Celtics Host Event at Henderson Elementary
DORCHESTER, Mass. – Celtics players Paul Pierce and Chris Wilcox, along with former Celtic Keyon Dooling, arrived at Henderson Elementary School early Monday morning for a Read to Achieve event in partnership with Kia Motors.
Posters adorned the school’s walls to welcome the Celtics while the 250 students were decked out in green and white.
Celtics employees also volunteered their time to read to the youth. Each volunteer was assigned to their own classroom, where teachers selected the book that best fit the class age group. The volunteers not only read a book but also engaged with the students while answering questions.
“My students were so awesome!” said Dooling. “They were so attentive and genuinely excited to have guests in their class. I had so much fun reading Slam Dunk to my second-grade class.”
Pierce, who hit a game-clinching 3-pointer the prior day against the Clippers, met with the school’s highest participating class that met the Read to Achieve standards. Those students met requirements of reading 20 minutes a day for five days a week during the month of January. The fifth-grade class was in shock when they the Captain and “The Truth” entered the class to read a book about current President Barack Obama.
Pierce said, “The book was very inspirational and focused on how President Obama supported all individuals no matter their race, background or ethnicity, and strived for everyone to work together. Some students in my class helped me read today. They did a good job and I very impressed.”
Wilcox read the book, The Rainbow Fish, to a first-grade class. The book focused on the importance of sharing.
“The book talked about how one fish took the initiative to share his scales with the others,” recalled Wilcox. “My class learned that if you have enough to share with others, definitely do it. It makes you feel better about yourself and of course makes the other person happy.”
Once the players and fellow volunteers were finished reading in their respective classrooms, the entire school came together in the auditorium for an assembly. The students cheered loudly as Pierce, Wilcox and Dooling took the stage. The Celtics staff members who volunteered sat with their classes as they listened to the VIP speak about the importance of literacy.
Pierce and Dooling talked about how reading was incorporated into their daily life at home as they read books to their children.
The crowd erupted with laughter after Wilcox explained, “I don’t have any children, so I don’t have anyone to read too at home! Instead I come to Read to Achieve events like this one so I can read to all of you!”
When asked how reading fits into their lives as a basketball player Pierce responded, “For every game we get a scouting report on the opposing team and game notes. The reports let us know what their tendencies are, where they like to shoot and how they have performed over the past few games. Reading all of these things makes me a better student and player of the game and allows me to gain an advantage over the competition.”
Dooling spoke to the students about how he started off as a poor reader when he was a child.
“Reading wasn’t easy for me when I was younger,” he said. “Similarly, I wasn’t a good shooter in basketball when first started playing. I put a lot of time and effort into improving both my reading and shooting skills. If you put the time, energy and practice in, I guarantee you if you are weak now, you can turn reading into a strength. Finish strong! I know you all can do it.”
Following the Celtics remarks, the students enthusiastically applauded them for their words of wisdom. The assembly ended with everyone reciting the Read to Achieve pledge. The last line summed the event up perfectly: “Reading is something we have to do every day.”