve program emphasizes the need for every student to read on grade level by awarding students monthly who have met the reading goal and hosting events like today.”

For more than a decade, the Read To Achieve program has been an integral component in the Boston Public Elementary Schools. Students are encouraged to read five days a week for 20 minutes. At the end of the month, if a student has reached this goal, they receive a gift from the Celtics. Additionally, throughout the course of the school year, selected schools host Read To Achieve events with the Celtics.

The event at Elihu Greenwood consisted of members of the Celtics staff reading to every classroom in the school followed by an assembly.

White and his wife, Deborah, read to a fifth grade classroom. Upon entering the classroom, the two were immediately swarmed by excited students. After one student noticed White’s championship ring, White passed it around to the delight of the classroom.

Following their introduction, the White’s read Those Shoes, a book that told the story of kindness and giving to others in need.

In the kindergarten wing of the school, Lucky held court to a bunch of thrilled youth. Reading Allie’s Basketball Dream, Lucky told the story of a young girl who wanted to play basketball after her father took her to a game. Allie went out to the basketball court to work on her game but was instead laughed at by her friends. She didn’t give up on her dream and kept practicing until she was able to make her shots and her friends began to change their views and admire her.

In Gotham’s fourth grade classroom, he told the kids how important reading was in his life.

“Every morning when I wake up I read the newspaper,” he said. “Throughout the day I read many emails and then I go home and read to my children. Before I go to bed I read for a while. So as you can see, reading is integral to my everyday life and I spend four to five hours a day reading. I got my job at the Celtics, not because of great basketball skills but because I loved reading and that helped me go to college and get a degree.”

As stories were coming to a close in the classrooms, it was time for the entire school to attend the Read To Achieve assembly. One class chanted “Ubuntu,” which signifies teamwork and unity as they walked down the hall. Once the students were in the auditorium, Director of Community Relations and Player Development Matt Meyersohn addressed the group by asking, “Did you have a good time reading in your classes today?”

After a very loud “yes,” Lucky spoke to the students.

“Thank you for inviting us to your school today. We’ve had such a great time!” said Lucky. “I wanted to tell you about how reading helped me become Lucky. At a young age, I knew that I enjoyed gymnastics but I didn’t know how to make a career of it. Since I always loved reading, I began to research opportunities that involved gymnastics. I came across Cirque du Soleil and learned that acrobats were gymnasts. This then led me to work with a gymnastics instructor who told me I could use my skills as a mascot. Now my dream has come true and I’m the mascot of one of the most popular teams in all of sports. I wouldn’t be here today without reading.”

The elementary students learned a lot about the importance of reading through Read to Achieve, and the program looks forward to seeing many of them will meet their reading goal every month.

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