Trail Blazers players JJ Hickson and Will Barton, assistant coaches David Vanterpool and Dale Osbourne, player programs director Hersey Hawkins and Senior Vice President of Communications Michael Lewellen joined community leaders for an assembly at Roosevelt High School in north Portland to celebrate Black History Month and students who improved their writing skills and overall academic success.
During the assembly, Hickson and Barton awarded medals to students who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA, while Lewellen gave a speech about the importance of words and why being able to express yourself both verbally and with the written word is so important to a successful future.
The assembly was also a chance to recognize the work done by Roosevelt students participating in the school's "Freedom Riders, Fighters and Writers" project, which seeks to "raise awareness of social injustices in the Portland area, as well as the Pacific Northwest, and pay tribute to those who have fought to correct the injustices throughout our country in the past." The program, which features a national traveling exhibition focusing on the 1961 Freedom Riders, a group that sought to end segregation in the South by various forms of civil disobedience, gave students a chance to highlight "contributions of local Freedom Fighters."
After the assembly, a smaller group of students who participated in Roosevelt's "Freedom Writers" got to participate in a mock press conference, catered by Buffalo Wild Wings, with the Trail Blazers' players, coaches and staff in attendance. The event game the aspiring journalists and writers in attendance a taste of what it's like to cover a post-game press conference in the NBA.