Central and Phoenix Suns Launch SunsCentral
Posted by Community Relations Department at 9/19/2012
The Phoenix Suns and Central High launched the “SunsCentral” program September 7 amid music, dancing, t-shirt tossing and more at two student assemblies in the school’s auditorium. Suns managing partner Robert Sarver, announcer Al McCoy, former player and now vice president Mark West, the Gorilla mascot and the Suns Hip-Hop team were on hand to announce the $250,000 Suns Charities grant that will provide support services to struggling Central students to help keep them in school, and improve the graduation rate. The unique program will target at-risk freshman and sophomore students identified as falling far below achievement levels. The grant will include funding of two additional math teachers and two English teachers to reduce class loads for these students from 30 students to one teacher, to 15 to 1, and provide tutoring and direct teacher intervention. The two-year commitment will focus on four key factors that directly impact a student’s likelihood of staying in school: success in the classroom, attendance at school, mentoring, and work-study.
“Never has there been a professional sports organization make a commitment like this to a school. We can’t thank Robert Sarver and Suns Charities enough. We are so proud they chose Central High.,” Principal Chris Jones said.
“When I was in high school, we always heard the grass is always greener somewhere else,” Sarver said at the beginning of the presentation. “What I have learned is that the grass is greener where you water it. We’re going to water it here at Central. You’re going to see a lot of us here at Central. Everyone’s going to graduate.”
The hip hop squad and The Gorilla sported Bobcat football jerseys, and tossed t-shirts and giveaways into the crowd. Suns announcer Al McCoy announced that all the students and families were invited to an upcoming Phoenix Mercury game, and the Suns issued a challenge-improve the attendance rate by one percent in the semester, and the organization will bring out their entire game day entertainment crew to a Central High basketball game.
The Suns will have a presence at the school through facility improvements, volunteer hours, a celebrity speaker series, work-study opportunities and entertainment elements at school functions.