Winning the "Future Forward Challenge" award paid off in the form of a surprise visit for students at Bethel Regional High School in Bethel, Alaska, late last month. Kendrick Lamar was on hand as school principal for the day, alongside Houston Rockets player James Harden, to congratulate students on winning the challenge put on by the Get Schooled Foundation, an organization aimed at decreasing high school dropout rates.
Lamar freestyled for the teens and posed for photos, as well encouraged them to be trailblazers. "In high school, work on being a leader now," he told the group. "If you're a leader now, you're ahead of the game, basically."
The students were elated to get the recognition, especially given the area's population of just over 6,200. "Everybody thinks that Bethel is just a small town and most of the kids aren’t going to grow up to do anything with themselves because of the lack of opportunities that there is here," a student pointed out. "But us winning this competition proved to everyone that we’re not just a small town. We can do a lot, we can beat huge schools with so many kids, and we were able to accomplish more than them."
Before rap stardom, Lamar's educational diligence helped his career. "I always wanted to write," the TDE rapper shared with MTV News' Sway Calloway days later. "My teachers pushed me to write, so English was always my favorite subject. I never knew how much of a big deal it would be in my career until I really sat back and looked at all my old school papers and found out these vocabulary words that I learned over the years."
Get Schooled was founded in 2010 by media giant Viacom under the "belief that students themselves have power to improve their future if given the right information and motivation."
Aside from Lamar, Big Sean, Ne-Yo, Young Dro, Common and entertainment executive Kevin Liles have participated in Get Schooled events.
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