Students and staff at Cody DIT were heartbroken when they got to school on Mar. 3 and learned of the death of social worker Debra Cahee.

English teacher Edith Wine who was very close to called Cahee’s passing a tremendous loss.

“It is not just about the role she played as the social worker; it's about the love that she gave, not only to her students, but also to the staff,” Wine said.

The love people felt from Cahee came up often when the DIT community gathered in front of the school on Mar. 9 to share memories and release brightly colored balloons.

Sophomore Makaela Culberson remembers how nervous she was when she started at DIT and how much Cahee helped her.


"If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have made it to 10th grade,” Culberson said. “She helped with everything and kept it between us."

“She helped me with my personal problems, you know just keeping me motivated,” said senior Alexis Hudson.

Cahee worked for Detroit Public Schools for 25 years and spent the last seven years at Cody. One of her special projects was arranging for prescription eyeglasses for every student who needed them.

Cahee was also active in encouraging seniors on her caseload to apply for the school social work department’s Mildred A. Ellis Scholarship, a $1000 award given to four students each year. She might be pleased to know that one of the four winners this year is Cody DIT senior Philip Bryant who will be attending Central Michigan University in the fall.

Bryant said Cahee was a big help to him throughout his time at DIT because he could talk to her about anything that was on his mind.

“She could always tell when I was feeling bad and even if I said no, she had a way of forcing it out of me,” Bryant said. “Ms. Cahee was like a second mother to me. She was just a wonderful person.”