They sang, they danced, they listened, they spoke. And they packed KeyArena Wednesday for a big name show brought to life by Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll co-chaired the very first We Day Seattle - part gospel revival, part pep rally.
Some of the world's most influential used their voices to empower Free the Children's "We" generation.
“I feel like I’m courageous enough to put myself out there and be passionate,” said Arvin Batingan, a student from Edmonds-Woodway High School.
The 15,000 students didn't buy a ticket to see Jennifer Hudson and the other performers and speakers at the event. They earned it - through their commitment in school to local and global action.
Their reward: music, meaning, and inspirational speeches from big names like Magic Johnson, who stumped for community service and rallied the crowd for the Sonics’ possible return to Seattle.
“The last time I was here at KeyArena you had a basketball team. Seattle, do you want a basketball team back here,” he asked the crowd.
The goal was to inspire, to tap into the energy of teens already taking on world hunger, bullying, and political change.
“It really makes me want to go back to school and back to my community and do something great,” said student Molly Sasseen.
Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson said being part of We Day fuels her.
“It’s like an energy, I consider them angels in everything they’re doing. And it’s like we live in a world where only the negative is acknowledged. And it’s like no, let’s acknowledge the positive.”
The closing act was also a class act. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought down the house in a surprise performance for a movement that even inspires his music.
“For me, when I write songs that’s what I’m trying to get to—being a better person being a better human, figuring out the cobwebs in what makes me whole,” said Macklemore.
Free the Children co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger have partnered with Coach Carroll. The goal is to eventually connect the “We” movement with all NFL teams and also incorporate it into the educational curriculum.
Students were selected by their schools to attend the event, fulfilling a requirement to commit to one local and one global action throughout the year.