COMPTON — Legendary rapper Dr. Dre has donated $10 million to the Compton Unified School District for a performing arts center on the new Compton High School campus that will bear his name.
Dre, a Compton native who was born Andre Young, was on hand May 7 along with music producer Jimmy Iovine, school district officials and other community dignitaries for ground-breaking ceremonies on the new high school which will replace the 126-year-old Compton High School with a state-of-the–art campus.
Compton school board President Micah Ali was ecstatic about the new high school.
“This was a ground breaking in the truest sense of the word,” he said. “It was more than the coming together of a group of people to celebrate the construction of a new high school.
“Rather it was a milestone in building new pathways of opportunity for children and families in Compton — one that they deemed worthy of investment in when they passed Measure S in 2015. Who else to boldly acknowledge that students in the Compton Unified School District deserve the absolute best than the people of Compton and the advocates that serve them?”
Compton voters passed a $350 million school bond issue in November 2015 to replace Compton High School and renovate and modernize other district schools.
Dr. Dre contributed $10 million to the project for the Andre “Dr. Dre” Young Performing Arts Center, which will seat 900 people and will be visible from Alondra Boulevard.
He remembered his Compton school days while speaking during the May 7 ceremonies.
“I was an artistic kid in school with no outlet for it,” he said. “I knew I had something special to offer to the world, but with nothing to support my gift, schools left me feeling unseen.”
Ali said Dr. Dre was just one example of “the belief that greatness exists in Compton — greatness deserving of our unwavering support.”
Dr. Dre and Iovine, who founded Interscope Records in 1990 after making a name for himself as a recording engineer and record producer working with artists like John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen, teamed up with Dr. Dre to start Beats Electronics in the 1990s.
In 2013, they formed a partnership with USC for the Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, that they launched with a $70 million donation.
Last year they announced plans for a new magnet high school in Leimert Park in South Los Angeles in conjunction with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Compton school board Vice President Satra Zurita spoke about three generations of her family who have attended Compton High.
“My mother, former Councilwoman Dolores Zurita, was class of 1954,” Zurita said. “My sister, Janna Zurita, was class of 1982, and my daughter Armani is class of 2014. You could say we are definitely the epitome of Compton High alumni.
The new campus will include a new academic building that can serve up to 1,800 students, with the possibility to add 450 more, as well as a new gymasium, an aquatics center, football stadium and track.
“I insisted the school have a swimming pool so in the next decade, Compton will have an Olympic swimmer among the great alumni from this community,” Zurita said.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.