Highland Park Community High School
|Highland Park Renaissance High School|
|15900 Woodward Ave., Highland Park, MI 48203
Highland Park, Michigan, Michigan
|Type||Public High School|
|Motto||"Striving for Excellence; Learning for Life"|
|School district||Highland Park Schools|
|Principal||Mr. Belvin Liles|
|Color(s)||Blue and White|
|Accreditation||North Central Association|
Highland Park Renaissance High School (formerly Highland Park Community High School and Highland Park High School) was a public high school in Highland Park, Michigan. About 775 students attended Highland Park in about 2012. Its mascot is the polar bears, and its school colors are blue and white. It was a part of Highland Park Schools, but had been operated as a charter school by Leona Group since August 2012. The school was scheduled to close after the end of the school year in 2015.
The current Highland Park High School was built in 1977 to better accommodate students than the old facility had. In the 1970s Highland Park lost over 20% of its population. The previous high school building was closed in 1978 so the students could attend classes at the new building.
The high school had direct access to Highland Park Junior College (later Highland Park Community College), attracting students; Jack Martin, who later became the Detroit Public Schools emergency manager, said that the community college "was harder to get into than Wayne State." During its prime, it had graduating classes of 300 students each. Students continued to enroll despite the move of Chrysler to the suburbs. Many African-American families sent their children to the school so they could get an education comparable to that of schools in suburbs without having to move to the suburbs. The school had a pool used to train swimmers for Michigan state championships.
The school began to decline in the 1990s. The student population decreased and academic programs and after school activities decreased. The community college closed in 1996. The school pool closed during that decade. In 2000 the school district began operating on a deficit. In a five-year period before 2012, enrollment plummeted, with 450 students in 2012.
When Martin visited the school he encountered many empty and unused classrooms and various kinds of damage and wear, including water damage, exposed concrete beams, missing and falling ceiling panels, and exposed wiring. Doors had knocked out glass panels and missing doorknobs. Some lockers had fire damage because students had set the lockers on fire. The school budget did not have sufficient finances to fix all of the damage.
As of 2012 the district continued to maintain the former Highland Park High School and was considering opening it to students for the 2012-2013 school year. At the time it had almost 400 students.
In 2014 the high school moved to the Ford School campus. By 2015 enrollment had fallen to 160 students, and in May 2015 it was announced that the high school would close in June, with the district negotiating an agreement that could allow students to attend the Detroit Public Schools. In addition to DPS schools, students are eligible to attend charter schools, Education Achievement Authority schools, and suburban schools which accept transfers. In June 2015 representatives of schools from DPS schools and other Metro Detroit schools attended a high school fair to convince Highland Park students to attend their schools. Highland Park High School was scheduled to close on at the end of June 2015.
In 2012 the school had 450 students; many of them lived in Detroit. Aaron Foley of MLive.com said "For many, however, Highland Park Community High School still remains a better alternative to unproven charter schools, outlying suburban schools and the state-controlled Detroit Public Schools."
Highland Park in the eighties and early nineties had powerful Swim Teams that were all African American male and female swimmers, Coach by Marion Hayes and Coach Hodge, the swim team won three SEC championships. The awim program shut down sometime around 1993. Notable SEC champions for Highland Park: John Mayes (1986),John Smith (1987),Eric Smith (1987) William Thomas (1989), Bruce Pearson(1989) (diving).
Highland Park is a Class B athletic school and is independent of a conference since 2009. In recent years, Highland Park has had athletic success, including 2 state semi-final finishes in Football in 2005 and 2006, a district championship in girls softball in 2006. The baseball team had a remarkable season in 2008 as it went 20-7 and were Michigan Mega Conference Champions. The school also has 2 state championships in Boys basketball (1952, 1975). They also have 7 individual wrestling championships by Jarod Trice (2006, 2007), Anthony Jones (2007), Marcell Dubose (2005, 2006), and Quean Smith (2010, 2011). Highland Park has had multiple runner up appearances in wrestling and boys basketball. The school currently offers:
- Boys Baseball
- Girls Softball
- Girls Volleyball
- Boys and Girls Track and field
- Boys and Girls Cross Country
- Boys and Girls Basketball
- Girls Cheerleading
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The following attended the current HPCHS and its predecessor.
Raymon Taylor football player and track, (Montreal Alouettes, University of Michigan)
Darius Johnson, former football player ( Indiana University)
- Bob Bruce, former MLB player (Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves)
- Terry Duerod, former NBA player for the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors
- Ted Gray, former MLB pitcher (Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles)
- Telma Hopkins, actress
- Doug Hollie, football player
- Bobby Joe Hill, basketball player, point guard of the 1966 NCAA Texas Western University championship team
- Reggie McKenzie, NFL football player for the Buffalo Bills
- Elvis Mitchell, film critic
- Billy Pierce, former MLB pitcher (Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants)
- Martha Scott, Michigan state senator
- George Trapp, former NBA player for the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons
- Ingrid Walton a.k.a. CoCo (WJLB morning co-host)
- Mario Williams, aeronautical engineer, football defensive back Florida A&M University
- Banchero, Stephanie and Matthew Dolan. "Michigan City Outsources All of Its Schools ." The Wall Street Journal. August 2, 2012. Retrieved on November 5, 2012.
- Foley, Aaron (February 2, 2012). "From state-of-the-art to state takeover: The rise and fall of Highland Park Public Schools". mlive.com. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- Higgins, Lori (May 28, 2015). "Highland Park losing its high school to low enrollment". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 29, 2015. (Archive)
- Bethencourt, Daniel. "Highland Park parents seek options as high school shuts" (Archive). Detroit Free Press. June 8, 2015. Retrieved on July 3, 2015.
- Lewis, Shawn D. "Schools pitch students, parents from Highland Park" (Archive). The Detroit News. June 9, 2015. Retrieved on July 6, 2015.
- Neher, Jake. "As schools open across state, lawmakers work to reopen Highland Park high school" (Archive). Michigan Radio. September 7, 2015. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
- Girard, Fred (January 22, 2002). "Ex-Piston Trapp dies after stabbing". The Detroit News. WZZM-TV. Retrieved May 23, 2015.