Fat Joe promotes education in Longwood

Phonz L. Reyes

Fat Joe with students and faculty from I.S. 217 and Accion Academy.

New contest encourages students to do better

Rap superstar and Bronx native Fat Joe along with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced a new contest aimed at improving student behavior, attendance, and performance in public schools. 

A full house auditorium filled with hundreds of anxious middle schoolers from I.S. 217 School of Performing Arts and Accion Academy sat on the edge of their seats anticipating the arrival of Fat Joe on October 11. As Fat Joe entered the room both students and faculty roared with cheers for the rapper. Both schools share the facilities at 977 Fox Street in Longwood, and are two of the four schools along with P.S. 146 and M.S. 123 in a new initiative set up by Fat Joe and Diaz to motivate students to improve behavior, attendance, and grades as an entire class. 

One class will be chosen as the “most improved” in each school at the end of the December marking period, and will receive a pair of the latest Jordan sneakers from Fat Joe. “Teamwork makes the dream work. We want to see the improvement of the whole classroom,” said Fat Joe to the crowd of preteens and teenagers.

Fat Joe came up with the idea for the contest and felt that the incentive with the sneakers would be great motivation. “I don’t want nobody to take this as this is a material thing,” said Fat Joe. “It’s what’s needed to motivate our kids. I can do it because I personally am sponsoring this,” said Fat Joe, who is not receiving any funding of any kind to run the contest, and did not comment on costs. 

Fat Joe expressed long term hopes that the contest initiative would showcase pupil success and eventually getting businesses on board nationwide to aid in sponsorship. “I would like to get companies such as Jordan, Nike, Adidas, Puma all the big guys and say look I got the data, it works. Let’s do it for all communities and just help our kids,” he said. 

Dr. Victor Frias, principal at Accion Academy said the contest would help students become more resilient and build leadership skills. “It’s going to build on the mindset that despite ‘I have not been doing well, I have an opportunity,’” said Frias. 

Bronx borough president Diaz told the children that education changed his life and helped molded him to rise up in the ranks, due to the teachers that inspired him as a youth in public school growing up in Mott Haven. He hopes this contest does the same for these students. “The kids are excited about sneakers. If that’s what it’s going to take to motivate them and inspire them to be better students then it excites me too,” said Diaz. 

Fat Joe has spearheaded other initiatives for students in his old neighborhood in the past and is equally excited about this new venture. “I grew up on welfare, I grew up poor, and we didn’t have nothing. Even though I’ve become successful and been all around the world I never forget where I come from and you guys are always in my mind,” said Fat Joe. 

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply