Akron Board Greenlights Plan for LeBron James’ Foundation to Open “I Promise” Public School

LeBron James (photo via reviewjournal.com)

via newsone.com

NBA star LeBron James is using his platform to advocate for education. Through his organization—The LeBron James Family Foundation—he will open up a public school in his hometown Akron, Ohio, USA Today reported.

The educational institution—dubbed the “I Promise” school—was recently approved by the city’s board, the news outlet writes. It’s specifically designed for students who have faced obstacles and setbacks when it comes to excelling in school. In efforts to get students who have fallen behind in their studies on the right track, the new school will have extended school days and start classes during the summer season to ensure that learning and education becomes a priority in the lives of its students. The school is an extension of his foundation’s “I Promise” program that was created to prevent kids from dropping out of school. According to the news outlet, the school is slated to accept third and fourth graders next fall and other grades will subsequently be added in the coming years.

James said that his experiences while coming of age in Akron inspired him to open the school. Through his organization’s initiatives, he wants to provide the youth in his hometown with a sense of hope. “I walked those streets, and it was just like there’s no way I’m going to be able to get out of this situation. I just thought about that every day. I had dreams and I had mentors, and they allowed my dreams to become who I am today,” said James, according to the source. “The basketball thing, I love it and I enjoy it, but to give back and open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”

USA Today reports that James’ company SpringHill Entertainment and the production company Warrior Poets will team up to work on a documentary about the creation of the school.

In an age where activism and sports are intertwined now more than ever, James has continually used his platform to speak out about social and political issues. This summer he called out Donald Trump for his failure to condemn White supremacists who were involved in the Charlottesville chaos, he’s been outspoken about the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick, and during the Cavaliers’ season-opener against the Celtics this season he wore sneakers that read “equality.”

SOURCE: USA Today

Music Legend Sonny Rollins Endows “Sonny Scholars” Jazz Ensemble at Oberlin College

Jazz Master Sonny Rollins (photo via knkx.org)

via jbhe.com

Sonny Rollins, the legendary jazz saxophonist, has made a generous contribution to establish the Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble Fund at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio.

Beginning in spring 2018, Oberlin College jazz studies majors may audition for the Oberlin Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble. Each student’s candidacy will be considered on the basis of four criteria: an audition for Oberlin’s jazz faculty, evidence of academic achievement, thoughtful response to a question about the place of jazz in the world, and service to humanity.

“Sonny Scholars” must dedicate at least two semesters to performing in the ensemble. They must also complete a winter-term project that embodies Rollins’ spirit of giving.

In explaining the rationale for this aspect of the program, Sonny Rollins said “people are hungry for a reason to live and to be happy. We’re asking these young musicians to look at the big picture, to tap into the universal power of a higher spirit, so they can give people what they need. Giving back to others teaches inner peace and inner spirituality. Everything is going to be open for them if they devote themselves in this way.”

Rollins gift to Oberlin grew out of his friendship with author and musician James McBride, a 1979 graduate of Oberlin College. The gift was made in recognition of the institution’s long legacy of access and social justice advocacy. In particular, Rollins was moved by Oberlin’s place as the first institution of higher learning to adopt a policy to admit students of color and the first to confer degrees to women, and by the contributions of alumni such as Will Marion Cook, a black violinist and composer who graduated in 1888 and who went on to become an important teacher and mentor to Duke Ellington.

Andrea Kalyn, dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, stated “that the legendary Sonny Rollins — an artist of truly extraordinary accomplishment, soulfulness, and character — would entrust Oberlin to steward his legacy is the highest honor, and deeply humbling.”

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2017/11/music-legend-sonny-rollins-endows-a-jazz-ensemble-at-oberlin-college/

LeBron James Plans “I Promise” Public School in Akron, Ohio for At-Risk Kids

LeBron James (photo via newsone.com)

article by Michael McLaughlin via huffingtonpost.com

Basketball superstar LeBron James plans to open a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, for students at risk of falling behind in academics. The I Promise School will open for elementary students in the fall of 2018 with support from James’ family foundation, according to plans revealed on Tuesday.

It plans classes for students in third and fourth grades during its first year, and will expand to include grades 1 though 8 by 2022. The school will draw students who “are at-risk in reading and who are in need of additional academic intervention before falling further behind their peers,” the LeBron James Family Foundation said in a statement. James, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star forward, was raised by a single mother. He entered the NBA in 2003 after emerging as a basketball phenom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron.

James spoke about the school at an event Tuesday in a historic Akron theater. “Even though I was underprivileged,” he said, he was lucky to grow up with mentors, his mother and close friends.“They would not let me get off course,” he said. ”A lot of the kids I see today in the community and all over the world are not lucky enough to have the same mentors and the same people around that can help their dreams become reality.” The I Promise School aims to provide a supportive environment for students who lack guidance, James said.

“We definitely understand how important it is to create an environment where our most challenged and at risk students feel safe, supported an cared for,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James at the event as a wall of adults in “We are family” T-shirts stood on stage. A formal proposal for the school will be submitted for school board approval in October. James has previously offered Akron kids educational opportunities. He created 1,100 full-tuition scholarships in 2015 to the University of Akron for teens who completed an “I Promise” program that included goals for attendance and grades.

To read original article, go to: LeBron James Plans Ohio Public School For At-Risk Kids | The Huffington Post

Ohio Quadruplets, Nigel, Zach, Aaron and Nick Wade, All Earn Spots at Harvard and Yale

(Courtesy of Aaron Wade/The Wade brothers, from left: Nigel, Zach, Aaron and Nick)

article by Sarah Larimer via washingtonpost.com

Nick Wade was at track practice late one afternoon last week when he found out. The 18-year-old checked his phone and learned that he had made it into the Ivy League. “One by one,” he said. “I found out I had gotten into my schools.”

Wade is a quadruplet, though, with three brothers on his high school track team who had also applied to Ivy schools. So about that time on Thursday, they were learning their fates, too. There was Aaron, who was in the locker room when he logged on. And Nigel, who was stretching when his brothers told him to check. Zach was going to wait until practice was over, but his brothers weren’t having it.

“It would have taken like 20 more minutes,” said Zach, whose siblings checked for him. “But they couldn’t wait that long.”That is how the Wade quadruplets, of Liberty Township, Ohio, learned that all four had been accepted at Harvard and Yale universities — offers that added to a pretty impressive pile of potential college destinations.

“We’re still in shock, honestly,” Aaron said this week. “I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”“I just felt blessed at that moment,” Nigel said. “It was an unreal feeling, I guess.”“Honestly, to have one child from a family be accepted to a school like this is amazing,” Zach said. “But for all four to be accepted — I just don’t, I don’t know how it happened.”

Besides Harvard and Yale, the Wade brothers have loads of options for the next four years. Nick got into Duke, Georgetown and Stanford. Aaron is in at Stanford, too. Nigel made the cut with Johns Hopkins and Vanderbilt, and Zach with Cornell. That list does not cover all the schools that offered them admission. But you get the idea.

These seniors at Lakota East High School are in high demand.“The outcome has shocked us,” Aaron said. “We didn’t go into this thinking, ‘Oh, we’re going to apply to all these schools and get into all of them.’ It wasn’t so much about the prestige or so much about the name as it was — it was important that we each find a school where we think that we’ll thrive and where we think that we’ll contribute.”

To read more, go to: Accepted, 8 times over: Ohio quadruplets earn spots at Yale, Harvard – The Washington Post

Wrongfully Arrested Ohio Man Arnold Black is Awarded $22 Million After Cop Beats Him, Locks Him in Closet for 4 Days

Arnold Black was awarded $22 million after cops wrongfully detained him, beat him and locked him in a closet for four days.

Arnold Black was awarded $22 million after cops wrongfully detained him, beat him and locked him in a closet for four days. (FOX8 CLEVELAND)

article by Meg Wagner via nydailynews.com

An Ohio man who was beaten by a drunk cop and left locked in a closet for four days without food, water or access to a bathroom was awarded $22 million in court.

Arnold Black sued East Cleveland police over his 2012 detainment, saying a pair of officers mixed up his car with that of a suspected drug dealer and wrongfully took him into custody. One of the cops reeked of alcohol — and punched Black for “messing up” his night at the bar, according to the lawsuit.

“The officer … grabbed me like this,” Black told Fox 8 while motioning with his hands. “And he held me up, and — Boom! — I just remember getting hit.”

Black said he was driving through the city in his green pickup truck in April 2012 when officers Jonathan O’Leary and Randy Hicks pulled him over and asked him where they could find drug dealers in East Cleveland.  The pair said they were hunting for a green truck carrying a load of cocaine — and Hicks, who was slurring his speech and reeked of booze, seemed upset that Black wasn’t the suspected drug dealer, the lawsuit alleged.  “I was at a bar with friends. You messed up my night,” Hicks told the driver.

The cop with the blood-shot eyes and cloudy coordination punched Black in the head, handcuffed him and then punched him again, the lawsuit alleged.  O’Leary, who did not appear to be drunk, stood back and did nothing to atop the attack.

The duo carted Black off to jail, but instead of sticking him in a cell, they locked him in a storage closet, Black said. Continue reading

Nate Parker to Write Paralympic Wrestling Movie “Carry On” for Walden Media

Nate Parker Paralympic wrestling movie

Writer/Director/Actor Nate Parker (ROB LATOUR/ VARIETY/ REX/ SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

“The Birth of a Nation” filmmaker Nate Parker will write the movie adaptation of the inspirational wrestling story “Carry On.”  Walden Media will develop, finance and produce “Carry On,” based on Lisa Fenn’s memoir that’s due to be published by HarperCollins in August.

Parker wrote, directed and starred in “The Birth of a Nation,” which debuted at Sundance in January and won the audience award and grand jury prize.

Fenn is an ESPN producer who went back to her hometown of Cleveland in 2009 to pursue a story about two disabled wrestlers who attended an impoverished public high school. Dartanyon Crockett, legally blind yet the best wrestler on the team, would carry Leroy Sutton, who had lost both his legs in a train accident when he was 11, to practices and meets.

Fenn formed a connection with the two young men and dedicated the next six years of her life to ensuring their success. Sutton graduated from college and Crockett won a bronze medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/nate-parker-paralympic-wrestling-movie-carry-on-1201729655/

Adidas Celebrates Jesse Owens with Black History Month Footwear Collection

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Jesse Owens Collection by Adidas

Inspired by the triumph of an American sports and cultural hero, adidas celebrates Jesse Owens with its Black History Month footwear collection.

The facts are simple, Jesse Owens was the most famous track and field athlete of all time, and in 1950 when the Associated Press conducted a poll to determine the greatest track and field athlete of the first half of the twentieth century, the results didn’t even come close – Owens by a landslide.

Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens

Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens

Raised in Ohio with Alabama roots, it was in the span of 45 minutes on one single afternoon on May 25, 1935, at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan that Owens electrified the sports world with the greatest one-man, one-day performance the sport had ever known – breaking three world records and tying a fourth.

One year later, at the 1936 Berlin summer games, Owens became a groundbreaking athlete and symbol for social justice and equality after a historic performance where he became the first American track & field athlete to win four gold medals in a single games, all while under tremendous global tension.

Owens accomplished the feat in track spikes hand-crafted by adidas founder Adi Dassler, who carried the glove leather spikes from his workshop in Herzogenaurach, a Bavarian village just 300 miles to the South. Owens’ athletic performance, wearing the spikes of adidas, marked one of the most significant sports and cultural moments of the 20th century.

“The Owens family is pleased to partner with adidas for Black History Month with a commemorative basketball shoe. On the feet of athletes who compete in the spirit of Jesse’s historic accomplishments, these shoes encompass the significance of one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.”

Concurrently, the Focus Features Jesse Owens biopic “Race” will hit theaters on February 19.

Continue reading