43 Detroit High School Students Graduate From The Fifth ArcPrep Class

43 Detroit High School Students Graduate From The Fifth ArcPrep Class

On Monday, June 12, 2017, 43 students from Detroit Public High Schools celebrated their graduation from Taubman College’s Michigan Architecture Prep Program (ArcPrep).This is the fifth group of students to complete the program, now totaling over 170 since the program was launched in January, 2015. ArcPrep introduces high school juniors from partnering Detroit Public Schools to the multi-faceted discipline of architecture through an immersive, semester-long college preparatory course on architecture, urbanism and integrated design studio practices. The students meet for three hours per day, five days a week over the course of a semester and receive high school credits for their work. This year’s program was led by 2016 – 2017 Michigan Mellon Design Fellows Suzanne Lettieri and Paulina Reyes, and has been directed by Associate Dean Milton Curry since its inception.

At this year’s certificate ceremony, Detroit Public Schools’ new Superintendent, Nikolai Vitti, and U-M President, Mark Schlissel, joined to celebrate the success of the students and the continuing partnerships. Junior from Renaissance High School, Aonor Washington, was selected to be the student speaker. Other speakers at this year’s ceremony included U-M Taubman College Interim Dean Robert Fishman; ArcPrep Program Director and Associate Dean Milton Curry; Kresge Foundation Managing Director Wendy Jackson; and Deena Fox, Principal and Director of Project Leadership at ROSSETTI. Fox also presented this year’s recipients of two paid summer internships at ROSSETTI, a Detroit architecture firm led by President Matt Rossetti (B.S. ’83, M.Arch. ’86) to Brandon Battle and Zianna Clark from Cass Tech. “They are slated to work on projects that involve their city,” said Fox, “The goal is to contribute to strengthening the pipeline of local talent.”

In addition to the two summer internships with ROSSETTI, one student, Xavier Kendricks from Western International, was offered full tuition at a summer program at Cornell University. The Cornell Future Architecture Award, developed through a partnership between Michigan Architecture Prep and Cornell University’s Department of Architecture, offers students who have an interest in and a talent for design and architecture to attend the Cornell Introduction to Architecture Program (a 6-week architecture enrichment program at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York) at no cost. Kendricks will receive full tuition and room and board scholarship covering all expenses related to the program.

Additional achievements were celebrated and presented including the Academic Achievement Award, presented to five students per semester, and this semester’s recipients were: Julissa Avina, Western International; Brandon Battle, Cass Tech; Talon Foster, Cass Tech; Sergio Reyes, Western International; Aonor Washington, Renaissance.

Students had the opportunity to showcase their work to family, friends, and special guests over the course of the evening. Brandon Battle, 11th grader at Cass Tech, spoke with Detroit News and mentioned that he has spent years preparing himself for a career in architecture and praised ArcPrep as providing a blueprint. “It better gives you an idea of what an actual architect does,” said Battle, 17. “It’s preparation for the real world.” Classmate Talon Foster appreciated how program concepts made him “think more broadly about how architecture can affect the environment and how people think about it. It makes you think like an architect before you get into that business.”

To learn more about ArcPrep:

Detroit News Coverage:

The program is available to high school juniors at partnering Detroit Public Schools. Funding is provided by  U-M Taubman College, A. W. Mellon Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

2017 ArcPrep Studio Graduation Ceremony