It was a superstar start to the day at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria .
The producer and Oscar-nominated actor Mark Wahlberg is in town alongside Sway from MTV to talk education.
The 41-year-old Boston native was in jail in his teens and dropped out of high school.
On Wednesday morning, he showed up at the school to have a candid conversation with the kids and encouraging them not to make the same mistake.
“You guys are the future,” he said. “There isn’t anything you can’t accomplish. Think about what you could do with a great education.”
Even with all of his success, Wahlberg is now back in school working to get his high school diploma.
Junior Aja Sullivan says she's also been through hard times but seeing his determination is inspiring.
“We can be told everyday by administrators we can do it but we won't believe it until we see someone as great as Mark Wahlberg look he basically came from nothing and became this big star,” Sullivan says.
The latest figures from the Department of Education show one in four students drop out before finishing high school.
Sophomore Samuel Deen made a promise today to stay in school.
“Since we know where he's coming from and can relate, it gives us more motivation to push and say a high school diploma is right for everyone,” says Deen.
While in town, the star of the movie Ted will meet with policymakers and elected officials to discuss the need to empower, enable teens to ensure they graduate high school.