Paul Savramis founded Rising Stars in 1996 with one major goal in mind: to develop a yearly program that would enrich the lives of youth from a variety of backgrounds and have an impact in the way that they would develop. Today, Paul Savramis is pleased to see his original vision carried out in Rising Stars’ daily activities. The number of successful graduates who return to help with Rising Stars is a great testimony to the value of Paul Savramis’ original vision. Below, Paul Savramis answers some frequently asked questions about the mission of Rising Stars.
Q: What are the main goals of Rising Stars?
Paul Savramis: Our mission statement includes the words “education” and “values.” Overall, our mission is to utilize sports to enrich the minds of our young participants to better prepare them for the future.
Q: How do you view basketball as connected to education and values?
Paul Savramis: Athletics in general teach children the values of teamwork sportsmanship and the importance of being prepared. Many educators would agree that almost all learning is accomplished at an early age more so through play than in the classroom. What young minds are taught during that time and how is vitally important. Basketball is the vehicle by which we use play to form a foundation of learning. Almost all educational theories can be found lying somewhere on a basketball court.
Q: What is the age range of Rising Stars participants?
Paul Savramis: We introduce children to basketball as early as Kindergarten through clinics that are mostly motor learning. We begin enrolling them into the program and on to teams beginning in the third grade and continuing to the collegiate level.
Q: Why are teams so important?
Paul Savramis: Teams encourage participants to work with each other to achieve goals. One of our shirts has the word T.E.A.M on the back with a circle of hands. The words, ”Together Everyone Achieves More help us to promote the importance of working together. We don’t believe in the “each man for himself” way of thinking. Participants in Rising Stars learn to be just excited over a teammate’s success as their own. Learning to accept victory and share defeat are also important byproducts.
Q: We hear that Rising Stars is “much more than a basketball camp.” Explain the other values you emphasize.
Paul Savramis: We promote education and integrity in the hopes of encouraging youth to become productive, responsible members of society. Through basketball and the power of teams we seek to instill the values in life that children need when making important decisions and facing the many challenges that occur throughout the formative years.
Q: When you say that Rising Stars promotes education, what do you mean?
Paul Savramis: From the very beginning we stress in our students the importance of completing high school and going on to college. All of our student athletes are asked to review classes with their coaches’ and we look at progress reports and report cards together. We provide support to those that need it.We also require a commitment of community service.
Q: What if your student has dreams of exiting high school and going directly to the NBA?
Paul Savramis: We certainly don’t want to squash anyone’s dreams, but we try to use the example that even for an NBA star, an education is important. College basketball is a great place to be recruited to the NBA, if a student does well, and in the meantime that student can get a great education that will last beyond the average playing years of a professional athlete. We also utilize the NCAA and other professional organizations as partners to make that point.
Q: You’ve brought in a couple of big names to reinforce that point. Tell us about those.
Paul Savramis: In the past we were able to have some collegiate coaches speak to our groups, as well as big names like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. It’s one thing to hear a Rising Stars coach emphasize the importance of staying in school, but when a professional player coach or other famous person is telling you, the message seems to get across a little better.
Q: Your program also encourages parents to participate. How does that work?
Paul Savramis: That is a great question. We believe that the behaviors and lessons we’re teaching can help the child at home, school, and later in life. Because of that, having the parents’ support is invaluable. We encourage families to participate in the work we do and we ask them to sign an agreement that outlines how we will work together. We also encourage a child’s role in the community. In today’s world the challenges that a child will face should never be faced alone. The true power of a team is one that utilizes all of its potential members. For us that includes parents and teachers working together with coaches
Paul Savramis is a respected program founder and basketball camp instructor who has touched many lives through his basketball camps. With a Master’s degree from Queens College in New York, Paul Savramis has an education in physical education, child psychology, and special education that gives him a unique perspective on youth sports. Paul Savramis’ successful programs include Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp and Rising Stars, two programs that continue to thrive today.