Students write letters to the Pistons; Team responds with a new court

Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 14:02:41-04

A new basketball court, with fresh paint and hoops now sits outside Burton International Academy, all thanks to the vision of a few students.

"It's just a dream come true," said 6th grader Archlynd Franklin.

"It makes me feel ecstatic!" said 8th grader Armani Young.

The duo used pen and paper to make a neglected space behind their school transform into a new full-sized outdoor court.

"Not only a basketball court, but sponsored by the Pistons!" said school counselor Mona Lisa Kelly.

Four schools from the Detroit Public Schools Community District were chosen this year by Quicken Loans to begin a mentoring program.

That program helped the students lay the ground work for their community impact vision, and see it through with letters requesting help.

Franklin and Young sent letters to the Pistons asking for help to beautify the area behind their school.
The organization heard their request and came through.

"When Tom Gores made the announcement that the Pistons were coming back downtown, he made it perfectly clear that we weren't just coming to play basketball in the city of Detroit,” said former Detroit Pistons player and community spokesperson Earl Cureton. “Our main reason for making a move down here is to be impactful in the communities."

These students didn't want a basketball court just for their own fun.

"There's a lot of kids and families over here that maybe don't have a lot of things to do,” said Franklin, “because there aren't a lot of playgrounds."

The 6th and 8th grader envisioned an impact beyond their school walls.
They planned an outdoor area with a purpose.

"Recreation is very important and coming together as a community they wanted to provide a safe, clean environment that's welcoming for not just the students but also the community," said Kelly.

As the Motor City continues its storied comeback, these students remind us how important it is for revitalization beyond downtown.

"They probably don't realize right now, but it's something really special that they got started," said Cureton.