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HFA: SCS 11th Grader Sees His Winning Textile Design Come to Life Through Community-Supported Project

posted May 15, 2017, 7:56 AM by Lisa Kreinbring   [ updated May 15, 2017, 8:54 AM ]

Hagopian World of Rugs, the College for Creative Studies, Online Donors and Dedicated Teachers Team Up to Provide Unique Learning Opportunity


On May 12th, Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies 11th grader Raymond Underwood and crowds at the College for Creative Studies’ annual Student Exhibition Opening got a first look at a rug based on Underwood’s winning textile design, “Fist Full of Power.” He took first place in a unique art project created by Manal Kadry, a visual arts teacher at the art & design middle/high school who was inspired by an annual project at the College for Creative Studies and students’ recent exploration of the eight stages of genocide in their social studies classes. The public can see the unity-themed rug and the top 12 hand-rendered designs as the Exhibition continues through May 26th.

The Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies project challenged 11th graders to expand their knowledge of textiles and interior design principles, articulate their concern about some form of discrimination, and apply their emerging art and design skills to create a rug design appropriate for residential placement. “Fist Full of Power” was selected by a panel of judges from Hagopian World of Rugs and the College for Creative Studies, based on Underwood’s ability to create a design that connects with users and aligns with the project’s design principles. Hagopian World of Rugs then fabricated his design into 100 percent wool rug, measuring five feet by seven feet.

“When I heard my name being called for first place for the rug project, it made me feel like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to,” said Underwood. “I liked exploring the topic of discrimination because it relates to my life. The opportunity to bring a design to life made it more meaningful for me.”


“For 28 years, Hagopian has fostered educational excellence in design. We are so impressed by these high school students. They picked a difficult theme and the stories they shared truly moved us. The work was of such high quality that it would have been a disservice not to open our recognition up to twelve students,” said Edmond Hagopian, president of Hagopian World of Rugs. “We asked that the designs be representative of the theme, rather than literal, to align with the products customers seek. Raymond Underwood’s winning design and artist statement were so powerful. One of the beautiful things about his rug is that it is so nuanced that many people don’t fully grasp the imagery until we point it out.”

“This deeper learning project helps teach students that with hard work, planning, knowledge and communication they can be proud of converting an idea to reality. It’s not easy but the journey can be as rewarding as the final result,” said Kadry, who developed and led the project and competition. “We are grateful to Hagopian World of Floors, the College for Creative Studies, and all of our generous online donors for making this learning experience possible for our students.


The art & design middle/high school was founded in 2009 by the College for Creative Studies and Henry Ford Learning Institute with the express dual purpose of providing students with an intense art and design focused experience and equipping them with the academic, social, and creative problem-solving foundation to thrive in post-secondary education and careers of their choice.

 The winning Hagopian-fabricated rug, the top 12 hand-rendered designs, and the best Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies student artwork from the 2016-17 school year will be on display throughout the annual College for Creative Studies’ Student Exhibition, which is free and open to the public May 13 – 26, 2017 at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. The exhibition is open Saturday - Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, and Thursday and Friday: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.


About the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies K-12 District

The Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies K-12 District is comprised of two art & design charter schools serving more than 1,200 students -- Henry Ford Academy: Elementary School (K-5, opened 2012) and Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies Middle/High School (6-12, opened 2009). Both are Thompson Educational Foundation 90/90 schools authorized by Grand Valley State University, governed by Public School Academies of Detroit, and managed by Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI), a non-profit that exists to redesign how we learn. Learn more at and

Media Contact:

Lisa Kreinbring
Henry Ford Learning Institute or 248-259-4066