C's and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Beautify School

Volunteers from the Celtics and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt helped promote literac
Volunteers from the Celtics and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt helped promote literacy and beautify Ellis Elementary in Roxbury, Mass.

ROXBURY, Mass. – With the leaves slowly changing colors and a cool breeze in the air, a beautiful fall day served as the backdrop for a service day at Ellis Elementary. More than 100 volunteers from the Celtics and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt arrived early Tuesday morning to assist in beautifying the school space in addition to promoting literacy.

The volunteers met in the gym/auditorium for an initial meeting where they were thanked by Ellis’ principal, Cynthia Jacobs-Tolbert.

“We are so excited that you’re here today and really appreciate your time,” said Jacobs-Tolbert. “The spaces you are painting are in need of a refurbishment and this will go a long way in establishing school pride among our students.”

Following the meeting, volunteers divided into groups and got to work. Projects included painting murals in the gym/auditorium, painting outdoor games on the playground cement, building benches and gardening.

In an effort to promote literacy as well, volunteers including Celtics mascot Lucky and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt CEO Linda Zecher read in every classroom in the early afternoon. Students enjoyed the guests in their rooms and it served as a great time to reinforce the importance of reading in and out of school.

By the time the reading in the classrooms commenced, the other volunteer projects were completed and a school wide assembly ensued. Celtics guard Courtney Lee having just finished practice arrived to host the assembly which delighted the students!

“It’s great to be here,” remarked the guard. “Seeing all the wonderful work the volunteers have done, I know you’re going to love coming to school every day!”

The school was in for one more surprise as Zecher announced the creation of a new library.

“Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a company that publishes a lot of the books you read,” said Zecher. “We want to make sure you all have a great space to accompany the books so through our partnership with the Celtics, we are going to renovate your library space this year! We also have books for every student to take home!”

As the school day came to an end and parents picked up their kids, all of those who were in attendance could hear the youth’s excitement about the wonderful day they just completed.

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