“When you get to be more than 98 years old, you don’t have a lot to say anymore,” Wooden told the children after listening to songs and chants in his honor. “Try to be the best you can be ... education is the most important thing in the world. Good luck to you.”
Mariner’s Elementary students have been using a motivational program designed by third-grade teacher Pat McLaughlin based on “Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success,” for the past five years.
Murals of characters from the story decorate several walls at Mariners and “Pyramid of Success” posters are present on blackboards in many classrooms.
The book is based on Wooden’s philosophy, called the “Pyramid of Success.”
Wooden, who led the Bruins to 10 NCAA national championships over the course of nearly 30 years at UCLA, developed the pyramid to teach his players about life and basketball, with building blocks such as friendship, loyalty, poise and hard work.
Wooden, whose 7-year-old great-granddaughter Avery Wooden is a first-grader at Mariners, visited the school on Friday to help celebrate the program’s success.
“I liked showing him where I go to school,” said Avery, who led her great-grandfather on a tour of the school, showing him murals at Mariners based on his philosophies.
A longtime fan of Wooden’s, McLaughlin approached him about developing a program based on “Inch and Miles” after reading the book.
“I thought it would make a wonderful character education program,” McLaughlin said.