audience cheers and claps while seated in chairs

Detroit school students learn about the future of college success at 8th grade ceremony

At their eighth-grade promotion ceremony June 3, students at Detroit Achievement Academy learned they qualify for a new pilot program at Grand Valley designed to encourage college enrollment and assist with their success upon admission. 

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, made the surprise announcement at DAA's promotion ceremony on Belle Isle, where students and their families heard first-hand about the entry and success program.

The Detroit Achievement Academy Pathway to GVSU is a pipeline program that will grant admission to GVSU for DAA students. Students must graduate from a Wayne County high school with a 2.8 GPA and register for, attend and complete college-preparedness workshops offered by GVSU.

This was DAA's first eighth-grade promotion ceremony. The K-8 charter school is authorized by GVSU; Kyle Smitley, executive director, founded and established the school in 2013.

“It is important to get our prospective learners in a pipeline on a college pathway as early as possible,” Truss said. “We will provide early information to learners to assist in navigating the college process with four years of preparation. This pathway program with DAA is pulling the veil back and telling students the information they need.”

The pathway program aligns with the Grand Valley Pledge, which awards full undergraduate tuition (renewable for four years) to students from six Michigan counties where the university has a physical presence, including Wayne County. The free-tuition program is for students from families with incomes less than $50,000.

Truss told students they can attend any college they please, but stressed Grand Valley would be "an amazing opportunity" as students would be successful because of the resources and support they would receive. 

President Philomena V. Mantella said, “Pledges and promises are not enough to close the gaps in pathways to college for students from diverse backgrounds. We want this pilot to be a model for the future of college admissions, with Grand Valley leading the way."

Grand Valley’s pilot project will deploy tools that help DAA students succeed in high school, prepare them to learn and live on campus, and involve a student’s entire family in supporting the journey from admission to graduation. 

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, stands at a podium with a microphone
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, makes a surprise announcement at the DAA eighth-grade promotion ceremony.
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson
Kyle Smitley, executive director, stands at a podium
Kyle Smitley, executive director of the Detroit Achievement Academy
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson
man in audience excited
Family and guests at the ceremony react to the surprise announcement.
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson


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