Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Pride in self and team, strength in athletic performance and learning as student-athletes are the essence of the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learners of the Week award.
It’s also an apt description for Coach Thomas Wilcher’s Cass Tech High Technicians, named the final Proud Strong Learners of the Week for the fall season after last Saturday becoming the first PSL team in history to win the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division I state football championship.
“It’s great to be recognized for our accomplishment,’’ Wilcher said. “Even though it’s hard to stay on top, we’re going to continue to represent our league, the city of Detroit and Cass Tech in a way that makes everybody proud. This year we had some stumbles in the road. But winning the state title was the ultimate prize and our kids now know what it takes to get here.”
Most of the Proud Strong Learners of the Week have been individual boys and girls student-athletes since the award’s inception in September, 2010. But the honor has also been accorded four times to exceptional teams.
Crockett’s and Cass Tech’s football teams both were recipients of the award last year after reaching the state semifinals in their respective divisions, and Southeastern’s boys’ basketball team earned the honor last winter after winning its first PSL basketball title in 55 years and reaching the Class A state finals. From all the boys athletics’ weekly honorees, Cass Tech’s football team ultimately was named the PSL’s 2010-11 Proud Strong Learners of the Year at a ceremony held last June.
On Wednesday, DPS’ Emergency Manager Roy Roberts, Superintendent for Academics Karen Ridgeway and Office of Athletics Executive Director Alvin Ward presented an official proclamation to the team on behalf of the school district. Thursday, the Technicians were honored by the Wayne County commissioners. Next Monday, DPS is having a downtown parade and rally to celebrate the Technicians’ championship and, the following day, they will receive a Spirit of Detroit certificate from the Detroit City Council.
“These awards are well-deserved and the kids appreciate it a lot,” Wilcher said. “It took a lot of hard work for us to win the state championship. It’s great to see that so many people have been willing to give us the recognition.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators