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Community send-off for student enrolling in WSU

Briana Clemons (left) celebrates her high school graduation with her mother, Patricia. MARCUS WRIGHT PHOTO

Marcus Wright
Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — An open house was held Aug. 11 for Briana Clemons. The neighborhood was invited. The occasion: Briana’s graduation from high school and entry into college. Briana graduated from Crockett Technical High School and will enter Wayne State University in September.

Her mother Patricia Clemons refused to let the events pass without marking them — even if it meant cleaning a space in the neighborhood for her daughter’s party by herself. That space happened to be the vacant lot next to where she grew up, at E. Warren and Parker on the city’s east side, and still resides.

“This was a beautiful neighborhood. My mom moved us here in 1967,” Patricia Clemons said. “It’s horrible now.”

Briana said her career plan is to become a physical trainer for the NFL. “I have to do four years of undergraduate study and then four years of medical school,” Briana said.

She added that she became interested in medicine because she is on the dance team at her church, Hope Tabernacle, and when people hurt themselves — e.g., sprain or strain — she would “treat” them.

Clemons said it is disheartening to see all the young men in the neighborhood unemployed. “I’d like to see them doing something, getting together to make the make the neighborhood better,” she said. “The city is obviously not going to do it.”

Briana said she received a $1,000 scholarship from the National Honor Society. She had a 3.4 grade point average. “I always planned to go to college. My mother instilled it in me,” Briana said. “My sister Britney also encouraged me. And I can’t say enough about my pastor. She really helped me.”

“I tell students to stay focused,” Briana said. “You can have fun and still do the work.”


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