A Strong Message About Texting and Driving: Don't Do It!


Celtics, Sal's Pizza Support Atkinson School's Lifesaving Effort

NORTH ANDOVER — The last thing Avery Bradley did when he left the TD Garden on Monday night, after the Boston Celtics beat the Orlando Magic, was chat with the community relations guy about his scheduled visit at the Atkinson School about 12 hours later.

He wanted to confirm the address of the North Andover school and he wanted to see the moving 90-second public service announcement several of the Atkinson students made — paid for by Sal’s Pizza — about the dangers of texting and driving.

“I got a chill when I saw it,” said the 25-year-old Bradley, now in his sixth season with the Celtics. “I heard it was pretty good. Well, it was better than that. And these are the kids that made it. It shows we can learn a lot from kids.”

The PSA and Bradley’s visit were sponsored by Sal’s Pizza, which has a restaurant only a stone’s throw from the school’s gymnasium.

It was the third year in a row Sal’s has teamed up with the Celtics to highlight a cause and send a Celtics player to a local school.

Two years ago it was fighting hunger at the Tarbox School in Lawrence. Last year it was cancer awareness at the South Lawrence East School in Lawrence with Celtic Marcus Smart. 

Yesterday, it was saying no to texting and driving with Bradley, who joined the Celtics after one year at the University of Texas.

Sal’s Pizza CEO Sal Lupoli, whose company’s headquarters is in Lawrence, co-sponsored the program with the Celtics, which included commentary from the hot-shooting Bradley, a Celtics guard and dunking machine. Team mascot Lucky was also on hand.

It got very loud in the Atkinson gym, particularly when Lucky demonstrated his trademark dunks, with the help of his mini-trampoline and assists from a third-grader and principal Greg Landry.

“We are very proud,” said Landry. “This is a big thing for our school. The kids were incredible. This has touched a lot of people.”

But the most moving part of the action-packed program was the PSA, which showed several Atkinson students on a bus, each standing and blurting out painful facts about texting and driving.

Here were a few: 

It causes about 1.5 million auto accidents per year.

Eleven teen drivers die every day.

It’s the No. 1 distraction for teen drivers.

It’s like “driving blind” for five seconds.

“Drexting” makes you 23 times more likely to crash.

At the end of the PSA, the Atkinson students on the bus said, “Don’t text and drive and you’ll stay alive!” As soon as it ended, the students in the packed gym repeated it several times ... loudly.

“If I was driving and texting, and hit someone in a car with young children, I would be a mess,” said Bradley, who has scored 22 and 20 points over the last two Celtics wins.

Lupoli said that family always has to look out for family, and that you don’t have to have the same last name to be considered “family.”

“I have 1,000 people who work for me,” said Lupoli. “I consider them my family ... The person next to you, your teachers ... they are your family, too ... Texting and driving is wrong. It’s a bad decision. As family, we all have to look out for each other.”

The PSA will be shown on Celtics.com. The school also received a check for $1,000 from the Celtics and Sal’s Pizza for its efforts.


By Bill Burt  •  March 23, 2016  •  The Eagle Tribune  •  Original Article