Program expands to include Bobcats
Charlotte Observer, November 20, 2007 – APRIL BETHEA

About 100 black youth and their mentors gathered at Charlotte Bobcats Arena to hear advice about going to college and following their dreams, and even saw a sprinkling of magic.

The event was part of "Getting African-American Males Educated," or GAME, an effort spearheaded by Atlanta-based EDU Inc. to help reduce the numbers of black teens who drop out of high school.

The program debuted last year with the Atlanta Hawks, but has expanded to 11 NBA teams this season, including the Bobcats. Later Monday, GAME participants watched the Bobcats play the Portland Trailblazers.

The participating teens came from 10 Charlotte high schools and were organized by Communities in Schools and Right Moves for Youth.

Sporty Jeralds, longtime manager of the old Charlotte Coliseum, was one of several speakers who talked with the students during a nearly hourlong presentation. Jeralds encouraged the group to write down goals, and find a way to go after them.

Then, in a twist, Jeralds invited a student to the stage for a trick. He poured one cup of water into another, saying he would make it disappear. As he turned the cup over East Mecklenburg High senior Cameron Mitchell’s head, nothing came out.

"You have magic in you," Jeralds said. "The only way you can unleash that magic is to go to school."

The program also featured a drawing for a $500 college scholarship from Sallie Mae, another GAME sponsor. The prize went to James Jefferies, 18, a senior at the Performance Learning Center.

Jefferies said he hopes to study sports management at N.C. State University.

"I really didn’t know how I was going to go to college," Jefferies said of winning the scholarship. "But I got a little bit of help, and it’ll motivate me to get more."