Grammy Award winning artist & DPS alum Big Sean visits two DPS schools to distribute more than 1,000 sackpacks and share a positive back-to-school message

DETROIT—Grammy Award winning artist Big Sean, along with his mother Myra Anderson, president of the Sean Anderson Foundation, returned to his hometown on Thursday, August 21, 2014 to provide school supplies at two Detroit Public Schools: Carleton Elementary-Middle School and Blackwell Institute.  This year’s giveaway marks the Sean Anderson Foundation’s 2nd annual Back to School Giveback. Courtesy of the Office Depot Foundation, Sean and his non-profit organization distributed more than 1,000 sackpacks containing essential school supplies and children’s books to DPS students and potential new students at Blackwell Institute and Carleton Elementary-Middle School.

Both Cass Technical High School alums shared a positive back-to-school message with DPS parents and students as part of the “See It Believe It”Retain/Gain Enrollment Campaign. The message:  Be ready to start school on September 2nd on time, all day, and every day. Both also shared their support for DPS and the high-quality educational programs offered to Detroit students, as well as their personal experiences as former students.

Blackwell and Carleton schools were selected for the special visits on Thursday to help boost enrollment and excitement for the first day of class.

Big Sean said to the students: “You have the power to create anything you want. If you can think it, you’re already on your way to achieving it – whatever that ‘it’ is. Know that you can achieve anything.”

“I grew up in this city, just like all of you,” he added. “We have something special about us that no one else has: We were built tough. We’re strong. We’re resilient, and we can overcome anything. So when you grow up to achieve your dream careers, and begin to travel around the world, proudly represent Detroit.”

The event was held in conjunction with Detroit Public Schools’ new “See It Believe It” Retain/Gain Enrollment Campaign launched this summer to ensure the district retains all current students and gains new enrollees. The new branding seeks to demonstrate the school system’s commitment to providing academic programs, initiatives and partnerships – such as with Big Sean and the Sean Anderson Foundation – that families desire, and making strategic decisions to attract and retain families.

“Big Sean, Myra Anderson and the Sean Anderson Foundation are true partners of Detroit Public Schools,” said Jack Martin, DPS Emergency Manager. “We’re always excited to see alumni return to the district to help inspire and motivate our students. Both Sean and Myra truly embody the spirit of coming back and giving back to your community.”

Big Sean and the Sean Anderson Foundation have made it an annual tradition to return to Detroit Public Schools to provide school supplies, help promote positive attendance and share motivational messages with DPS students.

Later in the day on Thursday, Big Sean joined the Office Depot Foundation at the Office Depot store in Oak Park to donate 3,500 sackpacks containing school supplies to Detroit Public Schools and several area nonprofit organizations. The Foundation is donating 350,000 sackpacks to children across the United States and internationally in 2014 through its National Backpack Program.

On June 12 Big Sean served as “Principal for the Day” at Bates Academy, an Excellent Schools Detroit “Top K-8 Recommended School.” Competing against thousands of students from 37 Detroit Public Schools’ middle and high schools, Bates won the Get Schooled Detroit Attendance Challengethis spring for a chance to have Big Sean spend the day with students. In an effort to combat chronic absenteeism across the district, DPS partnered with Get Schooled and its founding partner, Viacom, through the company’s Viacommunity social responsibility umbrella, to offer the Detroit Attendance Challenge in support of the district’s “On Time. All Day. Every Day.” Campaign. More than half of all participating schools posted attendance increases during the challenge.

In 2013, Big Sean returned to Detroit to personally pass out thousands of sackpacks at Eastern Market to DPS students during the district’s Back to School Campaign.

About Big Sean

Big Sean attended the Detroit Waldorf School, a school of art, from kindergarten to eighth grade. He later attended and graduated from Cass Technical High School. The chart-topping artist was first signed to Kanye West’s music label GOOD in 2007 and then to Island Def Jam in 2008. Following the release of the trilogy of mixtapes for which he was initially recognized, Def Jam dropped the artist’s hit album, Finally Famous in July of 2011, followed by the award-winning mixtape Detroit in September 2012 and Hall of Fame, which debuted at number three in the Billboard 200, in August of 2013. Big Sean has sold over 10 million records to date.

About Sean Anderson Foundation

The Sean Anderson Foundation is a Michigan non-profit corporation organized on May 24, 2012 for charitable and educational purposes. The inspiration behind the foundation is derived from its name sake Sean Anderson, a recording artist raised in Detroit, and his unwavering commitment to improve the quality of life for children and families in his hometown.

About Detroit Public Schools

Detroit Public Schools is creating Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools at 97 campuses with a mission to provide a comprehensive educational experience that is high-quality, challenging and inspires all students to make a positive contribution to society. DPS offers a wide variety of educational advantages to students and parents including Individualized Learning Maps for all students. New this year, arts/music and sports leagues for boys and girls are being offered at every elementary/middle school. Prekindergarten offerings have been expanded to 70 schools across the district for all qualified 4-year-olds. Twenty-one schools are now open as Community Schools, offering extended hours and services. Students in grades 8-12 enjoy take-home Netbooks and students in grades 6 and up have access to Netbooks in school. An outstanding Fine Arts program with instrumental music, vocal music and dance is also offered. Ongoing advantages include eight parent resource centers, Parent University and additional parenting programs, enhanced safety initiatives, a district-wide Customer Service focus, nine Detroit Rising College Preparatory Schools and DPS-authorized charter schools led by educators with proven track records of raising achievement. In 2014, DPS graduates earned $138 million in grants and scholarships. To learn more about Detroit Public Schools, visit or call 313-240-4DPS.

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