University Prep Schools and the Detroit Yacht Club have teamed up to infuse the rigorous Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) curriculum with a little outdoor fun through the sport of sailing. The partnership will be the first ever of its kind as the DYC, founded in 1868, is one of the oldest and most prestigious private clubs in North America. The leadership at University Prep Schools is changing the game when it comes to urban education in Detroit not only in the classroom but also beyond –seeking to provide access, opportunity and experience for all students that attend. As a “Prep” school system, they are looking to add more traditional prep school athletics to the roster of extracurricular activities. None more “preppy” than sailing with the added bonus of being able to apply the math and science components of the sport to the classroom.

The DYC’s Junior Sailing program was previously only offered to children of club members and now 25 very lucky University Prep students from middle school to high school will join them for at least the next five summers. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, a portion of the cost for the students to sail at the club is covered. Meijer has also donated $2,500 in gift cards for the sailing program and another $2,500 for educational programming. Sheri Reid Grant gave a personal donation of $2,000 for life jackets. In order to create successful and sustainable programming, the DYC and University Prep Schools will continue to seek support from community, state and national businesses and organizations. 

Although University Prep Schools boasts two high-performing K-12 districts, University Preparatory Academy (UPA) and University Prep Science & Math School (UPSM) the later district, UPSM was chosen to participate in the sailing program in its inaugural year. The proximity of UPSM high school, located in Rivertown, to Bell Isle as well as the science and math components of sailing aligning with UPSM’s STEAM curriculum, was a strategic option for piloting the program. 

With the shared belief that children tend to surpass expectations, both the members of the DYC and the team at University Prep Schools who have worked together to create this exclusive program are not only proud to be able to provide this unique opportunity to urban students but are excited to see how much of this program will impact their lives. The students who participate will not only be sailing but will have to abide by club rules and assimilate to the culture of the DYC, an epicenter of Detroit society.