Rappers, DJs, athletes get students fired up during high-energy backpack donation

Rappers, DJs, athletes get students fired up during high-energy backpack donation

Grateful students show off their new treasures during a bag drop event sponsored by STATE bags, Roc Nation, My Brother's Keeper and L.A. Unified officials.

Grateful students show off their new treasures during an event sponsored by STATE Bags, Roc Nation, My Brother’s Keeper and L.A. Unified officials.

A jubilant crowd of students from 42nd Street Elementary this week became the grateful recipients of new backpacks stuffed with supplies they need for the school year.

Every student – from transitional kindergarten through fifth grade – received a shiny new bag during an event sponsored by STATE Bags, a buy-one-give-one benefit corporation that has been working in partnership with entertainment company Roc Nation and the Obama administration’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. More than 30,000 students in cities across the U.S. received bags this summer as part of an effort encouraging  students to stay in school.

“We are absolutely thrilled about the support from our partners to promote attendance among all of our amazing students,” said Drusilla Hale, Principal of 42nd Street, the first Los Angeles school to receive a bag drop. “Good attendance is the cornerstone of our efforts to promote success. We remind our kids every day that if you want to win, first you need to be here.”

Scot Tatelman, who co-founded STATE Bags three years ago with his wife, Jacqueline, was on hand with a very enthusiastic team of motivational “coaches” from the Brooklyn-based organization.

“These bag drops are our absolute favorite thing that our organization does,” he said. “Our work with under-funded communities rests on the notion that kids need more than ‘stuff.’ They need role models who can inspire and motivate them to beat the odds that are often stacked against them. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be where we are right at this moment with these amazing kids.”

The exuberant principal, Pricilla Hale, greets students one-by-one as the ceremony gets underway.

The exuberant principal, Pricilla Hale, greets students one-by-one as the ceremony gets underway.

The two-hour event brought every student in the school into the cafeteria for a lively celebration with a DJ from KPRW-FM. Special guests included Detroit rapper Big Sean, featherweight boxer Daniel “Twitch” Franco and composer/producer DJ Mustard – a former student at 42nd Street.

“I remember growing up that I always wanted to be a rapper, so I always kept notebooks in my bag that went with me wherever I went,” Big Sean told the kids. “Those notebooks not only kept my rhymes in them, but they reminded me to stay out of trouble and focus on what I needed to do so I could follow my passions.”

In between the bass-heavy beats that kept the students on their feet and cheering,  the “coaches” and special guests lead them through exercises and offered words of wisdom about what they carry with them in their bags that helped lead them on the road to success.

Also on hand was Associate Superintendent Earl Perkins, who was instrumental in bringing the event to L.A. Unified.

“Attendance is one of the key drivers in our overarching strategy to get every student to graduate ready for post-secondary success,” he said. “We are so grateful to STATE Bags, Roc Nation, and My Brother’s Keeper for their tremendous support in promoting good attendance. We look forward to partnering with them further to create more exciting events like this as we move forward.”

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