Week of 3.20.17

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Art of Fashion & Research

Seventy guests ($150 ticket) convened March 9 at Neiman Marcus for the luncheon and fashion show sponsored by the Lighthouse Group to benefit the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids. During the pre-luncheon champagne reception, they socialized, perused designer apparel in the third floor salons and had make-up applications by stylists from Guerlain, Trish McEvoy and Le Métier de Beauté. After lunch, two passions were on display during the presentation before the fashion show. The first was Carol Van Andel’s for the cutting edge research, collaborations and education (cancer and Parkinson’s disease) that occurs at the institute founded 20 years ago by her in-laws. She concluded her description of the initiatives and the researchers with “...I don’t have a job, I have a dream.” The second was NM style adviser Ken Dewey’s fervor for fashion. He called the show a passion play in three acts which he named Take It to the Max, The Now of the New and The Games People Play.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

March 2017

MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA: Oakland County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield) may have picked a fight with the wrong person in power when she called out county board chair Mike Gingell and vice chair Mike Spiz , both Republicans, during board swearing-in ceremonies on January 11. "She seemed determined to create dissension," said a fellow commissioner. "She ...more»
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Doug Ross
Doug Ross
Photo: Laurie Tennent
(click for larger version)
10/27/2010 - Doug Ross is an educator and pioneer, unwilling to tolerate the notion that financial status should determine the success of a child's education, and he has spent his career proving it.

Ross, founder of Detroit's University Preparatory Academy (UPA) charter school, recalled a UPA student named "Patrick" who disappeared from classes during his junior year in high school.

"He was incarcerated, and then living on the streets," Ross said. "To make sure no child would be lost, we went to an abandoned house on the east side and we got him out." The student went on to graduate and is now a firefighter, Ross said. "Those are the stories we remember."

Ross, a Birmingham resident, started his career as a middle school teacher in Detroit after graduating from University of Michigan, but quickly became frustrated with the ineffectiveness of the prescribed curriculum.

"I came up with a different form of teaching and it was not acceptable to the school board," Ross said. "So, I decided I could make more of an impact by going into politics and I went to Princeton to get a degree in public policy."

Ross became engrossed in politics and went on to serve as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce, and as a Michigan legislator. While in politics, he was most proud to play a role in the comeback of the Michigan economy in the 1980s and helping to eradicate sales tax on food and medicine. He then ran and lost the gubernatorial election in 1998 and wondered where he could apply his knowledge to make the broadest impact on society. Education quickly re-emerged as a source of opportunity.

"It never occurred to me (to start a charter school) until 1999," he said. His mission was to ensure a 90 percent graduation rate with 90 percent of the students pursuing a postsecondary education. With 94 percent of the class of 2007 accepting their diploma, his first class was a triumph and graduation day was momentous for Ross.

"It was very emotional," he said. "There was a real sense of pride seeing them succeed. It was one of the most dramatic and satisfying days of my life. If we had not been willing to intervene in a personal fashion, some students may have ended up on the streets."

Ross attributes the success of UPA to the high expectations of students and personal commitment by teachers to do whatever it takes. "We can't change the outside world, but we can work to keep them on track," he said. "At core, it is the belief of the child that, 'I'm staying with you. No matter what you do, you're not going to push me away.' The hope is that UPA is a place that develops an equal opportunity model for Detroit children," Ross said. "You can't build great urban schools bureaucratically. We do not accept the fact that poor children should do worse than middle class students."

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