At the beginning of June, Detroit will shine in front of a worldwide TV audience when racing returns to the City with the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Between now and the dropping of the checkered flag, our Foundation will be a part of new programs to help about 800 Detroit students take advantage of new educational opportunities.

The programs, Fifth Gear and Grow Up Great, are funded by a grant from the PNC Bank Foundation. Built around a math and science curriculum, the goal of each program is to generate excitement for careers in science, technology, engineering and math through motorsports. While the Grow Up Great program is designed for preschoolers, the Fifth Gear initiative is focused on DPS fifth grade students.

In the weeks leading up to the Grand Prix, DPS classes that have been selected to participate in the programs will incorporate the curriculum into the classroom. On Friday, June 1 – PNC Bank Free Prix Day at the Grand Prix – the students will continue their learning on Belle Isle. They will get a rare opportunity to interact directly with actual race teams and engineers competing in the Grand Prix and experience hands-on learning, building on the classroom lessons.

Robotics teams from Detroit Public Schools Cass Technical High School, Westside Academy and Davis Aerospace Technical High School also will attend on June 1, bringing robots they have created to display on-site and serve as mentors to the younger students.

We’re happy to see a popular, positive event – the Grand Prix – back in Detroit. Like with the North American Auto Show, we’re proud to connect corporate supporters with students to experience Detroit’s “big events” in engaging ways.

The Grand Prix organization, with Roger Penske’s support, plans to make these long-term programs that will help make 5th grade in DPS a year eagerly awaited by students in future years. We look forward to sharing highlights of June 1st with you.