Loyola High School senior Davis Greene is a young man embracing the lessons of black history, while also looking toward a very bright future.
Davis is the designer of an original poster that recently won the $15,000 grand prize scholarship in the Detroit Pistons Black History Month contest. He is also a part-time member of DTE’s supplier diversity team. He spends several days a month getting a real-world business education as part of our company’s partnership with Loyola.
Although Davis is interested in finance and investor relations, his impressive sketches earned him a reputation as a talented artist and classmates and teachers urged him to enter the contest.
“When they were asking people to enter, my teacher asked, ‘who is the best artist in this classroom?’ Everyone pointed to me and so she gave me the information about the contest.”
While the competition focuses on creativity – writing and art – it’s also designed to test entrants’ ability to respond to tight deadlines, develop and implement a strategy and show up well amid tough competition.
Soon after he got the contest information, Davis went home and got to work. He spent about a week bouncing concepts and plans off his mom and then four days putting the poster together.
The result is an image that represents both the importance of individual personal development and the rich history of African Americans in our nation.
Each of the red stripes on the flag includes symbolic images.
The red, green and black portion at the very bottom is the African flag.
“Above that, there’s a rope running along the red stripe. That speaks to slavery — a part of the history of African Americans in this country,” Davis said.
Moving up the flag, in the next red stripe, are graphics of soldiers, which represents the fight for freedom from slavery.
“The letters of the alphabet signify the fundamentals of learning which must be mastered to move forward,” he said. “The basketballs and soccer balls in the next stripe above are about sports which lift up some members of our community.”
The graduation hats and awards shown in the next stripe reflect the importance of education, and of studying hard to go to college and have a better life. The last stripe, at the top of the poster, has graphics of small hearts.
“When you graduate, you can start a good life, earn success and become a role model, like Barack Obama or Lebron, which is about helping others, showing everyone what is possible, and spreading love,” he said.
The title of his poster “Liberty and Justice for All” reflects the sentiment that equality is a universal concept.
“If we’re going to get better, then we need all need to lift each other up,” Davis said.
Once he submitted his artwork, it was displayed along with the other entries at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) where visitors could vote on their favorite.
Students from Loyola, and the schools of other entrants, were invited to the DIA to hear scholarship winners announced. While Davis knew he had a good chance to place near the top, he wondered about who would take the grand prize.
“They announced the third-place winner and I didn’t get it, and I thought ‘ok, if I take second, I’ll be happy with that,’” he said. “Second place went to a very talented artist from Cass Tech. They announced my name as the grand prize winner and my classmates started cheering and applauding. It was a day I won’t forget.”
Davis hasn’t yet decided how he’ll use the scholarship funds. He is a strong student with multiple college offers on the table. He says the skills and experience he’s gained at DTE will help him succeed regardless of where life takes him.
“I’ve learned a lot about building business relationships, and how important it is to stay in contact with suppliers, and what it takes to succeed,” he said. “These are lessons it would have been difficult to learn in the traditional classroom, so my time here has benefitted my education tremendously.”