An excited and lively energy spread throughout the 300 section of the Philips Arena as hundreds of eager teenagers danced and cheered during the Atlanta Hawks season opener. These teens are part of the fabric of Atlanta. They represent the spirit of Atlanta Public Schools.
Atlanta Board of Education District 5 Representative Steven Lee wanted to ignite students’ spirits by celebrating them for doing the right things. Lee forged a partnership with the Atlanta Hawks that brought more than 400 Atlanta Public Schools students and families from middle and high schools in his district to the basketball game. Lee rewarded students excelling in behavior and academics from Harper-Archer and Young middle schools, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy and Best Academy single-gender schools, and Mays and Douglass high schools.
“I ran for the board so I could give kids an opportunity to do what they don’t normally do,” said Lee. “I want to give our kids something to do, and I want to reward kids for doing the right things.”
Lee said he plans to bring another 400 elementary school students from District 5 to a Hawks game on Oct. 31 to provide a fun experience and a safe alternative for Halloween. Lee is exploring other partnerships so that students can attend sporting events, as well as plays, musicals and other activities.
“Giving kids exposure and opportunity is key to showing them there is so much they can do with their lives,” Lee said.