NLS Program Manager, Marissa D’Angelo, poses with Ms. Hudson-Johnson, one of two new NLS Program Advisers at CMA.

This school year, Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars (DRDFS) welcomed Communications and Media Arts High School (CMA) as our 14th partner high school. CMA is a college prep school located in Northwest Detroit. The school, with approximately 370 students, is one of seven Magnet High Schools in the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD). CMA is the first DPSCD School to partner with DRDFS.

CMA Principal Donya Odom talks with guests at DRDFS event in September.

CMA Principal Donya Odom noted that 51% of CMA students go on to enroll in a post-secondary institution within six months of high school graduation, and that most of these graduates enroll in a 4-year college. Odom also addressed how DRDFS programs will fit with and enhance the educational objectives of CMA students. Principal Odom said “I’m super excited to be partnering with Dollars for Scholars to help our students better understand the relevance of obtaining a college education, visiting colleges, and seeing themselves attending one of these institutions of higher learning.”

Commitment to College Readiness

CMA offers a tailored Communications and Media Arts curriculum along with various AP courses. Students have the opportunity to explore different career pathways under that umbrella, such as digital media arts, speech, journalism, mass communications, and photography. In partnership with Wayne County Community College, CMA offers its students a dual enrollment program. Beginning in the 10th grade, CMA students can choose career-track courses such as writing for radio and TV, broadcasting, and other communications-focused credits. It is possible for dually-enrolled students to earn an associate’s degree by the time they graduate from high school. Tuition for this program is paid for by the Detroit Promise Fund.

Odom is focused on her students and her hope for their success, stating “as these students matriculate through their senior year they will better understand that college is a great option for them to obtain the education and skills needed to be successful in the global economy. DRDFS supports our students and helps them to understand that connection, and to see themselves having the opportunity to be successful.”

Regarding the bigger picture of DRDFS’s role within DPSCD, Odom shared that she views CMA as pioneers for further partnership within DPSCD. “We want to model what I hope becomes the norm for relationships with a philanthropic organization that is committed to supporting our most vulnerable and marginalized students.”

Next Level Scholars Program Director, Jill Marecki, recruits CMA sophomores.

Interim Scholarships

With the addition of each new partner high school, DRDFS offers interim scholarships for the first two years of partnership, until the students who began as sophomores complete the full program in their senior year. DRDFS is excited for two Class of 2022 seniors at CMA to each be awarded a $2,000 scholarship to support their post-secondary goals. The scholarships that are available to these students are the Betty Ritzenhein Memorial Scholarship and the Pamela Sidney Leadership Scholarship.


DRDFS is proud of our new partnership with CMA. We look forward to partnering with additional DPSCD high schools in the future as we grow towards our goal of 25 high school partners in Southeastern Michigan.

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