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My students and I love Dolph. It's very common to randomly hear "Yeah, Yeah" and "Ayeee" in my fifth-grade classroom. Many of my students looked up to Dolph for the surface reasons. They love his clothing, jewelry, cars...the usual things that many kids find fascinating. I couldn't let those things be the reason they looked up to Dolph, because there are so many other reasons they should.

Dolph's whole career was self-made through dedication, hard-work, and patience.

I always tell my students that their hard work will beat talent any day. I emphasize the importance of effort and dedication. I remind me them that no one can take that away from them.

Young Dolph grew up in South Memphis. A neighborhood many of my students are familiar with. The fact that Dolph grew up where they live serve as inspiration for many of them.

Young Dolph was more than music.

My students are very familiar with Young Dolph as a rap artist. They like his music, style, and artists. Dolph is a Memphis native and frequently did things in to help communities in Memphis. Overall, they knew this about him. However, they didn't know the extent of what Dolph did for Memphians and his fans across the world. They didn't know about the Ida Mae Foundation, which is the nonprofit organization that Dolph founded with his family members in his grandmother's honor. Some of them didn't know he had been hosting Turkey give aways for many years. They didn't know about the many challenges that he held that resulted in fans receiving thousands of dollars or in some cases, cars.

Dolph believed in loyalty and support.

I always strive to have a positive classroom culture. In the past, my class has been known as "The Clapping Class" and "The Cheering Class". We celebrate everything for everyone. I encourage my students to cheer each other on. One of my taglines this year is "Let's always root for each other to watch us all grow."Despite the many arguments and conflicts between my students, they usually can always put their differences to the side to give each other credit and to uplift each other. I teach them that congratulating others does not and can not take away their own shine.

This is the type of energy many people say that Dolph was about. Friends and family personally speak about how it was important for Dolph to put his loved ones in better positions to be able to help themselves. He uplifted people and wanted to see others doing well.

Young Dolph knew his worth!

"Self-confidence is vital. I always tell my students to believe in themselves. As I mentioned, I praise them genuinely and speak positively to them. But I also make sure they know that doing good things isn't just about getting recognized. I tell them they won't always get noticed for every good thing, and they won't always get a reward for it (which is why I rarely give treats or rewards). They need to see their own potential to do great things. They should celebrate their own small achievements and not rely on others to confirm how great they are. I encourage them to do well because they deserve it, not because there will be a reward. They deserve to gain more knowledge, to do things that make them better. They deserve that feeling when they've worked hard and sacrificed something for a benefit in the short and long run. They deserve to be their best selves.

Young Dolph was confident in creating the life he wanted. He didn't accept record deals; he believed he could create his own way on his terms. He stuck to his beliefs, stayed patient, and persevered to achieve his goals.

Young Dolph made a difference in Memphis and in the world. His presence will be remembered forever."


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