Many public high schools in the state of Michigan are closing and/or merging with other high schools around the state. Unfortunately with less funding from the state, the population decreasing in Michigan and people having less children, one of my beloved former high schools got flagged by the board of education.
In a news article by WXYZ Channel 7 , the headliner reads ‘Southfield Public Schools closing two schools in 2016, creating unified high school’. That’s right the official home of the Blue Jays will no longer be known as Southfield High School.
On Friday October 2nd I attended Southfield High School’s last homecoming game as THEE ORIGINAL High school of Southfield. The stands were filled and former students of all ages were in attendance. I must admit I felt quite old returning back to a high school I left behind me 5 years ago. As I was one of those former students present, I started reminiscing on how fun yet overly dramatic high school truly was.
Let’s take a drive back all the way to September 2006, the first year the state made all public high schools start the day after Labor Day.
I was the new face! Freshmeat you say and one of the new girls in Southfield Public Schools.
Many students who were freshman all came from the same middle schools, whether Levey, Brace, Thompson, or Birney.
Prior to Southfield High, I was a student at Christ the King Catholic, a private K -8 school right across the street from the old Redford High School (now known as Meijer Grocery Store).
My former 8th grade class had an average of about 10 girls (our graduating class size was between 18-20), so coming to Southfield High, that had a student population of over 1,200 was a pretty huge transition for me.
My parents honestly didn’t know how well I was going to handle the transition. Fortunately for me some of my friends from Christ The King made the transition to Southfield High as well.
The first days of high school were weird, antsy yet very exciting.
Everyone had their own little cliques that they had already formed from knowing one another in middle school. Which I could understand because they all knew one another and felt comfortable with each other.
I was never the shy type, so introducing myself to new faces was not a big worry for me.
I did however think my first day of high school was going to be hard with my new teachers the way my former middle school teachers made it sound.
You know the regular, it’s harder in high school talks. The whole if you miss an assignment you get a flat zero bull and teachers in high school are stricter.
Yeah those talks. Those were the talks that placed fear in my mind about many of my high school teachers. Yet this was not at all the case.
Come to think of it the only teacher I honestly had a problem with was my spanish teacher (she still loved me). This was because I slacked so much in her class.
Looking back at it , I just don’t think I valued the principle of studying hard for my spanish exams.
Now after 5 years of being out of high school, I regret it. Especially after visiting a spanish speaking country and knowing that spanish is the first language in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and many other island countries as well as South American countries.
Ok, a little off topic but now back to my first year at Southfield High!
I had so many favorite teachers during my first year including my Speech teacher, English teachers (Honors and AP), Algebra teacher, Acting teacher, biology teacher, and my civics teacher .
Even though these were my first year teachers for high school , I fell in love with many others down the years as well such as my Geometry teacher, Algebra II with Trigonometry teacher, Pre Calculus teacher(oh how I hated pre calculus and dreaded all of the assignments), American Government teacher( this guy was probably my most hardest teacher as far as zero tolerance for disrespectful behavior, PA teacher, and lastly one teacher who taught every student involved in Student Congress how to lead by example and how to become developed as a strong leader in the world .
I decided not to use names in order to protect their privacy.
However each and every last one of these teachers taught me valuable lessons about life that I still put to use even in my adult life.
Yes it’s true students remember names of all teachers good and bad who had a lasting impression on them.
With being in a completely new environment and having a strong support system (Family and teachers), these people made the transition quite easy.
It didn’t help that my mom purposely built a relationship with them also.
I think quite a few of my teachers had my mom’s cell and work phone number . She often times made random appearances to the school if something was off about my attendance or if I was missing class assignments.
I HATED when my mom came to check on me in school. Many may think “well no student wants their parent to come to their school if the student isn’t doing what he or she is supposed to be doing”.
My reasonings are a little different. We all know how immature high school boys are and the fact that my mom is very beautiful ( a hotty with a body), made it extremely awkward when boy students would make inappropriate comments about my mom.
In high school you definitely have to have tough skin. I think it’s the first place before getting out into the real world where you build your tolerance of “toughness ” (inner and outer) when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. Well at least I did !
Which brings me to one of my most happiest memories yet saddest in high school.
As a teen girl you go through this thing called puberty! Everything changes from estrogen levels and attitude to body image. During this confusing and awkward stage of my life, I fell extremely hard (head over hills ) for someone who I have now been friends for the past 9 years! “I guess ” you can call him my first love lol (I don’t know how that happened).
He was a senior and I was this naive freshman “newbie” who had never been seen before until Southfield High.
Like many things in life, I think it was destined for us to meet. I was kind of big headed after starting a “new relationship” with a guy that was 3 years older than me. My nickname from him was Peanut (apparently my head is shaped like a peanut and I have a big forehead, otherwise known as a five head). Kind of corny, I know.
During this period of my life, I felt like I was on top of the world and how could I not feel as such being that age. He had a car, was one of the fastest guys on the track team, pretty popular, older, cute, had money and had swag. He would walk me to my speech class in O House (the old building of Southfield High) and I just thought this was the cutest thing ever!
After school, I would meet him by his O House locker, where all the seniors were located. It was a new experience and a new chapter. Everything was just that new new —the new stuff ! (in my Lauren London ATL voice). We would talk on the phone for hours after his practices. I don’t know how either one of us got our homework done? Back in the day, the days were amazing and the sun was always bright! Yup I had fell in love! Just like that he had me.
My friends knew it just as well . Isn’t that a shame. Speaking of friends over the course of my freshman year I met some pretty amazing girls! I was pretty much a social butterfly and even decided to run for Homecoming Court as Countess that first year. Although I lost, it definitely built my confidence level and helped me meet even more new people.
All of my friends in high school were very active. Most of my friends ran track and were cheerleaders while the others were involved in Student Congress like myself or class board.
As we moved on to our sophomore year, and got more familiar with the school and school rules, you better believe we started to break a lot of them. Sophomore year is when Southfield High got rid of open campus, when students could leave during their lunch time to get food.
I think the rules against open campus just didn’t apply to me and my crew. (or many other students for that matter). No one wanted the same old disgusting cafeteria food each and every day. As long as no one got caught, it was game time.
Sometimes we would just leave during lunch and never come back depending on what type of day it was. Of course we had to rush home to beat our parents to the phone in order to answer the automatic voicemail stating “Your child has been absent in one or more classes today”. We all hated that system.
Football season was the absolute best at Southfield High! Everyone attended the games. It didn’t matter who you were and who you hung out with. Sometimes I don’t know if it was because of the team, band , or both. We killed it either way! Our band was the coldest and played all the old school hits to the latest in hip hop and rap. If there was ever a band that reminded you of the movie drumline, the Blue Jays definitely portrayed it!
Spirit Week and Homecoming were events students couldn’t wait to look forward to. I think most of the students that were involved in Southfield High definitely went all out! I’ve posted some of the fun filled pictures below
Check out the powderpuff cheerleading squad below. The guys definitely tried to outdo us in our own sport!
I was a cheerleader my sophomore and junior year. Most of my time was spent after school preparing for game days on Fridays during football and basketball season. As cliche as it may sound I think every cheerleader during the time was dating someone involved in sports. Whether it was from Southfield High or a surrounding school.
I just knew I wouldn’t become apart of that cliche but I did . I was on and off in a situationship with one of the captains of the football team. Boy oh boy did that bring some drama. Towards my senior year of high school , we began to officially date. But our friendship deteriorated once we put a label on our relationship. We were the best of friends but the worst when it came to having a healthy functioning relationship that resembled “boyfriend/girlfriend”. Eventually we called it quits and decided to work more on our friendship.
I know I’ve been painting a very positive image of my high school experience. This isn’t to say that nothing negative happened. Trust me there was a handful of craziness from girls to the boys. I think it got so crazy one year at Southfield, that we had a bomb threat. I can’t even speak on half of the drama that took place outside of school! Boy drama for years! Every now and then a fight would break out, but good ole Mr.Horn (our principal) didn’t play that.
Every first week of the month we had those long one hour Blue Jay meetings! ( I don’t know who took those meetings seriously). Who could forget Principal’s council? Although I was never on the board, each member of principal council represent some form of leadership position in the school whether captain of any of the sports teams, drum major of band, president of Southfield Student Congress, or a representative from classboard. Teachers and coaches would nominate one person they felt exemplified extraordinary leadership skills and recommend these students to the principal.
In Blue Jay meetings the topic of conversation was more so what the principal and vice principals expected of us during that month or what was on the agenda for events. Personally sometimes the meetings were pointless.
Many students know what is expected , and if the student doesn’t know that’s normally because the student has low expectations for his or her self (which is more of a parenting and teacher issue to encourage the child). I will say sometimes even though some students know what is expected of them, it doesn’t always mean the student will do it or won’t try to challenge the system. It’s part of growing up and figuring out what you can or can’t get away with. Nonetheless Blue Jay meetings were always scheduled.
I think in high school most students challenged dress code more than anything. Looking back at it I understand why. When you’re a teen you are learning more about your self identity . I understand that while in school, a student should be focused on his or her academics not what it is that they have on, however it does put a damper on students expression of individuality.
But rules are rules, right!?
One of my most memorable times at Southfield High is during Sweetest and Valentine’s Day. There was this lovely thing called singing telegrams that we had. A group of guys or girls would serenade students in the school if their significant other or secret crush paid for the singing telegram. This came with a rose as well.
And how could I forget spring field days! Southfield High field Day was an end of the year celebration put on by Southfield Student Congress and was basically considered a many carnival or festival. There were outdoor games, obstacle courses, bouncy houses, bouncy wrestling ring, sumo wrestling and food, with music.
I remember the long hours in Student Congress we spent decorating for homecoming ! And even the MASC/MAHS (Michigan Association of Student Councils) Conference in Traverse City. Good times!
Remember the staff vs student games, spring musicals, and basketball pep rallies? I had some amazing times at Southfield High!
High school is that weird period in life when you have no clue and you’re trying to figure it out but can’t because you’re not an adult but you’re not a child either. You’re a teen! Teens are weird! Teens are goofy! Teens are sensitive and insensitive! and most definitely confusing! But it’s a period in life that we have all came across.
As I close , thinking of the final days of Southfield High, listening to one of the old routine songs for cheer “Money Maker”, by Ludacris, and many other 2006-2010 hit songs, I can’t help but wonder did legacy prevail? Even though Southfield High will no longer remain true to its original image, I can finally state that I grew up in Southfield. If it wasn’t for my high school, I would know nothing about leadership , integrity, morality, and branding myself in broadcast media. Southfield High was where I got my first start , as a student in radio. I am legacy! I am a Blue Jay and I will never forget it!