Bass, Moore Teach Students about PRIDE

MATTAPAN, Mass. – The Stay in School program, presented by Arbella Insurance, has been a staple in the community outreach of the Boston Celtics for 21 years. Players ranging from Danny Ainge to Paul Pierce have encouraged middle school youth to go to school every day and emphasized the importance of education.

Celtics legend Dana Barros joined rookie E'Twaun Moore and newly acquired forward Brandon Bass participated in their first Stay in School assembly of their Celtics careers on Tuesday morning. Like players before them, they were just as excited to pass on the message of education to the youth using the acronym P.R.I.D.E. (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Decisions, Education).

Prior to the assembly, the trio hosted a small basketball clinic with 20 students. The intimate setting gave the students a chance to learn from some of today’s elite basketball players. The group worked on their ball handling, shooting and defensive skills.

Immediately following the basketball clinic the entire middle school filed into the auditorium for the Stay in School assembly.

“It was great to be part of this assembly today,” reflected Bass. “I spoke to the students about the letter P which represents perseverance. I wanted them to know that I wouldn’t be where I’m at today with persevering. I was a second round draft pick and have been in the NBA for seven years now. That’s not common. I told them about the struggles I had growing up without my mother and father but how I still made education a priority in my life, because without education, I wouldn’t be able to go to college to play basketball. The biggest thing I hope they got from me was to not let their current struggles deter them from their dreams.”

Moore, then, spoke to the crowd about respect.

“First and foremost, you all need to respect yourself,” he said. “Respecting yourself involves having good behavior especially when you’re at school. Both your teachers and parents only want the best for you. They want you succeed.”

Following up with integrity, Director of Community Relations and Player Development Matt Meyersohn stressed the importance of always doing the right thing.

“Integrity is the idea of doing the right thing even when no one is watching, just because it’s the right thing to do,” said Meyersohn. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for integrity. I wanted to be a professional basketball player growing up and I’m not ashamed to tell all of you that I wasn’t good enough to make it. But I remained true to myself and made education a priority in my life and now I’ve got my dream job. The three things I like most are education, sports and community and I’m able to be a part of all of those things every day. That started with having integrity.”

Barros expressed the importance of making good decisions through a personal story of his.

“When I was in the 9th grade, I was playing varsity basketball averaging double figures,” said Barros. “I thought everything was great. One day I was sitting in the back of the room in math class and I happened to look at the door. I saw a woman looking through the glass and I thought it looked like my mother! When she came in the room I knew it was my mother and I knew she wasn’t happy because she still had rollers in her hair. Now my mom never let the house in rollers! She didn’t speak to the teacher but came to me, pulled me by the collar and took me down to my locker in the gym. She made me clean it out and hand over all my jerseys to my coach. When I asked why I was doing this, she said, ‘You made a D in math. I told you if you didn’t keep your grades up, you weren’t playing basketball.’ My mom was serious about education and she was true to her word. I didn’t play basketball again until my math grade improved. Because education was so important in my family, I was able to go to college and pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.”

Moore wrapped the acronym up with the word education. Having received his college degree from the University of Purdue, Moore knows first-hand how integral education is to a person.

“Education is one of the most important things because without an education, you can’t do anything,” Moore told the group. “You can’t be a doctor, teacher or professional athlete. One thing I did when I was your age was make education fun. I found ways to enjoy what I was learning. When you go home and have homework, play some music in the background. I promise the time goes by fast and you’ve completed all of your schoolwork for the night. Remember that you can’t learn if you’re not in school so make an effort to be there every day.”

At the conclusion of the assembly, six students were honored for being an M.I.P. (Most Improved Pupil).

“You could see how happy the kids were when their names were called to come to the stage,” said Bass. “When a kid is recognized for the improvement it reinforces everything we talked about today. I think every kid in the audience learned a lot from this assembly and I can’t wait to hear how they succeed in life!”