Tonya Champion Rawlings
Founder | Champions for Change
Tonya Champion Rawlings was born with education in her blood. Her mother, Mrs. Gloria Champion, was an educator for over 30 years and from a young age, Tonya helped grade Mrs. Champion’s student’s papers because she enjoyed education so much.
She graduated from Redan High School and then completed her degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She worked for Detroit Public Schools for 11 years at David Mackenzie High School from 1995 to 2006, and also at Central High School from 2004 to 2006. Tonya began working as a Guidance Counselor for Detroit Public Schools in a program called “Detroit Compact.” Her role was the Coordinator and she served as the liaison between parents, city partners, higher educational partners, business partners, the church, the 2nd Precinct Police Department of Detroit, and various other community organizations and supporters.
As the Coordinator, she lead a committee that was responsible for implementing programs that would improve the grade point average, improve ACT and SAT test scores, attendance, student code of conduct, as well as improve MEAP test scores. Ms. Champion collected data for over 3,000 students, grades nine through twelve, to verify which students would qualify for job and college readiness opportunities. She blazed a trail for high school youth. Students who met the standards qualified for 2 to 4 year scholarships and summer employment opportunities. She provided mentorship opportunities for Mackenzie students. The goal of the mentorship program was to improve attrition and retention rates for ninth graders — which was a large focus in the district between 1995 and 2006.
Tonya has a history of championing support from community leaders, politicians, pastors, and various other people within the business sector. She served as a Counselor for the Upward Bound program at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She has coordinated programs that address topics such as, dressing for success, interviewing skills, “Athletes At Risk” with the assistance of Mr. Jerome Bettis (The Bus) and his foundation, and has assisted student athletes with the NCAA clearinghouse process, which helped students to be as prepared as possible for post secondary collegiate education at colleges and universities across the country. In addition, Ms. Champion served as the academic advisor for the athletic teams at David Mackenzie High School and Detroit Central High School.
Ms. Champion has conducted resume writing, cover letter, and interviewing skills workshops which have supported students in obtaining employment opportunities while in high school and beyond. She incorporates job shadowing opportunities to allow students to meet with people from different careers to provide students with exposure to different career choices and help them to identify their passion. The majority of the students with whom Ms. Champion has engaged were first generation college students. She charged herself with planting the seed that could serve as a catalyst for students to not only apply to post-secondary school, but to receive scholarships to support them financially while obtaining their degree.
Ms. Champion also worked with Jerome Bettis with “The Athletes at Risk” Program with Sylvan Learning Center which provided student athletes an opportunity to take the Sylvan Learning Center ACT and SAT workshops. She tracked the results and analyzed the scores. Ms. Champion’s last role was as a Lead Admissions Advisor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta for 10 years and then a National Admissions Consultant at American Intercontinental University for almost 2 years.
Ms. Champion has focused on scholarship opportunities for youth for over 22 years. As a result, she has established several contacts with Admissions Advisors and Representatives from colleges and universities across the country. Her vision for “Champions for Change,” is to change the lives of students by creating realms of opportunities for them to embark upon and blaze a new trail of excellence.