When I think back to the influence Detroit Public Schools had on me, I think of the foundation and appreciation of higher education that was instilled in me as far back as middle school.  With every Detroit Public School I attended, I found that there were specific teachers that once a student showed interest they were willing to go the extra mile.    

I remember my Science teacher at Bates Middle School, Mr. Mitchell and I remember loving Science and Botany and I remember him giving my twin sister and I extra books to read outside of the assigned curriculum and the Botany Club he exposed us to and the interest he took in our love of Science.  Throughout my time as a DPS student whether in middle school or high schools, I felt a real sense of caring from my teachers.  Teachers that were willing to go above and beyond the assigned curriculum and give back and uplift their students.  This really made me feel encouraged about my intelligence and reassured me about who I was as a student and my ability. 

Detroit can be a difficult place to grow up in I feel I had a safe place in school where I wasn’t only learning but I was given a great foundation of confidence.  Not just confidence in my education but confidence in who I was, what I wanted to explore and who I wanted to be, I got that from DPS.  I got a lot of my confidence I believe because of my experiences in Detroit Public Schools and that’s why when I’m in town or I have a chance to give back I do.  I have a responsibility to DPS for all it did for me.

As a 2002 Cass Tech graduate, I see a real importance to give back.  I know every graduating class does something special and I know my class is very involved in giving back and supporting Cass Tech as a learning environment.  From campus beautification to lectures at the school we as a class and I as an individual are all doing our part to reach back to the current students and let them know they have support and I still feel the support every time I come home.

I know at times there are so many negative things said about our city and our schools and what people don’t realize is this negativity can and does affect the minds of students.  I had many positive experiences in DPS and I know there are so many others that are having those same positive experiences.  But, I also know there are some who may be struggling a bit or having difficulty and I want them to know they’re not alone.  I know as a student at Cass Tech at times given the surroundings of where the school was we would witness a certain lack of human dignity all while going to school and trying to get an education; but what I realized in seeing and going through all that is I didn’t have to be a direct reflection or product of my environment.  I could choose to allow it to affect me the way I wanted it to and the way I let my surroundings affect me every day when I walked through the doors of Cass Tech was to inspire me.

It’s these experiences that helped me choose a career that encourages and inspires people to follow their dreams and their hearts; so if I could ask one thing of other DPS alum it would be to give back.  Whether with your time or a financial contribution, this is the season of giving and we should all be thankful and give back.  We know the positive impact DPS had on us and our lives and it’s our duty to make sure future generations of DPS students are given the same experiences and prepared with the same foundations we had.  DPS made a difference in my life and I know with our continued support as alum we can ensure the Detroit Public Schools Foundation continues to make a difference in the lives of its students!