Taylor Rice

taylor rice

Taylor participated in the Beyond Basics program at the Barbara Jordan Middle School (now the Palmer Park Preparatory Academy) as a seventh grader. Her confidence as a reader grew, she worked on essay writing, started to write mini-books, and felt cared for by her tutor. 

Taylor graduated from Wayne County Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in 2020, and now serves as a Beyond Basics Program Manager. She is passionate about working with children and watching them grow. She also volunteers widely in her community teaching students to sight-read music and play their musical instruments. 

Jacob Durrah

Art with the MastersAs a Finney High School senior, Jacob participated in Beyond Basics' publishing center and mentoring program. He also served on the Student Council, was president of the Robotics Club, and captain of the Chess team. He says that Beyond Basics provided him with the confidence he needed to become a leader. 

He is a 2017 University of Michigan computer science engineering graduate and a 2012 Ford Motor Company Blue Oval Scholarship winner. He held internships at J.P. Morgan and worked at University of Michigan as a teaching assistant. He joined Ford Motor Company in 2017 as part of its College Graduate Program in product development. Today he is a senior software engineer at General Motors.

Damari Covington Woods

International Art & Writing ProgramDamari completed the Beyond Basics Scholars' program in 2018. He was initially assessed at a seventh-grade level; eight weeks later, he had advanced to an eleventh-grade level. He says Beyond Basics gave him the confidence to finish high school, with a 3.8 GPA, in 2019.

Damari attended skilled trade school to learn masonry at Randolph Career & Technical Center in Detroit. In July 2020, he was recognized by now First Lady Jill Biden and Governor Gretchen Whitmer as a "Shining Light" in a "Build Back Better" listening session during the 2020 presidential campaign. Damari is working in the field of masonry, including helping to build the expansion of the FCA plant next to Southeastern High School. He owns BrickSlayerz, LLC, a masonry company in Detroit, and is raising a family.

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