I Promise School Grand Opening Celebration With LeBron James

Inside LeBron James' Groundbreaking New School

The NBA superstar leaves his mark on Akron, Ohio.

NBA superstar LeBron James may be moving on to the Los Angeles Lakers next season, but he's leaving behind an enduring legacy in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. On July 30, he officially opened the I Promise School, a new school and partnership with Akron Public Schools that will serve 240 local third and fourth graders with the most serious academic and life needs. The day before, James tweeted, "The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life." Above: James addresses the crowd at the I Promise School opening.

WARM WELCOME Jason Miller/Getty Images WARM WELCOME James has spoken often about his own family's struggles when he was a child — as a fourth grader, he and his mother Gloria, a single mom, moved frequently, and he missed 83 days of school before help intervened. It is exactly those kinds of at-risk kids James is aiming to reach now. As the Washington Post reports, the school will provide an array of services, including trauma counseling, a food pantry, and help for struggling parents who want to get their GEDs. "I think the missing link in public education is that family wraparound support," Principal Brandi Davis told the Post. "We want to create that safe, that secure and that caring and loving environment for our families and our students so that our kids can focus on education." The initial students were chosen first based on reading data, then through a random selection. HIGH HOPES Jason Miller/Getty Images HIGH HOPES Part of the design of the school's entrance includes 114 pairs of game-worn sneakers from James. USA Today reports that corresponding pairs will be sold by Upper Deck to help fund the school and the foundation. Also among the gear offered at the school: free bicycles for every student. (James remembers well the freedom having a bike gave him as a kid.)

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MEDIA DAY Jason Miller/Getty Images MEDIA DAY James talks to the media. “On one hand, I’m opening up a school where I would love to be here every single day when my schedule permits,” James said. “And then on the other hand, I’m starting a new journey in my life where I’m on the other coast." By 2022, the school will expand to accommodate kindergarten through eighth-grade classes. OPENING CEREMONY Jason Miller/Getty Images OPENING CEREMONY Raising the flag during the celebration. SKYSCRAPER Jason Miller/Getty Images SKYSCRAPER James towers above the crowd at the opening ceremony. DADDY TIME Jason Miller/Getty Images DADDY TIME Playing with his daughter Zhuri during the ceremony. James is keenly aware of the people who made a difference in his life when he was young. "That's what kids want to know, 'Do you care about me?'" James said. "And we do here."



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