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Idea of a rapping teacher sound awkward? Actually, he's awesome.

It may sound dorky, but wait till you hear him to judge.

Idea of a rapping teacher sound awkward? Actually, he's awesome.
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Old Navy Back to School

The idea of a teacher rapping probably makes you want to cringe, right? A for effort ... and for awkward.

But Mr. Reed stunned students when he came up with an awesome rhyme-infused rap designed to get his new fourth-graders pumped for the new school year.

The music video was called "Welcome to the Fourth Grade," and his students were totally feeling it. For obvious reasons, it went viral in August 2016.


Reed in his music video, "Welcome to the Fourth Grade." Image via Mr. Reed/YouTube.

His love of rap coupled with the ridiculous amount of excitement over the video made him eager to incorporate music into school life as often as he could.

So Reed spent much of the school year encouraging kids to embrace their own creativity and musicality. Some even got together to make their own music video, which was featured on the local news.

Tomorrow, a few kids from the hood will perform their very own song on the local news. I don't care what anyone says: if you give kids the tools and the opportunities to be great, they will, every.single.time.

Posted by Mr. Dwayne Reed on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today, Mr. Reed is continuing to spread his inspiring message in a new video series he helped put together with teachers across the country.

The video series powered by Old Navy was created to launch its cause platform of the same name, ONward! The album features several new songs written and performed by teachers about how they take the next generation to the next level. The songs celebrate the more "awesome" aspects of school, aka reasons kids should be amped about going back.

His offering — "Welcome Back to School" — makes one cool introduction to the fifth-graders at LEARN Campbell elementary in Chicago, where Reed is headed this fall.

He first caught our attention with his viral musical approach to teaching kids. Now, thanks to the #ONward program, he and other like-minded teachers are back with an entire album.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, July 24, 2017

Another teacher, Beth Fortune of Washington Middle School in Seattle, wrote and performed this delightful country tune with three of her students about remaining true to who you are. It's called "Be Myself."

Teachers really can make rapping and singing look cool. Well, some teachers anyway.

The first days of school should be about showing off all that individuality, not covering up or squeezing into a mold to fit in.

Embracing yourself is the best way to not just become a rock-star learner, but tomorrow's leader. So whether you can rap, spell really long words, or just rock neon green socks, remember that it's details like these that help make you unforgettable.

It's one thing to see a little kid skateboarding. It's another to see a stereotype-defying little girl skateboarding. And it's entirely another to see Paige Tobin.

Paige is a 6-year-old skateboarding wonder from Australia. A recent video of her dropping into a 12-foot bowl on her has gone viral, both for the feat itself and for the style with which she does it. Decked out in a pink party dress, a leopard-print helmet, and rainbow socks, she looks nothing like you'd expect a skater dropping into a 12-foot bowl to look. And yet, here she is, blowing people's minds all over the place.

For those who may not fully appreciate the impressiveness of this feat, here's some perspective. My adrenaline junkie brother, who has been skateboarding since childhood and who races down rugged mountain faces on a bike for fun, shared this video and commented, "If I dropped in to a bowl twice as deep as my age it would be my first and last time doing so...this fearless kid has a bright future!"

It's scarier than it looks, and it looks pretty darn scary.

Paige doesn't always dress like a princess when she skates, not that it matters. Her talent and skill with the board are what gets people's attention. (The rainbow socks are kind of her signature, however.)

Her Instagram feed is filled with photos and videos of her skateboarding and surfing, and the body coordination she's gained at such a young age is truly something.

Here she was at three years old:

And here she is at age four:


So, if she dropped into a 6-foot bowl at age three and a 12-foot bowl at age six—is there such a thing as an 18-foot bowl for her to tackle when she's nine?

Paige clearly enjoys skating and has high ambitions in the skating world. "I want to go to the Olympics, and I want to be a pro skater," she told Power of Positivity when she was five. She already seems to be well on her way toward that goal.

How did she get so good? Well, Paige's mom gave her a skateboard when she wasn't even preschool age yet, and she loved it. Her mom got her lessons, and she's spent the past three years skating almost daily. She practices at local skate parks and competes in local competitions.

She also naturally has her fair share of spills, some of which you can see on her Instagram channel. Falling is part of the sport—you can't learn if you don't fall. Conquering the fear of falling is the key, and the thing that's hardest for most people to get over.

Perhaps Paige started too young to let fear override her desire to skate. Perhaps she's been taught to manage her fears, or maybe she's just naturally less afraid than other people. Or maybe there's something magical about the rainbow socks. Whatever it is, it's clear that this girl doesn't let fear get in the way of her doing what she wants to do. An admirable quality in anyone, but particularly striking to see in someone so young.

Way to go, Paige. Your perseverance and courage are inspiring, as is your unique fashion sense. Can't wait to see what you do next.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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