KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — Students at a North Kansas City high school received the surprise of a lifetime Friday morning.
Grammy Award-winning musician Alicia Keys shocked students at Staley High School with free tickets to her concert in St. Louis. The “Empire State of Mind” singer is also covering the cost of transportation to the July 21 show.
Students learned about the concert during a last day of school assembly when school leaders played a recorded message from Keys.
Keys said she was inspired by the Unity Walk students held for classmate Ralph Yarl last month. The 16 year-old was shot by an 84 year-old man after Yarl went to the wrong home to pick up his siblings on April 13.
“I’ve been so moved by the demonstration of love, unity, support for our brother Ralph Yarl,” Keys said. “I would like to invite the entire school to my Keys for the Summer Tour July 21. I can’t wait to see you!”
Keys also personally invited Yarl to a concert earlier this month, according to TMZ. Yarl is currently at home and expected to make a full recovery.
Keys’ gesture serves as a positive ending to a difficult period for the student body, who banded together to support their classmate.
“It means a lot. When we were [participating in the Unity Walk], we all came together as a unit. Black, white — all races. Like, we all came together just to show our support,” student KV Stone said. “[Keys] gave us the opportunity to go to her concert and I’m happy and everybody’s going to have fun.”
All 2022-23 academic year students and staff of Staley HS are eligible for a ticket and transportation, according to the North Kansas City School District. Students 18 and older will receive one ticket, while those under 18 will receive two tickets: one for themselves and one for a guardian.