Part of the fun in the NBA All-Star weekend, aside from the shops, celebrities, and other festivities is giving back to the community. The Cleveland Food Bank, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Kent State University, and many others have received donations to support their organizations — for many at a critical juncture. Add in Saint Martin de Porres High School, courtesy of Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland.
Garland, who was present at the school’s pep rally and represented the Cavs in the All-Star game, partnered with Pepsi and their Stronger Together Initiative to donate $37,000 worth of scholarships, new band uniforms, drumline equipment, and a trip to Houston to compete in a Battle of the Bands competition. That last part had even the drumline instructor surprised. When Garland held up the uniforms, the crowd of students erupted in happiness. The smile on his face reflected theirs.
“Seeing that means a lot,” Garland told Fear the Sword. “We’re just trying to put a smile on their faces, trying to lighten up their day a little bit. It’s just super cool just to see how excited they were, I mean that’s how excited I was getting selected for the All-Star game.”
Saint Martin de Porres High School, a private Catholic college preparatory high school on Cleveland’s East Side, only accepts students that are 200% below the federal poverty line. Most of the students are one to two years behind their grade level and, through a rigorous curriculum, prepare for college. About one-third of the tuition is covered through vouchers, but additional scholarships are available. According to their website, over 90% of Saint Martin de Porres High School students enroll directly into college — a testament to the hard work and dedication from staff and parents. Students have a chance to earn scholarships through corporate work studies as well.
Or, through All-Star point guards.
And speaking of the All-Star Game, Garland was able to experience it for the first time in the comfort of his home arena, in front of his home fans. That added level of comfort was important to him.
“It means a lot. I mean this is gonna be super special to me,” Garland said. “It’s the first one for me, it’s in my city, so it’s super cool. It’s in our home arena too, so I mean the fans will be there the crowd will be there they’re gonna be supporting all of us. I’m super excited.”