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Celebrating our Awesome 2020-21 Students, Mentors, and Sponsors!

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Our annual Awards Celebration was live and in-person this year! While we still practiced Covid safety protocols, the energy and excitement of being together on a perfect summer evening was undeniable. Some of our students met their mentors face-to-face for the first time, and other students were simply happy to see their mentors outside of a Zoom call!  

Watch students give their scholarship acceptance speeches!

Click here to see pics from our 2021 Awards Celebration! 

Our 2021 Awards Celebration took place on May 26 at the Butcher Education Center in Warren. We celebrated these young adults for their unprecedented resilience and commitment to their education during this generation-defining pandemic and for their excellence in our Workforce Prep program. In recognition of their hard work and accomplishments, 19 students were awarded a total of $26,000 in scholarships. In their acceptance speeches, we learned that, in addition to developing life and job readiness skills, the time spent with their mentors in our Work Force Prep program was a supportive outlet from the pressure of online learning.  

Alizsa Johnson is a student at Harper Woods High School and said, “I always felt more confident in myself and the future after meeting with my mentor.” 

Tiera Barnett, a student at Cass Technical High School, said, “This virtual part of my life has been awesome!”  

We proudly recognize the 2021 Cupp-Hamilton Scholarship Recipients: 

Cass Technical High School, Detroit

Tierra Barnett 

Mentored by Julie Owens, Operations Supervisor, U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan 


Miyah Hepburn 

Mentored by Besima Mellow, Treasury Manager, Ally Financial 


Sha’Niya Simmons

Mentored by Alexis Hammerle, Vice President of Product Developers, BNY Mellon  


Community High School, Sterling Heights

Rafel Abdulmaseeh 

Mentored by Alexandria Marjamaa, Project Administrator, OCG Company 


Mariah Sheperd-Sias

Mentored by Colleen Hau, Director of Global Product Innovation, Carhartt 


Harper Woods High School, Harper Woods

Shania Dean-Motley 

Mentored by Tonya Moore, Senior Supplier Quality Engineer Global CT Lead for Switches, General Motors 


Matthew Dickerson

Mentored by Dionte Brown, Program Coordinator, LGBT Detroit 


Paris Ellis

Mentored by Torri Garland, Engineer, General Motors  


Alizsa Johnson

Mentored by Valencia White, Technology Compliance Program Manager, Rock Central LLC 


Durell Thomas Jr 

Mentored by Clarence Martin, President, Eypex 


Mumford High School, Detroit

Chrishani Pleasant 

Mentored by Sarah Zigila, Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Orbis Holding Group 


Pontiac Academy for Excellence

Kiera Cordero 

Mentored by Britt Storrs, Underwriter, United Shore 


Warren Mott High School, Warren

Amaya Davis 

Mentored by Kelly Savela, Senior Social Publisher, GTB 


Kassidy Lapastora

Mentored by Lori Gulecki, Analyst- Financial Shared Services. (Education and P&I), Kelly Services 


Shanaz Munni 

Mentored by Jill Jones, Travel Agent, Cadillac Travel 


We proudly recognize the 2021 Alumni Scholarship recipients: 

Steven Bernard 

Harper Woods High School, Harper Woods 

Cuyahoga Community College 

Mentored by Brittany Rhodes, Founder and General MATHager, Black Girl MATHgic 


Kayla Lewis

Cass Technical High School, Detroit 

Michigan State University 

Mentored by Leavetta White, Training Specialist, Quicken Loans 


Jay’la Rivers

Cass Technical High School, Detroit 

University of Michigan-Flint 

Mentored by Erika Jackson, Product Compliance Manger, Square 


We proudly recognize the 2021 Melvin Akins Memorial Scholarship recipient: 

Meron Eeso

Community High School, Sterling Heights 

Mentored by Dave Lewan, National Account Service Manager, Kelly Services 


Our work and student accomplishments would not be possible without the generous support from our partners, many of whom attended the Awards Celebration. Leading the pack is Lear Corporation, our Program Presenting Partner. More than 100 other businesses and charitable organizations also support us. On behalf of the students and communities we serve, thank you for helping these students find success! 

As we wrap up a successful school year, we’re already planning and recruiting virtual mentors for the 2021-22 school year. Next year’s program will be completely online, with staff facilitating educational lessons followed by mentors meeting with their students through Zoom meetings. Mentors receive training and support before, during, and after every meeting. Apply to be a virtual mentor in the 2021-22 school year or, if you’d like to support our students, contact Daniela Matthews at