Common Donates $10,000 to NY School

Oscar and Grammy award winning rapper and actor Common pleasantly surprised a crowd of New York students by donating $10,000 to assist teachers in buying school supplies like calculators and science materials.

Common teamed up with the nonprofit AdoptAClassroom.org and Burlington Stores to give Renaissance School of the Arts in Harlem the money on Thursday. Students were ecstatic at the news of a musician visiting their school.

The Washington Post reports that Common said in an interview with The Associated Press, “I always felt like one of my biggest duties and purposes is to hit the youth with something that’s inspiring, hit young people with something that can motivate them to be in their greatness.”

Along with donating the monetary means that will help the students tremendously, Common also encouraged them to view school as a priority, to keep their grades, and to preserve past all obstacles.

Common used his own life as an example for the children. He discussed not getting certain acting roles he wanted and competing with other musicians to create a song for the critically acclaimed film “Selma.”

Two students displayed their talents by performing their very own poems. Jadon-Li M. Antoine, an upcoming artist, said that Common’s visit motivated him to keep reaching for the stars. Antoine stated, “It gave me a little bit more hope. It gave me that extra push.”

Common’s mother Dr. Mahalia Hines, an educator and member of the Chicago Board of Education, accompanied her son on his visit to the school. She discussed her memories of spending her own money to buy materials for her own classroom.

ABC News reports that Hines stated, “A lot of the materials you needed to teach, we weren’t given the money to do it so you just went out and bought your own. If you had to have notebooks … you bought them because there were many lessons you definitely would have not been able to do without them.”

Burlington has already been making their own strives to donate to other schools. The company has been raising money from its 599 stores by asking customers to donate $1 or more. The fundraiser will last from July 9 through Aug. 19.

 – Contributed by Amaya Starkey

WHUR Contributor


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