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ST. LOUIS – Hip hop star and Missouri native Nelly surprised educators across the state with a special shout-out during an end-of-the-year call.

The surprise was a result of a partnership between the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Alive & Well Communities. Nelly thanked them for their dedication and innovation over the unprecedented year due to the pandemic.

Program Director  Sheila Branch said she was trying to brainstorm on a special way to show educators gratitude for their dedication when the crazy thought popped into her head to reach out to Nelly. Her coworkers doubted she would be able to pull it off and were shocked when they saw the video message.

Branch says Nelly’s blueprint aligns with their program’s mission.

“He is a Missouri Role Model! I have always been in support of Nelly and his blueprint,” said Branch.