Pitbull helped launch SLAM! (Sports Leadership & Management Academy), a Little Havana-based charter school in 2013. The charter now has over 1,000 students in attendance and many more on the waiting list. In an interview he did in Fall 2013 on The Late Show he said that he and his team just got approved to open five or six more charter schools. Earlier this year in January, he announced that he will be extending the SLAM! Miami campus by adding a connecting SLAM! Junior, which will teach grades Pre-K through 5th.
Now today, he announced in an interview he did with the Las Vegas Review Journal, if everything goes according to plan, he will be opening a SLAM! campus in Vegas in August of 2017.
“Man, to me, I think that’s what this whole journey’s about — you know, to be able to grab a young mind and teach it how to focus, believe in himself, work hard, envision and achieve, I mean, there’s no price to that.” Perez explained about his Charter Schools.
“So to be able to see these kids, I see me in these kids,” he said, “and a lot of these kids, I can look at them and know their story without having to even, I would say, have a conversation. So it’s… I wouldn’t even use the word ’empowering’… It’s something that I can’t even describe in words, to be honest with you.”
Like its Little Havana counterpart, SLAM! Las Vegas will offer a curriculum that focuses on sports-related majors, in addition to offering traditional-core classes to grades 6th through 12th.
“Everybody knows that kids love — we all love sports,” he explained about why he chose to use sports in the curriculum. “But the beautiful thing about sports is, you’ve gotta understand, it teaches general principles, as far as teamwork, punctuality, reliability and to be resourceful. So when you’re able to teach these kids around that and use those general principals and apply to anything they’ve got going on — you’ve gotta see these kids and what they’ve got … it’s phenomenal.”
He credits his own experiences with schools and education during his childhood, as to what motivated and inspired him to launch his own schools.
“Hope Martinez was somebody that changed my life and believed in me when I would say… not that nobody believed in me — my mom always believed in me — but she was the one that seen the musical talent and said, ‘Hey, you need to go to this video shoot, and that’s basically how this all started,” he recalls, “so she was, I would say, one of the first real visionaries in my life.”
“I’ve gone to…in my life, I’ve done about 30 schools,” he continued, “So growing up, touring schools in the public school systems, all I said was, when I sat down with my partner, and I said, ‘Hey, we need to make school exciting again, sexy again, where the kids… the kids get sick, they still want to go school. You know, they’re not looking for a cop out. How do we do that?’ Now he’s had an amazing system. All we did was took his system and just remixed it a little bit. That’s all we did, as far as taking the curriculum and making it around sports.” he added, “You know, the more kids that we can touch,” he stated, “and let them know, ‘Hey, I was you — I am you — and look what we’ve achieved by believing in ourselves.’ And using our stories as strength and not as, I would say, victimizing stories… it’s something that is, I’ll say it again, priceless.”
Read the full article and interview Pit did with the Review Journal here!