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Michigan State University is my dream college, and I’m well on my way to meeting the requirements I need to make this dream come true. And I have my high school to thank for that.

I have been attending Voyageur College Prep in Detroit since ninth grade, and it’s great with preparing students for college. I have come a long way since the beginning of my time there.

Born and raised in Detroit, I have always dreamed of being an author. I absolutely love to read and write, which is why I have my sights on Michigan State.

I heard that MSU has a great journalism program, which I am definitely interested in. My aunt Faith Wilson, who has already attended college and sold her first book, is my inspiration.

As a senior now, I am learning to prepare for my future. Voyageur has helped me with many things, including internships, community service hours and enrichment credits.

Voyageur began in 2002 and is a public charter academy serving grades 9-12. My school’s mission is to prepare all scholars with the skills, knowledge, habits and mindset to graduate from college. Voyageur has a 96 percent graduation rate and a 99 percent college acceptance rate.

Zakeyna Lee, a rising sophomore at Voyageur, said she thinks the school is definitely a challenge because of the rules and requirements, but the challenge is worth it because she is getting all the help she needs from the school.

“I am doing much better in high school than I ever was in middle school,” she said. “Because of Voyageur, my grades are way better, I am building up my ACT scores and I play sports. I can already feel my future wrapped around my fingers.”

I do, too.

Voyageur requires its students to meet the following benchmarks: 10 hours of community service hours per year; 0.25 enrichment credits per year; be on track to pass all classes; zero detentions; and at least one AP class before graduation.

Even though the requirements sound a little harsh, the school is really preparing students for senior year, when it’s time to apply to colleges. The school even gives students the help they need to find internships, dual enrollment classes, community service programs and summer jobs. It also helps with college visits.

After students get accepted into college, the school’s counselor, Nick Attwater, travels to the alumni’s college to make sure they have all the assistance needed to graduate. Not many high schools provide that kind of assistance to a former student.

Asia Bryant graduated this year and she says Voyageur helped prepare her for the future. She will be attending Oakland University with a full scholarship, and she will start college in the spring.

“Considering my past struggles and my breakthrough, I am more than happy I graduated from VCP,” Bryant said.

Chaleb Donelson, also a 2017 graduate, will be attending Western Michigan University this fall. He said if it wasn’t for Voyageur he probably would have never gotten into Western.

“If students want to get into college I would definitely recommend Voyageur,” Donelson said. “Voyageur still helps when you are in college to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.”

In fall 2018, I hope to be starting my college career at Michigan State.

Patrese Sullivan is a rising senior at Voyageur College Prep High School in Detroit and a summer intern at The Detroit News.

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