Magic Johnson helps raise money for students

Posted at 7:25 AM, Apr 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-22 07:25:49-04

It's the biggest night for the Lansing Promise Scholarship, the night when most of the money that will send Lansing High School grads to college is raised.

"This is all about the kids, sending as many to college as possible," Earvin "Magic" Johnson, an Everett High School graduate who headlined the event said. "We're due over a million dollars again tonight, so we're really excited about what we're doing."

Johnson brought a couple of friends - the 70s funk group Earth, Wind & Fire. Hundreds of people bought tickets to the event, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. "My expectations are high, but anything we can raise is something we didn't have before, and I'm very grateful for that," Lansing Board of Education President Peter Spadafore said.

The event isn't just a fundraiser, it's a community builder, says Lansing Promise Executive Director Justin Sheehan, and the money raised makes a world of difference for the students. "It allows them to focus on their academics, it allows them to not worry so much about where their funds and their tuition is coming from, but instead really focus on their grades, focus on completion, and dream about what career they could have," Sheehan said.

The scholarship changes things for students while they're still in high school, too, says Lansing Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul. "It gives children a world of promise," Caamal Canul said. "It gives them hope at the end of their graduation that they can go on to Michigan State University or Lansing Community College."

The event is one Johnson says he's happy to come home for. "This is a great time to be here for me, personally," he said. "It's great to raise this money to send kids to college, and that we can have Lansing unite and come together and raise this type of money."