Math Corps Visitor's Day welcomes donors, supporters
On August 1, supporters of Wayne State University’s Math Corps had the opportunity to see the academic and mentoring program in action during Visitor’s Day. Approximately 25 people observed a Math Corps class and listened to students speak about their experiences.
Seeing the Math Corps program firsthand was especially meaningful for donors. “It’s a life-changing experience to go to this open house,” said Harriet Cooper, a retired teacher. “Anybody who really cares about kids at risk or the city of Detroit would be so inspired.”
The Math Corps is a combined academic enrichment and mentoring program for Detroit public school students, grades 6-12, led by faculty members from Wayne State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It features a six-week summer camp and year-round Saturday programs. The Math Corps teaches both basic and advanced concepts to challenge students. Approximately 400 students participate in the Math Corps each year, at no cost to them. Support from alumni, friends, corporations and foundations helps makes this possible.
The Math Corps is about much more than math. Its mission is to help children in Detroit realize their own particular greatness, using mathematics as a tool. The program promotes hard work and responsibility and espouses the values of compassion, kindness, integrity and courage. “It’s great how the students are all so supportive of each other,” said Nathan Leader after attending Visitor’s Day with his 14-year-old daughter, Isabel. She ate lunch with some of the students and said they were all “really welcoming.” Leader and business partner Eli Scherr recently established a fund to support the Math Corps over the next five years.
Students helping students is an important component of the Math Corps. High school students spend their mornings as paid teaching assistants, serving as natural role models for the middle school students. In the afternoons, high school students take classes of their own. This model promotes a sense of family and boosts the confidence of all students.
The Math Corps has received widespread recognition for its work. The program was the subject of an Emmy-winning documentary, It All Adds Up, by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sue Marx. Since 1995, more than 95 percent of Math Corps students have graduated from high school. Approximately 80 percent of those students have gone on to college, while 10 percent have entered the military or gone on to technical training.