Aubrey Graham, better known as Drake, delivered an inspiring graduation speech to Jarvis Collegiate Institute in Toronto on Friday, Oct. 26. Using his own personal experiences as a high school dropout turned millionaire entertainer, Drake spoke about his decision to obtain his diploma despite his successes and “the art of following through:”
I was one of those students that, despite the incredible support and despite the incredible knowledge and the incredible love that [they] would show me every single day, I still managed to fight this education system and say, ‘it wasn’t for me.’ I wanna let you know today as I stand in front of you that, I get it. I get why this institution is in place for each and every one of us. It’s not necessarily about the books that you will read or the science or the math equations that you will do because you may end up taking a path in life where the things that you have learned, you can’t necessarily fully apply and that’s okay. It’s not about the popular kids and the kids that don’t feel as popular because all of that changes. I promise you, I’m 26-years-old and all of that changes. What this is about, today, for all of you, is the art of following through and that is one of the most important life lessons that my uncle has taught me. It’s about teaching the art of following through and I want to say that I’m so proud of you because there are different ways to follow through. Tonight you followed through with a straight shot and for that, you should give yourself a round of applause. For me, my follow through was different. I had to double back. I reached a point in my life where I realized that there aren’t material things that could give me the excitement that I’m looking for.”
Drake admitted that he felt a need to obtain his diploma to fill a void,
There’s a void, there is a gap in my life that I need to fill and I needed to sit long and hard to think about what that was. And it was the fact that I had left a gaping hole in my story of following through.” He continued, “So for five months, we talked back and forth on emails, we worked, I wrote papers, I studied for an exam, and we figured out how I could close my chapter of following through.”
Indeed, Drake has overcome many obstacles in his lifetime. Raised mostly by his single mother Sandi Graham, Canadian-born rapper Drake always aspired to be in entertainment in some form and started his career as an actor. He played a background actor in many T.V. shows and commercials, (check out Soul Food: The T.V. Series: “From Dreams to Nightmares”) and finally made his mark when he joined the cast of “Degrassi: The Next Generation” as Jimmy Brooks in 2001.
Five years later, Drake would release his first mixtape and spend the next few years focusing on his music career. It wasn’t until 2009 when Drake released the mixtape So Far Gone that he garnered attention from the American music industry and began to experience critical success and fame.
The following years would consist of Drake signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment and going on a multi-city tour. Recently, Drake has enjoyed commercial success with his latest albums Thank Me Later (2010) and Take Care (2011).