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BMI and Teach For America Celebrate Student Achievement

Posted in News on June 7, 2007

R&B artist Lloyd inspires students with visit to Teach For America corps member’s classroom

A selection of Atlanta’s music industry elite along with rising urban stars made the last day of school for students at Benjamin S. Carson Prep School even sweeter. Performing rights organization BMI and Teach For America partnered to throw the kids an all-star pep rally Friday, May 25, rewarding them for their hard work, good grades and steady attendance.

Atlanta r&b artist Lloyd performed “Get It Shawty” for a crowd of cheering youngsters, and then called up-and-comer Block Ent/Bad Boy South’s Gorilla Zoe to the stage to perform as well. Lloyd asked the students to raise their hands and repeat, “I promise to follow my dreams. I promise to follow my heart. Nothing is impossible.” Successful industry professionals, including Hannah Kang, general manager of Grand Hustle Entertainment; Laura Giles, general manager of Sho’Nuff Records; hit songwriter Teddy Bishop (Aaliyah’s “I Miss You”); renowned DJ Ruckus; comedian GRIFF from the HOT 107.9 A-Team Morning Show; entertainment attorney Phaedra Parks; and BMI Vice President of Writer/Publisher Relations Catherine Brewton, each provided motivational words that echoed Lloyd’s chant, and sought to encourage the students to stay on the right path.

The roots of the assembly date back to February, when BMI’s Catherine Brewton guest taught a lesson in Teach For America corps member Anastasia Michals’s sixth grade class. She was there as part of Teach For America Week, a nationwide event in which community leaders serve as guest teachers in Teach For America corps members’ classrooms. During this visit, Brewton made a pact with the students - if they worked hard on grades and consistent attendance, and she would return with a performer from the music industry.

As the school year wound down, it was clear that the sixth-graders had reached their goal. Brewton kept her promise, returning to Michals’s sixth-grade classroom with rising r&b star Lloyd, who greeted the excited students, posed for photos and signed autographs and posters. “Teach For America Week gave me the chance to see how important it is to set high expectations for our kids,” said Brewton. “They have the will and ability to do so well. I am proud to bring Lloyd and my other music industry friends here to meet such an amazing group of young people.”

“We greatly appreciate BMI and Catherine’s commitment to Anastasia’s students,” said Diana Ellsworth, executive director of Teach For America. “This showcase of entertainment pros gave the kids a taste of the music industry and reinforced the message that the school and our corps members instill in the students all year - that if they set and reach ambitious goals, the results will be rewarding.”

About Teach For America Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. This year, 4,400 corps members are teaching in over 1,000 schools in 25 regions across the country, and more than 12,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.