Harangody, Wafer Surprise Edison Middle School Students

BOSTON – When Edison Middle School students woke up Tuesday morning, they had no idea what was in store for them. As they ate their breakfast and prepared for school, some kids were thinking about a math test they would have during second period, while others thought about the English project they would have to present after lunch. None of them would have imagined that a Stay In School assembly featuring NBA players was going to be part of their day.

At approximately 12:40 p.m., Edison’s auditorium was filled with sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Coach Willie Maye greeting the crowd with a cheerful, “Good afternoon!” As Coach Maye informed the students that rookie Luke Harangody and Celtics first-year player Von Wafer were going to be at the assembly, the auditorium erupted! The excitement escalated as the players walked onto the stage along with Celtics Director of Community Relations and Player Development Matt Meyersohn.

As with every Stay In School assembly, the acronym P.R.I.D.E. was dissected. Harangody, Wafer and Meyersohn discussed the meanings of perseverance, respect, integrity, decisions and education. Harangody opened up the assembly with perseverance.

“Growing up I had classes that weren’t the easiest," Harangody said. "I had to put in extra time and work with tutors, but I persevered and eventually ended up going to college and graduating. I want you guys to always persevere because class matters, homework matters and grades matter.”

Following up the rookie's words of wisdom, Wafer reminded students to have respect for others, but most importantly have respect for themselves. He ended his piece on respect with a heartfelt, “Always treat others like you want to be treated.”

Meyersohn broke down the meaning of integrity.

“I had a dream to play in the NBA like Harangody and Wafer," he said. "I’m not afraid to admit that I wasn’t even close to good enough. But because of my integrity and desire to get an education, I had the opportunity to go to any college that I wanted to.

"Going to college opened the doors for me professionally. I knew I loved community work. I knew I loved basketball and working with kids and I’m able to combine those three every day in my job.”

“Decisions are important because your life is based on the decisions that you make,” said Wafer. “Remember to always make the best decisions possible. Don’t do something just because your friends are doing it. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Education ties into the four previous words,” said Harangody. “It’s important to take education seriously. I always dreamed of playing in the NBA, but I also knew that my dream might not come true. I needed a backup plan and getting an education ensured that I could have a different career if my dream never became a reality.”

The students listened intently and were able to repeat the five words when urged by Coach Maye.

The assembly didn’t stop there. Autographed shirts were given to the students that could answer questions correctly regarding the Celtics.

“What size shoe does Luke wear,” inquired Coach Maye. It seemed like every hand in the auditorium shot in the air.

One student answered that Luke wore a size 22!

“Size 22? Luke doesn’t have a bigger foot than Shaq,” exclaimed Coach Maye.

After a few more guesses, a student answered correctly with size 16.

As the assembly drew to a close, it was evident that the students had had a great time and didn’t want to leave. It was even more evident that the math test and English projects were far from their minds.