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April 30, 2013

Students React to Mark Wahlberg’s Stay in School Pep-Talk

Students at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., got a visit last week from actor Mark Wahlberg who dropped out of high school, but is now taking classes online to finish his degree. Wahlberg urged students to understand the importance of education, and to stay in school.

We asked T.C. student and PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs reporter Lora Strum to find out if Wahlberg’s words influenced her classmates’ thoughts on earning their own diplomas.


Sarah, seniorSarah

Mark’s visit to our school was a great star-struck moment. But I think a movie star encouraging kids to stay in school is so removed from real life. I think it’s superficial of the administration to think that a movie star with a ‘wink and a smile’ will inspire kids to graduate from high school.


Aliaya, seniorAlaiyah

I admire his honesty. When he said ‘If my acting career [went south] I [was] going to be working at McDonalds,’ he implied that a high school diploma is all that more necessary.



Kieran, seniorKieran

As a soon to be graduating senior, Mark Wahlberg’s message is less directed to me right now, but will help motivate me during my college years.




Sydney, juniorSydney

I think it’s great that he comes to schools to speak. It is meaningful because, like it or not, kids look up to celebrities probably more than anyone else. So if they give a positive message and kids listen and act on it, that’s a good thing.



Antonio, juniorDiz

I believe that Mark’s appearance was inspirational and affected many people’s paths to graduation. His speech really made people realize that graduation is one of the biggest steps towards a successful future.



Sam, juniorSam

I think that students will be inspired by Mark Wahlberg’s words. Aside from the fact that he’s a big star, he came from humble beginnings, which a lot of people [at T.C.] can relate to.



Emma, seniorEmma

I think he really does regret not graduating high school, especially since he’s taking the time to get his diploma and speak to students about the importance of graduating. But it’s kind of misleading that he didn’t graduate and [yet] somehow became a movie star.

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