NEWS from Detroit Public Schools
Office of Public Relations

Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Wasko
313-873-4892 or 313-212-5636

Sixteen students from the Kettering West Wing Entrepreneurship Project and the Marcus Garvey Academy have found common ground-it’s called business. They have combined their energy, curiosity, ability and drive and created a tee shirt line, Kold Kickz that was launched on May 15th.

The Entrepreneurship Project was created by Laketa Dumas-Blackmon, a paraprofessional for the special education students at Kettering. It is structured for students who are classified as mildly and moderately cognitively impaired. The upside is that these students can do more than was previously thought. “While working with the special needs population, I found that many of them had a wide array of uncultivated gifts and talents. I realized that with the right system in place, we could defeat many obstacles and barriers that were in the way of their progress. We learned that they could achieve on a higher level,” said Blackmon.

Bringing the non-impaired eighth grade students from Garvey into the project has helped them to learn more about special needs students and to grow past their prejudices and stereotypical attitudes. The impaired students take personal pride in working with non-impaired students and gain self confidence. On every level, they work together and have pioneered a type of partnership that has proven to be beneficial for everyone involved.

From the concept to the final production, the students did all of the work on the tee shirt. They learned about product development, marketing research, branding, manufacturing, raising capital, intellectual property and how to develop a group business plan. There is no doubt that those lessons can translate into employment opportunities for all of the students in the future.

The final steps in the process were printing, which was done by WC Spring Printing, and the selling. Students have a supply of tee shirts on hand which sell for $13 to $15. To support their business venture, each student must sell ten tee-shirts plus they are sold at the schools. Contact the Marcus Garvey Academy at 866-5770 or Ms. Blackmon at Kettering West Wing at 852-3452 to pick up or order a shirt.

The downside.? There is none. The students are so buoyed by the success of taking a product to market that they’ve already completed most of the work on their next venture – an athletic shoe.

For information about enrollment, call 313-873-7098 or visit our website at

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