Teacher who went viral for memorizing 75 student handshakes lands Gap commercial
Memphis educator David Jamison is now the focus of a TV ad because of his commitment to his students
The Tennessee school teacher who went viral in 2019 for memorizing personalized handshakes for all 75 of his students, has now landed his own Gap commercial.
David Jamison who is affectionately referred to as ‘The Dope Educator,’ is part of a new Gap back-to-school campaign meant to promote greater inclusivity, reports a local ABC affiliate.
“Jamison who has advocated for collective individualism aligns with Gap’s brand ethos of celebrating diverse cultures and unique change-makers across generations, leading the charge for a more inclusive, optimistic world together,” Gap said in a recent statement. “We want to continue to use our platform for modern American optimism; individuality and believe that cultural expression is relevant.”
Jamison made national headlines back in 2019 after a video of the personalized handshake dances he performs with his students each morning went viral. While he’s now adapted his greeting to be touch-free due to the pandemic, it’s been reported that his signature moves and excitement for teaching remain the same.
That’s why Gap’s new partnership with the Memphis teacher will run from July 27 through Aug. 22 during the height of the company’s back-to-school sales season.
The GapKids’ Fall campaign captures the special bond between Jamison and his fifth-grade students. The educator estimates that he’s memorized over 200 personalized handshakes throughout his career. He explains that he does the distinct greetings as a way of reinforcing to students that he recognizes them as unique individuals.
“When I was a kid, I was always in trouble at school,” said Jamison to Memphis’ Local 24, before explaining that a lack of Black male educators in his childhood is what inspired him to teach.
“I realized that part of the reason why is because I didn’t have teachers who looked like me; I didn’t have someone I could relate to,” he reflected. “When I decided to become a teacher, I not only felt called to help change representation in education, but to be a role model kids need.
Experiences in early childhood education shape who we are the rest of our lives. I am honored to play a role in the lives of my students and our handshakes are just a small piece of the change I hope to create. It’s our job as a community to nurture all children so they can flourish and reach their greatest potential.”
“Jamison’s approach to teaching and commitment to his students as INDIVIDUALS is inspirational and heartwarming,” said Mary Alderete, global head of Gap marketing. “He is equal parts champion and role model. Back to school is even more meaningful when many students are returning to the physical classroom for the first time in over a year.
One of his students told us she loves being in his class because she can be herself and that is the essence of GapKids – being an individual who is true to yourself, encouraging others, instilling empathy and optimism, and being the change this world needs.”
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