Paul Millsap wanted to give back.
The Hawks all-star power forward was at the soon-to-be-opened M.R. Hollis Innovation Academy in Atlanta on Monday. While speaking to a gathering of students, Millsap recalled that someone once helped his single mother of four sons with school supplies when he was growing up in Louisiana. With his mother Betty present, Millsap provided the entire school body with backpacks full of supplies for the upcoming academic year.
“I’m glad I’m able to help jump start this school year,” Millsap said to the students. “You need your essentials. If you are going to be successful, you need the supplies and the tools to help in that aspect.”
Millsap provided 600 backpacks, black and emblazoned with the Hawks logo, to the school.
The new STEM school is named for Michael R. Hollis, an African-American entrepreneur who graduated from Washington High School on the Westside of Atlanta. The academy opens on Wednesday and will serve pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. It will grow a grade level each of the next three years to eighth grade.
“Wherever you go in life, however you get there, I want you to look back on this and know that somebody helped you and you should help somebody else,” Millsap said.
Atlanta School Superintendent Meria Joel Carstarphen, wearing a Millsap jersey, spoke to students. Principal Dr. Diamond Jack presented Millsap with a Hollis school t-shirt and water bottle.
“We want to say thank you for all the gifts you have given us,” Jack said. “We know this is going to help catapult us to some greatness.”
Through his foundation, Millsap made several other charitable contributions in his home state. He is from Atlanta now.
“I live here,” Millsap said before the ceremony. “I care about this community. I care about the people in this community.”
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