Michigan Chronicle/TCF Bank S.W.A.G. Awardees Continue to Build Community and Reach Higher

As the cost of higher education continues to trend upwards, students are searching far and wide for scholarships to pay for college. Recognizing the need to remove the financial barrier to higher education, the Michigan Chronicle partnered with TCF Bank to develop the S.W.A.G. Scholarship Awards to serve Detroit students. Now in its fifth year, TCF Bank has invested close to a half of million dollars to the program, which is awarded to deserving Detroit high school seniors who demonstrate integrity and a commitment to community service.

“The S.W.A.G. Scholarship Awards are a continuing opportunity for our bank to further enhance our commitment to the future of the young men and women of Detroit,” said Gary Torgow, Executive Chairman of TCF Financial Corporation.

The robust scholarship program which includes financial and internship support is geared toward students with a grade point average ranging from 2.25-3.2, which helps identify students such as, Cass Tech’s graduating senior Maya Davis, with potential to soar. The S.W.A.G scholarships alleviates some of the financial burden, enabling the scholar to focus their studies.

“It is no secret that the cost of higher education, be it a trade program, community college, or four-year institution, places the opportunity out of reach for many of our children, says Hiram Eric Jackson, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. “That challenge is magnified exponentially for those students who despite demonstrating undeniable leadership skills, may not be the highest academic achievers. That’s where The S.W.A.G. Awards come in,” continues Jackson. “The S.W.A.G. Awards are about giving the average student who works hard, gives back, and shows leadership in other areas that extra push towards success.”

Davis who will be attending Bowling Green in the fall has attributed her tenacity and self-starting abilities in landed her with an $10,000 S.W.A.G. Award and a Gucci Changemakers scholarship.

“I use to go to the library every day to fill-out scholarships…my grade point average is actually average, I knew I had to work harder for my test scores and I don’t test well so I knew I had to get these scholarships,” said Davis.

Diop Russell 2018 top S.W.A.G. Award recipient and rising junior at Spelman, traveled abroad to Sinagua last year with the support of the S.W.A.G. scholarship program. “I got really interested in documentaries and film, I also had to do a research project and I got really interested in research,” said Russell. Her experience in Africa shifted her mindset inspired her to shift her focus to become a filmmaker and professor. Russell also was afforded the opportunity to learn more about the origin of her name.

Both young ladies collectively secured a Gucci bag, not a purse, but $30,000 in scholarships from the global luxury fashion brand.

Russell and Davis are developing a project which will be presented to Gucci once completed. “The scholarship and internship has been super informative, they tell you the inside and outside international luxury retail,” said Russell.

The dynamics between these two scholars’ demonstrations the importance of building community, which is one of the primary focus of the S.W.A.G. Awards. They have begun to keep in touch and share scholarship applications to assist each other in the battle of college tuition costs. “Every year, I have to be very gracious and I have to thank all of the women who have prayed for me,” said Russell.

The class of 2020 is a student body like no other. They have venture into adulthood at a time where the landscape of our society is mid-pivot. The Michigan Chronicle and TCF Bank are on the frontline preparing our young people for resilience.

Congratulations to this year’s Michigan Chronicle/TCF Bank S.W.A.G. Award recipients. Check out the honorees here:


By Tatiana Simone

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