Livonia, Mich. – Feb. 26, 2010 – Quicken Loans, Fathead and the Pistons-Palace Foundation awarded more than $25,000 in college scholarships to Detroit-area high school students who won the 5th Annual Know Your Black History Event during the Detroit Pistons v. San Antonio Spurs game on Sunday, Feb. 21.
Pistons legend Rick Mahorn, Quicken Loans Community Relations Director Wendy Kemp, and Brian Stevenson, Vice President of Public Relations for Fathead presented the awards at center court during halftime to grand prize winners, senior Alexis Akrisge and junior Donte Green, both of Cass Tech High School. Five other scholarship winners were recognized, including the online scholarship contest winner, Ali Reda from Dearborn Fordson.
“Celebrating Black History month with this annual event is a very special experience, not just for the students who participate but for all of us who are involved because we are able to witness firsthand the creativity of young people in our area,” said Wendy Kemp, Quicken Loans Community Relations Director. “It’s important for students to understand and appreciate the contributions of African-Americans in the past who have shaped who we are today.”
The judges had a difficult time deciding which student would win the $10,000 prize as they were impressed with the variety of talented presentations. Event partners Quicken Loans and Fathead offered the additional funds needed to award two $10,000 scholarships, increasing their traditional contribution of $12,000 to more than $25,000 in total scholarships.
Quicken Loans, Fathead and the Detroit Pistons Palace Foundation sponsored the competition which was held on Feb. 3, at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History. Approximately 200 students from Southwestern, Cass Tech and University Prep. Academy High Schools cheered on their classmates competing in the contest and participated in the tour of the “And Still I Rise” exhibit.
Each of the participating schools chose two students to represent them in the scholarship competition. The contestants had three minutes to present their appreciation for Black History via different mediums such as speech, song, rap, poetry, video montage, and other art-focused submissions. The winners took home scholarship prizes to offset their cost of higher education, a Pistons Fathead and four tickets to the Feb. 21 NBA game.
Akrisge delivered an essay connecting Beverly Johnson, the first black supermodel, with the paths of other African-American pioneers, including jazz musician Miles Davis, comedian Bill Cosby and author Alice Walker. Green highlighted the overlooked contributions of African-Americans in sports who became profitable boxers, jockeys and trainers. Included in his presentation was a written tribute, “Ode to Athlete,” in which he described the impact of past pioneers on today’s sports heroes.
Kiara Rucker of University Prep won a $2,500 scholarship and Mack Taylor (Southwestern), Crystal Sims (University Prep) and Christina Wright (Southwestern) were each awarded $1,000. Online winner, Reda, received a $1,000 scholarship for his essay illustrating the relationship between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s “I Have a Dream” speech and the experiences Palestinians face in the Middle East today.
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About Quicken Loans:
Quicken Loans Inc consists of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online lender, and Rock Financial, Michigan’s largest mortgage company. Quicken Loans closes loans in all 50 states via the Internet from centralized locations in Southeast Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; North Scottsdale, Ariz., and San Diego. Quicken Loans/Rock Financial has been ranked in the “Top 30” of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list for seven consecutive years and on Computerworld’s list of “Best Places to Work in Technology” for the past five years. In 2009, team members volunteered more than 1,500 hours with local charities and non-profit organizations.
Fathead is the leading brand in sports and entertainment graphic products. Fathead products include Fathead Jr., SM/ART, Fathead Customs, Fathead Tradeables, Fathead Skins, and Real.Big, the officially licensed life-size, hi-def wall graphics of professional athletes, animated heroes, entertainment characters, team helmets and logos. Fathead maintains license agreements with leading consumer brands across industries. Fathead is based in Livonia, Mich., for more information visit www.fathead.com.