In what could be described as a true “Emmy nod,” District of Columbia Public Schools was given a ‘shout out’ by D.C.-native Dave Chappelle as he struggled to maintain his composure during the telecast on Sept. 16. The impromptu mention was later picked up by “Last Week Tonight” host and comedian John Oliver.
“Like Dave Chappelle, I would like to unexpectedly thank D.C. Public Schools because I think it would be great if it started trending tonight on Twitter for no reason whatsoever,” Oliver said during the broadcast. “So, if you’re tweeting about the Emmys at home, please use the hashtag D.C. Public Schools.”
Following the request, D.C. Public Schools went viral, with thousands of Twitter users using the hashtag to congratulate D.C.-born celebrities and the students within the system.
Muriel Bowser first tweeted in response: “What an unexpected honor! We’d like to thank our educators, our families, and of course, our amazing students. #emmys #dcpublicschools, and later “#Emmys Shout outs to DCPublicSchools alums @DaveChappelle for getting us trending & @samirawiley for repping #DCValues.”
DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson took advantage of the spotlight to introduce his platform for improved and supportive learning, tweeting “@DCPSChancellor shares his vision for making social emotional learning a priority in all schools: http://hechingerreport.org/opinion-six-ways-prioritizing-social-emotional-learning-can-increase-graduation-rates-students-color-lower-suspensions/”
District residents lauded the notoriety, saying too often in local media, the issues and concerns of the schools outweigh a celebration for those great things that take place within the system. “I come from a family that is four-generations strong DCPS and we know how wonderful our educators and students are,” Ward 5 resident Bethany Wells told the AFRO. “We forget sometimes that for all of the problems that arise, some of the brightest and most brilliant young minds are pushing forward. Having viewers of the Emmys show us some love was a great feeling.”
And while some naysayers immediately took the opportunity to share their concerns with DCPS’s budget, lack of teachers and equipment and substandard test scores, most feedback remained positive.
“One of my friends texted me and said DCPS was trending and our schools were being mentioned on the Emmys, which I consider a show for old people,” Northeast-based Eastern High School student Chanel Brewer told the AFRO. “I started watching it . . . I never knew it was for television series and actors, which means celebrities took time out to acknowledge us. That was nice.”