WDIV-Local 4 has embarked on “Help Me Hank: The School Project,” a 10-month commitment to better the physical environment of Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School in Detroit.
The station partnered with Detroit Public School Community District to identify a school that was in crucial need of building renovations. Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School is home to nearly 700 students and dedicated faculty and staff.
“As a reporter in Detroit for the last 16 years, I’ve seen school children and teachers trying to learn and teach in appalling conditions and it is unacceptable,” said Help Me Hank Consumer Reporter Hank Winchester. “‘Help Me Hank: The School Project’ is not about who is to blame for the state of the schools, but how we, as a community, can work with our generous friends and the people of the school district to create a better physical learning environment for the young and curious students of Thurgood Marshall.”
The cafeteria and front office were the first targets for renovations. Hire It Done and PPG Paint donated time, materials, and people to transform the cafeteria and main office.
“Right now the gymnasium doesn’t have bleachers. There are two-by-fours on top of paint buckets for people to sit,” said Kim Voet, news director. “The gymnasium, media center, and ways to improve technology are the next big things on our list.”
“The school mascot is a dolphin and there was not one dolphin in the building. When our friends from Fathead provided dolphin decals for the cafeteria, we could see the excitement from the faculty, staff, parents and students. We can’t wait to do so much more over the next school year,” said Winchester.
“Building quality is important to student outcomes. There’s a real sense of pride that comes from being in an updated, safe and physically attractive learning environment. Local 4 is headquartered in Detroit and the schools of this city are our neighbors and are educating our future leaders,” said Marla Drutz, Local 4 vice-president and general manager.