Skillman Scholars to Further Their Education

This year’s Skillman Scholars luncheon, held at the Detroit Yacht Club, brought together alumni, current scholars and the 16 members of the graduating class. Of the 16 graduates, 14 plan to go on to college and two will focus on music – Charles Freeman on post graduate studies in opera performance at Interlochen and Elizabeth Hobbs to Julliard School.

The 2002 Skillman Scholars class included: Sh’lon Anderson (Interlochen), Ashley Bowman (Roeper), Cecilia Calhoun (Cranbrook), Marlon Cox (University Liggett), Bianca Dickerson (Interlochen), Leatha Edmonson-Smith (Interlochen), Belal Ezzeddine (Roeper), Charles Freeman (Interlochen), Elizabeth Hobbs (Interlochen), Leonna LeDuff (Roeper), Arturo Osario (Cranbrook), Desmond Roach (Cranbrook), Maurice Robinson (University Liggett), Marques Streety (Country Day), Warner Washington (Cranbrook), and Laureen Wimbley (Roeper).

Walter Douglas, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Skillman Foundation, presented the graduating class with certificates after Leatha Edmonson-Smith (Interlochen 2002) read her poem, “The D,” written especially for the occasion.

“So where are you from?
“What part?”
The 82% black part – what do you mean
what part?
The city.

Then they say, “I lived in Ferndale.”
That’s not me.

If you look at a map
I’m South of 8 Mile,
West of Grosse Pointe,
East of Dearborn,
North of Windsor.
I’m the city.

“Oh are you downtown?”
“No I am town…”
The cultural center,
The Paul Robeson’s,
Wayne State,
I’m the city.

I smell of pigs
and trash between
Thorn Apple Valley
and the incinerator.

I maintain Eastern Market –
the cleanest farmers market
in the Midwest.

People travel hundreds of miles
from their farms
to bring goods to me,
parking their trucks on Russell St.

At 1:00 am you can’t get through.
It’s packed tight
like those trucks.

I’m the home of Stroh’s Beer,
Dodge Main*, GM,
DIA, Comerica Park,
and the old Tiger Stadium.

The Detroit River is mine too
along with the bad boys*.
Woodward Avenue begins at my river
runs through my heart
goes past 8 miles to those suburbs
and might end at Pontiac.

But I am all over the world.
When you hear someone say
I am from Detroit think of me.
I’m the city.

* Dodge Main – Chrysler Plant
* bad boys – Pistons NBA team