Enes Kanter plans to open school in Oklahoma City

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Enes Kanter, the former Kentucky Wildcat and now Boston Celtics forward, has always been appreciative of the opportunities he has been given in the United States, and Kanter has continued to give back, but his latest project may just be his biggest yet.

According to a letter to Oklahoma City’s Charter Schools Administrator, Kanter plans on opening a school in the town he once called home.

The school, known as the Enes Kanter School for Exceptional Learning (EKSEL), does not have a definite location but will be in Oklahoma City where Kanter played for the Thunder from 2014 to 2016. While the definite location isn’t known, Kanter writes that the school will be situated “where the need is high.”

The school plans to serve students in grades 4-12 and he anticipates EKSEL will “serve primarily minority students who come from low-income families, many of whom are first generation immigrant families with low English language skills.”

The school also plans to offer a curriculum that highlights reading, writing, math and science skills, while embedding rich sports and arts activities into the students’ daily lives and focusing on physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness education.

While the application will be reviewed, it seems that Kanter already has one supporter behind this initiative: Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.

In a letter obtained by The Frontier, a journalism organization based in Oklahoma, Holt writes ““I have known Mr. Kanter for several years and know him to have a heart for our young people, and especially the young people of Oklahoma City.”

Kanter’s gratefulness to the United States was a key part of deciding to open the school, as well as the high value he places on education.

“He who opens up a school door, closes a prison,” Kanter said in an interview with Jay King from The Athletic (subscription required). “And if you look at what’s going on in our world right now, a lot of problems are happening because of, I feel like, uneducated people. So if we can educate our youth, I feel like we can solve that problem. So that’s why for me it was very important just to educate our youth. And especially to do it in America — and just give back to America for giving me so much. Just after all the Turkish stuff happened off the court, they gave me a family, they gave me a home.”

Kanter says that he sees education as a key to a lot of problems that exist in the world.

“Education is the most powerful tool that can change the world,” Kanter said in an interview with The Boston Globe. “You see what’s going on in our world right now. If you want to kill a terrorist, you can use weapons, but if you want to kill terrorism, you can use education. So, for me, it was very important to give back in this way.

… This is bigger than basketball. When I’m done with my career I want to look back and see how many people I inspired, how many hearts I touched, how many lives I changed. I think it’s way bigger than basketball.”

If the application is accepted, the school will be on track to open in the fall of 2021.

Props to Enes for taking a huge step to make a difference in the lives of what could be so many children who could otherwise be left behind. It’s refreshing to see news like this.

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Zac Oakes


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