Return to Headlines

How Detroit Public Schools Community District Shaped My Future

When I think back on my time at the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), I am filled with gratitude for the countless opportunities that have prepared me for college and beyond. From engaging in dual enrollment courses to experiencing life in Barcelona, DPSCD has been a catalyst for my personal and academic growth.

One of the most memorable experiences I had at DPSCD was participating in dual enrollment courses at the College for Creative Studies. These courses allowed me to get a head start on my college education while still in high school. But it didn’t stop there. The district's affiliations and connections provided me with incredible opportunities, such as traveling to Barcelona for four weeks through an international study program. This program, organized by CIEE, a global non-profit focused on making international study equitable and accessible, opened my eyes to the vastness of the world. It was during this time that I decided to pursue higher education abroad, seeking out any and all opportunities that came my way. The experience showed me how capable I am and instilled a sense of determination to chase my dreams no matter how far they take me. And we didn't do it alone.

Every student has that one teacher who leaves an indelible mark on their life. For me, that teacher was Dorothea Williams Arnold, fondly known as Ms. Dottie. An honors and AP English teacher at Cass Tech, Ms. Dottie was more than an educator; she was a mentor, a supporter, and a guide. Her background as a journalist influenced her teaching style, which was both rigorous and empathetic. She pushed us to speak and write with eloquence, passion, and clarity. Because of her, I have become a better writer and a more globally-minded individual. The skills she imparted have shaped not just my academic endeavors but also my approach to life.

Duke could not depart without leaving advice to incoming freshmen.

To the incoming freshmen, especially those pursuing the arts, I have a few pieces of advice. Your talents, dedication, and values may often go unrecognized. The world can sometimes seem indifferent to those who think differently or create art. But remember, you have a moral obligation to question everything and everyone through your art. It can be disheartening to see peers receive accolades while you feel overlooked. However, always remember that the philosopher king is remembered in higher esteem than the opportunistic politician. Your empathy, often seen as a weakness, is your greatest strength. It is your power to effect change. Understand that high school is just a phase, and the sooner you realize this, the quicker you will find the value in every experience. Be true to yourself, and don't be afraid to express your uniqueness. Dye your hair, be bold, and revel in every moment.

Duke is excited about the future and all of the rich opportunities ahead.

Recently, I received an acceptance letter from Central Saint Martins School of Art in London, England. This prestigious institution, with notable alumni like Stella McCartney, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen, offers unparalleled resources and rigor. It’s exactly what I need to further my artistic education. My goal is to become a designer and eventually launch my own label, proving to the world what Detroiters are capable of achieving.

In conclusion, my time at DPSCD has been invaluable. The opportunities, the support from dedicated teachers, and the encouragement to be myself have all contributed to preparing me for the future. I am excited to take the next steps in my journey and represent Detroit on a global stage.