Rev. Jesse Jackson has met a lot of smart and powerful people in his day, but his ideal leader is still his high school football coach, the late JD Mathis.
"Coaches form leagues and teach discipline and teach character and wholesome competition and they're inspirational speakers, for the most part. They prepare you for competition," Jackson told Whispers. "I wish my coach could be there, frankly, my football coach."
The "there" Jackson speaks of is the classroom that he recently took over as part of the Sundance Channel's upcoming show "Dream School." Jackson and other celebrity teachers taught lessons to high school dropouts. While actor David Arquette had kids for homeroom and drama class and Suze Orman explained economics, Jackson was tasked to teach civil rights and political science.
"I spent time with these youths trying to stop some of the suspensions and expulsions and surrendering," Jackson explained. "Trayvon Martin was suspended from school for 10 days, he was suspended, which is tantamount to expulsion because if you miss 10 days of geometry or a foreign language that semester is over."
Jackson used his own experiences -- both personal and political -- to help students get back on track. "They had to warm up because they learned to be not so trusting, they've had all these bad experiences, but they are a tough-minded, loving group of youth," Jackson said, adding that he may have even swayed several future politicians. "I'm sure some of them will because they are inclined to do public service," Jackson says.
Jackson is also joined in the classroom by Swizz Beatz teaching music, Fabien Cousteau tutoring kids in physics and Soledad O'Brien talking journalism, among others. The show debuts on Sundance Channel Oct. 7. at 10 p.m.