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Inside Kanye West’s mysterious school, Donda Academy

Kanye West rose to fame as a backpacker rapper with three education-themed albums: 2004’s The College Dropout, 2005’s Late Registration and 2007’s Graduation.

And the 45-year-old hip-hop titan now wants to educate a young generation of future stars, moguls and leaders at his mysterious new Donda Academy in Simi Valley, California. It is a private Christian preparatory school named after West’s late mother, Donda, who was a professor. (She also inspired the titles of her son’s last two albums, 2021’s Donda and 2022’s Donda 2.)

According to the school’s website, the mission of Donda Academy, which opened in late August, is “to instill in youth the passion, purpose and spiritual foundations they need to thrive in tomorrow’s world.”

The daily schedule for preschool through 12th grade students includes full school worship; Core Classes Language Arts, Mathematics and Science; and enrichment courses including language, visual arts, film, choir and parkour. Meanwhile, the black uniforms consist entirely of West’s designs for Yeezy and Gap. (Though Ye announced yesterday that he was exiting the Gap deal.)

KanyeWest
Kanye West’s new private school, Donda Academy, has about 100 students from preschool through 12th grade.
Getty Images for Universal Music

The $15,000-a-year school — where about half its students receive financial aid or scholarships — features celebrity guests (Boston Celtics Black star Jaylen Brown) as well as students (R&B singer Keyshia Cole’s son Daniel), smaller ones Class leaders and insiders have connections to West’s music (like his Sunday Service Choir) and fashion worlds. And the Adidas-backed Donda Doves basketball team has recruited some of the country’s best high school talent, housed in a luxurious apartment building with escorts.

But there were also mysteries surrounding the school, starting with its skimpy website. In addition to the non-disclosure agreement, sources told Rolling Stone that parents are required to sign non-disclosure agreements. In addition, the school, which has around 100 students and 16 full-time teachers, is not yet accredited, raising doubts as to whether students’ coursework or diplomas will be recognized by colleges.

What’s more, Donda Academy’s principal and executive director, 28-year-old Brianne Campbell, has never held a formal position as an educator, according to Rolling Stone.

Still, West — a college dropout whose own kids are out of school with Kim Kardashian — is already planning to open other campuses across the country, as well as a Donda University.

Kanye West watches a Donda Doves basketball game.
The Donda Doves have attracted some top high school basketball talent from around the country.
ab/Gio/ BACKGROUND

“I want to emphasize that Kanye West has never wanted this,” West staffer Malik Yusef – who helped design the school – told Rolling Stone. “I don’t think people understand the seriousness of this. This man always wanted to start a school in his mother’s name.”

And Yusef said that the secrecy surrounding the school is one of its main attractions. “People are choosing to take their children to Donda Academy for privacy,” he said.

“Honestly, we don’t care if people know anything about the school,” added Donda counselor Tamar Andrews. “People who want to come to school are looking for a good Christian school in the area and they know we’re there … There’s also a certain awareness that comes with being a Donda. So I don’t know that we have to advertise, which is both a blessing and a curse.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/16/inside-kanye-wests-mysterious-donda-academy-school/ Inside Kanye West’s mysterious school, Donda Academy

Emma Bowman

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