- Alumni Gala
DPSCD Announces its First Ever Hall of Fame Inductees
Excellence. Outstanding. Proud, are a few of the superlatives used by alumni and participants to describe Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) inaugural Come Home Hall of Fame Alumni Weekend (May 19-May 22, 2022) filled with more than six thrilling events that celebrated and showcased our alumni and students who have been immersed in the fine and performing arts. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti had a vision to celebrate the fine legacy of DPSCD and the first Hall of Fame alumni have been officially inducted.
The 2022 DPSCD Hall of Fame Inductees are:
Legend Winner: Robert Moore
Legend Winner: Judge Damon Keith
Legend Winner: Peter Karmanos, Jr.
Legend Winner: Bart Scott
Legend Winner: Donnie Simpson
Legend Winner: Sean “Big Sean” Anderson
Legend Winner: Elliott Hall
Legend Winner: Dr. Darnell Kaigler
Legend Winner: Jerome Bettis
Legend Winner: Jalen Rose
Lifetime Winner: Sakina Rahman
Lifetime Winner: U.S. Congressman John Conyers
Lifetime Winner: Fred Hammond
Lifetime Winner: Alberta Tinsley Talabi
Lifetime Winner: Art Van Eslander
Lifetime Winner: Rosalind Brewer
Lifetime Winner: Alexander Jefferson
Lifetime Winner: George “Iceman” Gervin
Lifetime Winner: Randy Henry
Lifetime Winner: Coach Perry Watson
Champion Winner: Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson
Champion Winner: U.S. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence
Champion Winner: Wayne County Executive Warren Evans
Victor Award: Dr. Nikolai Vitti
Epic Award: Jasmine Stallworth
Change Maker Award: Tyrone E. Winfrey, Sr.
In case you missed the weekend, enjoy the recap below. All activities would not have been possible without our donors’ and partners’ support for their donations. More information can be found at www.detroitk12.org/domain/7476
Evening of Fine Arts Set the Tone
The Come Home Alumni weekend kicked off in grand fashion with the return of the Evening of Fine Arts to the historic Fox Theatre on Thursday, May 19.
From music to dance to visual arts, more than 200 DPSCD student artists wowed an appreciative crowd comprised of their families, friends, supporters, DPSCD alumni, leaders, and the media. Click the link to watch some of the coverage in the media prior to the start of the program.
The Fox was transformed into a magical artistic wonderland filled with talented artists. Ashley Romo, an 11th grader at Western International High School beamed as she stood next to her artwork and proudly shared how she arrived at the creation.
“I am a muralist. I love to work with paints and oil paints,” said Romo. “I like to do surrealism, abstract art and pop art,” she added, noting how her father’s doodling inspired her interest in art. Romo’s artwork dons some of the walls at Western. She hopes to one day capitalize on her artistic foundation from DPSCD and become an artist and performer (she’s also a jazz singer!).
Friday Alumni were able to visit a few of the high schools and reminisce about their time at DPSCD. Mumford honored three of its alumni as they dedicated the Serenity Garden, congratulations Bishop Charles H. Ellis, Bishop Marvin Winans, Sr. And Bishop Edgar Vann II. Meanwhile, at Detroit College Preparatory at Northwestern, scores of alumni visited the school that produced the likes of legendary jurist Judge Damon Keith, former Tiger Willie Horton and Florence Ballard from the Supremes, to name a few.
Alumni Meet and Greet
Friends old and new gathered and shared remembrances during the Alumni Meet and Greet on Friday, May 20, reflecting on how DPS/DPSCD’s free public education provided a solid foundation for their success. The meet and greet, held at the Detroit Athletic Club, was a classy way for alumni to reconnect, particularly for those who traveled back to Detroit to be part of this grand weekend.
The following morning, donors and partners were treated to a private VIP Brunch at They Say, owned by Kettering Alumni, Terry Payne, who also owns Payne Landscaping. That event was a beacon of hope for the day as thunderstorms threatened the afternoon festivities, but the sun came out and the rest of the day was enjoyed on the iconic Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion.
Taste of Livernois Bike Stroll and Block Party
The joy of the Come Home Alumni weekend moved outdoors on Saturday, May 21, for an alumni bike stroll that persevered despite some rain as well as the festive and energetic Taste of Livernois Block Party in the afternoon.
Taking up multiple blocks of the transformed Avenue of Fashion, alumni proudly brandished their school colors and gear, trading stories and enjoying tasty food from food trucks and restaurants while taking pictures with friends old and new. Entertainment also ruled the Taste of Livernois Come Home event, with the culminating act of Lord Yancyy, yes, we checked, two “y,” a Reford alum.
There was the magical voice of performer and 2013 Renaissance High School graduate Lolly Mariah, who in the words of one observer, “shut it down” with her singing that included a tribute song to DPS/DPSCD. Check out the Lolly’s video clip and other photos on the District’s Twitter page. Not to be outdone, students in the Detroit School of Arts (DSA), the Osborn High School and the Martin Luther King Jr. Sr. High School Marching Bands battled it out in Mike’s Market parking lot in the heart of the festivities. The student artists' performances further confirmed the District’s wisdom in its reform work of establishing art or music programs at each DPSCD school.
“Student’s creativity, voice, and critical thinking skills are sharpened through the arts,” Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti noted recently. “Access to the arts allows students to define and understand beauty. This simply develops better people and citizens.”
Hall of Fame Gala
With more than a dozen church services, alumni from near and far were able to fulfill spiritual needs during services on Sunday, May 22, setting the table for the afternoon/evening grand finale, the Hall of Fame Gala dinner held at Huntington Place (the former TCF Center once known as Cobo Center-Cobo Hall).
With the pomp and circumstance of an awards show, hundreds and hundreds of alumni and friends strolled a red carpet, posed for pictures, and shared hugs as they arrived for the Alumni Hall of Fame Gala dinner. DPS/DPSCD’s history was on full display as alumni from various generations reconnected before sitting down to dinner in a regal ballroom.
The evening was hosted by WXYZ anchor Carolyn Clifford and retired FOX 2 anchor Huel Perkins. The Hall of Fame gala also included student performances. But the spotlight was truly on the alumni whose commitment and efforts were recognized with awards.
Notable among the awardees was the District’s Tyrone Winfrey, Executive Director of Community Affairs. Surrounded by family and friends, Winfrey movingly accepted enshrinement into DPSCD’s Hall of Fame, by receiving the Change Makers award. His vision and tireless years’ worth of work were celebrated for not only his work with DPSCD students but all students in which he has made a positive mark. The entire weekend was a remarkable celebration of DPS/DPSCD. The weekend served as a visual demonstration -- students are Rising Up with DPSCD.