ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwired - October 24, 2016) -
By John Denton
Peering across a freshly refurbished basketball court so brilliantly blue that it looked like it was powered by an electrical outlet, Anaya Cherizard felt like an Orlando Magic rookie about to run out onto the floor at the Amway Center.
The 9-year-old fourth-grader at Lancaster Elementary School couldn't wait to dribble a basketball across the Magic's logo in between the two courts, around the bright blue playing surface and down the silver-accented lanes. Simply seeing something so beautiful brought a smile and a spirit to Cherizard's face and heart.
"I like how they have the Orlando Magic logo on the court and it's really creative with the colors that they used," Cherizard said through a toothy smile. "I feel inspired by it. When I grow up, I want to be creative and build things like houses for people who need them. Seeing the court built for all of us inspires me."
The Magic and Chase teamed up to refurbish the basketball courts at Lancaster Elementary School and their work was unveiled on a sunny Saturday to the delight of some 100 school children. Their work at Lancaster, a school with a large Hispanic student population, was done in honor of Hispanic Heritage and as part of the Pure Magic Tip-Off Presented by Chase, and it received rave reviews.
"The Magic symbol and the colors on the court will make the kids feel part of a sports community," said Lancaster assistant principal Danielle Alchin, who was presented a framed, game-worn "El Magic" uniform. "The newly renovated court will encourage our students to engage in a variety of sports activities. Basketball, obviously, but also Frisbee toss, tennis, paddleball and line soccer. The basketball court will also bring a new level of excitement to our yearly Field Day. Thank you Magic and Chase for providing us with this wonderful opportunity."
The Magic and Chase have provided opportunities for thousands of school children in Central Florida by refurbishing nine community sports facilities over the past three years. As Champion of the Community partners, the Magic and Chase have worked together to refurbish courts at Pine Hills Elementary, Pinar Elementary, John H. Bridges Community Center, Mollie Ray Elementary, Palmetto Elementary, Engelwood Elementary, Three Points Elementary, Ridgewood Park Elementary and now Lancaster Middle School. Chase and the Magic are working to support local communities and celebrate the Magic's multicultural platforms, including the Magic's Black History Month presented by Chase and Noche Latina presented by Chase.
"We at Chase work every day to help people have the money and resources they need to achieve their goals," said Ralph Tejada, a regional vice president for Chase. "The principal and teachers have told us about the great work being done here at Lancaster. That education will open doors and prepare the kids to make their dreams come true."
Chase is also the presenting sponsor of The Pure Magic Tip-Off, which features an October full of fan events, contests and giveaways. Activities spread throughout October include opportunities to win prizes and Magic tickets, a Jr. Magic clinic for local students and a chance to meet Magic players at a local Chase branch.
In addition to refurbishing Lancaster Elementary School's basketball courts, the Magic and Chase also donated $1,500 in PE equipment such as soccer balls, whiffle-ball bats and balls, dodge balls and a folding carry cart. Also, every student in attendance received Magic basketballs, stickers and snacks.
The students also got a chance to meet Magic standout forward Jeff Green, who assisted the Orlando Magic Youth Academy in putting on a basketball clinic. Green, who signed with the Magic in July, said he's eager to work in the Central Florida community and he knows that he will have that opportunity while playing for a Magic franchise that is serious about making a difference for those in need.
"I love this. I mean, look at these kids who are smiling, they are enjoying themselves and they are enjoying life," Green said. "For the Magic to partner up with Chase and give back to the fans who support us and are with us through this journey, it's neat."
"I want people to know me more than just as a basketball player because there's so much more to me," Green added. "This is one way to start that process of letting people in Orlando know me. They can see my face, without the uniform, and I can get out in the community and do my part to help out."
Students like Jansky Etienne, Sophonie Etienne and Cherizard certainly appreciated what the Magic, Chase and Green did for them in refurbishing the courts, donating PE equipment and putting on the basketball clinic.
"This court is amazing because my brothers and sisters are always wanting to play on a new basketball court and this one is so cool," said Sophonie, a seventh grader at nearby Walker Middle School. "Lancaster barely had PE stuff for the kids to play with last year and now they have all new stuff. So this is a very exciting day for all of us."
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