K-8 Youth Sports League to host Middle School Girls Basketball Championship Game & Jamboree Saturday, Nov. 22

Detroit Public Schools’ K-8 Youth Sports League will host the second annual Girls Basketball Championship Game & Jamboree Saturday, November 22 at Renaissance High School, 6565 W. Outer Drive.

Student athletes from schools including Schulze Academy for Technology and Arts, J.E. Clark Preparatory Academy, Munger Elementary-Middle School, Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, Ludington Magnet Middle School and Mackenzie Elementary-Middle School will compete on Saturday.

Game Schedule:

10 a.m.:           Semi-Final Game, Schulze vs. Clark, co-ed 3rd and 4th grade teams

11 a.m.:           Final Game, Munger vs. Winner of Game 1, co-ed 3rd and 4th grade teams

12 p.m.:           East vs. West, 8th Grade Showcase

1 p.m.:             Middle School Girls Semi-Final 1, Fisher vs. Clark

2 p.m.:             Middle School Girls Semi-Final 2, Ludington vs. Mackenzie

3:15 p.m.:        Championship Game

The K-8 Youth Sports League kicked off September 22 with six athletic programs for the fall season aimed at building healthy bodies for the district’s youngest learners and developing self-confidence, teamwork and leadership skills. DPS’ Fall sports lineup includes the new city-wide “Goal Detroit” soccer league endorsed by Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit PAL (Police Athletic League). The range of K-8 Fall sports include: Girls Basketball (grades 7-8); Co-Ed Basketball (grades 3-4); Co-Ed Soccer (grades K-5); Flag Football (grades K-2); Boys Tackle Football (grades 6-8) and Co-Ed Golf (grades K-5).

More about the K-8 Youth Sports League

The K-8 Youth Sports League was launched in 2013 as part of the district’s new five-year Strategic Plan, which added programs such as more arts and music and youth sports at the elementary-middle school level. Roughly 2,500 students participated in last year’s K-8 athletic programs. The start date for Girls Middle School Basketball (30 teams district-wide), K-5 Soccer (20 teams district-wide) and Co-Ed Basketball (20 teams district-wide) was September 27. Middle School Tackle Football (seven teams district-wide) and K-2 Flag Football began the week of September 22. For more details, visit detroitk12.org/youthsports or call 313.240.4377.

Village Women’s Club Foundation and Divine Child High School team up to bring Sweet Dreamzzz R.E.M. Sleep Program to Bennett Elementary

Students at Bennett Elementary School received the Sweet Dreamzzz R.E.M. (Rest. Educate. Motiwvate.) Sleep Program on Thursday, November 13. The program was funded by the Village Women’s Club Foundation, a private city club which offers fine dining, cultural, educational, social and philanthropic opportunities, and was supported by students from Divine Child High School in Dearborn.

The Divine Child students made fleece blankets for the preschoolers in the program and volunteered for both set-up and distribution. Over 450 children and 40 parents learned about the importance of sleep and a healthy bedtime routine.

According to Sweet Dreamzzz, developing healthy bedtime habits early on is important. Research reveals children commonly do not obtain enough sleep, which is crucial for better health, learning, and function during the day. By providing sleep education and bedtime essentials, Sweet Dreamzzz empowers children and families to get a good night’s sleep forming healthy habits that last a lifetime.

For more information about the Sweet Dreamzzz Program, visit sweetdreamzzz.org.

Bennett teacher honored at Goodfellows breakfast

Elizabeth Kolesar, a teacher at Bennett Elementary School, was honored at the Old Newsboy’s Goodfellows Fund of Detroit’s Annual Tribute Breakfast on Wednesday, November 19. The breakfast was held at Cobo Hall in the Riverfront Ballroom recognizing the Detroit Police Department for 100 years of partnership to ensure the Goodfellows mission of “no kiddie without Christmas.”

The Detroit Goodfellows announced Kolesar as the fifth annual Goodfellows “Teacher of the Year” on June 10, 2014. Detroit Goodfellow’s board members surprised Kolesar at a school event with the news, presented her with a $200 gift card to buy classroom supplies, and informed her that she would be acknowledged at the Annual Tribute Breakfast.

Principal Josette Buendia, Ms. Kolesar and eight Bennett students were honored and recognized during the breakfast.

Drew Transition Center, a center-based school for students with special needs, opens a Farmstand with vegetables harvested by students

Drew Transition Center’s Horticulture Program, The Gardens at Drew, offered parents and the community the opportunity to purchase fresh greens, produce and food-related products at reasonable prices during the Grand Opening of a new Farmstand on Friday, Nov. 21.  The vegetables were harvested at this center-based school for students with special needs, and the products on sale were made/assembled by the students. Among the offerings: Three different blends of Lettuce mixes, Kale, two varieties of Spinach, Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Beet Greens and Turnip Greens. Drew’s food-related products also were for sale, including the “famous” Drew’s Spice Rub (great for Chicken, Fish, Pork or Beef), four different blends of pre-packaged Teas, and Wildflower Seeds.

About the program:

The Drew Transition Center Horticulture Program and ConsumerLink Network Gardens at Drew hope to create opportunities for all students to have access to materials and programs to learn, develop and participate in horticulture through the planting, management, consumption and sales of vegetables and flowers. Through interactive methods carefully designed around students’ specific disabilities, and to allow for maximum involvement and skill development, the ConsumerLink Network Gardens at Drew hopes to become the model for the nation in the methodology and programs developed to educate center-based special education students in the areas of Horticulture Science. The objectives of the ConsumerLink Network Gardens at Drew center around the development of a comprehensive program to allow for each student to gain functional independence and/or job readiness skills in the production, consumption and sales of food and food-related products.

Cass Tech’s offensive line a powerful force in the state playoffs

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

Cass Tech’s leading man Mike Weber has a strong opening act — his offensive line.

“The O-line is the most important component,’’ Technicians head coach Thomas Wilcher said. “If they don’t block, give your quarterback time to throw, and open holes for your running game, you’re not going to be able to do anything with the ball. They’ve had everything to do with our offensive success.”

The unbeaten Technicians (12-0), coming off a 48-35 regional championship victory against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley last weekend, are anticipating another battle of high-powered offenses Saturday at 1 p.m. in their MHSAA Division 1 state semifinal game against Saline (11-1) at Troy Athens High School.

“(Saline) is a very effective offensive machine,’’ Wilcher said. “They can score points and score quickly, just like Chippewa Valley. They’ve got a good quarterback, good running back, good receivers, a good offensive line and a good coach. It’s going to be a test for us.”


Cass Tech celebrates its fifth consecutive Division 1 football regional championship

Cass Tech has proved capable of prevailing in offensive shootouts, led by Weber’s 2,130 yards and 28 TDs for the season.

The 5-10, 205-pound senior, who has verbally committed to Michigan, entrenched himself as the state’s top running back last Saturday when he rushed for 404 yards and scored five touchdowns to beat Chippewa Valley.

“It’s these guys right here. They did it for me,’’ said Weber, sharing the credit for his Division 1 playoff single-game rushing record with his big, fast and powerful offensive linemen —  senior left tackle Josh Alabi (6-0, 275), junior left guard Michael Onwenu (6-2, 340), junior center Alvin Clemons (6-0, 260), junior right guard Ostell Martin (6-5, 326) and senior right tackle Daimen Oliver (6-3, 285).

“They opened the holes and I just ran through them,” Weber said.

The Technicians’ O-line has been basking in Weber’s glory this week and say they enjoy being the power that leads the ride.

“Blocking for Mike is a pleasure,” Alabi, an Ohio State verbal commit, told The Detroit News. “We’ve had a good relationship and he’s like a brother. It’s fun to block for him since he’s such a great running back. Knowing somebody can run the ball as good as he can behind you is a great feeling. He knows how to read blocks and read holes and he hits them and does his thing. He’s a great runner.”

“Blocking for him is an honor,” said Onwenu, who has another year of high school but already has major college suitors, including Ohio State, Michigan and Miami. “All you have to do is hit your guy, give him a hole and he’s gone.”

Saline got a glimpse of Weber two years ago as a sophomore when he ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 regional championship victory. He was a relative unknown then, but everybody knows him now.

“Mike is going to get his yards and we know he is going to have some explosion plays,” Saline coach Joe Palka told The News. “We have to minimize them and keep that game close. We can’t let him run crazy.”

Saturday’s game will be Cass Tech’s fifth consecutive appearance in the state semifinals. A victory would earn their third trip in four years to the state championship game at Ford Field, including back to back Division 1 titles in 2011 and 2012.

Defending champion Clarkston (12-0) faces East Kentwood (11-1) in the other Division 1  semifinal game Saturday at Brighton High School.

“It would be great if we can get back to Ford Field a third time for the state championship game,’’ Wilcher said.

“It’s something that hasn’t been done by a PSL team. It would be a great accomplishment for the league, Detroit Public Schools and the city of Detroit. But first we have to get there. We know we have to come ready to play against Saline.”


Renaissance students attend YES Conference at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

IMG_1584Thanks to an outstanding partnership with the Michigan GEAR UP Program at Wayne State University, nearly 20 students from Renaissance High School recently attended the YES (Young Educators Society) Conference at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

The conference was held on October 30 and aimed to inspire students to think, prepare and plan for their educational experiences beyond high school. The WSU GEAR UP Program services approximately 2,000 DPS students.

“This conference has a tremendous impact on DPS students,” said Jamar Lockhart, WSU GEAR UP counselor. “It provides them with exposure to college life from current college students as well as educators and administrators from the University of Michigan. Students were also able to receive motivational words of wisdom from speakers such as Joe Johnson and Jonathan Parks.”

Johnson is a national speaker, licensed school counselor, author and educator at the University of Florida. Parks is the director of the WSU GEAR UP Program. He is also a motivational speaker involved in education reform.

Cass Tech’s Mike Weber first PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week twice in same season

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

The objective of the Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is to recognize the accomplishments of as many Detroit Public School League boys and girls top athletes as possible.

Cass Tech’s Mike Weber is the first in the five-year history of the award to be named PSLer of the Week twice in the same season.

Cass Tech 48, Chippewa Valley 35 157No other choice was conscionable after Weber ran for a MHSAA Division 1 state-playoff record 404 yards and scored five touchdowns in the Technicians’ 48-35 regional championship victory last Saturday against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley.

Playing his last home game on Cass Tech’s dirt field, Weber left an indelible footprint as one of the best running backs to ever play in the talent-rich PSL.

“The PSL has had a long history of great running backs, but right now in this period of time, I think Mike Weber is one of the best running backs we’ve ever had in the last 20-30 years,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “He’s one of the best going back even 40 years ago.”

Weber scored on explosive bursts of 6, 50, 45, 76 and 44 yards and earned the highest of praise from the opposing head coach.

“You’re the best player in the state of Michigan,” said Chippewa Valley’s Scott Merchant, graciously congratulating the 5-10, 205-pound senior immediately after the game.

Weber has since been chosen U.S. Army All-American Player of the Week for his effort. He will play Jan. 3 in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Weber has a verbal commitment to the University of Michigan but has said he plans to take visits to other schools. He now has 2,130 yards and 28 TDs for the season despite sitting out three games.

This is the third time he’s been chosen PSLer of the Week. He gained the honor Oct. 16 after rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns in Cass Tech’s 25-15 victory against Mumford. He also was honored last season as a junior.

The only other PSLer of the Week to be named twice in the same school year was King’s Dennis Norfleet, currently a U of Michigan junior, who won the honor for football and basketball in 2011-12 and was ultimately chosen the Proud Strong Learner of the Year.

Weber’s record-setting performance led the unbeaten Technicians (12-0) to their fifth consecutive regional crown and state semifinal appearance. They will play Saline (11-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Troy Athens High School, with the winner advancing to the Division 1 state championship game on Thanksgiving weekend at Ford Field against the East Kentwood (11-1) vs. defending champion Clarkston (12-0) semifinal winner.

“We’re all riding that train, that Mike Weber train,” Wilcher said.  “He did a great job. It was something we needed and it helped push us over the top. It helped the team do better because he made other people have to step up.”

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.


Congratulations Earhart student! The Parade Company brings winning student’s design to life during 23rd Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest.

DETROIT (November 19, 2014) –Eighth grade student Naomi West of Earhart Elementary-Middle School in Detroit saw her artistic creation brought to life for the first time today at The Parade Company when she was announced as the 23rd Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest winner.

Credit: Paul Engstrom/Skillman Foundation

Credit: Paul Engstrom/Skillman Foundation

West’s drawing entitled “Children’s Pet Cuddle & Care Club” was transformed into a magnificent float which features a giant bobble head dog sitting five feet in diameter with a dog bowl large enough to hold up to 20 gallons of water. The 30 foot long float also boasts a bag of puppy food which can hold 30 regular-sized bags of dog food. The float features an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2014 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites. West, who was the runner up winner in the 2013 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest, will be joined by her family as she accompanies her float along the parade route during America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van.

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Renaissance High School unveils new weight room courtesy of UAW, Ford

Renaissance, the No. 1 ranked high school by Excellent Schools Detroit, unveiled its newly-renovated weight room at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, November 18. The new $20,000 weight room, which includes fresh paint, rubberized flooring, new and re-upholstered equipment, was made possible by a donation from the UAW-Ford National Programs Center.

The ceremony was attended by Principal Anita Williams, Emergency Manager Jack Martin, Ford Motor Company’s Vice President of Labor Affairs Bill Dirksen, UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles and many of the school’s student-athletes whom the fully-equipped facility will benefit.

Detroit Lions Linebacker Stephen Tulloch continues “Operation 55 Adopt a School” at Davison Elementary-Middle School

Stephen Tulloch, Linebacker for the Detroit Lions, continued his “Operation 55 Adopt a School” program on Tuesday, November 18 at Davison Elementary-Middle School. Tulloch, with the help of Roary the Lions mascot, delivered 25 tablets, art supplies, notebooks, calculators recess supplies, and learning games during an in-school assembly.

Operation 55 was launched in 2011 when Tulloch signed with the Detroit Lions. The purpose of the program is to help as many people as possible and give children throughout the Metro Detroit area opportunities to come to Detroit Lions’ home games to experience a game day with Tulloch. He has taken over 2,000 kids from various organizations throughout Detroit, including The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, Big Family and more, to Detroit Lions’ home games since he became a Detroit Lion. Tulloch also partnered with the Covenant House of Michigan, providing 55 kids with free dental services, and adopted families in Detroit for the holidays providing them with food, clothing and toys.

Tulloch personally selected each school across the city and is helping grant the wishes of the hardworking teachers and staff by donating books, computers, learning programs, athletic equipment and more.

About the Stephen Tulloch Foundation
Launched in 2009, the Stephen Tulloch Foundation helps assist underprivileged youth with opportunities to be successful and works to provide them with the same opportunities as other children. Mr. Tulloch’s goal is to supply youth with the essentials to build self-esteem, establish their goals, and help unlock their potential.