Essential Pittsburgh
7:14 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Changing Hearts and Minds with an Amazing Season of High School Basketball

In 1988, a team of juvenile delinquents in Western Pennsylvania achieved the unexpected title of regional basketball champions. The story is told in the book All the Way Down: Changing Hearts and Minds by Robert Burnett.

Burnett was both coach and principal of at the Frew Mill School he talked about the team’s story and the impact it had on everyone around them.

“The entire institution, as we kept winning and winning and winning, they wanted to go to the games. Not the kids on the team but the other population,” Burnett explained “You had to meet these check marks or benchmarks to get out of the institution and make a trip to a game. So their behavior got so good that as we went on throughout the season there were more and more kids coming to games. There would be, at times 15 or 20 kids that got off-grounds passes, and their entire behavior improved. It was infectious, the success bred more success.”

Burnett’s story is now being developed into a motion picture by writer and director Monique Sorgen.

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