Former Bad Boy and Pistons legend Rick Mahorn and the Detroit Pistons Foundation will host the 12th annual Black History Month event and scholarship competition on Thursday, February 9 at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). To kick things off, 40 students from each competing school will take a Unity-themed tour of the DIA galleries starting at 11 a.m., followed by the scholarship competition at 2 p.m.
High school seniors from Detroit and Flint will compete for a combined total of $50,000 in college scholarships funded by Pistons Owner Tom Gores, Palace Sports & Entertainment Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and the Detroit Pistons Foundation.
“Education is vital to the future of our community,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. “One of my goals is to make an impact on young people. There’s no better way to make an impact than providing opportunities for life skills development and assistance for a college education.”
Each student will create and present an original interpretation of this year’s theme — “Unity: What does that look like?” through any form of artistic expression they choose (speech, poem, dance, rap, etc.). The students will be challenged to share their interpretation of what unity looks like to them from both personal experiences as well as past and current world affairs.
“Tom and I believe that the education of our youth is integral to building strong communities,” said PS&E Vice Chairman Arn Tellem. “We’re excited to be able to provide this scholastic opportunity.”
Ten high school seniors from Carman Ainsworth in Flint, Cass Tech High School, Cornerstone Leadership and Business High School, Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern, Detroit International Academy for Young Women, Detroit School of Arts, Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, Loyola High School, Northwestern High School in Flint and University Prep Academy will be competing for the Earl Lloyd Award, a $25,000 college scholarship. The first runner-up will receive a $15,000 scholarship and the second runner up will receive a $10,000 scholarship.
“I am extremely grateful for the contributions of Mr. Gores, Mr. Tellem and the Detroit Pistons Foundation to help continue this wonderful event,” said Pistons Legend Rick Mahorn. “In the last 12 years, we’ve not only been able to make an impact on many students’ lives, but had the opportunity to shed light on our country’s history and embrace all people of all races and religions as equals.”
Since its inception, the event has provided over 55 students $217,250 in college scholarships. The $50,000 in scholarships given this year will be the second highest single-year total in the event’s history and will push the total number of college scholarships awarded to $267,250 and total number of scholarship winners to 62.
The event has grown a lot since it’s inception in 2005, and will only continue to get bigger and help an increasing number of Michigan high school students further their education.