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

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Photo Gallery - Click here to view more photos of the trip


Children from the Timilty School and Celtics player Kendrick Perkins met Senator Kennedy in Washington D.C.


JoJo White and Celtics mascot Lucky pose with a student at the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
BOSTON (June 22, 2004) - A group of 25 eighth-graders from Boston's James P. Timilty Middle School today enjoyed a special field trip to Baltimore/Washington, D.C., courtesy of Southwest Airlines, to meet U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy and tour the sites of the nation's capital with Celtics player Kendrick Perkins, Celtics Legend JoJo White, and Celtics Mascot Lucky the Leprechaun. 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 Washington, D.C., area was meeting with Senator Kennedy in the Russell Senate Building Rotunda. They also toured the National Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, visited several monuments, and took a driving tour of the city.

"The Celtics are model players on the court and model citizens too, and I commend them for their leadership in encouraging these young students to give back to their communities," Senator Kennedy said. "In these difficult and challenging times we face together, it's more important than ever to heed the words of President Kennedy in his Inaugural Address, 'Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.' "

"This was a wonderful way to reward these special students for showing extraordinary commitment to their community. They took it upon themselves to make an effort to improve their neighborhoods," Celtics player Kendrick Perkins said. "It was exciting to see the smiles on the faces of the kids, many of whom had never been on a plane or visited the nation's capital before."

The Assists community service program, which is in its fifth 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 Timilty Middle School students collected books and read to local youngsters daily for three months. In addition, the students corresponded with their reading buddies and maintained reading logs. The students chose to pursue the project because of their role as teachers and leaders in the community.

"Just as Southwest Airlines reaches out to the community, the Assists program provides a wonderful opportunity to encourage students to pursue community service efforts," said Christina Johnson, Southwest Airlines Area Marketing Manager for Northern New England. "Along with learning the value of giving back, these students are learning teamwork and that their efforts do make a difference."

"The Celtics are pleased to partner with Southwest Airlines on the Assists program to provide a way to honor these students for their deep commitment to their community," said Rich Gotham, the Celtics' Executive Vice President of Sales and Corporate Development. "They have shown that grassroots community efforts make a difference and deserve to be recognized for making their neighborhoods better places to live and work."

To honor the second-place team from the Harbor Middle School, Celtics forward Walter McCarty hosted a pizza party at their school. The New Boston Pilot Middle School, the third-place team, received a Celtics basketball signed by McCarty 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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