“I will graduate.”
That’s what 11,000 students chanted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Oct. 24 during the largest education celebration in New York City.
Dozens of city officials, including NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks and Councilman Eric Dinowitz, who is chairf of the council’s Committee on Higher Education, joined the 14th annual I Will Graduate Day celebration.
The celebration was hosted by I Will Graduate, a city-based nonprofit that provides support for students in public schools to avoid obstacles in their way. The group focuses on low graduation and attendance rates.
On the city’s education department website, it lists multiple ways to combat low attendance rates. Many are extra-curricular activities to help students stay interested in school, speak to a guidance counselor, and more.
“Music and entertainment can be tools to help students get excited about their futures and in turn, finish school. When they see someone they admire up on stage encouraging them to graduate, it helps them understand how much is possible if they believe in themselves,” said Tonya Lewis Taylor, I Will Graduate co-founder, executive director, former educator and music industry executive a Roc-A-Fella Records.
High energy performances flooded the arena in Brooklyn. Artists such as Fivio Foreign, Ron Suno and King Jodey got students to dance.