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Celtics and City Year tell students to "Step Your Game Up"

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs  June 5, 2013 07:32 PM

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The Boston Celtics "Step Your Game Up" event on Wednesday featured Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger and students who showed the most improvement during the school year. One winner was chosen from each of the 12 Boston public schools who participated in the event. (Photo courtesy of Boston Celtics)

Celtics forward Jared Sullinger and mascot Lucky paid a visit to City Year headquarters Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the accomplishments of students in the “Step Your Game Up” program.

“I knew with my work and my wisdom and everything I’ve been through, I can hopefully say some words for them to know that education is the future,” Sullinger said.

“Step Your Game Up” focuses on students struggling academically, whether it be with chronic absences or failure in core subjects. The students are sent a letter from the program, challenging them to improve.

This event focused on honoring 12 students who had shown significant improvement since joining the program. Burke, English, Young Achievers, Tobin, Dever-McCormack, Dearborn, Harbor, Mildred Ave, Neighborhood House Charter School, Irving, Orchard Gardens, and Higginson Lewis were schools represented by the students.

“We want to encourage students to start to go to school and do all of their work for the wrong reasons -- to get to meet someone like Jared or to get to go to a game -- in the hope that we can someday encourage them to go to school for the right reason,” Celtics director of community relations Matt Meyersohn said. “To really get an education and have a bright future.”

Meyersohn also praised the Celtics' partner in the program, City Year, which had volunteers working the carnival-themed event, whether it was fortune telling, food serving, or games.

“City Year is a perfect partner for this program,” Meyersohn said. “Where we can provide the incentives and support that work, they’re the ones on the ground every day working with thousands of kids.”

Earlier in the year, Sullinger took students bowling with some of his Celtics teammates. At this event, Sullinger and Lucky took photos, played games, and presented raffle prizes.

“I had fun all year doing things like this, because the kids really need something to uplift them,” Sullinger said.

Growing up with parents who were teachers taught him the value of education, he said, and he hopes to relay that to students.

“They might not be a basketball player, they might not be a football player, but they can be something special in this world and develop our economy in this world to make it a better place,” Sullinger said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.