FLINT, MI (WJRT) — “I didn’t know what to say. I was speechless,” graduate Taras Rushing said.
Fellow senior Guy January added, “I was like is Eminem in the building like what? What?”
All eyes gazed up at the video board Tuesday night as Eminem’s voice echoed throughout the Dort Federal Event Center.
“Congrats to all you guys hard work, man you earned this moment,” Eminem’s message said.
A moment that became even more exciting as they received their diplomas and were also handed Beats By Dre headphones, a gift from Eminem’s Marshall Mathers Foundation.
“This acknowledgment today, reminds me that the world, there are people out there who understand that there’s still a ways to go in Flint and we cannot just push this story to the side,” Superintendent Bilal Tawwab said.
He explained when looking at this class, the word “resilience” comes to mind because they’re living through and rising above the water emergency.
“I have so much hope for them,” he said.
And the graduates feel Eminem does too, reminding them Tuesday night, they can and should fight through the stereotype this City holds.
“That was very meaningful because we don’t get looked at as graduates, we get looked at as future convicts and felons,” senior Betty Davis explained. “So, it’s like when some people, when people look at us as something much more than what we’re labeled as, it feels so much better.”
Superintendent Tawwab tells us Eminem has actually been a big financial supporter of the District over the past few years, providing backpacks and making other anonymous donations.
One Northwestern graduate wasn’t able to attend the ceremony Tuesday night.
The Flint senior remains hospitalized after trying to save her grandmother from a weekend fire.
Ananda Wakefield’s Aunt accepted her diploma on her behalf.
Superintendent Tawwab tells us about 50 teachers and students held a diploma ceremony at Hurley’s auditorium Tuesday afternoon for her, to make sure she didn’t feel forgotten.
Unfortunately, her grandmother, 61-year-old Joycelyn Wakefield didn’t make it. She was found by firefighters in an upstairs bedroom.