Celtics Reward Middle Schoolers for Improving
BOSTON – Using the positive impact of the Boston Celtics, struggling middle school students across 11 inner-city Boston Public Middle and High Schools were challenged to “Step Their Game Up” and improve their grades and academic attendance rates in the classroom.
In January, 365 students signed a contract promising to work on their grades, attendance and/or behavior. As motivation, the students who successfully improved the most became eligible to attend a Celtics game and the top performing students from each school received an invitation to go to a Celtics party.
Thursday evening, the most improved students attended a bowling event with several Celtics VIP’s including Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox, Shavlik Randolph, Terrence Williams and Jared Sullinger.
As the 70 students arrived, they were welcomed by the Celtics players and escorted to the lounge area where the guys addressed the youth.
“You all are here because you proved to yourself and your teachers that you are intelligent and dedicated students,” said Wilcox as he received cheers from the crowd. “The hard work you have put in over the past few months has paid off and tonight we are going to have some fun.”
Following Wilcox’s remarks, Sullinger shared a personal story relating to his academics as a young high school student in hopes to connect with the crowd regarding the importance of academics.
“One time in high school, just before the biggest game of my career at that point, I was deemed ineligible by my father who was my coach because of poor grades,” stated Sullinger. “We ended up losing the game and the entire town knew it was my fault. Learning from this I committed myself to never let it happen again. I started taking my education seriously and it paid off.”
After Sullinger’s story, Meyersohn opened the floor for questions allowing players to share with the audience where they were raised, their favorite musical artists and what profession they would have pursued if they weren’t playing basketball.
Randolph shared with the audience first.
“If I was not a professional basketball player I would most likely have become a professional piano player,” he said. “I love playing the piano and always have.”
Terry then confirmed to the audience how great Randolph’s musical talents truly are.
Meyersohn asked Terry to name his favorite musical artist. Terry’s response surprised many.
“Recently because of my daughters blasting music throughout the house and listening to their radio stations in the car, my favorite is probably Justin Bieber,” he confessed.
Terry and the audience took humor in his response before he concluded the question and answer panel saying, “I want to commend all of you students. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t make a great turnaround in your grades and attendance so give yourself a round of applause!”
“Now let’s go bowling!” Williams shouted.
Students were divided up between 12 lanes spending quality time with the Celtics players. The one-on-one time allowed for students to open up and relate to the players. Additionally, the players were able to reinforce the importance of an education and how it impacts their future.
As the event came to a close, the students were awarded with a personalized autographed photo from Terry encouraging them to keep up the great work and continuing their academic improvements.