Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars (DRDFS) is always growing! Each school year, a new sophomore class is welcomed into the academic support program, Next Level Scholars (NLS). In December 2020, 128 members of the Class of 2023 joined a group of 364 total student participants in DRDFS who are determined to succeed in post-secondary education. The new cohort received NLS Welcome Packages by mail, which contained gifts and goodies including a welcome letter, NLS gear, a t-shirt, a program policy packet, and an invitation for the NLS Google Classroom.

Sophomore Orientation

On January 27th, this new group of sophomores attended their virtual orientation and learned what it means to be a Next Level Scholar. At orientation, students participated in a trivia challenge, asked questions, watched videos to get to know the DRDFS staff, and discussed what motivated them to apply to the program. One student from Stevenson High School said, “I applied to Next Level Scholars because I wanted to learn more about other colleges and I know that NLS will help me do that! I’m excited to go on college trips and learn how to prepare for the future.”

Project Runway

Sophomores will celebrate the start of their post-secondary journeys at Project Runway on May 25th. This event is considered a “crash course” on everything students need to know in order to prepare for their next level of education. The event will feature a spotlight on a post-secondary institution, opportunities to hear from program alumni, a financial literacy session, and expert advice from professional Etiquette Coach Jacqueline Baker.

Sophomore students will walk away from the virtual event equipped with knowledge of opportunities they may not have known were available to them, and the steps they need to take to achieve their post-secondary goals.

Who makes up the Class of 2023?

The NLS Class of 2023 comes from 13 high schools across five counties in Southeast Michigan. These partner schools are located throughout Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. The various high school communities range from urban, to suburban, to rural, making for a diverse group of students from all different backgrounds. Collectively, this sophomore class speaks 10 different languages! This diversity contributes to meaningful sharing of ideas, perspectives, and experiences, all while student participants have an important dedication in common; to succeed in life after high school. Many of these students will be the first generation in their families to go on to attend post-secondary education. In fact, 77% of the Class of 2023 will be first-generation college students.

What’s next?

This new cohort will complete their first year as Next Level Scholars feeling inspired by the new experiences and information they will be able apply when making important decisions about their futures. In the fall, they will return as Juniors, and will be eager to continue their work toward post-secondary goals. DRDFS is ready to break down barriers to success and support the Class of 2023 along their journey.

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