Rising Stars Academy in Center Line is both a school and a workplace. It trains adults with intellectual impairments for a variety of jobs, many out in the community, and many in its own businesses.
The academy is home to a restaurant, a bakery and a food processing operation. It has orchards and gardens for growing ingredients, hens for laying eggs and a hydroponics facility for winter gardening.
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There is an emphasis on creating self-sustaining processes at the school — and on training students to understand those processes.
Rising Stars has a fiber program that goes “from sheep to shawl.” Instructor Jonna Hudson says they get their wool straight from the farm right after shearing. Students clean it, dye it using food scraps from the various onsite food operations, then spin it into yarn, The yarn is then used in knitting, crocheting and or weaving.
The Rising Stars Cafe serves lunch to the public Wednesday through Friday. It also serves students. The bakery and food processing facility supply restaurants and other businesses throughout the region.
The academy’s star is rising. Thanks to community support, it may soon offer new skilled trades training. Baked goods and other items may soon be offered at an onsite shop. And the leaders at Rising Stars have lots of ideas about how to continue to expand its training, production and community presence.
WDET’s Sascha Raiyn took a tour of the Rising Stars Academy, its restaurant and other professional spaces. She spoke with the academy’s superintendent Debbie Prentiss, director Mark Prentiss and fiber instructor Jonna Hudson.