Kevin Hart gives back to his hometown

MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Funnyman Kevin Hart jokes with Stearne Elementary's Sciana Philmore (left), 11, and Jayla Prater, 10.
MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Funnyman Kevin Hart jokes with Stearne Elementary's Sciana Philmore (left), 11, and Jayla Prater, 10.
Posted: November 04, 2013

FUNNYMAN AND Philly native Kevin Hart is in the business of making people laugh, sometimes shockingly so.

Yesterday, a number of Philadelphia's students turned the tables on him, simply by doing their schoolwork in the library at Allen M. Stearne Elementary.

"Coming here and actually seeing the computers put to use, it was shocking," said Hart, 34, who hails from the area near 15th Street and Erie Avenue. "Literally seeing the kids putting the computers to use put a smile on my face."

Hart visited four schools yesterday, two days after the city announced that he was donating 500 Sony touch-screen laptops to the district and the Parks and Recreation Department.

No doubt, yesterday's visits to Hartranft, Stearne, Overbrook Elementary and Tilden Middle School were all about the comic giving back to his hometown.

"I am what I am today because of Philadelphia. This city made me ... All of my education came from this city," Hart told the students and staff at Hartranft School as Mayor Nutter and city and school officials looked on.

Nutter said he and Hart struck up conversations about the city in July when the comedian hosted Made In America.

"I want to get more involved," Hart told Nutter, according to the mayor.

Then, six weeks ago, Nutter said Hart called, saying he wanted to donate 500 computers, as well as meet and talk with kids.

Now that he's been successful in stand-up comedy, movies and reality television, Hart said he wanted to help the city with its education challenges.

"You now have the ability to take these computers and do what nobody else can do, which is learn right now," Hart told the Hartranft students in the school's auditorium. "I want you guys to take advantage of this, man. This is something I'm very, very serious about."

Before Hart spoke, when he entered the auditorium, the students enthusiastically cheered for the comic. Some, like Latasha Chappell, 12, and seventh-grade teacher Jennifer Clark, were in awe as they gave remarks.

Clark interrupted her speech thanking Hart with numerous deep breaths, which prompted supportive chuckles from the comedian and the audience.

When Chappell completed her remarks to the school, Hart gave her a warm hug. A few in the crowd yelled out, "Hug me!"

"I'm thinking 'Oh, my god, it's Kevin Hart,' " she said.

Two hundred computers were given to 27 recreation centers and 300 were donated to eight schools, including the four that Hart visited. The other schools are Leeds Middle School, McCloskey, Rhodes and Weir.

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina


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