Renowned professor Cornel West vowed to help stop a school closure in Harlem while visiting the school for a speaker series event on Dec. 5. Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts shares a building with Frederick Douglass Academy 11 and both are in jeopardy of being closed by the Department of Education for failing performance grades.

Wadleigh’s librarian Paul McIntosh facilitated West’s visit with the students. West delivered a speech on education, service and President Barack Obama at the only performing arts school in Harlem. West is an author and advocate who teaches at Princeton University.