C's, BCSF Open Computer Lab at Hernandez School

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation (BCSF) focuses its efforts on helping today’s youth and has worked closely with Boston Public Schools to improve educational resources in the community. The continued partnership was on display Thursday afternoon as the BCSF unveiled a brand new computer lab at Rafael Hernandez Two-Way Bilingual K-8 School.

The computer lab came into fruition thanks to a $50,000 Player Choice grant from the BCSF to fund a project in the community voted on by the players themselves. In February, the players met and discussed what they wanted to do with the grant and after much consideration, the group decided to create two computer labs in schools that were in dire need of a technology upgrade.

The Hernandez School, which teaches children both Spanish and English, used computers that were at least 10 years old, running slowly, or not working at all.

Principal Margarita Muñiz said it best, “Technology is extra important in schools. It helps to bridge the education gap. Everyone learns differently and we need different tools to support education.”

With that in mind, the Hernandez School’s computer lab was completely transformed with 28 new, state-of-the-art computers with webcams and headsets, a fresh coat of green and white paint with Celtics graphics adorning the walls, a newly-refinished floor and brand new furniture. Additionally, a Smart Board was added to the room. In the span of three weeks, the room was completed and ready for student use.

As 25 students entered the lab for the first time, their excitement was evident. With wide eyes and smiles on their faces, the children quickly went to sit in front of a computer.

“Wow,” exclaimed one student. “This is awesome!”

To help celebrate the opening of the new and improved computer lab, Celtics players Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Von Wafer and Carlos Arroyo attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Bradley addressed the students in the room. “This lab looks amazing. We chose to create a computer lab because we all knew how important technology is. You can learn a lot by going online and researching. We wanted to help in any way we could and a computer lab was the best opportunity to further education.”

Boston Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol R. Johnson was also on hand to lend support for the opening. Thanking the Boston Celtics for their continued support in the school system, she encouraged the students to work very hard to become great students and to take full advantage of the technology in their educational pursuits.

Boston Celtics Co-owner and Managing Partner and President of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Stephen Pagliuca, followed with his own words of encouragement.

“This computer lab will help you all in a lot of ways,” he said. “It will give you all the tools you need to study and get a degree. This lab wouldn’t be here without the players. They’ve done so much for our community this season making over 200 appearances. This is truly a wonderful room. ”

The ribbon cutting ensued, followed by cheers from the students. With the room officially ready for use, the students, with the help of the Celtics players, participated in an online scavenger hunt to learn more about Green, Bradley, Wafer and Arroyo.

Groups learned such facts as that Green was born in Maryland, Bradley was 74 inches tall, Wafer attended Florida State University and Arroyo’s college mascot was the Golden Panther.

“In 10 minutes you all were able to research a lot of information on these players,” reflected Director of Community Relations Matt Meyersohn. “This just gives you a little glimpse as to how resourceful a computer is. Imagine how much you could learn throughout a year if you just spent ten minutes every day doing research.”

Before the players left, each one signed the wall above the door next to the Championship trophy graphic. The message was clear: While the players are champions on the court, they had to be champions in the classroom first just to have the opportunity to be successful.

One thing that was apparent as the opening of the computer lab came to close was that the students were very appreciative of the upgrade. It’s safe to say the computers will help to enhance education at the Hernandez School.

For more information on the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and the Celtics community efforts, please go to Celtics.com/foundation.