Through the generous support of Hazel Parkers and others from surrounding communities, this year's Race to College fundraising dinner was the most successful yet. Attendees enjoyed a delicious meal from award-winning chef, James Rigato of Hazel Park's own Mabel Gray Kitchen, and entertainment from Hazel Park High School's talented band, choir, and theater students.
As always, a highlight of the evening was the testimonial panel of Hazel Park students and alumni. Thank you to Imani Daniels (HPHS '13 and Central Michigan University '17) and Andrew McClellan (HPHS '13 and Michigan State University '17) for sharing their experiences with the Promise Zone's college advising and scholarship programs. Thank you also to Dhalia Blackwell, Brooke Cox, and Thomas Emmons, for sharing their experiences with our School-to-Work Program with UAW Chrysler!
Thank you again to all who attended or showed support in other ways. We look forward to seeing you at next year's event!
(l-r) HP Alternative High School senior Thomas Emmons, Promise Zone Executive Director Kayla Roney Smith, HPHS graduate Imani Daniels, HPHS graduate Andrew McClellan, HP Alternative High School senior Dhalia Blackwell, HP Alternative High School senior Brooke Cox, and HPHS alumus/Promise Zone board member/Master of Ceremonies Leon LaBrecque
The Honorable Gene Schnelz served as founding board chair of the Hazel Park Promise Zone Authority from 2010-2012, leading the early years of the organization's development and assisting in the raising of funds to get the scholarship program up and running. He graduated from Hazel Park High School in 1951 and went on to attend Alma College and the Detroit College of Law. Prior to his work with the Promise Zone in his retirement from law, he served as chief judge of the 52nd District Court for four years and as an Oakland County Circuit Court judge for nearly 29 years. An adjunct professor for Madonna University for 25 years, he also taught and lectured for the Michigan Judicial Institute, ICLE, the National Judicial College, and the Wayne State and Michigan State law schools. Judge Schnelz received the highest awards from both the State Bar and the Oakland County Bar Association and in 1990 was named by "Michigan Lawyers Weekly" as one of the most respected judges in the state.
Dr. Taylor Cox served as a founding board member and Treasurer of the Hazel Park Promise Zone Authority from 2010 until his retirement from the board in late 2017. His contributions included managing the financials of the organization, leading the development and evaluation of a Student Readiness and Success plan, and conducting student focus groups to assist in continuous improvement, among countless others. During a twenty year career as an academic, Taylor served as a faculty member and administrator at several universities including Duke University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Michigan, and he has consulted with dozens of organizations on the challenges and opportunities of a culturally diverse work force. While Taylor recently retired from his role as Senior Pastor of Living the Word Christian Ministries, he remains heavily involved in ministry, including currently working with a coalition of metro Detroit pastors focused on improving race relations in the region.