Our Person of the Week honor is shared by two graduates of Cass Technical High School.
Between them, they have accumulated nearly $2 million in college scholarships. You might think that’s impossible, but it started with a lot of hard work.
I had the chance to chat with Makaila Jackson and Che’ Rai Laster while they got Hollywood prom makeovers for shining brightly in the classroom.
I asked Makaila if she was always a good student, she quickly responded “Yes, always, I don’t want to brag.”
Che’ Rai is a smart cookie, too, graduating with a 3.9 grade point average from Cass Tech.
When asked if she was always smart, too, she quickly answered, “Yeah, since birth.”
Makaila grew up on the west side of Detroit with an extended family all under one roof. Makaila says she always stayed in the house and focused on school. She loves science and always had her head in the books.
Che’ Rai applied for scholarships at 25 schools and won nearly every one. She earned nearly $950,000 in scholarships, but the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor came out on top. She credits her Detroit teachers for pushing her to reach the top.
Makaila says it was her guardian angel who helped her win the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship - worth more than $1 million. She had to write eight essays and had to have a recommendation and a nominator to be considered.
Fifty-eight thousand students applied.
Makaila wrote about her special bond with her late grandmother, who passed away after battling injuries from a car accident and triple bypass surgery. Makaila says the whole time she was asking her grandmother in heaven to guide her hand in writing the essays. She not only won the scholarship, she will be attending Spellman in Atlanta this fall with dreams of being a surgeon.
After hearing about their success, makeup artist to the stars George Mckenney of B International Salon in Ferndale got the owner and his whole team to do prom makeovers for the girls. They got the works: hair, nails and makeup, free of charge. George says something like this in Hollywood easily could have cost $2,500.00.
Thanks to B International, prom was certainly a night to remember and the girls were thankful for the help and well wishes.