Spend just a few minutes with 12 year old Grandmont resident Marcedes-Antoniya Preston and you’ll be convinced there’s nothing this girl can’t do. Soon after moving to Grandmont in 2012, she looked for a way to be on the Grandmont Community Association Board. “I noticed in the Grandmonitor that there was a board, so I called all the people on the board. I wanted to get involved. At first I was told I was too young, but then the director of Social Planning called back”. Marcedes-Antoniya helped plan the Appreciation Luncheon last April, and is busy getting ready for the Grandmont Annual Picnic in June. Marcedes-Antoniya attends every board meeting, and submits monthly articles and sometimes poetry for publication in the Grandmonitor. Councilman James Tate has noticed her involvement and awarded Marcedes-Antoniya the Spirit of Detroit Award for her community service in the Grandmont Community Association.
Outside of her neighborhood, Marcedes-Antoniya is the vice-president of the Society for Black Engineers, Junior Branch. She got involved with SBE, Jr. because she wanted “to get girls into engineering.” She had a bit of a rocky start with this group though. She initially ran for president, but when no one stepped up for the secretary position, Marcedes-Antoniya agreed to be secretary, which, she admits, wasn’t easy for someone so ambitious: “Sometimes I get a little crazy about leadership.”
Marcedes-Antoniya was also enrolled in the Young Entrepreneur Academy, an organization established through the Chamber of Commerce for 11-18 year olds who are interested in learning how to own and operate their own businesses. Marcedes-Antoniya’s business idea has its roots in “personal need. I got the idea when I was 11. I came downstairs in the morning wearing my footie pajamas, and I was kind of hot. I had an undershirt on underneath, so I pulled my arms out of the sleeves and then tied them around my waist. Then I thought ‘I wish I could just zip off the top of my pajamas.’” And then boom: the idea for Marcedes-Anotniya’s original “Pazippees” design was born. Marcedes-Antoniya’s presentation in front of the investor panel and fellow entrepreneurs assembled for the final day of the Young Entrepreneur Academy drew cheers and applause. “Pazippees! The Pajama with a Zip!” she exclaimed from the podium at the Arab-American Museum in Dearborn. She hopes to have several made for the trade show on May 31. Although she has a patent pending on her design, she has had some difficulties finding a seamstress to make the pajamas. I wouldn’t worry though. If anyone can get something done, Marcedes-Antoniya can.
Whether she becomes a full-time community activist or an engineer or a businesswoman or even a pediatric surgeon (which is also on her list), we can all say that we knew her when she was a 12 year old girl with a lot of spunk living in our neighborhood.