Flint Central High SchoolEverlasting Spirit


Turkey Day football, secret passageways, smiles in the hallways from students and teachers every day … these are just a few of the memories shared by former students of Flint Central High School. And one thing is for sure – they love their school and have a whole lot of pride! Originally called Flint High School, Central was one of Flint’s oldest schools with its first building constructed in 1875. The school moved to its current location in 1923, and closed in 2009 due to declining enrollment and high maintenance costs.

Gary Fisher, who graduated from Flint Central in 1983, has many fond memories of the school. “I had the time of my life there!” he exclaims. “It wasn’t just a school; there was a sense of community.” Gary was heavily involved in sports, playing Indians football, baseball and soccer. Well-known for its great athletic teams, the school won many football, basketball and baseball championships during the years he was there. Gary was very disappointed when the school closed. “I hope they preserve some of it,” he says, adding that it was the perfect location for a high school – just a stone’s throw from the Cultural Center.

Many of Gary’s family members are also Flint Central grads, including his grandfather, mother and sister. Many well-known people also graduated from Central, including former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling, and Donald Riegle, a former U.S. Senator. “We claim Billy Durant as one of our own,” says Gary of the auto industry pioneer, who was also a Flint Central grad. Gary remembers one teacher in particular – his English teacher, Richard Plourde, who is now deceased. “Mr. Plourde turned a group of Eastside, tough-guy, football players into fans of Shakespeare and that was no small feat,” he laughs. “He was a great teacher. He was something special.”

Now a successful financial planner, Gary credits much of his success to Flint Central for giving him the opportunity to develop skills and talents because of the diversity. “Rich kids, poor kids, black, white, Hispanic – we all blended together in a diverse, eclectic culture. We all got along.”

Martin W. Jennings was a teacher at Central from 1981-2006 and says it was the best 25 years of his nearly 40 as an educator. He was proud to be the director of the Magnet theatre program and says the highlight was being invited to perform at the Educational Theatre Association’s International Thespian Festival for audiences of over 3,000 students and educators from all over the world. “That was a big deal,” he says. “And it was a wonderful experience.” The first play they performed there was The Diviners on June 30, 1989. They were invited back again in 1991, when they performed Ah, Wilderness! – a play by Eugene O’Neil.

Martin says he couldn’t be more proud of the thousands of young people he had the opportunity to work with over the years. “It was a combination of the passion of the students, the diversity of the student body, and the cohesiveness of the staff,” he shares. “Overall, they were the best 25 years of my career.”

Every year in August, there is a tailgate reunion at the school and hundreds of former students attend. Gary says this may be the last year, as there is talk that the school may be demolished. “Brick and mortar may not last forever, but the spirit will never go away,” Gary says. “That is the legacy of Flint Central High School.”



MCM Readers Remember


Gary Fisher, 1983 grad
“It wasn’t just a school; there was a sense of community.”
Charleen Thompson
I graduated from Central, class of 1970. I loved this school and the beautiful building. I wish they would restore it as a museum. What will become of all the yearbooks, trophies, pictures, etc.? I always wanted to take a tour of my school to reminisce one last time!
Kathleen Kirby
I completed my high school teaching career at Flint Central. It was the very best ten years of my teaching life! Great memories and thanks to Martin W. Jennings for allowing me to be involved with the theatre program and even direct a bit, and to the staff and students of our Central Career Project – a successful venture that ended too soon! Great times and great memories.
Jan Crowder
I “grew up” at Flint Central since my dad was an administrator there throughout all my first grade through my college years. So many memories, I loved the long hallways, riding with Daddy and cheerleaders to the football games (back in 1963-64), running up the stairway by the back parking lot, and heading straight to the office, the beautifully detailed architecture and historical significance to Flint, the murmurs of students saying, “She’s Mr. Crowder’s daughter,” the Turkey Day games and wearing those big mum corsages – and the fun of watching it on a snowy day, the teachers, staff. I never attended Central as a student, but we were family and I’ve always been proud of being a Flint Central Indian!
Alexis Jones
I remember running the hills by the track for soccer and basketball, and being able to go in the attic because I was in ROTC. I remember all the amazing teachers, and the diversity. I loved my high school!
Vicky Holec
My husband, Bob Holec, graduated from Central in 1965. He played football, basketball, and baseball. He returned from college and taught Biology for 38 years and coached football and baseball. He retired when they closed the doors. Great memories!
Roberta Wray
My mother (1938), my brother (1960), and I (1958) all graduated from Flint Central. I had at least one teacher, Miss Fields, who my mother had 20 years before me. Loved that, loved the school.
Christina Yancho
I went to Central as a Magnet student from Northern from 1985-1987, and it was a great complement to my home school. My Social Studies and English teachers gave me confidence in my writing and understanding of cultures, and my Drama teacher helped me gain a voice that I’ve used in organizations and presentations ever since. Having the public library right next door was wonderful for studying after school or just hanging out.
Bev Tippett
My dad graduated in 1939. I am not happy they are talking about replacing it with a new school. I would much rather they restored this local icon.
Susanne Jule
My parents met there. I did my student teaching there with Mr. Wagonlamder.
Antoine D. Bates
There is just so much I love about Central High School. I can begin with how supportive the teachers/administration were: Martin W. Jennings, Ava Y. Butzu, Terri Martin, Chris Maneke, Michael Schulz, and Dean Ludwig. The fact that I’m still friends with almost everyone that I was friends with in high school. We are connected on Facebook and have attended each other’s life events since then. We were truly family and I loved that. I miss the beauty of Central. Yes, it needed some work but overall, it was an amazing building along with its secret passageways, special rooms, and its ghosts. It was located in the perfect spot between all the cultural hot spots in the city. It was so accessible to everything that we needed to grow. I remember being supported when I skipped class to boycott the school administration as they tried to lay off some of our greatest teachers. And last but not least, I remember walking across the stage for graduation and as Principal Michael Schulz shook my hand, he said to me: “If I ever need anyone to defend me I know I’ll call on you.” That has been a lasting memory I won’t soon forget.
Carole P. Spooner
I loved the smiles and love in the halls from students and teachers every day, to be in the gym at the rallies before a football game and how all the students were “feeling the rev.” We felt safe and we learned to teach, counsel, cook, build a car, weld, and so much more. What we learned most was to always follow our dreams. Once an Indian, always an Indian!
Robert Lacca
My mom was driven to Central by her dad every school day from Clio. She and her brother were very proud of graduating from Flint Central. Shortly after graduating, they fought for their country in World War II. Carol Lacca was a proud Wave and a proud Central graduate.
Teresa Guerra Vasquez
The football games were the best, and I do believe we had the best pep assemblies!
David J. Boyd
I graduated in 1967. Best memory? Graduation.
Catherine Andresen
My dad graduated from Central in 1940. He walked from the Westside through Downtown Flint to get back and forth to school. My mom worked at WFBE, the radio station for educational programming, owned by the Flint Board of Education. It was housed in the basement of Central – you got there through the back northeast door. There were three studios. One of their original programs that my mom worked on won a Peabody Award. It also became a public radio station and broadcast 24/7.
Jenna Randels Winans
I went to Central from 81-85 and my best memories are of being in the Fine Arts Magnet Program. The theatre program with Martin W. Jennings was phenomenal, as was the choir under Fritz Petrich (RIP). I loved being in and working on the plays and being part of one of the best acapella and madrigal choirs in the state!
Bonita Valentine
I went to Central and graduated in 1965. From 1962 to 1965, it was wonderful. Loved the Turkey Day football game!
Marlene Morris
I was in the class of 1951. I remember the shining marble halls, the classrooms with bookcases that had glass doors, maple floors, slate chalkboards and marvelous, wood-trimmed windows. The campus was much like U of M in Ann Arbor, to me. It grieves me to think the school might be torn down. It is a beautiful building built by craftsmen, it is an artwork in itself. 



Photos provided by Sloan*Longway and by Eric Dutro



  1. Wow, what a school. Only, it wasn’t just a school, it truly was a community.
    I graduated in 1983, and the memories are very vivid. Everyone hung out together. I don’t remember there bring any cliques — and that’s the first time I’d ever experienced anything like that.
    I remember being at Luigu’s after the last walk through in 2009 and seeing Mr. Mike Vance, who was the varsity track coach when I was in high school, but had become athletic director later.
    He said it was the only place he’d ever worked where everyone seemed to get along.
    I agree and have never seen anything like it since.
    There’s always an automatic connection when it comes to those Flint Central Indians.

  2. Deborah Fisher-Grant on

    Flint Central was One Big Family from 1978 to 1981! Even though the boundaries changed and there was a mixture of Junior High Schools we made it work. We had the best faculty and staff. They supported us and cared about us. I graduated in 1981 and I have great memories of CHS. Never will forget the Red and Black Memories!!! The last class with over 450+ graduating seniors!!!! Yes we were Strong and mighty in 1981!!! Champions At Best!!!