November 19, 2012

Erskine Academy students may be on 'Nightline' with Weems

STAFF REPORT

CHINA -- Local students may see themselves on television Thursday when an episode of the ABC News program "Nightline" is scheduled to air at 11:35 p.m.

The television show sent a crew to Erskine Academy in June to film an appearance at the school by Darius Weems, a 23-year-old rap artist who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Through the Jobs for Maine's Graduates program, middle schoolers from across Maine raised more than $4,000 in six weeks to bring Weems, a motivational speaker and rapper, to Maine.

Weems is popular at many schools across the country because of a 2007 documentary called "Darius Goes West," which followed his journey across the country with his friends. In an interview with the Kennebec Journal earlier this year, Weems said he was called to action following the death of his older brother, who died of Duchenne muscular dystrophy at age 19.

The debilitating and fatal disease weakens the muscles and typically results in death before age 30.

"We all have our own purpose in life," he said. "Going through this fatal disease and being able to motivate people through my situation shows me I have a purpose in life."

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