An Aberdeen teacher who wants to help kids and teenagers take the right path in life is working to repaint the basketball court at Victory Street Park.
Brandon Selby, who recently bought a house across the street from the park, said the basketball court needs a facelift and because he wants to give back to his community, he thought a new paint job — and some new basketballs — would be a way to do that.
“Really giving back is something I always wanted to do,” said Selby, a teacher at the Center for Educational Opportunity in Aberdeen and the boys varsity basketball coach at Aberdeen High School.
He is working with his friends, Jason Holzman and Wendell Gowie, who all are self-described “free thinkers,” and have a clothing line by that name, he said.
“All three of us have always strived to make a difference in our community,” Selby said. “By giving this basketball court a much-needed face lift, hopefully the kids in the neighborhood will see that their community cares about them and is here to help them prosper in life.”
The three are fans of rapper Nipsey Hussle, who recently died. The name of his last album was Victory Lap, and he used his fame and “entrepreneurial spirit” to better communities.
“I thought what better way to combine the two, Victory Street Park with Victory Lap, than by giving the court a facelift and repainting it,” Selby said.
Their plans include renovation of the court, envisioning a color-blocking scheme in orange and blue with a VSP (Victory Street Park) emblem adorned with racing flags at center court.
Anyone who would like to contribute time or money to the project can email Selby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selby had been working with an employee at Home Depot in Aberdeen, but that employee was recently transferred, so Selby has to start again. He’s hoping to have supplies and start the project in the next two weeks.
Selby has been a technology teacher at the CEO for two years, the first as a long-term substitute.
His game plan is to work with troubled youth and teens “and redirect their path in life,” Selby said.
“When they hit that fork of right and left, I hope to be there to guide them on the right path,” he said. “When I was presented the opportunity to teach at the CEO, it was a good segue to what I ultimately want to do.”
In two years, Selby said he’s been able to do that. He has built a great rapport with many students.
“Because I’m closer to them in age, I understand some of the things they deal with and can give them real world, unbiased opinions, where with other teachers, it may feel like they’re talking to a parent and can get in trouble,” Selby said.
Selby grew up in Edgewood and went to Joppatowne High School. He played basketball at Harford Community College, where his brother was the coach, then went to Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts.
He comes from a good background, he said, but has also seen negative influences in his life.
“I made the decision I didn’t want that. Growing up as a young, black male in Edgewood, I saw a lot of things. It’s easy to get influenced into things," Selby said. “I want to give them my experience and say this can be you, for the better or the worse.”
Victory Street Park will also be the site of the next Aberdeen Police Department community policing event July 20 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The event is an opportunity for Aberdeen residents to meet its police officers and community leaders. Games for the kids, tug-of-war, bottle knock over and cornhole will be played and hot dogs, burgers, chips and bottled water will be served, according to the police department’s Facebook page.
Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady encouraged residents to attend the event, and to use the park any time.
“It’s an awesome playground, all brand-spanking new,” McGrady said. “It has great trees, 100-year-old oak trees that cast shade over the entire park. While the kids play, parents can sit in the shade.”