Boston Arts Academy received two donations amounting to one million dollars. The announcement was made on Thursday by the foundation that supports the visual and performing arts high school. This is part of $500,000 gift that was given to the school at the time it was carrying out a five year campaign to help the school raise $1 million.
One of the gifts came from by Donna Harris-Lewis, a widow of the late Reggie Lewis who was a Celtics star. The family donated the gift as a way of supporting the establishment of the first fitness center in the school.
The fitness center will be named after Reggie Lewis who passed on in 1993. An anonymous donor gave the other gift which will also be used to improve health through the wellness and fitness project that is about to be initiated in the school.
Danella Clark who is the foundation’s president said that the greatest reward bigger than giving is having an impact on someone’s life especially by helping him or her to pursue his or her dreams.
Boston Arts Academy established in 1998 is among the best and diverse public high schools in the city. It attracts students from every neighborhood of the city, and majority of those who graduate from the school happen to be the first people to attend the college in their families.
Most of the students’ profiles still ring in the mind of Harris-Lewis who still remembers her background with her husband. Harris-Lewis is among the board members of the foundation that supports the visual and performing arts school.
Harris-Lewis said that she still remembers that Reggie joined Boston when they were both aged seventeen. They both regarded Boston as their adopted hometown. They both attended Northeastern University.
Harris-Lewis thought that it was a good idea for the students taking Arts to engage in fitness activities and it is, for this reason, she decided to contribute to the fitness project.
She gets inspired by the fact that most artists in the world have an athletic body. There is always a connection between the body, mind, athletics, arts and academics. She also added that another $500,000 would be used to hire a clinician to promote the wellness and fitness program. The clinician will be responsible for helping the children in the wellness program and also contribute to the performing arts which is part of the curriculum.
Clark says that when students were transitioning from middle school, most of who were LGBT joined the school with purple hair. For this reason, they got bullied for who they were. The result is that children, end up losing both in academics, wellness and also in arts because of acts of bullying. The school is working to avert this situation which was rampant in the past.
The donations came at the most opportune time when the school broke the ground last year for the construction of $125 million worth building in the Fenway. The school has temporarily moved to Dorchester to give way for the ongoing construction of the building and later move back when the building is complete.
In the past, the school struggled with inadequate space for activities such as rehearsals, dance studios and other physical activities critical in the arts curriculum. Luckily, very soon it will be enjoying adequate space after the construction of the center. The school was previously located in a warehouse located in the Fenway along Ipswich Street.
Clark expressed his gratitude adding that Boston Arts Academy together with the foundation had not begun the five year campaign to raise funds. Fortunately, they have had the privilege of getting well-wishers who have shown commitment to investing in their students. Their commitment will go a long way in assisting the school to meet its objectives and promote education, wellness and mentor young children.
Harris-Lewis stated that she is sure that if Reggie Lewis was still alive, he would support her decision. He died at the age of 27 due to heart failure. She added that it was a great honor to be in a position to help young children to access quality education in public schools. It would help them in life to achieve their dreams. Reggie would be very excited about the idea.