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Central High School (Detroit)

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School type  Public
Grades  9-12
Area  Urban
Color  Navy and White
Principal  Michelle White
Language  English
Phone  +1 313-252-3000
Central High School (Detroit)
Athletics conference  Detroit Public School League
Address  2425 Tuxedo St, Detroit, MI 48206, USA
School district  Education Achievement Authority

Central High School, previously Central Collegiate Academy, and originally named Central High School is the oldest public secondary school in Detroit, Michigan; it is owned by the Detroit Public Schools. As of 2012 Education Achievement Authority operates the school.



In 1858, Detroit's first high school opened on Miami Avenue. By 1863, due to increased enrollment, the school was moved to a building that had formerly housed the State Capitol - becoming Capitol High School. In 1871 the University of Michigan granted accreditation to the school.

In 1893 a fire destroyed Capitol High School; it continued to function temporarily at the Biddle House on East Jefferson Avenue. In 1896, Capitol became Central High School, located at the intersection of Cass and Warren Avenue; the structure is still in use as Wayne State University's Old Main.

During 1904, innovative educator David Mackenzie returned to his hometown as the new principal of Central High School. By 1913, under Mackenzie's direction, a one-year, college-level premedical curriculum was established at Central High - the first junior college curriculum organized in Michigan. In 1916, the program was extended to two years, and in 1917 the state legislature approved Mackenzie's plans for establishing the Detroit Junior College, forerunner of Wayne State University. In 1919, David Mackenzie was officially appointed first Dean of the college.

In 1926, due to a further increase in the student population, Central High School moved to its current location, at 2425 Tuxedo Street.


As Detroit's oldest high school, Central has enjoyed a tradition of athletic success.

Central High School dominated city league men's basketball during the early twentieth century, winning championship titles in 1906, 1907 and 1909. Despite the absence of tournament play (1910–1919), Central High was a perennial fixture atop the standings at season's end.

CHS also won city tournament titles in 1934, 42 and 1980. In 1998, Coach Oronde Taliaferro marched his Trailblazers through the postseason, all the way to the Michigan High School Athletic Association championship game. In the final, Central dispatched Belleville High 63-47 to claim the state title.

During the 1980s, Central's track and field program stamped an indelible mark in the record books; Coach Woody Thomas and his track men won a total of four MHSAA team titles - in 1980, 81, 82 and 1984.

Notable alumni

  • Anita Baker, multiple Grammy Award-winning singer
  • Eli Broad (1951), billionaire and philanthropist
  • Melvin Calvin (1928) received the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on photosynthesis in plants
  • Michael Dann (1939) was a former senior vice president of programming for CBS television
  • William Davidson (1940) was a sports entrepreneur who owned the Detroit Pistons and Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Antonio Gates (1998), tight end for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League, 9-time Pro Bowl selection
  • Gael Greene (1951), food critic and author
  • Melville Hatch, entomologist
  • Josephine Hobbs (1976), Michigan High School Athletic Association track-and-field record holder: won state championships in 100 and 220-yard dash at MHSAA finals in 1974, 1975 and 1976
  • Jerome Horwitz (1937) spearheaded the research effort resulting in development of AZT, an antiviral drug used to treat HIV
  • Leon Jaroff (1945) was founding editor of Discover magazine and a senior editor of Time magazine; wrote more than 40 cover articles for Time, among them "Race for the Moon", "The Test-Tube Baby" and "Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs?"
  • The Jones Girls, singing trio
  • Carl Levin (1954) United States Senator (D-Michigan)
  • Sander Levin (1949) United States Representative (D-Michigan)
  • James Lipton (1944) host of Inside the Actors Studio; dean of master’s program at New York's New School for Social Research
  • Robert Niftily (1956), chairman of Michigan State Tax Commission and former chief operating officer of Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Freda Payne, singer, best known for "Band of Gold"
  • Frank Reiber, former MLB player (Detroit Tigers)
  • Marvin Schlossberg (1939) adopted the stage name Sonny Eliot; became a well-known Detroit television weatherman
  • Neil Snow (1898) All-American football player at the University of Michigan; MVP of the inaugural Rose Bowl Game
  • Jeff Walker (1970) was selected to Parade magazine's All-America Basketball Team (1970)
  • Norman Wexler (1944) wrote the screenplays for the films Joe, Serpico and Saturday Night Fever
  • Thomas Wilcher (1982) was a ten-time MHSAA track champion and varsity football player at Central; also All-American track athlete for the University of Michigan
  • References

    Central High School (Detroit) Wikipedia

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