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Press Release & Slideshow: HFA: SCS Students’ Portraits Honor Heroes, Win McDonald’s Black History Month Art Contest

posted Feb 19, 2014, 11:39 AM by Lisa Kreinbring   [ updated Feb 19, 2014, 11:50 AM ]

2014 McDonald's Black History Moments on Canvas Art Contest

Two  HFA: SCS high school students and one of their art teachers are winners in the 2014 “McDonald’s Celebrates Black History Moments on Canvas” art contest, which is sponsored by Detroit-area McDonald’s restaurant owners. Joshua Williams, 10th grade, won first place and $2,000 for his portrait of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Joshua Rainer, 12th grade, won fourth place and a $125 Visa gift card for his portrait of U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

The goal of the McDonald’s art competition is to encourage research and thought among southeast Michigan teens about African-Americans' contributions to American and world history. The contest’s twelve finalists were selected from an original pool of entries from public, private and charter schools in Wayne, Oakland, Monroe and Washtenaw counties. The finalists’ entries will be on display at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in midtown Detroit throughout February.

“We are so proud of these incredibly gifted young people who presented beautiful works that highlight the history, heritage and accomplishments of black people,” said McDonald’s owner/operator Jon Campbell.

“I chose to honor Nelson Mandela in my painting because he represents the beauty that lies within each individual. His journey from fierce activist, to prison, to the first freely elected black president is remarkable,” said HFA: SCS student and McDonald’s contest first place winner Joshua Williams.

At a time when many schools have cut visual arts programs, all students at the tuition-free college prep middle/high school engage in intensive art and design course work, with curriculum developed in partnership with the College for Creative Studies. Williams gives credit to another of his heroes, HFA: SCS 10th grade art teacher Manal Kadry, a CCS graduate who supported his work on the Mandela project and was honored in the competition with a $375 prize.

HFA: SCS students are award winners in a number of art and design competitive programs. Last week, HFA: SCS middle and high school students received 21 regional Scholastic Art Awards, including: an American Vision nominee; two Gold Key art portfolios; nine individual Gold Keys; six individual Silver Keys; and three Honorable Mentions. In November, Naomi Cook, 8th grade, won the 2013 Skillman Foundation Float Design Competition; her winning design was transformed into a float that traveled through Detroit streets in America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

About Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA: SCS)

Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies is the public charter middle/high school in Detroit opened in 2009 as a partnership between Henry Ford Learning Institute and the College for Creative Studies with support from the Thompson Educational Foundation. The school is located inside the CCS A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, providing more than 800 middle and high school students in Detroit with the unique opportunity to attend school on a college campus. HFA: SCS is part of the Thompson Foundation’s more than $130 million investment in Public School Academies of Detroit (PSAD), which is serving more than 4,400 students during the 2013-2014 school year. They include students at Henry Ford Academy: Elementary School, University Preparatory Academy Schools, and University Prep Science + Math Schools, which are all located within the City of Detroit. All PSAD schools, which are authorized to operate by Grand Valley State University, share a commitment to providing an educational program that graduates at least 90 percent of ninth-grade students and sends at least 90 percent of graduates to college. For more information, visit

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


Lisa Kreinbring,
Feb 19, 2014, 11:41 AM