Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Cass Tech volleyball standout Aaliya Davidson, bound for George Washington University, and Douglass High basketball star Darrell Davis, headed for the University of Dayton, were announced as the 2013-14 Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learners of the Year at the fourth annual awards event Thursday at Marcus Garvey Academy’s Harambee Center.
A total of 50 student-athletes and three teams were the honorees after being named Proud Strong Learners of the Week, representative of the PSL’s top boys and girls athletes, during the fall, winter and spring sports seasons.
The event was presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored by Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators. “
“On behalf of McDonald’s, we are very excited to participate in this event,’’ said McDonald’s owner-operator Savarior Service. “I’m proud to say I’m a graduate of Detroit Public Schools. I was an athlete at Cass Tech, so this is very comfortable for me because I’m among those who have done what I did. I’d like to say to our students that it was because of my education at Detroit Public Schools and ending at Michigan State University that I am where I am today. If I can do it anybody can do it.”
A gathering of parents, coaches and school personnel attended the two-hour ceremony, which featured individualized plaques presented to the weekly honorees and concluded with the presentation of an award displaying their likeness to each of the top winners. Daryl Weaver, the PSL public address announcer and Marcus Garvey dean of students, introduced each honoree.
“This is one of our key events of the year,’’ said Alvin L. Ward, Sr., DPS Office of Athletics executive director. “In athletics, this is our culminating event just like your graduations and proms are at the schools. We truly appreciate all the parents, coaches and school supporters for coming out to make this a special event for our Proud Strong Learners.”
Davidson, a three-time Proud Strong Learner of the Week, was the PSL’s most dominant volleyball player and excelled in the classroom with a 3.7 grade point average. The Lady Technicians’ 5-10 high-flying outside hitter led Cass Tech past Renaissance for its fourth consecutive league championship and was named All-State by the Michigan Volleyball Coaches Association.
Davis, a 6-4 point and shooting guard, started as a freshman and progressed steadily during his four-year varsity career at Douglass, climaxed by the Hurricanes reaching the Class B state semifinals and him being named 2013-14 Class B player of the Year by the Associated Press. He was a Mr. Basketball finalist and finished his senior season averaging 24.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. A student-athlete in the truest sense, Davis boasted a 4.0 grade point average and, like Davidson, was also named Proud Strong Learner of the Week three times in his career.
Both top winners were recognized among 274 DPS seniors with 3.5 grade point averages or higher at the recent 30th annual Excellence Awards. The Proud Strong Learner of the Year award is the PSL’s athlete of the year award, but academic prowess always matters.
“You have to succeed in academics to be a successful athlete in terms of going on to the next level,’’ said DPS Sports Information Director Chuck Johnson. “The Proud Strong Learner of the Year award represents athletic excellence. But if you have academics going for you as well, then you’re at the top.”