JMBLYA Music Fest Capped off a Big Day for DISD Students Last Friday

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Editor's Note: Last Friday's JMBLYA Music Festival took place in conjunction with a daylong student summit, organized by Support Our Students and featuring students from throughout the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). As part of the program, two students -- Rebecca Woo and Arianna Trejo, both sophomores at Adamson -- were given the opportunity to shadow the Observer's Shawn Gadley and review the day's events for DC9 at Night.

For most concertgoers, the biggest draw of Friday night's JMBLYA Music Festival was Chance the Rapper, who returned to performing after a brief medical hiatus last month. But for students participating in Support Our Students' Student Summit, the important events of the day had started well before that. We were given the opportunity to engage administrators and open a dialogue for future communication through a series of presentations held at UNT Dallas' College of Law.

The Summit was an open dialogue between the student body, DISD board of trustees, various media sources, and chief neighborhood leaders. Among the many topics discussed was the idea of teaching quality, including the prevalence of substitute teachers, the perceived lack of passion of full-time teachers, and the lack of visibility in the classroom setting from school principals. Each topic was discussed and even debated until a list of solutions was solidified.

The chance to better our education system, not only for ourselves but for future students, was a crucial goal for us students. It's also one that we as students hold a unique perspective on: We sit in a classroom eight hours everyday for five days out of the week. School is our second home.

Standing at the podium,the room was full of flashing cameras and microphones. It was a joy to be there with our fellow group leaders. For the first time, it felt like the students were being heard. Afterwards, reporters approached us from the likes of the Dallas News and WFAA. It was a chance to put ourselves out there, and we not only spoke but were heard as well. This was no ordinary student summit.

Following all of the Summit excitement, we crossed the street and made our way to the Main Street Gardens for the sold-out JMBLYA music festival. Usually known as a pot mixed with spicy rice, meat and, vegetables, this weekend the "jambalaya" pot was filled with a mix of rappers, DJs, and electro dance musicians, headlined by Chance the Rapper, Baauer x RL grime, A$AP Ferg, and DJ Drama.

Festivities kicked off at 3 p.m., right at the height of the midday heat. And yes, the large crowd in attendance lapped up every bit of it. Even so, and in spite of early live performances by the eclectic RiFF RaFF and Dallas' own Dustin Cavazos, the energy level only rose to its fullest once the sun started to go down. A lively mood that trickled down from

An early performance by rapper Denzel Curry helped get the crowd more and more involved and gradually they got downright wild: people attempted to crowd surf, threw water bottles, and morphed into a perfectly synchronized sea of fist pumps. The rowdiness reached a fever pitch when A$AP Ferg hit the stage, jumped off that stage, surfed through the crowd, and somehow always made it back for his next song. Igniting spontaneous mosh pits everywhere, Ferg got the crowd hyped. In other words, we got "hella turnt".

While Baauer x RL Ggrime's electrified DJ set was another highlight, the main one of the festival was the appearance of JMBLYA headliner, Chance The Rapper. Following a cancelled Coachella performance and a still unclear illness, it wasn't clear what sort of performance we could expect. As things transpired, the former Obama campaign intern did everything but take it easy and the crowd appreciated every heartfelt second of his show. Performing the most popular songs from his 10 Days and Acid Rap mixtapes, Chance showed the crowd there was no need to be worried about him. He did not disappoint.

Living up to its name two years in a row, the JMBLYA music festival was truly a melting pot of two major things impacting today's youth- pop culture and education. While serving as one of the springtime festival highlights in Dallas, it was also an opportunity for students' voices to be heard and be rewarded with some of hip hop and EDM's liveliest artists. It's an experience none of us students will soon forget.

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