DeVos Learning Center

2017-2018 School Programs
High School Programs

Ford and Willis Ward

Black and Blue – The Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game

This three-hour program uses portions of the documentary, Black and Blue: the Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game. Through interviews, letters, and archival photos and video, the documentary tells the long-forgotten story of the 1934 game between The University of Michigan and Georgia Tech, in which the Yellow Jackets agreed to play the Wolverines on one condition- Michigan had to sit out the lone African-American player on the team, a talented athlete from Detroit, Willis Ward. Ward’s teammates were outraged, and none more than his friend and roommate, the future 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford. Students will explore the effects this experience had on both Ford and Ward, including how it shaped Ford’s perspective and influenced his decisions later in life when he had a voice to enact positive change. The program includes a museum tour and ends with students learning how they, themselves, can enact positive change by learning to identify and contact their elected officials to share a point of view.

Leading with Character

This four-hour workshop gives students insight into the character and leadership styles of President Ford. Students will examine their own leadership styles by engaging in several leadership and team-building activities. The importance of service in leadership is incorporated as students engage in an on-site service project together. This program is great for student leadership groups, peer-listeners, and mentors.

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Unlocking the Character Code: the Gerald R. Ford BREAKOUT Game

After a guided tour of the Museum, students work together in teams to solve character-related clues throughout the exhibits in order to unlock a secret code and reap the reward! This activity is great for team-building and developing critical thinking skills. “Unlocking the Character Code” can be added onto one of our other programs, or can serve as a stand-alone experience. Please allow at least 2.5 hours for both the guided tour and breakout game.