NEW SHARON — When 6-year-old Thomas Cormier was asked by a school assembly speaker what makes him happy, he knew just what to say.

“I love animals. I want to do things where I get to love animals,” Cormier said.

Hip-hop artist and school alumnus Devin Ferreira, 25, visited Monday from Boston to encourage Cormier and the rest of Cape Cod Hill Elementary School in New Sharon to figure out what they love to do and work hard to pursue their goals.

“Do what you love, because if you love what you do, then it’s not work,” Ferreira said.

The students’ hands shot in the air when Ferreira asked all the children if they have something that they love or are trying to figure out what they love.

Six-year-old Kenneth Ferrari said after the assembly that he had to think for a while about what he loves to do before coming up with the answer.

“I love pretending to be a spy,” he said.

Ferriera told the students that getting an education is important, and said he completed high school and college while pursuing his love of hip-hop.

Kenneth said he agreed with the musician on the importance of school.

“It’s probably a good thing,” he decided.

The kids rapped with Ferreira, who had them help fill in the blank for his lyrics, taught them about freestyle and brought a few students up with him in front of the group.

Thomas said during the performance he danced around with his hands in the air, “because that’s how I was letting him know he was being awesome.”

Ferreira, who also plays the saxophone during his performances, told the students he got his first saxophone when he was 8 years old and gave his first rap performance when he was 10.

“I remember I did my first performance on the Cape Cod Hill School stage,” he said.

His mother, Patty Murray, a teacher at the school, said Devin first learned music at the music program with Mt. Blue School District.

Ferriera says on his Facebook page that he left Maine in 2007 to pursue a music degree, performing in a genre that he calls “hip-hop soul,” with a mixture of rap and saxophone. He earned a master’s degree in education last year and is working on his third studio album.

Ferreira, who now works for the Boys and Girls Club in Boston and is a full-time music director there, said the students should remember that they have support through their school district and community.

“You guys like New Sharon?” he asked.

“Yeah!” the students yelled back in unison.

“Well, everything you need is here,” he said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com