Cass Tech, King set for PSL football title showdown Friday at Ford Field

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

It doesn’t matter to Cass Tech that King High is the home team for Friday’s 7 p.m. Detroit Public School League Football Championship Game at Ford Field. As far as the defending champion Technicians are concerned, it’s a home game for them any time they’re playing at the nearby downtown den of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

“We’re going to make that walk again,’’ said Coach Thomas Wilcher, who plans to continue his team’s championship-game ritual of walking from the school to Ford Field, a trek they made last year for the PSL finals and in the two previous seasons for the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I finals.

On each occasion when they’ve made that two-mile walk, Cass Tech has come away with a victory, including a 20-14 thriller against King in last year’s league championship game.

“I want to keep it like that,’’ Wilcher said. “We just look at it that we’re walking to our home field. All the injured people get on the bus. But everybody else walks.”

The Technicians plan to be walking strong Friday with no key injuries to report. They will need to be at full strength against Coach Dale Harvel’s Crusaders, who come in with an  identical 6-0 league and 8-0 overall record as Cass Tech’s.

“It’s a great honor to play against one of the best coaches in the PSL, Dale Harvel,” Wilcher said. “He has brought his team back to the finals undefeated. And we’re back again undefeated. The key for us will be trying to capitalize against their defense. Dale Harvel’s teams always have a great defense and this year is no different.”

King cruised to a 34-0 victory against Renaissance in last Friday’s league semifinals. And, though the Crusaders appeared to have an easier time than Cass’s 19-12 semifinal victory against East English Village, Harvel was not happy with his team’s running game.

They prevailed behind a pass-reliant attack in which junior quarterback Mikale Washington, a transfer from San Diego, threw four touchdown passes, including two to junior wide receiver Donnie Corley, who transferred from Wyandotte Roosevelt and already has multiple Division 1 college offers.

“We got the win, but we didn’t do anything in the run game that says that we’re a team that can move on in the state playoffs,” said Harvel. “We have to be able to run the football to beat a team like Cass. You can’t be one dimensional, throwing the ball up and down the field, playing Arena football, and expect to beat Cass Tech.”

King’s defense has been stingy, allowing an average of just six points a game this season with six shutouts in its wake, The Crusaders are led by linebacker Tyriq Thompson and lineman Kyonta Stallworth, a pair of Michigan State-bound blue-chippers.

The Crusaders will have their hands full against Cass Tech senior running back Mike Weber, who ran for 216 yards and three touchdowns in the comeback victory against East English, and is verbally committed to Michigan.

“He’s a great running back and he’s the biggest factor on the field,’’ Wilcher said of Weber, a U.S. Army All-American selection. “Our team is based on the running game, with Mike Weber and those big dogs up front.”

Josh Alabi, who’s committed to Ohio State, is one of those “big dogs.” The 6-5, 275-pound senior two-way linemen helps plow open holes for the running game, while junior cornerback LaVert Hill is another top D-1 prospect and will be counted on to help slow down King’s passing game.

Wilcher has no concerns about the big-game readiness of his sophomore quarterback Rodney Hall, who has started all season after he was pressed into duty when senior Jayru Campbell became unavailable.

“He played last year in the state playoffs and this year in the opening (Prep Kickoff) classic, so I’m quite sure he’s ready for this game, too,” Wilcher said.

King should get an emotional boost from the return to the sidelines for Harvel, who suffered a heart attack Sept. 27 after the Mumford game and had been letting his assistants take charge in his absence.

“My doctors told me I could go back as long as I’m taking my medication and doing the things I need to do, watch my diet, get my sleep,’’ Harvel said. “It’s great to be back again and I’m feeling good, real good. This is what it’s all about and the kids are excited to face Cass Tech. We’re looking to have another great game with them.”

The action Friday starts with the PSL consolation game between Mumford (4-2 league, 5-3 overall) and Cody (4-2 league, 5-3 overall) at 4 p.m. Admission is $10 and children 5 and under are admitted free. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the Ford Field box office the day of the game.

This is the fourth year in a row the PSL is hosting its championship game at the home of the Detroit Lions. And, while fans are encouraged to root for their team and enjoy the festive event, Ford Field officials request that fans strictly adhere to their policy of what is permitted inside the stadium.

Field Items Not Permitted in the Stadium

–   Aerosol cans (hair spray, mace, pepper spray, etc.

–   Animals (except service animals to aid guests with disabilities)

–   Backpacks, luggage, grocery and paper bags, duffle bags, large bags, large purses or large camera cases: 8 1/2” x 14” x 10” is maximum size for entry

–   Balloons (air or helium)

–   Balls (beach balls, footballs, baseballs, etc.)

–   Banners

–   Cameras with lenses longer than five inches long

–   Coolers of any kind, including small soft pack coolers

–   Decals, stickers, confetti or glitter

–   Electronic equipment including laptop computers and tripods

–   Fireworks

–   Food, beverages or liquids (cans, bottles or boxes)

–   Illegal substances

Laser pointers

–   Markers (permanent) and/or paint

–   Noisemaking devices (bells, horns, kazoos, whistles, etc.)

–   Objects that can be used as missiles or projectiles (sticks, bats, clubs, frisbees, etc.)

–   Strollers and infant/car seats or carriers

–   Umbrellas

–   Weapons

No weapons are allowed in the Stadium. Possession of a firearm or any other weapon is strictly forbidden. Possession of such a weapon will result in immediate confiscation, ejection and possible arrest.

The following items will be permitted after inspection:

–   Binoculars and binocular cases

–   Cameras and small camera cases (must comply with the camera/lens limits)

–   Diaper bags (only if accompanied by a child)

–   Small bags, purses and fanny packs (must comply with the bag limits)

–   Small radios (must be used with an earpiece)

–   Signs and clothing (must comply with standards of taste and decency; no profane or offensive messages. Signs must not block another guest’s view)

–   Video cameras and video recorders are allowed


Cass Tech’s depth in the pool wins PSL girls’ swim championship

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

Cass Tech took home gold medals in the 50-yard freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle relay, but it was the Lady Technicians’ depth of talent that enabled them to repeat as Detroit Public School League girls’ swimming champions Wednesday at King High School natatorium.

Despite host King taking six of 11 events with gold medals in the 200 medley relay, 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay, Cass Tech piled up points with multiple top-five finishers and finished with 180 points to the Lady Crusaders’ 126.

Western finished third with 84 points followed by Renaissance 56, Cody 19 and East English Village 10.


Cass Tech 2014 PSL girls’ swimming champions

“All my girls did a great job today,’’ said Cass Tech Kia Jones, who was ceremoniously tossed into the pool by her swimmers after their championship was announced. “They all swam well and contributed to us scoring the most points to win.”

Cass Tech’s success was led by senior Zuri Berry, who won the 100 backstroke, senior Ashley Holmes, who won the 50 freestyle, and junior Heidi Delatorre, who won the 500 freestyle.

King was led by a pair of double winners, freshman Anquniece Wheeler, who won the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, and senior Paris Dimick, who took gold in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.

Renaissance sophomore Mia Felder won the 200 freestyle as the only swimmer who was able to break the King-Cass domination of the victory stand.


Tickets available for Framed By Grace Films’ “Cody High: A Life Remodeled Project!” which will premiere on Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Red Carpet Premiere for Framed By Grace Films’ Cody High: A Life Remodeled Project! will take place Sunday, October 26, 2014 at the Redford Theater: 17360 Lahser Rd, Detroit, MI 48219. For the last year, the Framed By Grace team has partnered with Life Remodeled to capture and tell the powerful story of the Cody Rouge Community’s hope through adversity.

Time: Doors Open at 4:00 p.m. Showtime: 5:30 p.m.

General Admission: $20.00 VIP: $40.00

To purchase tickets:

VIP access includes: Premium seating and a photograph on the red carpet (to be downloaded at a later date).

The attire for the evening will be semi-formal. The film will run for approximately 90 minutes. A panel discussion with community leaders will follow the film showing.

Neinas Elementary hosts SEMIS Coalition Summer Institute

Neinas Elementary School hosted this year’s Southeast Michigan Stewardship (SEMIS) Coalition Summer Institute. Third, fourth, and fifth-grade students spoke to teachers who attended the institute about their work and performed a play written, designed and staged with help from Matrix Theatre Company. Impressed by their own work, many students shared that they had begun to view themselves as leaders, and felt more confident about teaching adults as well as their fellow peers.

According to SEMIS, the Coalition services school and community partnerships to develop students into citizen-stewards of healthy ecological-social systems.

Read the full story here!

Durfee Elementary-Middle School opens Ben Carson Reading Room

Through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Donald Janower, the Carson Scholars Fund announced the opening of the Ben Carson Reading Room at Durfee Elementary-Middle School. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday, October 21. Carson Scholars Fund co-founder, Candy Carson, participated in the opening by sharing a few words with guests and students. Jeff Janower represented the Janower family.

The Ben Carson Reading Project is an initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund. The Carson Scholars Fund was founded by retired world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy. The purpose of the Ben Carson Reading Project is to create a literacy enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills. The reading project is dedicated to promoting reading as a key to unlocking a child’s full potential.

Dr. Ben Carson credits reading as being a catalyst to his success. “When I was a child, reading allowed me to discover all the opportunities that the world has to offer,” said Dr. Carson. “There are endless possibilities for students when they discover the joy of reading and learning.  If children begin to challenge themselves to soak up all the information they can, they will certainly be able to reach their goals and achieve their dreams.”

This is the fifth Ben Carson Reading Room to be sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Donald Janower.  According to Principal Ricardo Martin, “When I think about the indelible legacy left by Detroit native Dr. Benjamin Carson it reminds me of hope. Hope that someone can learn to overcome obstacles to read despite the psychological labels placed on him. Our global society themed reading room defines what it means to immeasurably see the world through the lens of reading by concentration and imagination. The Durfee family is extremely grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Janower’s investment in memory, communication and the mind of knowledge. This room signifies the excellence of reading as a gift for what is possible in all children.”

Currently, there are 114 Ben Carson Reading Rooms serving students in 16 states and Washington D.C.

The Carson Scholars Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1994 by world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson and his wife, Candy. The organization is dedicated to combating illiteracy and promoting leisure reading as a key to unlocking a child’s full potential.

To learn more about the Carson Scholars Fund, visit

Clippert teacher receives Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education Award

Joseph Lacey Poses for a Photo with Excellence in Education  Award Clippert Academy Teacher Joseph Lacey was honored with the Michigan Lottery’s “Excellence in Education” Award on September 24 in Lansing. The award was presented by Tom Izzo, head coach for the Michigan State University (Spartans) men’s basketball team.

About the Michigan Lottery’s Excellence in Education Award

Each week, the Michigan Lottery showcases well-deserving K-12 teachers and staff who are making a noteworthy impact in the lives of Michigan students.
Selected educators will receive a $500 cash prize, a $500 grant to the educator’s classroom, school or school district and will be featured during a WXYZ broadcast. In addition, all Excellence in Education award winners will be automatically entered into the Michigan Lottery’s “Educator of the Year Award” for a grand prize of $10,000.

International “Walk to School Day” at Pasteur Elementary

Students from Pasteur Elementary School participated in the International “Walk to School Day” on Wednesday, October 8. The school registered for the event through the Michigan Fitness Foundation and the Michigan Safe Routes to School Program.

Prior to the event, staff members had discussions with students about Safe Routes to School and walking to school safely. Pasteur also had a poster contest where students decorated posters about ways to safely walk to school. The two contest winners, third-grader Amathulah Stanley and sixth-grader Ronasha Payne, received books and all students who participated in the event received “Walk to School Day” stickers.

School of the Week: Emerson Elementary-Middle School

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.“ ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A strong academic program with just the right mixture of technology and art are the perfect ingredients to produce an award-winning curriculum, according to Emerson Elementary-Middle School Principal Brenda Carethers.

Emerson Elementary-Middle School, a two-building facility housing grades Pre-K-8, was named after Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist, philosopher, poet and supporter of abolitionism. When Carethers took the role as principal in 2009, she put the school into a reconstruction phase with more than 75 percent new staff members. As part of the reconstruction period, Carethers implemented a three-year academic plan with a new focus on integrated learning in areas including science, technology and art.

Known for its unique, in-school Butterfly Greenhouse, Emerson students are offered STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) opportunities beginning at the Pre-K level. Both school buildings are fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology in every room. Emerson has a media center, iPads, laptops, Promethean/SMART interactive whiteboards, multimedia projectors, document cameras, laser printers and scanners in order to maximize student engagement and achievement.

“Our students are exposed to blended learning which utilizes traditional learning with technology. This component is important and acts as a visual piece, which I find is most impactful to our students,” Carethers said.

Because of Emerson’s heavy focus on technology and science – and involvement in programs including Robotics, A World in Motion and Think Green – many Emerson students have set high standards to pursue the most unique careers.

“I want to be a statistician,” 10-year-old Terry Turner said. “I like dealing with numbers and working with addition, subtraction, multiplication and everything about math.”

Turner is one of many students at Emerson who have a passion for learning and already seem to be career-focused.

Eighth-grader William Ivory also shared that his favorite subject is math, but wants to be a technical engineer.

“I love math and being a part of the robotics team,” said Ivory. “I also like to draw. I think that art signifies a person’s creativity which, is just as important as any other subject.”

It’s no surprise these students are so career-focused. Carethers shared that she and her staff constantly promote careers in science, engineering and technology and take every chance to incorporate real-life practices into the curriculum.

Emerson is also an award-winning Go Green school and boasts having Science Teacher Kunjan Vyas, who oversees the Butterfly Greenhouse attached to her classroom.

Students receive hands-on learning when working in the Butterfly Greenhouse, which Vyas said during the spring is filled with dozens of Monarch Butterflies that students are able to study and observe. The Butterfly Greenhouse also leads outside to the school’s garden beds which are shaped as the “Michigan Mitten.”

“We completed 16 Go Green projects last year during the Go Green Challenge thanks to our outstanding science teacher Ms. Vyas,” Carethers said. “She is a wonderful asset to our science program and helps the school receive grants from organizations including DTE, GM and Bosch Engineering. These grants help sponsor many of the science and technology equipment you see throughout the school.”

Emerson also has an award-winning art gallery that houses art pieces by students of all grade levels. This year, Emerson had 11 submissions at the 77th Annual Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts with two first-place winners.

According to Art Teacher Bonita Wells “art mediums” are art materials or artist supplies used to create a work of art. Wells challenges her students by working with many types of mediums including recycled jeans, juice cups, old telephone wires, paint, pottery and more.

“I have a lot of talent that I am able to work with here. So I try to channel busy students by utilizing art, and they really go places and create things they never realized they could,” Wells said.

Carethers has a passion for the arts. When she became principal of Emerson, she knew art was another aspect that needed to be incorporated into the school’s curriculum.

“I want my students to have the same experiences as students who attend schools such as Cranbrook. Many schools in our district are doing outstanding things in their art departments and my school is one of them,” Carethers said.

The 23-year DPS veteran prides her school on being a professional learning community with highly qualified staff. Emerson students continue to achieve academic excellence by taking advantage of the integrated curriculum focused on cooperation, collaboration and holding high expectations for all stakeholders.

Cass Tech volleyball standout Monette Daniels named PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

With a mostly new cast of regulars, Cass Tech’s Monette Daniels was determined to make sure the Technicians continued their success as the four-time defending Detroit Public School League girls’ volleyball champions.

“Monette has emerged as the leader,’’ first-year coach Ramona Cox said of her 5-10 senior middle blocker and team captain, the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week. “Coming into the season, she saw there was a hole in leadership and she filled it immediately.

volleyball 667“That leadership is on the court and off the court. The girls look up to her. Monette not only shows leadership with her play as a great hitter. But when she’s in the front row and I have some of my younger players come in, she often tells them where they need to be on the court. She has been very instrumental in guiding us to a successful season.”

Daniels, in her fourth season on the varsity, is coming off a week in which she led the Technicians with 23 kills, seven aces and five blocks at the University of Michigan-Dearborn tournament. She also had eight aces and five kills in a victory against DIA and seven kills and six aces in a victory against King.

The Technicians are again in the PSL finals and will face Renaissance next Thursday at Western International High for the 2014 championship. Cox, who was JV coach last year in Ed Tomlin’s final season as varsity coach, said Daniels’ leadership has kept the focus on team goals.

“She’s willing to help build the younger players’ confidence and that allows them to not be so nervous,” Cox said. “All the girls are dedicated to working hard. Monette sets the example.  I can’t be the team’s only leader. We needed a leader and she stepped up and took on that role.”

The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and is sponsored by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators.

Bates Academy teams up with AmeriCorps to host annual “Ride Your Bike to School Day”

Students, staff and community members, along with volunteers from the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project at Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies, took part in Bates Academy’s annual Ride Your Bike to School Day on Friday, October 17.

Bates has deemed the special day “Ride, Walk, Stroll to Bates Academy” and welcomed surrounding community members to take part by bike, foot or vehicle to advocate student safety. Parents and students met at All Saints Episcopal Church on Seven Mile Road just before sunrise with patrols from the DPS Police Department, City of Detroit, Sherwood Forest and University District.

Members of Bates’ Parent Advisory Council on Student Achievement and Principal Cleo Moody also took part in the event by riding alongside students. The AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project volunteers, who work to promote safety and community awareness within Detroit’s “Bike Watch,” were also present during “Ride, Walk, Stroll to Bates Academy” day. Bates’ parents and staff agree that physical fitness has a positive effect on a child’s ability to concentrate, reduces stress, improves cognitive function, and leads to an overall increase in student achievement.

The event took place one day after AAA of Michigan presented a check for more than $200,000 to the district to keep students safe while traveling to and from school. DPS and a host of agencies unveiled a comprehensive Safe Routes to School strategy focused on keeping all students safe through coordinated Safe Zones, volunteer vehicle patrols, prioritized street light replacement, blight removal around student walking routes, signage, Eyes & Ears Patrols and more at a Community Breakfast held at the Brightmoor Community Center.