Skip to main content

New York City mayor turns to celebs to fight absenteeism

By Julia Talanova, CNN
Click to play
Students wake up to celebrity calls
  • Pre-recorded messages will go out to thousands of children
  • Trey Songz, Jose Reyes among celebrities recording motivational calls
  • Stars will also point out how education contributed to their success

New York (CNN) -- Many parents struggle daily to get their kids out of bed, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hoping a wake up call from the stars will do the trick.

In a new attempt to fight "chronic absenteeism" among the city's kids, the mayor's administration has turned to Magic Johnson, Trey Songz, Jose Reyes and others to record motivational calls in the hopes of getting children out of bed and to school.

"Through WakeUp! NYC we're putting on a full-court press, using mass media and digital media to drive home the point that every student should be in school every day," Bloomberg said. "It's the next step in our efforts to cut absenteeism and put more students on the road to success, in school and in life."

The pre-recorded messages, in which stars point out how education contributed to their success, will go out to 6,500 students next week.

Bloomberg hopes the calls will eventually reach 250,000 chronically absent students.

"Morning, it's me, Magic Johnson," the legendary NBA star booms in one of the recordings. "I won five NBA championships and Olympic gold medal so I'm calling the shots today. Get up out of bed and to school; try hard do well. School got me to where I am today so be there every single day and of course give it your best shot."

Award-winning artist Trey Songz said he wants children to realize the value of an education.

"I hope to use my fame as a positive influence and keep kids in school and out of the streets," he said.

The calls won't only be for those cutting classes.

"Good news" calls will also be made as a reward for good attendance, Bloomberg said.