A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Opinion: LeBron James’ “I Promise School”

The four-time MVP, three time NBA champion LeBron James stated that his most important accomplishment was opening his “I Promise” school in Akron, Ohio. USA Today quoted LeBron, “Championships, MVPs, I mean points, rebounds and assists, that stuff if whatever. But for me to be able to open up a school and give back to my inner city, so many kids that I know because I was those kids.”

The school Board approved a plan for a public school in partnership with James’s foundation. The school’s mission is to target kids at risk of falling behind. The school opened this fall for third and fourth graders, and plan to add more grades as the school progresses. LeBron started the school because he had not lived the life most kids have today. He grew up in the same area but did not have the same level of education, technology, or knowledge students have. Sportingnews.com quoted LeBron James, “This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams…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”.

James’s life took a change between the fourth and fifth grade, including perfect attendance. This was all because of Frank and Pam Walker, his main guardians and encouraged him to focus on his education in the city of Akron, Ohio. He provided bikes and transportation two miles within the school for students to get there and not have to rely on their parents to take them. As well as giving back to the kids, he also provided the children’s parents jobs if they were in need of one around the area.

They did a random selection for kids who met the criteria to join the school. As the kids focused on getting an education, they also learned how to deal with their challenging situations and backgrounds. There are more than 40 staff members to educate the kids for them to have a successful future. The school is not private nor charter but is a “real-life school in my hometown” LeBron stated.

Making the school unique and more community based is what most people want, so they feel more connected. Fans of LeBron James are hoping the “I Promise” school makes a great outcome for the community and himself. We will have to see what else is in store and how this first year holds up.