Denby High pushes students to tie their futures to Detroit’s

May 15, 2014

In a presentation to strangers and friends, Kyra Portis is at once calm and emotional. This is her capstone project at Denby High School, a labor that has been more blood and sweat than love, at least until now.

“I was born in a car on the way to the hospital,” she says. Her older brother, an infant, was stricken with a brain tumor. Her mother had six more children after her. Methodically, Kyra identifies Detroit’s challenges (low income, low literacy rate, crime, the litany of unpleasant facts) and personal challenges she has faced in her 18 years.

Since early winter, all 200 seniors at Denby, an Education Achievement Authority school, have been linking their lives to the city of Detroit’s future. The project is the outgrowth of a collaboration between the high school and Detroit Future City, the nonprofit city planning organization led by former Councilman Kenneth Cockrel Jr.
Seniors are expected to “defend” their research and their right to graduate — and for most of these students, that means unfolding the personal challenges in their lives and linking their futures to that of the challenged city around them.

Denby High pushes students to tie their futures to Detroit’s
Laura Berman, May 15, 2014, Detroit News