Hip-hop mogul Diddy to open charter school in New York
By Amber Spencer-Knowles
Sean “Diddy” Combs: hip-hop artist, businessman, entrepreneur and, now, school founder. Capital Preparatory Schools announced Monday, March 28 that they have joined forces with Combs to open up a new charter school in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan this fall.
Diddy, a Harlem native, said that opening up the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School is a “dream come true” on his Instagram account. They began to work on the project back in 2011 with a simple goal: to help increase educational opportunities for young men and women in the neighborhood while creating community leaders.
Steve Perry, founder of Capital Prep Magnet School in Connecticut, will be the school’s overseer. Combs and Perry have been meeting privately for the last five years with local community leaders to discuss the details of the school. Other members of the school’s board include Iyanla Vanzant, a Florida educator who will serve as the school’s principal and has worked closely with Oprah and Danita Jones.
Capital Preparatory Charter School was initially approved back in 2014 by the Board of Regents, however Combs’ involvement was not publicized.
“It’s important to note that it was [Combs] who inspired our team to come to New York,” said Perry regarding Diddy’s involvement with the school’s development. “It starts there, and the rest of the role will develop over time.”
The school is set to open for the 2016-17 academic school year, with 160 sixth and seventh graders. It will expand each year afterward, eventually enrolling up to 700 students in grades six through 12. The school is still accepting both student and staff applications.
It should also be noted that “the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School is a free public school and will provide a year-round, college preparatory education,” according to a statement on the school’s official website.
The school’s location was also announced. It will be in East Harlem in the same building as El Museo del Barrio and the Museum of the City of New York.
Despite the announcement, the idea of the charter school in Harlem wasn’t exactly what Perry had in mind at first. Perry was hesitant and suggested an after-school program or a scholarship. But Diddy was persistent with his request to open a charter school.
The school will also cater to English as a Second Language and special needs students. In addition, it will have an indoor swimming pool, a theater and a dance studio.
“I want to impact the lives of young people in my community and build future leaders,” Combs said in a statement to the Huffington Post. “The first step is offering access to a quality education. Every young person should have the tools they need to succeed. All our children should be able to pursue their dreams. That is something I can impact with this school.”
This is Combs’ latest venture after ranking number one on Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash Kings list with $60 million, thanks to investments including the Sean Jean Clothing Line, Revolt TV, the AQUAhydrate water brand and Ciroc vodka.