Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Grand Opening of the Detroit Pistons' Reading and Learning Center April 3, 2003 at 3 PM at Grayling Elementary in Detroit

Leadership Partners Governor Jennifer Granholm and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Support State-of-the-Art Library Renovation

Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Detroit Pistons All-Star center Ben Wallace and additional Pistons players will join Governor Jennifer Granholm, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, CEO of Detroit Public Schools Dr. Kenneth Burnley, former Pistons Great Dave Bing, WNBA Detroit Shock Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, and Palace Sports & Entertainment President Tom Wilson for the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of the second Pistons’ Reading and Learning Center at Grayling Elementary in Detroit on Thursday, April 3 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. as part of the Detroit Pistons’ Read to Achieve initiative.

Team Broadcaster George Blaha will represent the Pistons and NBA as master of ceremonies at the grand opening ceremony. Pistons players and staff, Governor Granholm, Mayor Kilpatrick, and Dr. Burnley will speak about the importance of reading and closing the technology gap that exists for inner-city children. There will be a special Reading Time-Out following the ribbon cutting ceremony as members of the Pistons’ All-Star Reading Team will team-up with the players and children in reading and computer activities in celebration of the new learning center.

“The Pistons staff all worked hard to help renovate the Grayling Elementary School library,” said Pistons All-Star center Ben Wallace. “The Reading and Learning Center will provide inner-city Detroit students with a safe learning environment to read, do homework, and develop computer skills.”

The renovation began in March when Pistons staff spent time assisting in the initial stages of remodeling the library, helping transform the library into a state-of-the-art reading and learning center. Renovations include a commemorative mural by a local Detroit artist, new carpet, six computers, new furniture, 3,000 new books, learning materials including LeapPad and Quantum Pad platforms, educational games, and much more. Over 3,000 books collected through Detroit Pistons’ book drives with metro-area Starbucks and Gardner-White store locations will be donated to the learning center to create an after school library. In April, 2002 the Pistons opened their first Reading and Learning Center at the PAL (Police Athletic League) St. James Activity Center in Detroit.

Event Timeline:
3:00 – 3:20 p.m. - Welcome Remarks (Grayling Elementary School auditorium)
3:25 – 3:30 p.m. - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (Reading and Learning Center)
3:30 – 4:00 p.m. - Reading and Technology Stations

Grayling Elementary:
744 West Adeline, Detroit
Telephone: 313.866.5860
From I-75 South: exit 8 Mile Road, stay on Service Drive and turn right on State Fair Avenue. School will be on left, East of Woodward. From I-75 North: exit 7 Mile Road, take Service Drive and turn left on State Fair Avenue. School will be on left, East of Woodward.

Read to Achieve, presented by the Michigan Education Savings Program, is designed to promote reading and literacy to children and families in Michigan and has been recognized as one of the top programs in the NBA. The goal is to instill a life-long love of reading in young people, and to provide greater access to books and technology in our community. The Detroit Pistons launched Read to Achieve in October 2001 and now have over 120 adult “All-Star” reading team members. Detroit Pistons players and staff have devoted their time to share the love of reading with over 4,500 students at Read to Achieve events throughout southeastern Michigan, touching over 40,000 youth with this program. The Pistons have also given the students a gift of books to take home. Other Read to Achieve programs include a book drive, reading incentive program, essay contest, and the renovation of a reading and learning center at the PAL St. James Activity Center in Detroit. Additional Read to Achieve corporate sponsors include: Coca-Cola, Nike, Ticketmaster, and General Mills in conjunction with Farmer Jack.

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