LYNN — A visit from two of Boston Celtics’ youngest stars was a slam dunk with Lynn middle schoolers.
Monday morning at Breed Middle School, Celtics rookie-phenomenon Jayson Tatum and skillful forward “Semi” Ojeleye made their first stop as part of a collaborative effort with both the GE and Boston Celtics foundations. The purpose of the event was to unveil the “Brilliant Career Play” mobile STEM lab to local students and school officials.
“It’s great to be here,” said Tatum, the Celtics’ youngest player at 20 years old. “I remember being young and meeting somebody famous and I remember the reaction and how great it felt, so anytime I get to do that, it’s a no-brainer.”
The “Brilliant Career Play” mobile STEM lab chose six districts from the greater Boston area to tour and Lynn had the privilege of being one of them. Breed, Marshall, and Pickering Middle Schools were selected to take part in the hands-on experience which allowed students to work with innovative gadgets and software, such as 3D printers and laser die cutters.
“It’s a great responsibility to be in this position and a great opportunity for us to kind of show these kids that if you take education seriously and listen to your teachers then it can really help you in your future to reach your goals,” said Ojeleye, standing tall at 6 feet 7 inches. “I think when they see us doing something as fun as basketball and then tell them that education will help you get there, that’s a really good message for them.”
GE officials Jeff Caywood, the Director of Communications, and Rich Gorham, the local spokesman, were ecstatic at the success of the mobile lab, which has also gathered a variety of educational partners. The mobile lab, which sat right in front of Breed, gave a handful of middle schoolers the opportunity to work one-on-one with the famed players and create items that they could bring home, such as wooden name tags made under the laser die cutter.
“We’re fortunate to be in the mix of this whirlwind tour of schools around Massachusetts that get to participate,” said Gorham.
Aside from the hands-on experiences, the “Brilliant Career Play” mobile lab also offers an online designing opportunity for all participating students. When students log onto the Brilliant Career Lab website, they are able to design their own pair of sneakers. The foundations will also continue to work with the schools over the next two weeks to perfect their STEM knowledge.
Breed eighth grader Angelina Nhiv was one of the students chosen to participate in the mobile STEM lab. She acknowledged the overwhelming excitement she and her classmates felt about having basketball superstars come to their school and work with them, especially when it comes to her favorite class subject.
“Science is definitely my favorite because I like to build things and then test them and if it doesn’t work out then we can always fix it,” said Nhiv.
The players, members of the Lynn school district and officials from GE were also accompanied by Celtics legend Dana Barros and the team’s backflipping mascot “Lucky” the Leprechaun, who ended the appearance with some exciting twists for the kids, even doing a front flip over Superintendent Catherine Latham.
“This is awesome for the kids because a lot of them wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet these guys,” said Lauren Phelps, a guidance counselor at Breed.