Albion College Enrolls First Class of Build Albion Fellows

For seven high school seniors living in the Albion Public Schools district, four years of tuition, room and board will be provided in exchange for work and service in the Albion community

Build Albion Fellows 2015
Meet the first class of Build Albion Fellows, all part of Albion College's Class of 2019 entering this fall. From left to right: Markeese Boyd, Robert Hays, Mercedes Pace, Demarcus Robinson, Dominique Givens, Cortazia Wilson and Khaliah Roberts. Read more about the event at Albion Community School on MLive/Jackson Citizen Patriot

April 20, 2015  |  Watch the event on YouTube

ALBION, Mich.—Albion College is pleased to introduce its first class of Build Albion Fellows, a group of seven students residing in the local school district who will receive four-year tuition, room and board from the College, and who will bring to the campus a diverse and exciting array of passions and career interests.

After being accepted for admission to Albion College and demonstrating high financial need based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the students—all of whom have attended Albion Public Schools for at least three years (grades 6-8)—expressed interest in the Fellows program, which was first announced in November 2014 and includes a community service requirement aimed at “building” the community of Albion. The seven were selected as Build Albion Fellows following individual interviews with a selection committee made up of community and College leaders.

“This is a historic moment for Albion Public Schools, as well as for the City of Albion and Albion College,” said Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper, superintendent of Albion Public Schools. “Seven of our best 12th graders will soon embark on an educational journey they couldn’t have dreamed about a year ago, one in which the financial hurdles impeding their path to a college degree have been removed. Albion College’s generous investment in these students, and the students’ investment in their community, is inspiring and benefits everyone in Albion.”

In alphabetical order, the members of the inaugural cohort of Build Albion Fellows, all part of Albion College’s incoming Class of 2019:

Markeese Boyd, Concord High School
A track athlete, Markeese has worked for the Pea Pods program offered through the City of Albion’s Recreation Department, and is currently working at the Bohm Theatre, in addition to mentoring student-athletes. While at Albion College, Markeese will look to continue his mentoring activities and perhaps help develop a YMCA-type place for young people to do positive things.

Dominique Givens, Marshall High School
An active volunteer at the Albion District Library and for Citizens to Beautify Albion, Dominique has interests in health care and in helping others. She plans to work with Big Brothers Big Sisters and on any project that helps to bring more College volunteers into the public school and the community where they can engage with children.

Robert Hays, Marshall High School and Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center
Robbie and members of his church developed the Homework Corner, an afterschool tutoring program for the children who live at Oak Meadows housing community. With an interest in medicine and in children’s well-being, Robbie wishes to join Albion College’s Institute for Healthcare Professions, engage with the local Albion Health Care Alliance, continue with the Homework Corner, and volunteer at Kids ’N’ Stuff Children’s Museum.

Mercedes Pace, Marshall High School
Mercedes has been active in her community, serving as a foster child mentor. She has aspirations for a career in law enforcement. As a Build Albion Fellow, Mercedes wants to volunteer with the City and College public safety offices and to work with youth to spread a more positive message about the City.

Khaliah Roberts, Marshall High School
With a focus on business, Khaliah wants to conduct a youth needs assessment to engage high school students, determine what their interests in the City are, and then provide opportunities for the City’s teenagers.

Demarcus Robinson, Concord High School
Demarcus has interests in the sciences, and wants to connect his interests to teens and children in Albion. He worked with the Open for Business program at Concord High School and developed a business plan for opening a bakery in town. He looks to be involved in the elementary school and with the City’s parks programs.

Cortazia Wilson, Marshall High School
A part-time worker at the local McDonald’s, Cortazia still finds time for athletics and volunteering. She volunteers with the City of Albion’s Recreation Department as a referee and coach, and wants to engage in a mentoring program with student-athletes to help them get to college.

“I cannot wait to see these impressive young men and women on the Quad, in our classrooms and labs, and in the dining hall this fall,” said Albion College President Mauri Ditzler. “They will gain tremendously from what the College will give to them, and the College and City will gain tremendously from what these students will give to us over the next four years. Powerful partnerships make programs like this and days like today possible; it’s a day to celebrate for APS, the City, the College and all of Albion.”

The seven Build Albion Fellows will begin their service commitments on June 1, working 40 hours per week for 10 weeks on assignments that currently are being finalized. During the academic year, the Fellows will work 10 hours per week.

“I am very excited about starting this program with these exceptional students,” said professor of chemistry and Albion City Council member Andrew French, who has been instrumental in bringing the Fellows program to life. “Each brings unique skills and abundant enthusiasm for doing good in Albion. I look forward to working with our seven Fellows to identify community projects they are excited about doing this summer and into their first year. It is going to be a very good year!”

The Build Albion Fellows program is intended to strengthen the bonds between Albion College and its host community by providing a college education and meaningful work experience for the students while also benefiting the community through the services the students provide. More information about the program can be found online at