End of an era: Southfield-Lathrup High School remembered

The school bell rang for the final time today at Lathrup High School in Southfield.
Go Go Chargers! Fight Fight Chargers! The key lyrics to our fight song. 46 years after graduating its first class, Southfield-Lathrup Senior High School is closing its doors on June 21, 2016.  

To hear what other Lathrup grads think about the school's closing, watch Ingrid Kelley's report in the video player. 
The building will be re-purposed and occupied by the University High School Academy. This fall, Southfield-Lathrup will merge with Southfield High to become the Southfield High School for the Arts and Technology.   Goodbye to the Chargers.  So long red and white. 
We were better known as S-L and we have some pretty distinguished alumni. Quicken Loans and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Co-founder of Groupon, Eric Leftkofsky, NHL players Mark and Marty Howe. Mark was the youngest player to ever win an Olympic medal while he was a student at S-L.  Yes, Marty and Mike are sons of Detroit Red Wing great Gordie Howe. The Howes lived in Lathrup Village for a time. Their backyard had a pool in the shape of number nine.
Mike Chappel was a member of the 2000 National College Basketball Championship team. Warren Zide produced the American Pie movies. Brian Elias is the President of Hansons.  Darillus Garcia McMillian founded the Delta Tau Lambda Society. Jason Jones played for the Detroit Lions.  Billy Whitehouse is an established Hollywood actor. There are many other success stories.
For my own class of 1983, I can think of dozens of classmates who went on to be doctors, lawyers and prominent business leaders. More importantly, the school turned out good people who lead in their communities. 
S-L fostered success. The teaching staff was excellent. The facilities were state of the art. The school placed a premium on academics, as evident by the wonderful science labs. There was huge emphasis on the arts, theater and music, with a magnificent auditorium featuring nine full curtains, acoustic design and hundreds of plush theater seats. There were good sports teams too, a few champions, championships packed bleachers and homecoming floats.   
There was something else though. I think the diversity of the school body prepared us for life. Whatever your background, race, religion or ethnicity, we found more ways to get along than fight. The school itself combined two communities: Southfield and Lathrup Village; hence the name Southfield-Lathrup. I think this carried over into school life itself. I think many of us grew worldly there. Seeing the success of so many alumni, I know it's true. 
The school is now closed, but many of those who came through it learned how to have an open mind.  
Go, Go, Chargers!  Fight, Fight, Chargers!  For what you believe in. For how we learned to solve problems together. Red and White forever.
Dennis Kraniak, Class of 1983
Group Director of Multiplatform Content, Fox TV Group

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