Alicia Keys surprises 1,500 Staley High School students with concert tickets

Alicia Keys surprised students and staff at Staley High School with paid tickets and...
Alicia Keys surprised students and staff at Staley High School with paid tickets and transportation to a concert in St. Louis.(KCTV5)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 8:20 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - When Staley High School students gathered in the gym Friday, they expected a typical assembly for the last day of school.

As the last minutes of the semester ticked down, the principal directed the students to the video board on the wall. There, the face of pop star Alicia Keys waited with a message to students.

Murmurs of recognition rippled through the gym. Taylar Thomas, who was just elected as president of the Student Council, had no idea what was coming.

“Everyone was in shock,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t believe this was actually happening.”

The Grammy-winning artist had sent the video to the school after hearing about what happened to Ralph Yarl.

Yarl, a Staley student, was shot in April after mistakenly knocking on a stranger’s door. He survived the incident and, as he recovered, his classmates organized a unity walk.

Keys said the show of support had inspired her.

“I was so moved by your demonstration of love and support to our brother Ralph Yarl,” she said in the video.

Then, Keys invited the entire Staley student population to attend her July 21 concert in St. Louis. She announced that all 1,500 students, as well as 183 faculty and staff, would receive free tickets for and transportation to the event. For students under the age of 18, who need a guardian to attend, extra tickets will also be covered.

“We got you,” Keys said. “We’re going to get you there and take care of it.”

The announcement brought loud cheers from the students. Thomas said she appreciated that Keys was speaking directly to her and classmates.

“We didn’t do this to go to a concert,” Thomas said. “We did this to support a fellow Falcon. We did it because that’s what we felt we needed to do.”

Watch Keys’ entire video message here: