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Idol finalists - Odell Bunton from American Idol is a Dunn father and performed at Career Day
Posted in , on May 21, 2024

Idol singer motivates students at Career Day

Career Day at Dunn Elementary had the energy and excitement of the TV show “American Idol last week. 

That’s because they both aimed at inspiring individuals to live out their childhood dreams. It’s also because “American Idol” season 22 contestant Odell Bunton took the cafeteria stage. 

American Idol contestant and Dunn dad Odell Bunton Jr.


He shared the story of his musical journey before kicking off Career Day with a performance of Donnie McClurkin’s “Create in Me a Clean Heart.” 

Bunton is an Arlington ISD alum who graduated from Sam Houston High School. As a dad to three current Dunn Dragons and a brother to two former Dragons, he also has a long history with the elementary school.    

“This is a full circle moment for me,” Bunton said. “To be able to come back and do this, it felt like a movie for a second.” 

Singing since he was 6, Bunton’s journey has been filled with lots of success, but also challenges and triumphs. 

A significant part of his story is his little sister Oddessty Bunton, who also attended Dunn. Though she died in 2021, her memory and spirit remains a driving force in Bunton’s life and career.  

Her influence was evident in Bunton’s determination to succeed when he received an unexpected email that changed his life – an invitation to audition for American Idol.  

“It was scary, but I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. 

That’s when Bunton headed to Nashville to perform in front of American Idol judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. Receiving three yeses along with one of only three platinum tickets, he was sent straight to Hollywood. 

Over the past few months, Bunton advanced into the top 20 out of 80,000 auditions. He was eliminated in the top 14 round after his last performance of “Wait on You” by Maverick City Music.  

But a closed door opened a brand new one. The very next day, the group reached out to Bunton about a feature on their single “You Are Mighty.”  

“He kept his eye on the prize, and he kept his goals in sight,” said Dunn counselor Beth Lawrence. “That’s exactly what I wanted our kids to see.” 

Odell Bunton from American Idol is a Dunn father and performed at Career DayAnd that’s what Bunton wanted to teach them. 

“If you find something that you’re good at or love to do, do it, do it with all your might,” he said. “Do not underestimate the power of your teachers and the authorities that have been placed in your life. Stay true to yourself. Know that you have what it takes, believe in yourself.” 

Today, Odell is working on an album titled “Road to Recovery,” which he described as a testimonial of his experiences in life.  

“We were so excited that he was one our Dunn dads,” Lawrence said. “He is so amazing.” 

Career Day is dedicated to motivating the Dragons to follow their dreams, so there couldn’t have been a better surprise guest.  

“My dream is to not just be another artist, I want to be someone that’s meaningful, someone that’s impactful,” he said. “I don’t take these opportunities lightly, and I wouldn’t be spending my morning any other way.”