Stay in School Tips Off 23rd Year at Eliot School

BOSTON – Cheers echoed down Causeway Street Monday afternoon, but it was not the applause of Celtics fans at the TD Garden. Instead, the applause came from the Eliot School, host of the first assembly for the 23rd year of the Stay in School program, presented by the Arbella Insurance Foundation.

The Eliot was awarded the first assembly for posting the highest improved attendance data comparing September and October of 2012 to September and October of 2013.

The assembly jump started with Celtics players Jared Sullinger, Phil Pressey, Celtics legend Dana Barros, Lucky and Celtics Dancer Jaqueline being introduced in game-like style as they ran through a high-five tunnel consisting of middle schoolers.

Highlighting the importance of education, the group spoke about the acronym of P.R.I.D.E, which stands for perseverance, respect, integrity, dedication and education.

The Eliot School was awarded the first assembly of the 23rd year of the Stay in School program for posting the highest improved year-over-year attendance data.

Lucky addressed the youth first by underlining the true meaning of perseverance.

“Despite any obstacle you may encounter, you have to continue to work hard and stay focused on your goals,” Lucky said. “When you come to school you learn things that may not interest you right now, but pay attention to your teachers and it will help you in the future.”

Pressey, a rookie point guard, stressed the value of respecting your elders by claiming,“It is important to look adults in the eyes. Respect goes a long way. Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Tackling the next word, integrity, Celtics Dancer Jacqueline touched on the significance of being true to one’s self.

“To have integrity you need to always do the right thing even when no one is watching,” she said. “If you feel tempted to do wrong by your peers, stand up for yourself.”

Taking a break from the action, Celtics VIPs posed questions to the engaged students and rewarded those who gave correct answers with autographed prizes.

Sullinger stumped the crowd when he asked, “What is my shoe size?” The youth were stunned to discover the correct answer of a size 18.

One student uttered, “Wow, that is amazing!”

Bringing the attention back to the meaning of P.R.I.D.E., Sullinger began to explain the significance of positive decision making.

He reflected back to high school and stated, “When I was in 10th grade I made the decision to stop going to class and not do my homework. At the time I was the popular athlete who thought my actions only affected myself. One day I was called down to the principal’s office where he, the athletic director and my basketball coach, who was my dad, were waiting to confront me about my report card. I had all Ds and they told me I would not be playing for the remainder of the year.

“My team was the favorite to win the state tournament, yet with me on the sidelines our championship season was cut short. My bad decision let down my friends, teammates, and school community that year.”

Sullinger’s reflection highlighted his take-away message of, “In life, everyone makes poor decisions sometimes, the important thing is to learn and grow to make yourself a stronger individual.”

Barros then spoke to the youth about the importance of education.

“I learned at a young age that education is most important thing,” he said. “I was blessed to receive a degree from Boston College and pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.”

Emphasizing the power of reaching your goals, the Celtics legend left the youth with a challenge: “To find what you love to do and go after it.”

Following remarks from the Celtics panel, select students were given the opportunity to ask questions. Students inquired on subjects ranging from what motivates professional athletes to who their role models were while growing up.

As the Celtics VIPs exited the Eliot School, the roar of the crowd picked back up as it sent the group off in true Causeway Street fashion.

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