Celtics Host Event at Murphy K-8 School

Celtics staff, Legend Dana Barros, former player Keyon Dooling and players Jason Collins and Jared Sullinger talked to students about the acronym P.R.I.D.E. (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Decisions, Education).

DORCHESTER – More than 600 youth from the Murphy K-8 School filed into their gymnasium Tuesday morning for a Stay in School assembly with the Boston Celtics.

The 22-year-old Stay in School program, in partnership with Arbella, has successfully emphasized the importance to attending school every day and taking education seriously. For every student in Boston Public Middle Schools who has perfect attendance, they receive a monthly Celtics prize for their achievements.

The Murphy School, one of five schools selected this school year for an assembly, was excited for their guests. Students were smiling from ear-to-ear as they entered the gym to see Celtics rookie Jared Sullinger, center Jason Collins, Legend Dana Barros, former player Keyon Dooling, Director of Community Relations and Player Development Matt Meyersohn, and Lucky.

The guests were already in the gym as students arrived because they had just hosted a basketball clinic with selected students instructing them on dribbling and shooting.

The assembly served as a unique experience for the youth who would get the chance to hear personal stories from their favorite athletes.

Using the acronym P.R.I.D.E. (perseverance, respect, integrity, decisions, education) each guest addressed the crowd, giving them great stories and advice about the importance of each word.

Collins, a 12-year veteran, spoke about a time in his life when he needed to persevere in order to succeed. Collins suffered injuries during his freshman and sophomore year in college that could have derailed his career. Yet he never gave up and worked hard. By his senior year of college, he not only was back on the court, but playing better than ever.

Dooling urged the youth to have respect for themselves, first and foremost. Middle school is such a critical time for youth as they search for an identity and path. Dooling wanted the students to know that respecting themselves, teachers, parents and fellow classmates gives them a greater chance at succeeding in anything they do.

Meyersohn gave the students a different perspective from the athletes on the guest panel as he talked about integrity, which has to do with doing something good even when no one is watching. Meyersohn wanted to be a professional basketball player like his fellow guests but wasn’t good enough to reach that level. Yet by having integrity, completing his education and perseverance he now has his dream job where he is able to work in the community, promoting education while still being involved in basketball.

Sullinger followed Meyersohn with his own story about making the right decisions. Having decided not to do his homework and let his grades fall his sophomore year in high school, he ended up not being able to play in a playoff game that was three games away from the state tournament. His team lost the game and because of his bad decisions in the classroom; he let a lot of people down. From then on, he took his education seriously and wouldn’t be in the NBA now if he hadn’t.

Barros wrapped up the P.R.I.D.E. acronym with education. Like Sullinger’s remarks before him, Barros had to forego the rest of his freshman basketball season after his mother learned he was given a ‘D’ grade in math. Barros’ family always put education first and he didn’t realize that until they took basketball away from him. He didn’t make that mistake again and went on to attend Boston College.

Lucky also spoke to the students about his job. He loved basketball as well but knew he wouldn’t be able to play professionally. He also enjoyed gymnastics and by dedicating his time to being a great gymnast, he was able to go to college on a scholarship and now works his dream job for the Celtics.

Tuesday’s assembly reinforced everything teachers say to students every day. However, being able to hear stories of perseverance and education from some of their heroes especially resonated with the students.

Sullinger ended the assembly with one last remark: “Go back to class!”