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Inside DPS: Detroiters Rallying Around Cass Tech

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I didn't go to Cass Tech. Let me just start by saying that.

But I did grow up in Detroit, and no matter where I have lived -- New York, Greater Chicago, Paris -- I have always been a Detroit booster, defending and celebrating my hometown.

Therefore, like so many Detroiters, I have felt steeped in "green and white" this past week after Cass Tech became the first-ever Detroit Public School League football team to claim a state title for the largest-schools' No. 1 division.

After all, there is something about the Detroit spirit that causes us to stick together and rally around each other and our city.

At DPS, we have seen that time and again this week as people from far and wide have emailed Cass Principal Lisa Phillips and Coach Thomas Wilcher to express their support after some crackpot tried to take over the spotlight of Cass' historic win by sending a hateful letter to the team.

But instead of focusing on that for long (as the media unfortunately did), the school's parents, alumni, students and teammates have shown tremendous grace, and quickly moved back to the task at hand -- celebrating this huge victory for one of our hometown teams. And people from all over the country have shown their support.

An email from Georgia credited Cass for being the solid foundation upon which the writer built her life.

Another Metro Detroiter wrote that more people are supporting Cass than we realize and thanked Principal Phillips and her staff for their time and commitment.

And then there was the Macomb County writer who really wanted DeLaSalle to win but was so impressed with the way the students and coaches handled themselves on the field and acknowledged that Cass deserved to win. The writer wanted Ms. Phillips to know about the huge number of Macomb County supporters.

Like so many of those supporters, we hope others show their hometown (and greater Detroit) spirit by turning out for the Cass Tech Celebratory Parade down Woodward Avenue for our winning team Monday Dec. 5. The Parade steps off at Grand Circus Park at 1:30 p.m.

After all, there is so much to be proud of about Cass and our DPS students. Did you know Cass is a nationally recognized "School of Excellence?  Out of 2,184 students, Cass celebrated 1,084 Technicians at last year's Honors Ceremony in May.  The graduating senior class of 2011 earned more than $18 million in scholarships with 85% of the school's students receiving scholarships.  The class of 2011 had a graduation rate of 97%. The school's four-year cohort grad rate for 2010 was more than 93 percent.

And Cass is a parent involvement powerhouse. At Cass' incoming 9th grade orientation, the school welcomed over 2,000 parents and students, including 300 students coming to DPS for the first time from private, charter and/or other school districts.

So please join us at the parade Monday. You don't have to wear Green and White. Just wear your Detroit Pride because this is a moment to celebrate one of our own -- the first-ever Detroit Public School League football team -- to claim this title. This is a tremendous win not only for Cass, but for our city. Go Detroit!