Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Basketball stars Antania Hayes of King High and Kahlil Felder of Pershing High earned top honors Wednesday at the third annual Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learners of the Year Awards.
Presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored by Detroit area McDonald’s, the media recognition event saluted 47 honorees chosen Proud Strong Learners of the Week during the fall, winter and spring sports seasons as nominated by their coaches.
A gathering of parents, coaches and school supporters turned out for the two-hour program, which began with a music-driven, video presentation featuring action photos of the 2012-13 PSL year in review. The event was co-hosted by Daryl Weaver, dean of students at Marcus Garvey and the PSL’s public address announcer.
Each honoree received a plaque, culminating with the announcement and presentation of plaques to Hayes and Felder as the 2012-13 Proud Strong Learners of the Year for girls’ and boys’ athletics, respectively. The pair previously was named Miss and Mr. PSL basketball in voting by league coaches.
Hayes led King High to a repeat PSL girls’ basketball championship, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-0 guard-forward was recently named one of this year’s ”Best of the Best” ten players in the state by the Basketball Coaches of Michigan. She has signed to play at DePaul University.
Felder, the 5-10 point guard for Pershing High’s boys’ league championship team, is set to play the next four years at Oakland University.
Jon Campbell, McDonald’s owner-operator and chairman of the AACM (African-American Consumer Market), pledged continued support of the Proud Strong Learners program, which they’ve sponsored since its inception in 2010-11.
Alvin Ward, DPS executive director of athletics, urged all league coaches to embrace the effort to recognize their deserving student-athletes by nominating top performers each week.
The first top winners of the Proud Strong Learners of the Year Award were Renaissance High basketball player Alexis Harris (now at Providence) and Cass Tech’s state semifinalist football team.
Last year’s top recipients were King High running back Dennis Norfleet, a University of Michigan starting kick returner as a freshman last fall, and Pershing High basketball star Caprice Dennis, now a University of Miami guard.