EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 10, 2012

Straight A student wins his basketball court

By Luisangel Almanzar
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Editor’s note: Here is the winning essay in the Boston Celtics RE/MAX essay contest by Lawrence 5th grader Luisangel Almanzar. He won a basketball court and all sorts of Celtic gear. I feel like I deserve the basketball court because where I come from, times are tough.

I live in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Lawrence has a really bad reputation. There are drug dealers, gangs, abuse, criminals, etc. The public schools in Lawrence have been taken over by the state. I go to Community Day Charter School, one of the only schools that hasn’t been taken over by the state. On my MCAS I achieved an advanced on mathematics and English. I’ve been getting straight A’s on my report card and my parents have done lots of things to keep my grades up.

I recently joined a group called the Start Something. We help out in different places all around Massachusetts.

For example, we cleaned up a field of trees in Lowell that used to be a walkway. There were hundreds of golf balls, considering that the field in front of it is used for golf. In 2011 I helped create a walk-a-thon that raised money for all the kids in Japan who suffered from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant explosion. It was such a success that we raised $4,500 dollars total!

We may be in a bad city, but we’re in a great school.

When I was about 4, I suddenly had an interest in basketball. I pleaded to my parents to get me the equipment to play.

Ever since, I’ve been playing constantly day after day. Once I was having so much fun that when my mom told me it was time for dinner I refused to go inside and sat on the ground. She picked me up and brought me inside, but I ran back out and started playing again.

Until one day when arriving from school I noticed that I couldn’t find anything I left outside. No basketball, no hoop, no nothing!

I was searching for them until I reached the point I was saying, “Here hoopy, hoopy, hoopy. Here!” like someone calling to a birdie. My parents weren’t able to afford the equipment.

Later on, we have been going through money issues. My dad works as a truck driver and picks up really heavy things. One day he almost broke his back on the job. My dad couldn’t go to work for six weeks. My mom works as a certified nurse assistant. We only had enough money to pay the bills and buy food.

I have just entered the 5th grade and I sought an opportunity to play basketball again. I was psyched and wanted to play, but the cost was too much for us to pay.

I thought to myself, “Maybe I could go to the nearest basketball court!” but due to the fact that we live in Lawrence I can’t go. It’s really dangerous to go in the evening with gangs running around willy-nilly.

Plus, the nearest one is about a mile away, so I just stay home. My brother and I love to play outside. We always want to play basketball but we play soccer instead.

Whenever my parents’ friends come over with their children, they always ask me “What can we do?” I usually tell them I don’t know.