Sure, the University of Delaware had President Biden (he’s an alum).
And Abby Wambach’s Loyola Marymount University speech went viral.
But Greens Farms Academy might win the prize for the coolest commencement speaker of 2022. At any level.
On Thursday, June 9, 90 seniors and their guests will gather on the front lawn at Beachside Avenue to hear inspiring words from …
… Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.
It’s certain that in GFA’s 97 years as an institution, no rapper has ever addressed the graduating class.
Of course, McDaniels is much more than that.
An innovator, motivator and philanthropist, he broke cultural barriers with his legendary band Run-DMC.
The first rap group on the cover of Rolling Stone — and the first to appear on MTV — Run-DMC changed music, culture, fashion, language, and made American history.
They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2016 they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In between, McDaniels launched a comic book company. He is the author of an autobiography, memoir and children’s book.
“The opportunity to have Darryl as GFA’s commencement speaker is a multi-generational gift,” says head of school Bob Whelan.
“Many parents of graduating seniors are very familiar with him as a member of Run DMC, and his ground-breaking career that featured multiple firsts and countless hits. At the same time, ‘It’s Tricky’ is a familiar TikTok staple for today’s youth. Most importantly, Darryl’s message in his book ‘Darryl’s Dream’ about authenticity is timeless and a perfect message for our graduates.”
In addition to the positive messages McDaniels spreads through his books and speaking engagements, his philanthropic work sets an important example for GFA’s graduating class, Whelan notes.
He co-founded the Felix Organization , a nonprofit that provides inspiring opportunities and new experiences for children in the foster care system. He regularly talks with kids across the country about respect, responsibility and self-awareness, and has appeared before Congress and state legislatures in support of adoptees and foster children.
President Obama invited him to speak at the White House to a group of young men about fatherhood, and he worked with First Lady Michelle Obama on her “Get Fit” Campaign.
“Our school’s mission describes preparing young people for lives of purpose, and Darryl’s life story is one that highlights the importance of becoming the most authentic versions of ourselves,” says Whelan.
“He also speaks openly about the obstacles and challenges one faces along the journey, as someone who struggled with depression and has gone on to become a mental health advocate. He reminds young people that they can do hard things.”
This should be a great graduation, with an inspiring message.
And here’s hoping that when he’s finished speaking, and the Greens Farms Academy graduates line up to receive their diplomas, Darryl McDaniels gives them just one instruction: “Walk this way.”
Bob Whelan brings so much to the school. His humorous videos and great thoughts and decisions are fine with me. Both my grandchildren re enrolled. It’s a very special learning place. My brother was among the first boys enrolled when Laycock went coed
Congratulations to All 2022 graduates country wide. You should be so proud of yourselves.
Christina is right. Bob is fantastic.
GFA is/ has been a wonderful experience for my 4 children.
They tell me this regularly.
I’m sure I speak for all who will be present, we cannot wait to hear Darryl McDaniel’s speech.
I know I’m excited.
Why? Is this supposed to prove that GFA is INCLUSIVE or, perhaps, it’s a thrust at covering the guilty feelings that come from not being inclusive ENOUGH?
Did you even read the article? Or perhaps you read it, but didn’t find anything compelling about the man anyway? McDaniel is an inspiring man and is JUST the right person to speak to the graduates for ALL the reasons listed and more.
Must confess that I did not read the article and spoke only from my rap based prejudice…a mistake, it appears, as is, by definition, all prejudice.
Thanks for the wake up.
Gfa is more than INCLUSIVE.
What a hater comment. How aggravating. Especially for those of us whose children attend, and talk daily about how it is INCLUSIVE.
May I remind you Dan Katz, if our kids were not attending GFA they would be attending the already over subscribed Westport schools where there is absolutely no room for any more students.
There is a serious lack of space available in all Westport schools. In case you had not noticed, so you are WELCOME.
Bob Whelan the head of GFA goes out of his way to send thoughtful messages which resonate with our children and teens.
He is an excellent and thoughtful head of the school and deserves nothing but humble acknowledgement for that.
And his choice of speaker for our graduates just goes to show the thought he puts into everything that he does for the school and students.
You might start by congratulating the graduating class of 2022.