Celtics Family Helps Renovate Lawrence Gym

LAWRENCE, Mass. – Members of the Celtics family hosted a gym renovation unveiling Thursday morning at the Alexander B. Bruce School in Lawrence. This event marked the second gym renovation donated by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation as part of last season’s 2011-12 players’ choice grant.

The basketball court in the school, which had not been renovated since its original creation in 1954, was refurbished with six brand new basketball hoops, new wall padding, several Boston Celtics wall graphics and a fresh hardwood floor.

Twenty students were hand selected to be the first of the student body to see the new court. They were brought downstairs at approximately 9 a.m. to find multiple surprises waiting for them. They thought they were lining up for some routine basketball drills before the rest of the students filed in for the grand opening, but then the gym doors flew open. The smiling faces of Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, current players Courtney Lee and Chris Wilcox, Celtics mascot Lucky, and former Celtic Keyon Dooling were there to greet the students. The students were not only ecstatic about their new basketball court and gym area, but also for the fact that several pivotal members of the Celtics organization took time out of their busy days to join the students for the grand opening.

Prior to the entire school entering the gym for a school-wide unveiling, the 20 students were busy running drills with the players. The first drill involved a dribbling relay race in which “Team Keyon” took home first place. After Team Keyon was finished celebrating its win, the group began layup drills. Lee showed the students the proper way to make a layup, as well as some secret fundamentals on how to shoot a basketball. “Team Courtney” eventually came up with the win in this drill, but for the day, all of the students were winners.

The excitement reached its peak when the rest of the student body filed into the newly renovated gym. The youth’s jaws dropped in amazement as they viewed the space for the first time. Their smiles were nothing but contagious.

Once everyone was in the gym, the Celtics guests addressed the group. Dooling joined the kids on the floor, sitting cross-legged amongst the several hundred students while the assembly began. Grousbeck opened up the assembly by stating that, “Every member of the Celtics roster voted on what project they should take on and they chose to renovate your gym space!"

Grousbeck added that it was important to stay in school and to take education seriously in order to be successful in life. He concluded his words of advice by saying that any one of the students sitting in that room could one day be a Boston Celtic if they worked hard and were determined to be the best that they could be.

Following Grousbeck’s remarks, Lee approached the floor and spoke about the importance of education and listening to teachers. He reminisced about one of his favorite teachers in grade school and attributed his passion for reading to her commitment to teaching everyone the importance of higher learning.

Lucky, who received possibly the loudest cheer from the students, spoke next. He focused his speech on commitment to hard work and the determination and perseverance it takes to reach goals.
To conclude the assembly, Wilcox, who underwent heart surgery last year, shared his heart-warming story about never giving up even when the obstacle at hand looks impossible to overcome.

Before the guests left the Bruce School, they signed autographs for the students and posed for photos. The positive energy was radiating off of each student as they exited the gym and headed back to class with a life-changing experience in tow.

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