C's Host Stay in School Event at the Edison School
BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Stay in School program, presented by the Arbella Insurance Foundation, hosted its second assembly for the 2013-14 season Tuesday morning. For more than 23 years, the program has focused on academic importance, improved attendance and exemplary hard work and effort in school.
The Edison School in Brighton, Mass. was rewarded the assembly for posting the highest improved attendance from December 2012 to December 2013.
Pumping up the crowd of more than 150 students, Coach Willie Maye took the microphone and announced the starting lineup of Celtics VIPs: forward Jared Sullinger, guard Phil Pressey, Celtics Legend Dana Barros, Celtics Dance Captain Kayla and Celtics Mascot Lucky.
Each Celtics VIP took a letter from the acronym P.R.I.D.E. (perseverance, respect, integrity, decisions, and education) to highlight the importance of each word in their profession and personal lives.
Kayla kicked off the presentation by taking the first word, perseverance. Despite two knee injuries, she never quit and continued to pursue her goal to become a Celtics Dancer.
“I had many roadblocks throughout my career, but since I always believed in myself and stayed true to my passion, I am able to live my dream as a Celtics Dancer,” she said.
Pressey was next to take the microphone and took on the word respect – a word that helped him become an NBA player.
Pressey said, “The people who have helped me in my life were my teammates, my parents, my teachers, and my principals. I got to where I am now by working hard and respecting those people everyday.”
Lucky got the crowd cheering by doing his infamous back flip prior to speaking on the word integrity.
“Integrity to me is all about having the right morals and making the right decisions,” he said.
Coach Willie Maye then called a timeout and asked the students questions for prizes. A few students won prizes for recalling Kayla’s previous residences and a math question regarding Pressey’s jersey number and shoe size.
Back to the discussion, Celtics Legend Dana Barros took the floor without the microphone and gave a passionate speech about the importance of the next word, decisions, and how it impacted his life. He stressed that his decisions to practice hard in basketball every day helped him make it to the NBA.
“I was a great football player in high school but I didn’t have passion in the sport,” Barros stated. “But I loved basketball and wanted to be the best basketball player, so I woke up every day at 8 a.m. to practice. By the end of the day I had practiced three or four times. That decision helped me earn a scholarship to play at Boston College and then in the NBA.”
Barros also shared a decision his mother made for him, that helped him realize that education is essential to success.
“I remember getting a C- in math and my mom made the decision that I could not play basketball until my grades improved,” he said. “Safe to say I definitely decided to focus on my education more from then on!”
Taking the last letter of P.R.I.D.E., education, Sullinger took the floor and told the students how education is important to his family.
“My whole family has college degrees,” said Sullinger. “I made a tough decision two years ago to leave college early for the NBA. From that moment on my mom constantly called me and asked, ‘When are you taking classes to finish school?’ I am happy to say those calls have stopped, as I will be going back to school this summer.”
Sullinger also shared how he learned the value of education the hard way in high school, where his father was his high school basketball coach.
The second-year big man recounted, “I was ‘too cool’ in high school and didn’t have the best grades. My dad was not too happy and decided to bench me for the state finals game. The STATE FINALS! The game I worked so hard to get to. Right then and there, I vowed to make sure to take my education seriously.”
Before ending his speech, Sullinger left the Edison students this note, “If you want to be a CEO, astronaut, or the President of the United States, then get an education!”
Following the speaking portion of the event, the students were treated to Lucky’s dunk show, which sent the whole gym in a craze.
A truly memorable experience, the assembly helped strengthen the message of academic importance that teachers reiterate to students on a daily basis.