Michael Bonner, a former Winston-Salem State University student, who uses music as an educational tool in his Title 1 classroom, was recently honored on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
After 80% of his class failed a state reading test last fall, Bonner (age 26) composed a series of raps, that quickly went viral, to help reinforce some of the concepts.
“I went back to the drawing board and I realized music is something my kids can relate to. They ran with it, adding their own lyrics and the second time around, they PASSED the test with flying colors.”
As a reward for passing, the South Greenville Elementary School (NC) class made a music video of the rap last October, which was shared online 700 times in its first 3 hours. The video grabbed the attention of producers of the Ellen DeGeneres show. Bonner was asked to participate in a teacher web series. As a thank you, he was invited to attend the live taping of the show.
DeGeneres applauded Bonner for his commitment to teaching at the Title 1 school in Greenville, N.C., where 100% of the students face poverty.
“Imagine teaching a child that’s crying because they’re hungry or because they don’t have a home,” Bonner said.
*Bonner was presented with a $25,000 check for his school, plus a variety of electronic devices. A GoFundMe page was set-up for the school, which garnered $35,000 dollars in the first 24 hours after the show aired. The site is well over $70,000 by last count.
**Growing up near Elizabethtown, NC in a similar situation, Bonner said most of his childhood friends are in jail. “I want to show them (the students) hard work pays off and they can do anything they put their minds to…”
“I’m so proud of them and I hope they keep on beating the statistics,” Bonner said. “I don’t believe we wake up every day to be average but to be the best….”
Source: Winston-Salem Journal https://goo.gl/XggucK
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