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Kendrick Lamar attends Compton College commencement

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

COMPTON — Members of the Compton College class of 2024 got a pleasant surprise when a local hero stopped by their commencement ceremony held on June 7.

Seventeen-time Grammy winner, Kendrick Lamar participated in the June 7 commencement ceremony that including 124 high school students who earned an associate degree or certificate while still enrolled in high school.

“I wanted to come out here just to tell y’all how much I appreciate y’all. I’m proud of the city of Compton, I’m proud of Compton College, and most importantly I’m proud of the graduates out here,” Lamar opened his speech.

Compton College President Keith Curry expressed his excitement that Lamar accepted his invitation to speak to the 2024 graduating class.

“As one of the city of Compton’s most successful celebrities, we invited Kendrick Lamar to the 2024 Compton College commencement ceremony knowing that he would make a positive impression on our graduates,” Curry said. “Mr. Lamar’s extremely inspiring speech to the class of 2024 surpassed all expectations and helped reinforce our deep connection with the Compton community. By sharing his pride in the city and Compton College graduates, Mr. Lamar’s message of hope and promise resonated with our students and encouraged them to follow their dreams.”

Bringing Lamar to the college was a way of encouraging students that it doesn’t matter where you come from but rather your determination and focus that dictate your future.

“Kendrick Lamar is the perfect example of what makes Compton special,” Curry said. “The look on our graduates’ faces and the energy in the room when he made a surprise appearance at our 2024 Compton College Commencement Ceremony is indescribable.

“He is, by all accounts, at the very top of his career right now, and yet he still remembers where he came from. I can say we  — and I mean everyone in that stadium — were incredibly moved by his speech. His presence is something I know our graduates and their families won’t soon forget.”

Asssemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Gardena, congratulated Curry and his hard work in elevating the students’ academic and career aspirations.

“During Black Music Month, I couldn’t be prouder of Compton’s community, and Kendrick Lamar — a Grammy- and Pulitzer-winning artist second to none — is our champion,” Gipson said. “I, like the son of Compton ‘K.dot’, recognize that the next generation of outstanding Californians is right in front of Keith Curry and the Compton College staff.

Lamar was lauded by local elected officials who were glad he set aside a highly publicized rap beef between him and another rap performer, which further shows the students to focus on what matters the most.

“It was such a great day for Compton and we are all so thankful that Kendrick Lamar took the time to uplift our students,” said Compton Community College District Board of Trustees President Barbara Calhoun.

“He put the beef down to pick the students at Compton College up,” said Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Culver City.

Curry has led the college since 2011, achieving independent accreditation status for Compton College in 2018, and restoring local control to the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees, and has worked diligently to increase enrollment.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at emiliesaintjohn@gmail.com.

       
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