On Friday, Sept. 5, approximately 1,000 Weber Middle School seventh and eighth-grade students along with faculty and staff were treated to a talk from Shaquille O'Neal. Known the world over as a great basketball player and person, Shaq spoke to students about following their dreams. As a role model to students, "Shaq" relayed the importance of education. He told them he had a number of different jobs, including, "playing some ball," and that he is currently studying for his doctorate. "Shaq" is one of the most dominant basketball players in the history of the NBA, where he currently plays at center for the Phoenix Suns. He told the students that he has worked in the field of law enforcement (serving as a police officer in Los Angeles in the off season), as an author (the children's book, Shaq and the Beanstalk), rapper, actor and philanthropist (among numerous other projects, his "Shaq Pack" program brings underprivileged children to pro games). Shaq has won four NBA championships, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and another with the Miami Heat. He told the Weber students that he is seven feet, one inch tall and wears a size 23 shoe.
"It was my privilege to introduce Shaq to the enthusiastic students and staff at Weber," says Superintendent of Schools Dr. Geoffrey N. Gordon. "In emphasizing the pillar of service in the Port Washington Schools and of students caring about each other, we all had good examples of citizenship demonstrated by Shaq's philanthropy and the good will of Weber parent Al Palagonia, the parent who arranged such a thoughtful gesture for all of the students on behalf of his son. Both men stand tall for all to see. Thank you, Shaq and Al for doing so much to help Weber begin the school year with such a positive, inspirational and special event."