nelly.jpgSt. Louis rapper Nelly recently surprised students at the 37th annual Southern Illinois Society for High School Achievement awards when he showed up as the event’s guest speaker. According to The Southern Illinoisan, Jim Woodward, principal of nearby Anna-Jonesboro High School, orchestrated the surprise appearance. The multi-platinum rapper spoke to students about the importance of setting goals and giving back to their community. "I was the guy sitting behind you. I want to thank you for helping my career," Nelly told the kids. "Put talent and education together and it's an unbreakable bond." After his speech he took fielded questions from the audience. Students were curious to know what prompted the rapper to start his non-profit organization, 4Sho4Kids. Nelly explained that it was a “no-brainer” and noted that several rap artists actually back charitable foundations, but they receive very little press. The SISHA awards honor the top students from 35 high schools annually.