IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Six teens were awarded a combined total of $55,000 in scholarships from the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens on Saturday as part of the 11 th annual TACO BELL® Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star 2013 in Houston, TX. The Foundation partnered with NBA Cares and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston to pair six outstanding teens with NBA players who competed in the challenge to win educational scholarships for teens ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
"As a company, we believe in 'living mas' – and that means doing more, expecting more and, most importantly, giving more," said Greg Creed, chief executive officer, Taco Bell. "The annual TACO BELL® Skills Challenge is a fun way to bring this mantra to life while raising awareness of the importance of high school graduation on a national scale."This year's Skills Challenge champion was NBA guard Damian Lillard, who completed the course in 29.8 seconds in order to award Poppie Simmons from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston with a $25,000 scholarship to fund his future. "It's exciting to win for someone as deserving as Poppie," said Lillard. "He is the real all-star for demonstrating the commitment to graduating from high school and continuing on to college. I was glad to be able to participate in this event for him." Poppie is a graduating senior at Ball High School, where he is an honor roll student and basketball athlete. In addition to his accolades in the classroom and on the court, he has demonstrated leadership in his Galveston Boys & Girls Club and community, where he has completed almost 350 hours of community service. Poppie resides in Sandpiper Cove, a community known for its criminal activity; however, Poppie has been an inspiration to his younger brothers and fellow Club members. His greatest wish is to be the first in his family to graduate high school and continue to be a positive role model who makes a difference for his family and community.