2012 Stay In School Assembly

BOSTON - Students knew the assembly was starting when emcee Coach Willie Maye came to the podium. Yet, as the lights began to dim more than 1,200 middle school youth in attendance began to look around and wonder what was going on. Just then images of Celtics mascot Lucky appeared on the video projector as he dunked over his truck with kids cheering in the background.

The arena lights came back on and Lucky ran from behind the stage to perform some dunks off of his trampoline. Claps and cheers erupted from the students and just like that the 21st annual Stay in School Final Assembly presented by Arbella Insurance had begun!

Lucky SIS Dunk

Celtics mascot Lucky the Leprechaun performs a dunk show for Boston Public School students at the 2012 Stay In School assembly.
Celtics Photo/Ashley Earle

Before the speaking portion of the assembly began, the students were in for one more entertainment treat. Northeastern University math professor Peter Plourde, also known as Lyrical, performed a hip-hop song supporting the Stay in School message of attendance and education. Students were nodding their heads and waving their hands to the music as they focused in on the rapper in front of them. Lyrical received the same loud applause as Lucky!

Following Lyrical’s performance, Boston Celtics team President Rich Gotham, Executive Director of Northeastern University’s Sport in Society Dan Lebowitz and Superintendent of Boston Public Schools Dr. Carol Johnson welcomed the students.

“It’s hard to follow the impressive performances of Lucky and Lyrical,” said Gotham, “But I just wanted to congratulate you all for your achievements this year. Today we will be honoring 13 students who remarkably had three years of perfect attendance during their middle school careers, 35 students who were recognized as their school’s Most Improved Pupil, 600 students who had perfect attendance this year and over 700 students who submitted writing and art pieces. These numbers grow each year and it’s wonderful to know that you guys are taking your education so seriously.”

Dr. Johnson added a big thanks to the administrators and teachers in the audience. “It’s because of you all that these students are here today. You work hard each and every day to prepare our youth for the future and we can’t thank you enough.”

Before awards were handed out, Celtics Legend Dana Barros spoke on the importance of education. “I want every one of you to find out what you’re good at and put 150 percent into accomplishing that goal,” said the former All-Star. “I knew that I loved basketball and wanted to make that my career so if I wasn’t eating, sleeping or at school, I was playing basketball working on my skills. I also knew that if I didn’t take my education seriously and make good grades, I wouldn’t be able to go to college and play basketball. I’m here today proud to say that I received a full scholarship to Boston College and received my degree because I put in the effort early on. I’m the prime example of hard work paying off and I know if you all set your mind to it, you can reach your goals too."

“Our current players wish they could be here today but they’re practicing getting ready for our playoff game tomorrow so they’ve taped some words of encouragement for you,” continued Barros.

The lights dimmed once again and congratulatory messages from Keyon Dooling, Marquis Daniels, Mickael Pietrus, Greg Stiemsma and Jajuan Johnson were played.

Students were then recognized for their achievements receiving personalized Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen autographed frames for the 3-year award and Most Improved Pupil award respectively. First prize winners for the art contest received personalized Brandon Bass autographed photos while first prize writing contest winners received personalized Avery Bradley autographed photos. Writing and art contest honorable mention winners took home Celtics rally towels for their participation.

Lyrical followed with the final keynote of the assembly encouraging youth to make their weakness their strength. “Growing up I was awful at math. I just didn’t understand it and my grades reflected that. I could have given up but I knew that if I overcame this obstacle, I would be the better for it. Because I never gave up and worked extremely hard to improve and more importantly understand math, I’m now a math professor. If you knew as a teenager, you would have never guessed that this would be my profession but I didn’t doubt for one moment that if I put my mind to something, I would achieve it. That’s the mentality I want every one of you to have.”

As the speaking portion came to a close, Lucky and Lyrical had one more performance up their sleeves ending with a dance off from several students in the crowd! Youth left the assembly with smiles on their faces feeling proud of their accomplishments during the 2011-12 school year!