At 77 years old, Motown icon Smokey Robinson is still “cruisin.”
“What brings me here is the love of the kids. And, I am a supporter of the arts being in the schools," said the legendary singer.
The charismatic and energetic songwriter singer paid a visit to Fremont/Lopez Elementary School on Monday in Stockton. The school is part of the national Turnaround Arts program which uses tools like music to help turn around the nation’s lowest performing schools.
And it appears to be working.
“Well the first year we saw a 60% decrease in suspension rates. And the second year we saw the same decrease. We also saw an increase in attendance rates on two days when we had arts classes," says Cindy Wildman, the arts coordinator for Fremont/Lopez and the Stockton Unified School District.
Fremont is one of only 68 schools across the country selected to take part, bringing iconic performers like Robinson into the classroom.
“So many artists were these kids and the arts really helped them in their life to succeed," says Kathy Fletcher, the national Turnaround Arts director.
As part of his 3 hour visit, Robinson went from class to class.
Robinson took part in dissecting the meaning behind a picture or dancing to his songs with the youngest of performers or taking in the music from the school’s very own Mariachi Los Toritos made up of students.
At one point, he even joined in on an impromptu duet singing one of his signature songs, "My Girl."
The singer also took questions from kids offering his own sage advice.
“Knowledge is power. And the more knowledge you have the more you are going to be prepared to live in this world.” said Robinson.
Robinson said he still writes songs and tours.
But it was hard to tell who was having more fun, the kids or the kid from Detroit now a music legend.
“I’ve never met a person who didn’t like any kind of music. In fact, I don’t want to meet that person," a smiling Robinson said.
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