References

References from Sept 2015 – Dec 2015

“D.O. was incredible with our students. We was able to meet them at their level all while sending the message of staying driven and believing in themselves.” – Jay Blauer,  VP Huntley Centennial OCDSB
“Duane was very engaging with the students – he related to students well. The combination of rapping, humour and story telling was extremely effective.”

-Pat Li, Principal,  Durham District School Board,

“Duane was so accommodating and helped us out tremendously!!! Thank you!”

“Very engaging presentation. The students were actively involved the whole time! Great message!”

Daeton MacRury, Teacher, St Bernadette, Peel School Board

“Duane provided an engaging and instructional presentation that benefitted young and old.”

Vern Sweeney, Principal,  Annunciation Catholic School, TCDSB

“The message tied in well with our school theme of respect and students were excited about the presentation.”
Roxanne Hodge,  Teacher, Poplar Bank Public School, York Regional Disctrict School Board

“Duane you did an excellent job. You engaged with all ages and kept the crowd interested. A week after your presentation, we visited some of the local elementary schools and the kids were singing your song. AWESOME JOB! You Rocked it.”

Carly, Hope Haven Society, Alberta

“Duane did an excellent job with our students. He was very clear and was flexible in that he incorporated what our school is doing in his presentation.  Excellent job! We would love to have you in again!”

Sabrina Bineesari, Vice Principal,  Peel District School Board
“Presentation was well received by staff and students. Loved the CD’s we played over the PA”
Leo Pellizzari, Principal,  St. Elizabeth Catholic School, Cambridge

“Duane’s high-energy presentation and clear messaging about bullying prevention was enjoyed by all students. The students connected with him very quickly and were involved throughout the performance.”

Zita Valerio, Principal,  Topcliff P.S, TDSB

“An authentic learning experience whereby students are partners in conversation about bullying.”

Florence Connolly, Principal,  Our Lady of Grace Catholic School,  TCDSB

“We greatly enjoyed the presentation. It was both informative and engaging. The staff and students felt the positive energy in the room.”

Jenny DiMaria, Principal,   St. Kateri Tekakwitha,  York Catholic School Board

—–

“You went to my sons school today in Toronto. I want to thank you from the bottom of My heart for your positive influence on my Kids. They came home listening to your songs and saying that you were nice and you taught about bullying. My sons have been bullied in that school. It’s been an ongoing battle.

Thanks for dedicating yourself to serious and crucial topics. Such as bullying and self esteem. I appreciate you. Thank you
For being amazing. Thanks so much”

- parent from school in TCDSB, May 15 2015

“You did a fantastic job with the youth. Words cannot express how touched we were by your performance and what an awesome job you did connecting the concept of the race with their lives. In working with this group of youth over the last year, I have NEVER seen them all so engaged and excited about something. You are, in fact, still the talk of the town with these kids. They can’t get enough of you and just keep sharing stories. ”

Feedback from Parent

“I’m sending you this message to thank you for being such an inspirational to my 7 year old. My son was selected as the winner of his class, and is thrilled to have won the prize of a CD, (he’s so proud), but more than that, he will take what he learned and use that to help him in future. You see my son was a victim of a bully when he was only 6, and was being beaten up by some boy at school, and came home one evening with sore ribs and his entire arm was badly injured, and you can only imagine my rage seeing my child come home with injuries brought on from a “troubled child”.
So once again, thanks my little guy was very happy to have met you.”
Feedback from teachers at Read To Succeed

“Liked D.O.’s experiences about reading.
Excellent start getting their attention. Had them throughout.
Great job relating reading/homework/attitude to rapping.”
-G. Fehr, Teacher, St. Margaret’s public school, Scarborough

“Very inspirational. Good message!”
-Arif Nathoo, Vice Principal, St. Margaret’s public school, Scarborough

“I liked the message: practice, sacrifice, persevere.”
-Desmund Shillingford, Teacher, St. Margaret’s public school, Scarborough

“Very inspiring! Love how it was always connected to reading, improving self, etc. It was perfect!”
-Katerina Papanastasiou, Teacher/Librarian, Oakridge Jr public school, Scarborough

“Excellent presentation! Students were very engaged!
High energy, really strong message.
The message you presented today was important and relevant.”
-Rod Zimmer, Vice Principal, Oakridge Jr public school, Scarborough

“D.O. relates really well to students-especially his reading issues as a student. Love PSP”
-Jillian Diniro, Teacher, Glenview Sr public school, Toronto

“Very engaging!”
-Leo Debenedictis, Teacher, Bayview Middle school, North York

“My students are low this year, very little excites them-you had them in the palm of your hand.
How engaged my kids were and it was because they could relate to you and your words.
You chose D-REZ to rap; she is my ESL student-you drove up her confidence 100%. Thanks.”
-Irene Dimogerontas, Teacher, Gracefield public school, North York

“Very positive message. I think the students could see themselves in the presentation and relate to it.”
-Precilla Sankar-Heldt, Teacher, Lamberton public school, North York

“Interactive! Enjoyed it!”
-Fenella Rawana, JR Wilox c.s., Toronto

“Our boys loved this.”
-Dagney Gardiner, Teacher, James S. Bell JMS, Etobicoke

“Wonderful presentation. Music/rap was great.”
-Abel Cartaya, Teacher, Crescent Town public school, East York

“-Very inspirational
-Students engaged well
-Encouraging message
-Catchy and relevant
-Really liked the presentation method – FUN and INFORMATIVE”
-David Dailey, Teacher, Calico public school, North York

“Excellent, energetic, fun presentation.
Positive message wrapped in hip hop”
-Jeff Keil, Teacher, Chine Drive public school, Scarborough

“Great job involving the kids”
-Ken Cliff, Teacher, Birch Cliff School, Scarborough

“Thanks again for a great assembly. The staff and students REALLY enjoyed it!”
-Fanitsa Housdon, Principal, Maple Wood P.S., Mississauga, April 30th 2011

“The children really loved the show and were inspired by your words.”
-Franca Meziane, Blaydon Public School, North York, March 2011

“Thanks so much for today. The students loved you as I!”
-Joanna Boudreau, Iona Catholic School, Mississauga, February 28th, 2011

“D.O. your performance here at Dolphin was outstanding!!! You have a special way of engaging Middle School students. Your use of Rap, (Free Style) Sports (Basketball), real life experiences is a perfect vehicle in which to inspire our students. You had them captivated and pinned to your message!
The content of your presentations also align well with Peel Boards Character Education Traits and our Bullying initiatives.
Thank you for coming in and motivating our students to be valuable citizens.”
-Annesia Khan, Vice Principal, Dolphin Senior Public, Mississauga, January 17th, 2011

“I am a teacher with the Peel board and my students had the opportunity to see your show on Friday. I teach a behaviour class and have one student who faces a unique set of challenges . Sometimes he is difficult to motivate. He was moved by your performance and is suddenly inspired in a way I have not seen in him before. He is very musical and because of your show, he is enthusiastic about expressing himself through writing music and songs. I know he spoke to you after the show and he has not stopped talking about it since. I just wanted to write to you to thank you for being such an inspiration to students and for making a difference.”
- Teacher, Kingswood Drive, Brampton, 03/01/2010

“I enjoyed the presentation and was impressed at the rapt attention of every student in the gym. Your style is professional yet personal and the message very clear. The advice you give is important for preadolescents whose attitudes and values are just being formed
Gayle Stucke
Director of Education
Lambton Kent District School Board
200 Wellington Street, Sarnia

Feedback from teachers in Winter/Spring 2009

Teacher Feedback from Cheyne M.S, Brampton ON

“Great performance, great talent!”

“Loved it!”

“Very interesting, fast paced and engaging.”

“The info geared to the students was awesome, motivational.”

“The rapping was unique, captivating, involving the students!”

“Awesome!”

“Great performance.”

“A very positive message expressed in a fun way.”

“Excellent performance. Great MC, relates well to students.”

“I love how you addressed proper audience behaviour at the beginning. It had a HUGE effect on students.”

“Great message, well done.”

“Strong focus on the importance of school.”

“A great lesson. We really enjoyed it.”

“A cool and fresh approach to an ongoing and current concern. Props for raps to MJ!”

Teacher Feedback from Brantford C.I., Brantford ON

“Excellent presentation.”

“Great presentation, simple message in their language.”

Teacher Feedback from Bethel School, Paris ON

“Well done!”

Teacher Feedback from Lakeside P.S., Keswick ON

“Well spoken, students enjoyed it, students were focused for the entire hour!”

“New, fresh. Held students interests.”

Stay Driven Quotes – Quotes from Ecole Fairview, Brantford ON

“Getting the kids involved!”

Teacher Feedback from Tollgate Tech, Brantford ON

“Great!”

Teacher Feedback from Ryerson Heights, Brantford ON

“Very interactive, kept kids listening to message!”

Teacher Feedback from from Branlyn School, Brantford ON

“Very Impressive. I wish I could rap my lessons to my students the way you do.”

Teacher Feedback from J. Clarke Richardson, Ajax ON

“It’s great to see such a well spoken guy that the students can really relate to but who can also relate to them.”

Teacher Feedback from Driftwood P.S., Toronto ON

“Motivational and upbeat.”

Teacher Feedback from Hillmount P.S., Toronto ON

“Good use of grabbing interest with Guiness Records, good engagement of kids.”

Teacher Feedback from Churchill P.S., Toronto ON

“Relevant, current, engaging (every minute), clear + organized, fun.”

Teacher Feedback from Charles E. Webster JS, Toronto ON

“This speaker related to the students through his own experiences. He got them excited about his success.”

Teacher Feedback from Ionview P.S., Toronto ON

“Great interaction with boys, quick change ups to keep interest.”
Teacher Feedback from Samuel Hearne MS, Toronto ON

“Fun with rap.”

“Rap literacy.”

Teacher Feedback from Pleasant View JHS, Toronto ON

“Very good presentation, Really related well to the children.”

“Fun, interesting.”

Teacher Feedback from Amesbury MS, Toronto ON

“Entertaining.”

“Great work shop. Good energy. Simply awesome!”

Teacher Feedback from Dixon Grove JMS, Toronto ON

“Kids were engaged from the start.”

Teacher Feedback from H. A. Halbert JPS, Toronto ON

“Yay! You got the kids reading! Excellent, interactive, energetic!”

“D.O. set the tone and engaged the students from the onset. Students were rapt with attention.”

Teacher Feedback from Godsford PS, Toronto ON

“Excellent interactive presentation – the students were very engaged.”

“Importance of school working hard, writing and reading, that’s what students need.”

Teacher Feedback from Walter Perry PS, Toronto ON

“Very positive and an inspiring message for our young boys!”

Teacher Feedback from Harwood JMS, Toronto ON

“Great interaction w/ boys.”
Feedback from teachers in fall 2008

Teacher feedback from Helen Wilson P.S. , Brampton ON

“Relevant. Real life situation kept their attention and allowed the kids to relate to their own experiences. Interactive, personal and fun!”

“My students were captivated! Loved the bullying discussion.”

“Good job. Very entertaining and interesting. Great to talk about bullying.”

“A tough subject, well dealt with.”

“Very entertaining and informative, about an important subject.”

“Kids were totally engrossed and connected to the presentation very relatable for all.”

“Great show and good information. Very real as he is from Canada.”

“Great student involvement, kid-appropriate language, wouldn’t change a thing.”

“Great presentation. Really reached out to kids.”

Teacher feedback from Zion Heights JMS, Toronto ON

“You rocked! The kids loved you! I loved you! Keep doing what you are doing!”

“Well done! Very inspiring!”

“Very engaging presentation. Kids enjoyed it. It sent out a great message. Thanks!”

Teacher feedback from Nahani Way, Mississauga ON

“The right message for our demographics. Totally had the kids hooked… gave them a look at a positive role model with a powerful message. Serious issue dealt with in an effective manner.”

“Great positive messages.”

“The kids loved it.”

“Dynamic, interactive, current, motivational. Junior appropriate.”

“Engaging, well spoken message. Thank you for your message in a new way.”

“A contemporary spin on an anti-bullying presentation. Captivated the students.”

Teacher feedback from Adam Beck, Toronto ON

“Amazing! Putting into context with your real life situation”

“Great role model for our students. Some of them really can relate!”

“Great show. Lots of fun. Liked audience participation to learn raps.”

“Really great way to involve students in delivering message about bullying. Liked personal story.”

“Really fun! Liked the 3 rules, cross legs, hands up quietly, listening reminders at beginning.”

“Good! Celebrity brings interests to kids. Liked message in rap songs.”

Teacher feedback from St. Thomas More, Scarborough ON

“The whole presentation was awesome. I liked letting us rap with you.”

“Liked involving the students with rapping.”

“Excellent! Liked the singing with the kids. They were very engaged”

Teacher feedback from Dixon Grove, Toronto ON

“Kids respond actively to you, really seem to get it.”

“Excellent presentation. One of the best we have had. Liked the relation to students, interactive, fun, creative, great for this group.”

“Great presentation! Related well to students and their interests. Liked the way D.O. interacted and engaged with students.”

“Great message. Liked the music, cartoon and how you involved students.”

“Very inspirational, gives students the opportunity to hope. Liked the video.”

Teacher feedback from St. Francis of Assisi

“Interacting w/ kids on their level. Motivational w/ rapping and basketball.”

“Great intro and ending. Kept students intrigued and focused. I liked the interaction w/ students. Involving them in the presentation, spoke about issues not only in the past, but current.”

“Great presentation. Liked ability to engage the children.”

“Good, liked everything.”

“Very entertaining and informative. Interactive, appealing to all age levels.”

“Students could totally relate to presentation regardless of age. Fun, entertaining way of dealing with what kids deal with growing up. Liked interaction.”

Teacher feedback from Marc Garneau

“Very motivational. Grabbed students attention right from beginning. Liked how engaged they were. Overall very good.”

“Interactive, enjoyable, inspiring, informative. Nice animation. Liked the real life
examples, build up morale. Liked rhyme book and respect for the mother.”

“Very powerful, realistic. Interactive, Liked the message, don’t be defeated by negative feedback.”

“Liked D.O.’s style. Empowering message and audience participation. Liked free style at the end, raising issue of snitching and avoiding troublesome people.”

“Very good interaction with audience. I’m not convinced the difference between snitching and reporting. I liked the methods you use to establish your authority and credibility.”

“I loved it, the kids loved it… I liked the interacting with the audience.”
Teacher, Donview M.S., Toronto

“Great speaker! The students were interested in topic. Made it personal, good story teller.”

Teacher, Brookview MS, Toronto

“Awesome! I am amazed at your ability to create a rap on the spot! Wow!”
Teacher, Ecole John English J.M.S.

“Students were very attentive and presentation was valuable.”
Teacher, Scarborough Village
“Loved the whole thing!”
2/29/2008

Hello D.O.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that you making a huge difference! You presented at the school that I was teaching at…Silverthorn Jr. P. S. and I later saw you at Driftwood P. S. I can’t begin to tell you how much you’ve touched the students at Silverthorn. I had the honour of watching them today. They were practicing their raps/stomps to present to a board thing next week. You’ve also been ack to the school to hear them… They were so motivated with their raps that they added stomps and sounds to it as well. As a teacher who met these students last year and saw either attitude, shyness and lack of confidence, it really is amazing to see the difference and positive changes that have happened. You truly have inspired them and made a difference… Just thought you should know…
BTW, I’m starting a new position at another school and wanted to get more info on bringing you in there to do a possible presentation… any way you can send some info out?
thanks

Teacher, Silverthorn Jr. P.S.

2/28/2008
Thanks again for coming in. I apologize for not getting to see you before you left as well. The kids responded to your presentation well. I’m glad to hear that you made a connection to some. Keep in touch,,, and thanks again!

Teacher, Fallingbrook Middle School
02/29/2008

Thanks for coming today – the response after you left was fantastic. The students really responded to your energy, your stories, and your skills!!

Talk to you soon
Melissa
St. Angela Merici School
11/28/2007
I saw your performance today at St.Hilary School…..i just wanted to say that I think what you are doing is incredible! I have an eight year old and he is at the stage of what he thinks is cool and how to be /act cool. The way things are going on in the world today it’s sometimes a scary thought as to what society will be like when he is older.It’s fantastic to see an artist sending such positive messages…walking the walk and talking the talk!!!!
Francesca Russo Teacher St. Hilary School, Brampton

10/13/2007
Thank you Duane. The presentations this morning were amazing. The students really enjoyed themselves. Best wishes future… Our students really need someone like you to see that success can be achieved… The hunger for positive role models soo needed.

Bertha Cummins, Teacher Sunny View Middle School, Brampton Ontario