Miami-based platinum rapper Pitbull is known for hit songs such as “Give Me Anything” and “Feeling This Moment.”
On August 19, the 32-year-old Cuban-American artist combined the spirit of the two song titles with the official opening of the new charter middle and high school Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM), which he helped build in the neighborhood he grew up, Little Havana in Miami.
“There’s no way that you can tackle any obstacle or any issue around the world if you’re not educated,” Pitbull (AKA Armando Christian Pérez) told the Washington Post.
“My mother always told me that the biggest diseases in the world, the most dangerous, were ignorance and greed. That’s why we have to educate. That’s why I fight for it. That’s what I feel is the real revolution.”
Non-profit Mater Academy and Academia, which is a national charter school management company, will oversee the SLAM charter school.
“Here at SLAM we are excited about the 2013-14 school year. We have an incredible team of experienced, and dedicated, teachers on board,” said SLAM charter school’s principal Alex Tamargo. “We also have partners – from national sports teams – like the Florida Marlins – to broadcast media that will enhance our curriculum and provide valuable opportunities to SLAM students, and our facility with technology-rich classrooms, a broadcast studio, science labs and a roof-top recreation area is a dream come true.”
Charter schools are public schools that operate free from regulations created for traditional schools.
“The legislative guiding principles behind charter schools are to meet high standards of student achievement while increasing parental choice; align responsibility with accountability; and provide parents information on reading levels and learning gains of their children. Charter schools are intended to improve student learning; increase learning opportunities with special emphasis on low performing students and reading; and measure learning outcomes,” read the SLAM school website.
Pitbull, ambassador of SLAM charter school
Pitbull stressed it was his positive school experiences that led him to give back to the community.
“I can speak from the heart when it comes to charter schools for the simple fact is that teachers have changed my life,” Pitbull said to the New York Daily News. “I had a 2nd grade teacher who taught me there is a way out. Then I had an 11th grade teacher, Ms. Martinez, who taught me to believe in myself. That’s the same thing I want to do.”
Pitbull added that for him it is “all about giving back to the neighborhood in any way, shape or form.”
“He’s been a supportive member of the community as a parent with children in the charter school system,” says Principal Tamargo of Pitbull’s involvement. “He serves as our ambassador, and we’re appreciative of the commitment he’s brought to spreading the word about SLAM.”
It’s been said that the one profession male pop stars all envy is that of a professional athlete. Pitbull is trying to combine those worlds with the innovative and sports-minded SLAM school.
“Sometimes what happens is that education is no longer sexy,” Pitbull said. “It’s no longer cool. I want to tell them or help put together either curriculum or schools where it does entertain them or engage them. One way or another, I want to just make it fun again to learn.”
Originally published on VOXXI as Pitbull: Bringing sexy back to education with SLAM charter school