John Legend is best known for his moving ballads and amazing #RelationshipGoals marriage with model Chrissy Teigen.
But what you probably didn't know was that Legend doesn't just write great music, he can pen a heck of an inspirational essay.
Which is exactly what he did in this moving statement he contributed to the Huffington Post about the importance of his high school education, and an English teacher who motivated and encouraged him to keep writing.
As Legend details in his piece, graduating from high school and growing up to become a successful adult wasn't exactly a foregone conclusion.
I still remember standing at the podium during my high school graduation, looking out over the crowd. In that moment it struck me – the number of students ready to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas was only about half of what it had been at freshman orientation. Somewhere, over the course of four years, nearly fifty percent of my peers had given up on their education and dropped out. Growing up in Springfield, Ohio, ‘success’ was not a widespread expectation for young people.
The "point" of his post was that educators, like Mrs. Bodey in his school who ultimately gave him the confidence to foster his creativity and believe in his own abilities, need to be given a better support structure in our society.
These innovative educators are vital. My English teacher, Mrs. Bodey, was instrumental in the educational journey that carried me through school and into my career. Until her class, I hadn’t believed in my ability as a writer. She recognized my potential and showed me that I could write with creativity, with clarity, with passion. Mrs. Bodey, along with a few other teachers, helped me gain confidence in my skills and pushed me to challenge myself. They pushed me to graduate second in my class. They pushed me to deliver the speech at our graduation. They pushed me to earn a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, to hone my writing as an English Major and, ultimately, toward a successful career as a songwriter.
Which is why Legend co-founded LRNG Innovators, a foundation that provides grants to teachers, schools, and classrooms to foster a sense of academic adventure and exploration in students.
Legend's passion for the work LRNG is doing is evident in his essay, which you can read in full here. It's no secret that the US is lagging behind in academic achievement behind other industrialized nations, hopefully programs like Legend's can help change that.