Kenny Tate – Being at Camelot is a Joy
Kenny Tate is the quintessential example of someone who returned to give back.
Mr. Tate is a Chester HighSchool (Pennsylvania) hall of fame basketball player who is now Program Manager at Camelot Chester and the assistant basketball coach at his alma mater. He got a lot of help on his way up and is a product of his community. He has now been paying back.
“I grew up in the Boys and Girls Club. I always tell everybody I’m a Boys Club kid. I was always down there, every day,” he says.
In summer 2016 Tate started working at the new Boys and Girls Club, holding workouts and basketball drills for the kids during camp. But after that first summer he was asked to serve as assistant coach for the Chester High basketball team which has cut into his time there. He also has a five-year-old daughter at home but he takes her to the Club as his little assistant.
Mr. Tate loves talking to his students. “It’s a joy, it’s just a joy,” he repeats. “I see so much potential in these kids. Before they came to us they were barely coming to school. When our kids tell us how they now want to come to school it makes us feel joy.”
Mr. Tate humbly says he doesn’t see Camelot doing things too much differently than other schools but it just seems like the kids gravitate more to us.
“I assume that’s because we’re not as big as the main high school upstairs. A kid can’t get through the cracks with us. We know everyone and they know we are their advocates,” he says. “They come in, ‘Mr. Tate I have never come to school this much,’ or Mr. Tate I haven’t gotten A’s since 4th grade.”
The Camelot staff meets every day after the students leave to share victories like the girl who never showed emotion until today when she laughed in class.
“As they get more involved we can see them changing. Some of them who had never talked about going to school are now talking about a trade school or cooking school they want to attend after graduation,” Tate says.
Chester High has had a great basketball tradition. Kenny Tate was part of that as a player. In the 1997-98 season he led Delaware County in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game before moving on to an All-American career at Edinboro University. Now it has all come full circle. It was at the Boys and Girls Club where he was mentored by the late George E. Carter and later by the current Chester High coach Keith Taylor who asked Mr. Tate to be his assistant coach.