As the 700 plus Glen Meadow Middle School students heard the song “It’s Tricky,” they danced their way into the auditorium Monday morning.
The students sat down, then bounced in their seats listening to “Walk This Way” as they anxiously awaited to hear Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, formerly of Run-DMC, speak to them during School Violence Awareness Week.
Assistant Principal Eric W. Kosek explained why DMC would travel to Vernon NJ. Dr. Kosek said that DMC wanted to share his experiences with everyone and emphasize the “importance of education, respecting others, kindness and especially the importance of words!”
DMC, wearing an ACDC shirt, came out and immediately captured their attention.
He asked, “Who creates hip hop? You do!!! By putting information together and the innovation inside you!”
DMC mentioned his accomplishments, one being part of the first hip hop group to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. He said his success came as a result of getting an education and was quick to point out that he is not a celebrity.
Instead, he is a self-professed ‘nerd’ that was often called ‘four-eyes’ for wearing glasses, and he channeled his energy into education.
He said, “We have a lot in common. I can relate to some of the words that might have been thrown out to you. The more people called me a ‘bookworm,’ the more I read!”
He explained he needed to learn words so he could read comic books and make comic books, something he enjoys immensely. He added,
“School is not to make you miserable," he said. "It’s to give you information. Right information leads to transformation.”
DMC asked the students to repeat after him the following words: “I am special. There is not another person like me in this universe!” DMC explained that everyone has talents. He said he has talents, but the students may have talents he doesn’t have!
“I am not better than you and I’m not smarter or more talented," he said. "There are things you can do that I can’t. Our differences make us powerful and special. Work together and we are unstoppable.”
DMC shared a very personal story about being depressed at 35 years old. He is now 55. He said to himself at the time, “If I die tomorrow they know DMC, I want them to know Darryl.” He called his mother and father that night to learn more about himself and it was that same night he found out that he was part of the foster care system and he was adopted. DMC has been involved in various charitable works for foster children over the years.
DMC believes that good words bring good results. A round of applause broke out when he said he didn’t need to use cuss words or profanity.
“The best don’t have to use those words or degrade women,” he said.
Kosek surprised students when he challenged DMC to a duel in rapping. Students turned to each other with wide smiles and bewilderment as their assistant principal started rapping.
DMC ended with “Have enthusiasm for yourself and others! Up to all of you to make the future better! Take advantage of opportunities. Words can lift you up or down. Imagine what you can do! Love and Peace!”
“It’s about the Glen Meadow way," Principal Rosemary Gebhardt said of the event. "His messages promote good choices and support the Glen Meadow Way.”
The Glen Meadow Way banner is displayed at the School and reads, “Respect yourself and others, Take responsibility for your actions, Reach your 100%.”
Superintendent Karen D’Avino said she also thinks the messages from DMC support and emphasize Social Emotional Learning, something that the school has focused on.
“We tend to see more and more students facing challenges, anxiety and stress," she said. "We try to teach problem solving, self-regulation and necessary skills.”
“I am not better than you and I’m not smarter or more talented. There are things you can do that I can’t. Our differences make us powerful and special. Work together and we are unstoppable.”
Hip hop artist Darryl "DMC" McDaniels