MILWAUKEE, WI - Local math teacher, Terrance Sims, started the first day of his first year at Milwaukee Excellence Charter School with a plan to set the tone for his classroom, and he did just that by using the popular beat to a song he knew his students would love.
"Kids are looking up to me and Aryn as leaders now because of this song," Savannah Patterson said.
"I just feel special," she also said.
Patterson and Aryn Fears are 6th grade students at Milwaukee Excellence and the stars of the “Excellence First” music video.
"[The song] is about education and how you [should] challenge yourself and always believe in yourself," Fears said.
The video showcases the talent of the 6th grade girls as young rappers and their desire to do well in the classroom. Engaging students through music is something Sims said helps his students learn through a lens unique to their own culture.
“It’s a lot of kids in this school that could really benefit from being able to speak their truth to popular beats," Sims said. "With 240 kids [in the school], that’s 240 stories that can be told.”
For Sims, the song and video started as an idea on the first day of school. It’s now a source of inspiration that’s even grabbed the attention of former first lady Michelle Obama, and a project he hopes to continue throughout the rest of the school year.
Sims said through teaching he hopes to honor the legacy of his father who lost his battle to cancer last February. And as far as the girls, they’re releasing a new song on Wednesday called “Success Life”.