Seattle middle school gets surprise visit from singer-actor Ne-Yo


by MIMI JUNG / KING 5 News

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 27 at 7:01 PM

SEATTLE - It was just another day in Mr. Sklar's sixth grade math class Monday - until a special visitor walked in.

But who was the mystery man in the sunglasses that made the girls swoon?

He's Grammy Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo, whose music has soared to the top of the Billboard charts, and who's now starring in "Red Tails," a movie about the Tuskeegee Airmen, the first African-American military pilots in the country.

On Monday, Ne-Yo was a singer turned math teacher.

“Fifty percent of the song is the lyrics, and that's normally the percentage I deal with, so when the money comes in, that means I get 50 percent of the money.  Yeah,” he said.

But that's not the only reason was at Aki Kurose Middle School. He came to celebrate a big win for the school.

In a nationwide challenge, Aki Kurose beat out more than 70 other schools to improve their attendance by 3.7 percent in October and November.

And for that they got a personal concert by Ne-Yo. He also talked about his starring role in Red Tails, and the students were treated to a sneak peek from the movie and heard about both the real events and what went into bringing this piece of American history to the big screen. 

Ne-Yo said the most important thing is showing up for life.

“Because if you don’t show up the one guarantee is that nothing will happen,” he said.

The national campaign called "Get Schooled" also partnered with the mayor's office, and Seattle School District in a push to increase attendance rates. The hope is to get 80 percent of Seattle students to miss fewer than 10 days of school a year.