UPTOWN — Brennemann Elementary graduates were treated to poetry by J. Ivy and a commencement speech from Mayor Rahm Emanuel at their graduation Friday morning.
The poet and author, who has won a Peabody, Clio and NCAA Image Award, performed his verse from Kanye West's "Never Back Down" at the graduation ceremony held at the school, 4251 N. Clarendon Ave.
"We are all here for a reason on a particular path/You don't need a curriculum to know that you're a part of the math/Cats think I'm delirious, but I'm so serious/That's why I expose my soul to the globe/the world. I'm trying to make it better for these little boys and girls," Ivy recited for the parents and students in attendance.
Emanuel noted this was the first time he's given a commencement speech for a grade school and tolld the students the story of how he lost his middle finger and almost lost his life in high school. The accident left him in the hospital for seven weeks, he said.
"I knew once I got out of that hospital I would make the best of my life," Emanuel said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel helping Jalen Perry get ready in front of Jadon Frimpong. [Patrick L. Pyszka / City of Chicago]
The ceremony also included speeches from graduates Jalen Perry, who transferred to the school when Stockton Elementary was closed in 2013, and Jadon Frimpong, who acted as a welcoming ambassador during the transition.
"I didn't know what to expect coming to a school [where] I didn't know anybody," said Jalen, adding though he was proud to attend Stockton, he considered being "a bobcat," the school's mascot, one of his greatest accomplishments.
The friends, who both graduated with honors, were two of 38 graduates Friday. Jalen plans to attend Lincoln Park High School and Jadon plans to attend Lake View High School.
Angel Grayer was named the school's valedictorian and Nogosa Atekha was named salutatorian. Nogosa plans to attend the Berkshire School, a private boarding school in Massachusetts.
Valedictorian Angel Grayer after giving a speech at her graduation ceremony Friday. [Patrick L. Pyszka / City of Chicago]