Boston Eighth-Graders Earn Field Trip to Baltimore/Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Celtics and Southwest Airlines

The Harbor School students who won ASSISTS community service contest meet with Senator Edward M. Kennedy and tour sites in nation's capital

WASHINGTON D.C. (June 21, 2006) -- A group of 15 eighth-graders from The Harbor School in Dorchester enjoyed a special field trip to Baltimore/Washington, D.C. today, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, to meet U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and tour the sites of the nation's capital with Celtics guard and ASSISTS spokesperson Delonte West, teammate Tony Allen and Celtics Women's Group member and Delonte West's mother Delphina Addison. The students earned the trip by winning the ASSISTS community service contest sponsored by Southwest Airlines and the Celtics.

The students flew on Southwest Airlines out of T.F. Green Airport in Providence this morning and returned in the evening. The highlight of their day in the nation's capital was meeting with Senator Kennedy at the Capitol Building. They also toured the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, visited several monuments, and took a driving tour of the city.

"I commend the Celtics and Southwest Airlines for their inspiring partnership with our city's middle schools," Senator Kennedy said. "It's very moving to see these students respond to the challenge each year and create such worthwhile projects to help others in their communities."

"I'm excited to help reward these students for all of their hard work and dedication in the community," West said. "The Harbor School students really made an effort to improve their school and their neighborhood. It was exciting to see the smiles on the faces of the kids, many of whom were taking their first plane flight or visiting my hometown of Washington, D.C. for the first time."

The ASSISTS community service program, which is in its seventh year, is designed to help young people develop an understanding of critical issues facing society, and to help them recognize their ability to initiate real change. Through the program, the Celtics and Southwest Airlines invited teams of students from all 27 Boston Public Middle Schools to create and implement community service projects that would meet the needs of a local community and make a positive impact on its members. The program was designed to inspire eighth-grade students to improve their schools and neighborhoods.

For their winning project, The Harbor School students took on both new and existing projects. The students continued with their annual coat drive, collecting jackets and other winter garments to benefit the St. Francis House during the months of January and February. In addition, the students created new projects including volunteering at the 20th annual Charles C. Yancey Book Fair, helping to collect and package books. The students also traveled to New York City to collect additional books and help refurbish the library of their sister school, The Harbor School in Harlem, NY. This is the second consecutive year The Harbor School has won the ASSISTS community service program.

"The ASSISTS program provides a wonderful opportunity to encourage students to give back to their community," said Michele Miller, Southwest Airlines Area Marketing Manager. "Along with learning the value of giving back, these students are learning teamwork and that their efforts do make a difference."

"The Celtics are proud to partner with Southwest Airlines on the ASSISTS program to provide a way to recognize these students for their strong commitment to their community," said Rich Gotham, the Celtics Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "The students' innovative project has made a difference and we are pleased to recognize them for making their neighborhoods better places to live and work."

To honor the second-place team from the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, West hosted a pizza party at their school. The Dearborn Middle School and Gavin Middle School teams tied for third-place, and received a Celtics basketball signed by ASSISTS Spokesman Delonte West and Celtics legend JoJo White.

Judging was based on the students' ability to (1) create an imaginative unique project; (2) meet the deadline for submitting entries; (3) make a positive impact and meet a real community need; and (4) have fun by helping others.

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