Chris Gardner

DANVILLE — Some local students will have the chance to speak virtually with and learn from international world speaker Chris Gardner.

South View Upper Elementary, Northeast Elementary Magnet School, North Ridge Middle School and Danville High School are planning a conversation with Gardner, a Navy veteran, entrepreneur, author and award-winning film producer, whose life story inspired the film “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

The 2006 film featured actor Will Smith in the role of Gardner, a single father who battled homelessness and a series of hardships on his long road to success.

Gardner has said he spells happYness with a Y “to remind you to something that makes YOU happy, that brings YOU joy.”

Gardner is an inspirational and motivational speaker who shares his lessons learned for overcoming adversity and improving performance. He has set a goal to share his message with students and Danville is the first district in Illinois to participate in this program.

After viewing the movie, students will watch a 30-minute pre-recorded interview with Gardner and will then have a live question and answer session with him virtually.

After viewing the movie, Northeast and South View students will be meeting virtually with Gardner on April 9th. Danville High School and North Ridge students will meet virtually with Gardner on April 27.

School district officials say they are looking forward to meeting Gardner and hearing about his personal journey. Danville District 118 is honored to be a part of Gardner reaching his goal.

The Chris Gardner Foundation is committed to ensuring the vision: that everyone has Permission to Dream. Through the Back-2-School program, Gardner speaks to the country’s next generation of leaders about how to set and obtain life goals. He shares personal life and financial lessons via personal speaking engagements and ongoing virtual support. His goal is to reach 100 high schools.

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