FLORENCE, ITALY - JUNE 18: Katy Perry poses backstage prior to the Moschino show during the 88 Pitti Uomo on June 18, 2015 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
INDIO, CA - APRIL 12: Mia Moretti (2ndL) and Katy Perry (C) with guests in the VIP arena during the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Weekend 1 at The Empire Polo Club on April 12, 2015 in Indio, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Coachella)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 26: Singer Katy Perry takes a selfie with fans at the screening of EPIX's 'Katy Perry: The Prismatic World Tour' at The Theatre at Ace Hotel Downtown LA on March 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
US singer Katy Perry performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, on March 09, 2015 as part of her Prismatic World Tour. AFP PHOTO/ANP/FERDY DAMMAN - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read Ferdy Damman/AFP/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 08: (L-R) Kanye West, Kim Kardashian and Katy Perry attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2015/2016 on March 8, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Singer Katy Perry attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Singer Katy Perry performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Recording artist Katy Perry performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 29: Singer Katy Perry speaks during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIV Halftime Show Press Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center on January 29, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: Katy Perry takes a selfie with fans at the 28th Annual ARIA Awards 2014 at the Star on November 26, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: (AFP OUT) Singer Katy Perry performs during a concert commemorating the Special Olympics with U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 31, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Pop star Katy Perry arrives on June 12, 2014 in Los Angeles, California, for an announcement where she is teaming up Staples to 'Make Roar Happen', celebrating and supporting teachers for a philanthropic effort during the back-to-school season. Besides donating $1 million to DonorsChoose.org, Staples will sponsor the North American leg of Katy Perrys Prismatic World Tour, which starts in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 22. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 04: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, singer Katy Perry poses with Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on July 4, 2014 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Katy Perry, who sang the hit song 'Firework,' visited Walt Disney World Resort on U.S. Independence Day during a break in her global 'Prismatic' concert tour. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Katy Perry attends the Elle Style Awards 2014 at one Embankment on February 18, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 27: Recording artist Katy Perry performs onstage during 'The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles' at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04: Singer Katy Perry attends the Betsey Johnson 2008 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 at The Tent at Bryant Park on February 4, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for IMG)
CULVER CITY, CA - MAY 30: Singer Katy Perry performs onstage during the taping of Spike TV's 2nd Annual 'Guys Choice' Awards held at Sony Studios on May 30, 2008 in Culver City, California. The show airs on June 22, 2008 at 10PM ET/PT on Spike TV. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17: Musician Katy Perry attends the Katy Perry record release party for 'One of the Boys' at Capitol Records on June 17, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for EMI Music)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 05: Katy Perry arrives in Bryant Park during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2008 on September 5, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG)
LOS ANGELES - MAY 5: Singer Katy Perry arrives at the H.D. Buttercup Grand Opening Celebrity Treasure Hunt at the H.D. Buttercup at the Helms Bakery Building May 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Singer Katy Perry arrives at The Abbey / Esquire Magazine 'The Envelope Please' Oscar Viewing Party on February 27, 2005 at The Abbey in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Singer Katy Perry during the Jimmy Choo annual Oscar Collection Preview and Tea at the Peninsula Hotel on February 23, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 24: Singer Katy Perry performs live at Arena Allianz Parque on September 25, 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Daniel Vorley/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
LOS ANGELES (AP) - As Katy Perry returns stateside to kick off the North American leg of her Prismatic World Tour, she's reflecting on the hard work that got her here and preparing to pay it forward.
"I'm an American girl that had a dream, executed a dream, came from nothing - and that really is the American dream," Perry said. "I'm happy to be that example and hopefully inspire other people to do that."
The 29-year-old pop star is doing more than inspiring - she's leading by example and lending her fame to support American teachers. Perry helped present a $1 million donation Thursday from Staples Inc. to support teacher projects during the upcoming school year. She'll also invite fans at her concerts to join the "Make Roar Happen" initiative at DonorsChoose.org, where they can select projects to support and make donations as small as $1.
"I really believe knowledge is power, especially for females," she said in an interview. "I feel like our education makes us more confident."
Perry said although she "wasn't raised with a great education," she seeks it out now, visiting museums and national parks while on the road.
"I thought, instead of shopping my way around the world, why not educate my way around the world?" she said. Perry and her team hope to visit every nearby national park while on the 46-city North American tour, which starts June 22 in Raleigh, North Carolina. They also plan to stop at Dollywood in Tennessee.
Perry embraced the "Make Roar Happen" effort because so many of her fans are students. But she doesn't let being a role model drive her behavior.
"I'm aware that people look up to me, but I hope it's more an inspirational thing and not like, 'Katy Perry makes these decisions for herself, so therefore I'll make decisions based on those Katy Perry makes,' because that's not how anyone should live their life," she said. "But I hope they're inspired by my hard work, my ambition, and my integrity."
Perry will be on the road through October before launching the European leg of her tour next year. So is the former wife of Russell Brand and girlfriend of John Mayer enjoying being free and single as she adventures around the globe?
"I am relishing being very present," Perry said. "I'm relishing living one day at a time."