As Katy Perry nears her 30th birthday in October, the hitmaker has plenty to celebrate, from her chart-topping albums to her sold-out shows around the world. But she has one big thing she regrets (and, no, it's not Russell Brand).
"I'm kind of bummed at this stage that I didn't have a great education because I could really use that these days," she confessed to Yahoo in an exclusive interview.
Even before dropping out of high school during her freshman year, Perry's learning was admittedly stunted. As her pastor parents were always starting new churches, her family was constantly moving. "I was being pulled out of school even in the middle of school and sometimes being home-schooled. Sometimes we were sent to these really half-Christian, half-education, I-don't-know-what-they-were schools," she explained.
Still, it was great teachers who helped push the pop star toward success.
"There was a teacher named Agatha Danoff who was my vocal teacher and music teacher at the Music Academy of the West. It was very fancy and I didn't come from any money … and she always used to give me a break on my lessons," she recalled. "I owe her a lot of credit and I appreciate that she looked out for me when I didn't have enough money to pay."
Such an experience has inspired Perry to team with Staples to "Make Roar Happen" by raising money for teachers through DonorsChoose.org. "She believed in me, so this is how I could pay it forward from that one experience," Perry explained. In the end, the $1 million campaign will help fund supplies for thousands of classrooms in the cities the star's Prismatic World Tour visits.
But Katy's connection to education as she gets older doesn't end with giving back. She has herself to work on, after all.
"I've learned to educate myself at this stage and how to continue my education at any age," she said. "I'm going on 30 and I'm still very thirsty for information. On tour, we go to different museums and get to soak up all kinds of different cultural experiences." [That's not lip service — just this week, Katy Instagrammed images of herself at the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Mütter Museum of medical oddities in Philadelphia.]
Katy also was freshly inspired last month when she performed at the White House for the 46th anniversary of the Special Olympics.
"It was an incredible honor and a learning experience," she shared. "I was very moved by one girl in particular who came up to me and was telling me that she wanted to be seen not for her obstacle, but she wanted to be seen as a mother that she is, a daughter that she is, a sister — all these other things that she is, not just because she has an obstacle in her life. It was very touching to me … I felt a sense of purpose and I don't always feel that way."
For more information on Katy Perry's collaboration with Staples to "Make Roar Happen" in schools, click here.