Today's The Big Day: LeBron James Opens New Public School In His Hometown Of Akron, Ohio
July 30, 2018 · BOTWC Staff
Photo via: USA Today
It's going to be an unforgettable Monday for LeBron James as today is the day he officially opens his first public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
The NBA star is opening the "I Promise" elementary school for at-risk children through his LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron Public School District. This year the school is set to have 240 third and fourth graders, and is expected to expand every year by adding second and fifth grade next year. It's projected to have grades 1-8 by 2022.
"We are going to be that groundbreaking school that will be a nationally recognized model for urban and public school excellence," Brandi Davis, the I Promise principal and Akron native told USA Today. "We are letting people know it is about true wrap-around support, true family integration and true compassion."
Photo credit: Jeff Zillgit
On Sunday, James took to twitter to share how excited he was for the "first day of school," writing: "The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the #IPROMISE School. This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams."
He continued tweeting:
big dreams for the kids in Akron to give them everything they could need to find their passion, give back to our community and change the world!! This school is that. The people are that. Akron is that. @LJFamFoundation we've always done it big— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 29, 2018
and it doesn't get bigger than opening day tomorrow (until the next thing we dream of 🤣) I'm so unbelievably proud and excited to see my kids, my home, and the 330 tomorrow. THANK YOU! Let's get it. Let’s go 💪🏾 @IPROMISESchool #WeAreFamily #IPROMISE— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 29, 2018
It was during the 4th and 5th grade that James went from missing several days of school to having perfect attendance. The shift happened when Frank and Pam Walker intervened. "In 1993, the Walker family took James in and encouraged him to focus on his education at a city school in Akron," according to ESPN.
The "I Promise" school has 43 academic staffers, 12 teachers (one teacher to every 20 students), plus a longer school day and school year.
Keith Liechty, the Akron Public Schools' liaison to James’ foundation, said that reading data was used to select the students, explaining: "We identified students who were a year, two years behind in reading. From that, we had more than 120 kids. We had to put a cap on it so we could fit under one roof. We did a random selection of all students who met that criteria and got to make these awesome phone calls to parents and say, ‘How would you like to be part of something different, the I Promise School.'"
Congratulations LeBron on this incredible accomplishment! We salute you for continuing to use your platform to invest in the futures of children who look like you. Happy Opening Day!
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