Clairton varsity basketball team forward Keith Coles was excited when he and his 15 teammates received new tennis shoes before the game against Leechburg Jan. 14.
“It was a relief because if we can have the same shoes it’s going to be worth it. We thought the school was going to be able to get the shoes but they didn’t,” Coles said.
Donating the shoes was the idea of Rev. Jerome Stevenson, senior pastor of Clairton-based Morning Star Baptist Church.
“I was at a game last year and I noticed the players had on different shoes. We thought it’d be nice for them to have the same shoes,” Stevenson said.
“I discussed it with the church and we had an offering during our Night Watch Service on New Year’s Eve. The rest of the money came from the church budget. The church has made an investment to support the kids and the city. We want to invest in our young people so that they can have a better quality of life.”
The shoes, which are black and white with suede trim, came from Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Waterfront.
“The people from Dick’s told us that the shoe would be the best one for basketball,” Stevenson said.
Clairton City School District Superintendent Dr. Lucille Abellonio was happy that the players were able to get new shoes.
“We’re very excited about it. It was really a nice gesture. Reverend Stevenson is always in support of our students,” Abellonio said. “Whenever we have something, he’s always present and he’s always supportive of the kids in the school.”
Athletic director Tony Ferrare agreed with Abellonio.
“I thought this was a great way for a great community organization to help the kids. It contributes to team unity to have uniforms and matching shoes. We appreciate their contribution and that’s a testament to why they have a large following and why the reverend has such a following,” Ferrare said.