“El Paso gives me so much love so why not give love back to El Paso.”
That’s exactly what El Paso native Khalid did back in the Borderland this week. He paid a visit to spread some holiday cheer to students in the school district he used to be a part of.
Khalid made a surprise appearance at Ernesto Serna School on the east side Thursday. That’s within the Socorro Independent School District.
“Socorro ISD supports me a lot,” Khalid told reporters. “I’ve come back multiple times. It’s a lot harder for me to visit my school now, so I try to extend my gratitude in multiple ways.”
Joined by Santa Claus, Khalid helped pass out gifts he purchased for the students. This is the second year the R-and-B sensation has come back home to give back to the Borderland. He was at Crockett Elementary School last year.
“All across the border, El Paso in general, the education system here is super supportive of me. I’ve talked to a couple of teachers and they say they play my songs in their classrooms. That’s really special that I get to come and touch everybody – shake hands, give hugs.”
Khalid talked highly of El Paso schools, touching on their academics and the memories he made when he was still going to school in the Sun City.
“I love education so much. If I wasn’t doing this as a job, I’d probably be a teacher myself, so the fact that I get to come to the school and I get to hand out gifts to all of these kids, and I get to change however their mood is going for the day – maybe they woke up in a bad mood and today they left in a better mood – as long as that purpose is accomplished, that’s all that matters.”
Khalid gave several shout outs and spread the love for El Paso in his latest album “Sun City.” Apparently, the love from El Paso follows him all around.
“If it wasn’t for Americas [High School] I wouldn’t have met my best friends. My best friends have supported me through a lot, my principal supports me, my old counselor supports me as well and comes to multiple shows,” Khalid said. “Shout out to all of them and everybody who has traveled to support me from Americas, shout out to all the kids, all the alumni. I see all of you guys.”
Khalid didn’t just buy the gifts, but stuck around to pass them out to each student, followed by a hug.
“I feel like it’s definitely a lot on my back hugging kids and seeing them cry in my arms, but as long as I know I can impact them for the better, that’s really what means a lot to me,” Khalid said.
The last time Khalid made a public appearance in El Paso was for his homecoming concert at the Don Haskins Center in September. And before jetting off to Florida on Friday, he shared some tips to his success.
“I speak about it all the time: persistence is the key to success. It’s about not giving up because, for me, I feel like – I always say this – the one day you could have given up, the next day could have been your blessing. And a lot of people don’t get to see that and some people don’t make it to that. On this road of life, we experience so much, we learn so much about ourselves through the process, and we’re all traveling down our own individual roads.”
The 20-year-old singer, who is active on social media – especially through Twitter – opened up about the perception of success through digital platforms.
“I think about this all the time because social media glamorizes a lot of different things, it makes things feel so tangible. You have to work. You have to work for what you want,” Khalid said. “And that makes it feel much better, when you’ve worked for what you’ve gained and received, it’s way more rewarding.”
But, to him, he’s stayed grounded despite his recent surge in success including winning an MTV award and being nominated for a Grammy.
“Luckily I get to remain myself through this process and I get to stay true to myself and I hope that people realize that you don’t have to be somebody you don’t want to be to gain the amount of success that I have,” Kahlid said. “If you’re true to your self, if you’re true to your vision and you’re true to your goals and dreams then everything will line up and everything will be how you want it to be.”