Congratulations to Mark Wahlberg, who has won the very first Acculturated “Celebrities Behaving Well Award.” We asked our readers to vote on who they thought was the most praiseworthy celebrity of the past year. It was a close race between Jennifer Lawrence, Lorde, Ashton Kutcher, the Beckhams, and Wahlberg, celebrities whose elevating stories we’ve covered on this blog. In the end, readers were moved by Wahlberg’s decision to go back to school for his diploma. We will be donating $1,000 to the charity of Wahlberg’s choice.
Last September, Acculturated writer Mark Tapson wrote a piece celebrating Wahlberg’s decision to go back to school:
Mark Wahlberg, 42, dropped out of school in the ninth grade after being charged with attempted murder (that’s right, attempted murder), then broke through to stardom by way of Calvin Klein underwear ads and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch videos. He went on to acting acclaim in Boogie Nights,The Departed, and The Fighter, in addition to producing TV shows like Entourage. He’s married and a committed Catholic with four children by his ex-model wife.
With all that personal and professional success, nothing would have been easier for him than to dismiss his unfinished education as pointless. But Wahlberg was motivated to graduate by his children. He told People magazine, “I didn’t want the kids saying, ‘You didn’t do it, so why do I need it?’ They are all wanting to do things in their future that require an education.”
So Wahlberg began quietly taking online classes and hired a tutor, even studying between takes of his movie Two Guns and keeping it a secret from costar Denzel Washington. In June he was finally awarded his diploma, which he calls “a huge accomplishment” and “a huge sense of relief.” At an event for the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, where he presented scholarships to Taco Bell employees, he told People, “It’s so much harder at 41 going back and trying to do all these difficult tasks.”
And he’s still not done with his education. “I would love to go to USC and study film. I don’t want to become a veterinarian or anything, [just study] things that further my career and broaden my horizon.”
You can read the entire piece here.