drake-philly

Strawberry Mansion High School of Philadelphia was once listed among the most dangerous schools in the United States (fun fact: Meek Mill is SMHS Alumni). After being so moved by an ABC special that documented the school’s downward spiral following the removal of their music department, accompanied in part by their not-so-hot reputation, Drake decided to take matters into his own hands and give the teens something to aspire to.

In December 2013, Drake donated $75,000 for the commission of a new music studio for the school as an incentive to reinstate their music program. Drake‘s crew had finished the studio in May 2014. Unfortunately for the students, they still hadn’t found a music teacher to instruct them due to the school’s unsavory history.

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In February of this year, however, Ben Diamond had taken a part time position at the school to teach music production although interest in the class was still relatively low. Principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman spoke on the influence of music in her students’ lives.

“Music has a way of bringing people together. That is what I want the music to do for my kids, bring them all together to find the special gifts that lay dormant inside of them. I want them to get distracted on their positive attributes to help them create within and around them. They all love music. That is the one thing they all have in common.

“For me, the opening of the studio is more than about music. It is about making and keeping a promise to students who are constantly disappointed, pleasing them, making them happy and getting them to see that they must finish what they start [and] work hard to bring dreams into reality.”

According to ABC, the money that Drake donated combined with donations from other viewers were able to be used for more than just a studio. Strawberry Mansion High was also able to afford new school uniforms, football jackets for the school’s first football team, basketball warm-up suits, and field trips. If that wasn’t enough to make you smile, the high school has also implemented PSAT and ACT classes, and several scholarships.

Source: ABC