Rapper Phenom Encourages Proviso East Students to Make Good Decisions
March 4, 2016 11:20 AM
Rapper Phenom had a basic message for students at Proviso East High School.
"Failure to make a decision is a decision," he said.
The Chicago-based Phenom, whose real name is Teh’Ray Hale, spoke mainly to freshmen and sophomores at Proviso East on February 25 as part of the school’s observance of Black History Month. Invited by the Proviso East African-American Heritage Club, Phenom spoke on his experiences growing up in Chicago and later becoming a rapper who has worked with artists including Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. He also has done community service work, including one job where he was interviewed by a group that included First Lady Michelle Obama.
"No matter what people say, you’re going to do what you see," Phenom said. "It’s about decision making."
He encouraged the students to think before they make decisions so they have a better chance of making a good decision. He illustrated this through having a handful of students compete by throwing a crumpled piece of paper into a waste basket by the stage of the auditorium, with the first one to make the basketball winning $10. After offering the crumpled paper as a trophy to the winning student, who turned him down, he said that high school "goes by so fast," so the students should not waste time in making good decisions.
However, he showed that he had hidden $100 in the crumpled paper and more money was taped underneath a "dummy seat" that was placed on the stage.
"You’re giving away good money today," Phenom said to audible gasps from the students. "You’re not making good decisions."
Destiny Molina, a Proviso East freshman who won the $10, said that she appreciated the message that Phenom gave.
"It was awesome," she said. "He was explaining how people are."
Dr. Patrick Hardy, principal at Proviso East, said that freshmen and sophomore were targeted for the message of making good decisions.
"We believe that all students will benefit from this speaker," he said. "However, we know that the freshmen and sophomores have the most time remaining in our building, and we are really trying to reach them and help change their lives."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, agreed, saying that successful people can be good role models for young students.
"The community as a whole can help to motivate students to succeed," she said. "I thank Phenom for speaking to our students and providing that encouragement."