Wall pays visit to Simon Elementary

Wall pays visit to Simon Elementary
September 28, 2012, 7:39 pm
Share This Post

The small gymnasium inside SimonElementary School on Mississippi Avenue inSoutheast D.C. buzzed with frenetic energy asthe clock ticked toward 9 a.m. Friday morning.
Parents lined the walls, cell phones in hand, and nearly 200students wiggled on the floor, anticipating the arrival of Wizards superstar JohnWall.When the gym doors swung open and the 6-foot-4, 205-pound guardentered the room, a thunderclap of cheers filled the gym.
It means everything to these kids, said Tyrone Pittman, whois in his first year as in-school suspension coordinator at Simon Elementary. Theyget to see someone just like them who is very successful taking the time out ofhis busy schedule to talk to them.Hes dressed in a pair of shorts, tennis shoes. It makesthe kids feel so comfortable that they can walk up to him, touch him and be apart of him.
Wall, 22, serves as an ambassador forBOKS Build Our Kids, a non-profit program in which schools provide studentswith 45 minutes of physical activity before starting their classroom schedules.
Wall signed autographs for thestudents but did not take part in their activities. Later on Friday he revealedhe has a stress injury to his left kneecap that will sideline him until the endof November.Wall, who grew up in Raleigh,N.C., participated in a similar BOKS programlast month at his hometown Hunter Elementary School andsays he wishes he had an early morning BOKS program when he was growing up.Sometimes you come in to school droopy, lazy, Wall said.I used to have to use chocolate milk at lunch time to get me energized. Thatwas too late during the day.When I was in middle school and high school I took P.E.class first so I could have fun and play some basketball. With BOKS youre havingfun and your bodys moving and youre enjoying yourself with your classmates beforeyou sit down for a long period of your day.Wall said it is imperative that kids today have a positive experiencewith school.The area where I grew up was a toughneighborhood, he said. Some of those kids see some bad things when theyre walkingup and down the street or at the playground playing. It was great to bringBOKS back there to Hunter. Now its great to bring it to D.C. Thats why Imhere.Pittman said the kids at Simon spent the past week learningmore about Wall and the path he took to the NBA.These kids also have challenges coming to school every day,but theyre here every day, Pittman said. This program keeps these kidshealthy, keeps them educated and its fun. And when you get a guy like JohnWall to drive it home it says it all.Clarence Barnes, 48, has three children at Simon Elementary son, Makel, 10, and daughters Janiya, 7, and Beatrice, 5. He spent the morningwatching his kids running circles around the Wizards star.This is a lot of fun, he said. Im happy to see someonetrying to give back to the community. When they see someone from the sportscommunity come to their school, it means a lot to them.