Local music producer and radio personality DJ Khaled got plenty of “fan luv” and doled out some of his “major keys to success” for screaming, dancing Carol City Middle students Wednesday.
The school celebrated its first-place win in a national attendance contest sponsored by Get Schooled, a nonprofit that helps kids graduate and go to college. Their prize: a visit by the internationally renowned Khaled and MTV news correspondent Sway Calloway, as well as laptops for some students donated by Comcast.
Of course, Khaled chronicled the whole thing on the social media forum Snapchat, where his motivational speeches and catch phrases have become a pop-culture phenomenon and garnered more than 2 million followers.
“You all are winners,” Khaled told the students. “The key is to win more.”
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Carol City Middle managed to pull up its attendance by eight percentage points to about 96 percent during a weeks-long challenge. Positive Behavior Coach Terry Thompson said it was a school-wide effort fueled by motivational messages, before-school assemblies and promises of video game sessions in a student lounge for those who showed up early.
Among those who started to show up regularly was one student who Thompson said had missed 121 days the previous year — all but about eight weeks of school.
As students and administrators including the school principal danced on stage, Thompson said: “This is what I envisioned: Them celebrating at the end of this thing.”
As the assembly wound down, Khaled announced that he would donate lunch for everybody from his Miami Gardens restaurant, Miami Finga Lickin. He also promised $10,000 to pay for instruments, prompting band teacher Antrell Dirden to jump on stage and scream in excitement.
Dirden said he has been tasked with starting up the school band after a nine-year hiatus. They need drums for the drumline, guitars, keyboards, and sounds and lighting equipment, he said.
“It’s a whole lot of money,” he said. “This is really like a blessing.”