STUDENTS | July 1, 2021
Ms. Grace Moody, the principal of Alcott College Prep, jokes that she’s simultaneously in awe of and mad at recent graduate Daquan Williams. The weekend before graduation, Daquan sent her a song that he had written, recorded, and produced—”graduation song”—and asked if it could be part of the school’s ceremony.
Principal Moody was blown away and started sharing the song with everyone she knew. She was aware that Daquan was into music but could not believe she discovered his true talent level through a nonchalant email the weekend before he was graduating. She was mostly just “mad” that he didn’t share his songs with her earlier so she could have played them during passing periods.
“I didn’t really have a plan to create a song, but I was thinking about graduation when I heard the beat and it just clicked,” said Daquan. “It was a really happy and upbeat type of beat, so I just kind of snapped my fingers and the song came together. I’m really glad I made it.”
At Alcott, Daquan was known as a student who was well-liked by everyone at the school, the type of person who could walk into any classroom and talk to anyone. Even though he was a quiet student, his smile was infectious and everyone knew who he was.
“With Alcott, it’s more than just classrooms. There are so many activities that we do together that make it more of a community and a small family,” said Daquan. “When you go there, you’re thinking about more than just going to class. There are so many teachers and other people who you look forward to seeing.”
Daquan started making music at the age of 13. When he thinks about what he was creating as a freshman, he admits that most of the people he shared his songs with didn’t think they were great. But he says that he kept manifesting and dreaming, getting better and better with each passing year.
At Alcott’s graduation celebration, Principal Moody swapped out “Pomp and Circumstance” for “graduation song,” infusing the event with positive energy that everyone enjoyed. Daquan notes that this was the first time he had ever heard one of his songs being played over speakers for a large group of people, which made him feel like he had done something good for the entire school community.
Now that he’s officially an Alcott graduate, he is ready to continue working toward a career in music. Known as “ICON” on his SoundCloud and other social media, he’s already gotten a boost with his song being featured in Alcott’s official graduation video. He says that he wouldn’t change anything about his time in high school, and, as the Class of 2021 transitions from the familiar to the unfamiliar, his message to his peers is best captured through his music.
I’ve been thinking about everyone. I hope you get to live the life that you want. Time flies by so fast, but we made it.
The nostalgia of yesterday and the determination of today could soon activate a superstar of tomorrow.
An easy way to find Daquan’s newest music is to follow him on SoundCloud. Make sure to also follow Chicago Public Schools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to meet more incredible members of the Class of 2021.