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This past Monday marked what could be considered the crowning moment in Lebron James' career as he opened the I Promise school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The school, fully funded by Lebron and his charity, is set to change schooling as a whole and just adds to the philanthropic ways of James.
No matter the number of titles Lebron has won or will win nor MVP trophies he has, the opening of this school is the highlight of his entire career. This school which he helped found will outlast his achievements on the court and will hopefully leave an impression on those who matter most, the children of Akron, Ohio.
The I Promise school looks to help the at risk and low income students and parents of James' hometown of Akron. The entire school is based off of proven model of success which includes a longer school day, a non traditional school day, wider access to the school for its students, and it looks to give all the possible support needed to its staff. The curriculum itself is based off of math and science, while even dipping into the ever popular STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum; the combination of both will help prepare its students for the future world.
Upon it's first day of school, last Monday, I Promise had 240 3rd and 4th grade students which the expectation of greatly expanding within the coming years. The eventual goal is to have the school full of students from 1st to 8th grade by the 2022 school year. The idea of starting small and expanding is nothing new, but to start at the 3rd grade level is full of unique challenges. With students entering 3rd and 4th grade, especially those in the I Promise school who have poor student progress, the challenge is to help overcome the poor past development that has taken root in each student. While the goal is of course to meet the standards set by the school, it will be very interesting to see how the first groups of students work to meet the schools high standards.
The best thing about the entire I Promise school is the strong attempt to build connections to its students, families, and local community. The school will be just as accessible to its students parents as it is to the students themselves. I Promise will help parents study with their in house GED program, help feed families with its on site food bank, and even provide a counselor in house to help both students and families.
Lebron James is much more than just an athlete and the opening of his school will forever be his crowning achievement in his already illustrious career. James has continually been able to bridge the gap of on and off the court personality, showing that he is the same man with or without a basketball in his hand. While Lebron James may now wear the Lakers purple and gold, his greatest achievement is will forever be in Akron, Ohio.
Know no matter if I’m playing in Los Angeles or not, Akron, Ohio, is always home for me. Always.