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Transparency Reporting

21 Community Members Share Career Advice, Information with Scholars at Fortis Academy

Fortis Academy hosted a Career Day for 130 seventh and eighth grade students in early February. It’s events like these that have helped the school outperform the local district for the past 13 years.

“This Career Day event was created and speakers were recruited by the school board members,” Principal Erin Dixon said. “They are passionate about giving our students exposure to career opportunities and motivation to succeed in life.” 

Fortis Academy Career day
Horace Tiggs, tech team manager, did his Career Day presentation virtually.

The school board recruited 21 speakers – most in-person and some virtual. Students were able to attend four sessions during the afternoon. Before the event, students ranked their interest in the different speakers so during sessions, they had many questions for them. 

“Overall, everyone was very happy with the event,” Dixon said. “I had several speakers offer to return whenever we hold a Career Day again. Our students appreciated the chance to rank their interest in speakers, which increased their overall engagement.” 

The speakers were from several different fields, including law, real estate, technology, engineering, health care, and even a comedian. There were two alumni students who returned as speakers, as well as two former board members.

Ben Brown presents at Fortis Career Day
Scholars could choose to listen to four speakers; here is Ben Brown, restaurant general manager, talking to scholars about his career.

The Career Day speakers were: Tanehesi Bean, mortgage banker; Ben Brown, restaurant general manager; Michelle Brown, physical therapist; Jennifer Ezeokobe, intensive care unit nurse and Fortis alumni; Dale Favors, business consultant; Kevin Fay, attorney and musician; LaShun Franklin, counselor; Mike Greer, photographer; Terry Ifemeje, electrical and computer engineering; Emijoy Izirein, surgical nurse and Fortis alumni; Alisha Jeanpierre, engineer; Kevin Longshaw, OB/GYN physician; Ralynda Moore, realtor; Jason Negri, lawyer and former board member; Melvin Rusher, college professor and former board member; Mark Salloum, producer; Khurum Sheikh, comedian; Christine Siekkinen, construction company marketing manager; Horace Tiggs, tech team manager; Shawn Williams, senior product designer and user experience consultant; and Kevin Youngblood, engineer. 

Mark Salloum talking to Fortis students
Mark Salloum is a producer and showed the scholars some of his work.

“It is important to expose our students to careers they may not know about to motivate them as their education continues,” Dixon said. “Students also learned how Moral Focus virtues, especially perseverance and encouragement, can affect their career path in adulthood by hearing about real-life experiences from our speakers.” 

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About Fortis Academy
Fortis Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Ypsilanti, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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