“The Dancing Dad” Visits WHHS: Offers Positive Message to Students

Assembly Amongst Freshmen and Sophomores by Instagram Influencer Kenny Clutch


By Celine Kim, Staff Writer

Kennith Thomas, aka Kenny Clutch, an Instagram sensation known as “The Dancing Dad,” but more importantly, a loving husband and a father of four, came to talk about bullying and spreading positive messages on Monday, February 3, 2020.

His youngest son, Kristian was born with down syndrome and had a low platelet count. Kristian had the risk of developing leukemia and had to spend 10 days in the ICU before he could finally go hope. 14 months later, he had to be rushed to the ER for AMKL leukemia. This occurred when Kristian was only two.

In this seemingly hopeless situation, Clutch and his family found hope and set the atmosphere. During that 300 day process, they did not allow any negativity to enter their circumstance and was immediately dismissed. As cancer was Kristian’s bully, they not only moved forward from it, they did something about it. His situation only got harder as he had to shut down his dance studio and lost 65 percent of their income. However, they kept their positive outlook and one day decided to turn on some music and dance with Kristian, and the positivity in the room was making him stronger. As he said, “When we change the mind, we change the game.”

His video blew up overnight and was soon recognized by celebrities, news sources, and Ciara herself, the artist behind the song “Level Up”; the #LevelUpChallenge had been the inspiration behind the dancing video. With all this chaos around him, he began to feel overwhelmed and instead of acting upon impulse and making irrational decisions, he decided to step back and analyze and assess the situation.

Clutch then invited a couple of volunteers to the stage to teach them lessons/skills that the students could walk away and apply to their own lives and situations. First up was Herbert, who talked about positive and negative beliefs. The idea was to take five positives and five negatives, and use these positives to filter out the negatives.

Next was Joe (10th), who read aloud a quote from Muhammad Ali, “I am the greatest, I said that before I knew I was.” He was told that whatever your dreams and aspirations are, center them around people because our purpose in life is to serve people.

Then was Eden (10th), where her lesson was centered about character: having the character and the ethic will get you further than talent any day of the year. Next, Sam (10th), was told to do everything she does 100 percent because “obedience sometimes requires sacrifice but not all sacrifice is obedient.” The final volunteer was Sarina (10th), who read to the students, “Don’t let your emotions ruin your success.” Experiencing and receiving emotions/negativity are two very different things, so experience the bad times but don’t let them be defined by being received, Clutch said.  Every volunteer left with a signed copy of Clutch’s own novel Rebuild Rebrand Reclaim.

He then got back into his son’s life story, and many people had doubts about his recovery and the judgment of Kenny and his wife, Josie. It was because of his down syndrome that he had a 80-90 percent survival rate in defeating leukemia. Kristian defeated cancer in 149 days and defied expectations.

The whole experience gave the family a renewed outlook on life as they were put into perspective. They took every opportunity that came to them because today is all that we have. What he expects from us is that everyone will start treating each other with love and respect because “your commitment and determination will determine the success you have in the future,” so commit.

The assembly was generally well-received by the freshmen and sophomore class as Kenny was younger and was able to be more comfortable with the audience while still discussing a heavy subject and teaching an important lesson.

“I liked how interactive he was with all the students,” said Juliana Lee, sophomore.

“It was very motivational and I liked how he talked about bullying and real-life situations so we could understand it better,” said Carly Collins, also a sophomore.