La Patera elementary school fifth-grader Bertha Tamayo, 10, is one of three classmates and one of 21 students at La Patera who will attend the scrimmage with an accompanying adult. Her industriousness at school was rewarded by the draw of a lucky popsicle stick.
"A lottery was the only fair way to determine which of my students would get the tickets," said Bertha's teacher, Judy Jenkins. "But Bertha, a second-language learner who works hard to learn English along with her other subjects, is truly a student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship and citizenship."
"I am very happy to be chosen," said Bertha excitedly. The oldest of four in a single-parent family, Bertha is not entirely sure which player is Shaquille O'Neal, but is looking forward to watching him play.
Tickets were also distributed for disbursement through the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department to their programs targeting low-income youths.
"We simply wanted families who may not have the means to attend a Lakers game to have that chance," said Jon Spaventa, director of UCSB's Physical Activities & Recreation department. "Rewarding local students who deserve recognition for their diligence is part of that."
The tickets were made available courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers and the UCSB Department of Physical Activities & Recreation.