Clyde Elementary students learn it’s cool to be smart

By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Mar 15, 2014
Photo by: Donated photo Clyde Elementary Students Madison Moore, from left, Clifton Caldwell, Taneisa Kilgo, Logan Free, Kelsey Ruff, Nova Franks, Ashlynn Parks pose with Harlem Ambassador Coach Lade Majic. Pictured in the back row are ambassadors Robert Smith, from left, Reggie Robinson, Whitney Davis, Nicholas Simpson and Marquette Knight and Alvin Washington.

The Harlem Ambassadors presented a "Stay in School, Stay off Drugs" assembly Wednesday morning at Clyde Elementary and encouraged students to set goals, have good moral character, not be a bully, avoid peer pressure, work hard in school and remain drug-free.

The words “I am a winner” echoed loudly in the gymnasium while students chanted with the Harlem Ambassadors.

“Repeat after me, ‘I am a winner,’” yelled Ambassador Alvin Washington. “Regardless of what your parents or teachers say to you, if you don’t believe you are a winner, you won’t feel it. You have to really believe it.”

The Harlem Ambassadors offer a unique brand of Harlem-style basketball featuring high-flying slam dunks, ball-handling tricks and hilarious comedy routines.

The Harlem Ambassadors are a team of talented male and female basketball players who are drug-free and have college degrees. They are committed to giving their audiences quality family entertainment and serving as positive role models for young people.

During the assembly, Ambassador Whitney Davis explained to students the importance of setting goals, and talked about how she set goals for herself to always make good grades.

“I want to encourage everyone, no matter what goals you may have, focus on it and you will accomplish it,” Davis said.

Robert “Lil Bill” Smith talked about his experience with open-heart surgery. He encouraged students to always take chances and never give up.

“No matter what is going on in your life, never give up and keep fighting,” Smith said. “Do that and you’ll make your comeback.”

Since 1998, the Ambassadors have provided family-friendly fundraising events in 50 states and 20 countries and have helped community service clubs and nonprofit organizations raise over $9 million for their communities.

In 1997 sports management and marketing executive Dale Moss and Lade Majic formed Harlem Ambassadors — a small business with a big mission: to provide nonprofit and community service groups with comedy basketball games they can use as fun, family-friendly fundraising events.

At the assembly, Lade Majic, the Harlem Ambassador coach and co-founder, encourage Clyde Elementary students to go to college. She asked students to raise their hands if they liked music, dancing and video games — which quickly followed with hundreds of student hands flying into the air.

“I like those things too. You’re no different than me. We’re like family,” Majic said. “We like to do the same things. So you can graduate like me. You can go to college.”

All the money raised from these events stays in the local community where the event is performed to fund community service projects and assist people in need. Moss and Majic assembled a team of young African-American men and women who are talented comedians and basketball players, and are good citizens and positive role models for children.

During the first season in 1998, the Ambassadors performed 30 fundraising events. Over the years, the Harlem Ambassadors' tour schedule has grown to over 220 events each season and includes events in all 50 states and 20 countries.

In addition to providing fundraising events, the Harlem Ambassadors entertain the troops at U.S. military bases overseas and at home.

“It’s cool to be smart,” Washington told the students. “Don’t ever let anybody else tell you different.”