Immediate Release January 15, 2008
Contact: Steve Wasko
When Detroit Public Schools General Superintendent Connie K. Calloway, Ph.D. was invited to be the keynote speaker at City Year Detroit’s annual community service rally on the upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, she sought to use the occasion to recognize local young heroes who, like Dr. King, encounter roadblocks, rigors and resistance, yet they overcome. She asked high school students from across Detroit to write an essay on a hero in their lives-the only limitation being that the hero they write about had to attend their school.
The result: the heroes written about by the selected 28 essayists and the student writers themselves will be recognized not only at the January 21 event, but at an earlier special luncheon at one of Detroit’s finest restaurants and additionally through a number of support programs and mentoring relationships through placement in the very first cohort of the new Detroit Public Schools HDQ (Heroes Don’t Quit) program. Additionally, the students’ stories of courage, sacrifice, fate and perseverance overcoming abuse, broken families, homelessness, illness, disease and tragedy will be documented in a booklet.
“We want to make certain that as one of our heroes you have every opportunity for success, particularly with the support of successful adults,” said Dr. Calloway. An advisory panel of successful adults many of whom are DPS graduates will serve as mentors to ensure the youth’s success. The panel includes Detroit businessmen and former NBA stars Dave Bing, Derrick Coleman and Tarence Wheeler, attorney Floyd Allen, businessmen Jamar Thrower and Andre Smith, Detroit Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Joan McCray, Atlanta-based entrepreneurial trainer Jerome Edmondson, and others. The group envisions support additionally through counseling services, summer employment, and financial awards.
Two of the student heroes and essayists will join Dr. Calloway and HDQ advisory panel members at the January 21 City Year volunteer rally, 10:00 a.m. at Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Cross Blue Shield Bricktown Service Center Building, 500 E. Lafayette.