UPTOWN — Chance the Rapper cares about Chicago Public Schools.
Earlier this month, he met with Gov. Bruce Rauner to advocate for the release of state funding so kids wouldn't lose class time due to the budget stalemate.
But the three-time Grammy winner doesn't just dole out money — he's also being generous with his time. And early Friday afternoon he made an unannounced visit to Courtenay Elementary during the Uptown school's college and career fair — where he was the special guest of one of the scheduled speakers — just to cheer the students on.
Damon Dixon, 9, a student at Courtenay, said Chance talked to the whole school in the auditorium after lunch about his rap career and the path that led him to success. Damon, a longtime fan, said he was surprised and "happy" to meet his hero.
"He spoke to all of us about his career and told us to stay in school," said Joanne Tablas, 13, who snuck out her phone to Snapchat while Chance spoke for about 10 minutes.
"He inspired us to try to make our dreams come true. It was exciting," said student Ethan Nguyen, 12.
Amarian Peoples, 14, won a raffle and got to shake Chance's hand and speak with him briefly.
"He just said keep your head up and stay positive."
Amarian's little sister Gorgeous, 9, said the school erupted with excitement when Chance appeared.
"I think it was really cool," she said. "When I first saw him I was like, 'oh my god.' I just wanted ot jump up ... my whole class was excited."
Students and other career fair guests posted photos of their encounter on social media.