CPA students, Street Dreamz define goals, set tone for future with CD
CPA students, Street Dreamz define goals, set tone for future with CD
Posted on 04/29/2013
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cdThe CD starts with spoken word. A girl’s voice flows. Her tone is steady and confident, painting a picture of her future. She wants to be a doctor. She wants to have a cooking business.


“My goals are simple you see, being the best of me that I can be.”


The track pauses.


A hip hop beat fills the silence. Voices follow.


“CPA in the building…we all about going to college…scholarships…power…dreaming big.”


“Yeah! Turn it up! CHASE IT, CHASE IT…yeah, we gotta CHASE IT!”


The track is called “Chase It,” written by students in the Ultimate Purpose Program at Confluence Preparatory Academy. The music and the CD was created in partnership with Street Dreamz Recording Studio.


“Chase It” is the result of a leadership success program led by Koran and LaPortcia Bolden. They operate Street Dreamz Artist Development Center at St. Louis Mills. They encourage students to use positive, expressive messages in their music to build up their community.


“Not only do we help them make positive music, we also equip them with tools to make healthier decisions in life through our popular mentoring curriculum. We are known for being an entrepreneurial youth movement with a no-profanity pledge for students,” said Koran.


“We decided to work with CPA because our vision and mission statements are practically the same. Street Dreamz has always been focused on leadership and innovation and we thought it would be a good collaboration to bring our musical leadership program to a school where the well-being of our future leaders is a priority,” he continued.


Studio photoThe path to “Chase It” started in mid-January. Koran and LaPortcia met with the students at school twice a week. Each session lasted about an hour. From the start, the focus involved learning to set goals, understanding the concept of SMART goals and positive affirmations.


Every session, Koran and LaPortcia reinforced the meaning of a SMART goal – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, tangible – with the students, asking them to explain each aspect during every class.


“SMART goals help you in life, not just in this program or in this class,” Koran explained. “SMART goals have changed my life.” He and LaPortcia often shared personal life experiences with the students, forming a common bond.


And every session, they emphasized the importance of affirmations. “An affirmation is something you believe about yourself, something that is true about yourself,” Koran said.


Michelle Marshall, licensed professional counselor, works with the students in the Ultimate Purpose Program. She noticed a change as they became more involved in the project.


“The students were initially excited about the idea of going to the studio to make a song. They quickly became aware of the preparation needed before going to the studio,” said Marshall. “They started to become more patient and supportive of one another as they began to understand one another’s roles and how they were connected.”


From January to March, 23 students took part in the program.


Jonee Rogers is a freshman. Working with Street Dreamz was a new experience for her.


“It’s different. People who have a gift get to show their talent,” Rogers said. She feels like she is “still discovering her talent,” but was glad that she could use her creativity to share ideas for the project.


“It has opened my mind to different things in a positive way,” said Rogers.


The CD

Student with CDOn a Wednesday afternoon in March, Koran and LaPortcia arrived at CPA for their last official session. They had a bag full of CDs in jewel cases, enough for each student and the teachers and staff in the Ultimate Purpose Program. They also had three guests – Brittanie Skye, a hair salon owner; JR Peebles, a Grammy award-winning producer; and Dana Dean, a broadcast journalist with KSDK News Channel 5.


The class started with the usual greetings, reciting the meaning of SMART goals and affirmations. Koran introduced Skye and Peebles. He invited them to share their stories as professionals, to listen and critique the music, and to be examples of hard work, dedication and success.


Dean moved about the room recording video footage. The students met her weeks earlier when she visited the studio the day they recorded their CD. She was working on a story about Koran and Street Dreamz.


Peebles explained that he had the “same background” as the students and gave stern, yet firm advice. “Your situation and your problems can’t be an excuse for failure. Be passionate, persistent and disciplined,” he said.


“You can’t forsake hard work and you have to make strong decisions for life,” Peebles continued.


During the class, the students were encouraged to share their vision boards. The boards represent their dreams through magazine pictures of cars, homes, clothes, jewelry, positive words and quotes, images of families and loving couples. A few of the girls seemed proud to show their boards to Ms. LaPortcia, the name they called her out of respect and cordiality.


Finally, it was time to listen to their CD. The students were nervously excited.


“Hold up, hold up, be quiet…” a boy said. He wanted to hear his verse. He nodded in approval, proud of what he heard.


They played the CD again. This time, the class was hyped. They bobbed their heads to the beat, recited the lyrics, and reacted the way teens do when they like what they hear.


Koran spoke sincerely about his connection to the students.


“CPA is my favorite group,” he said. “I have a connection to them. I’m emotionally attached because I can identify with them. I’m glad we worked together on this project.”


“Through this experience, the students learned about perseverance and sticking to a task until it’s completed,” said Marshall. “Most importantly, they were pleased with the end result because of teamwork, perseverance and cooperation.”


In the News

The story about Street Dreamz is scheduled to air on Ch. 5 on April 30. The clip will be shown during the 6:00 a.m. hour of Today in St. Louis.

Update, April 30, 2013 - Thank you to Dana Dean and KSDK for such a great story. You can check it out here -
CPA students, Street Dreamz on KSDK

Note: Due to concerns about copyright laws and fair use, we did not include a link to the full track, "Chase It." As soon as an audio clip is available, we will share it.