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Cass Technical High School: Wikis


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Cass Technical High School
Motto "Cass Tech #1, 2nd to none"
Established 1908
Type Examination School of Choice
Affiliation Detroit Public Schools
Principal Lenora Ashford
Faculty 85+
Students 2000+
Grades 9-12
Location 2501 Second Avenue,
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Colors Forest Green and White
Mascot Technicians
Newspaper CT Visionary

Cass Technical High School is a four-year college-preparatory high school in Detroit, Michigan, United States. The school is named in honor of Lewis Cass, an American military officer and politician who served as governor of the Michigan Territory from 1813 until 1831. The school is a part of Detroit Public Schools.

Until 1977, Cass was Detroit's only magnet school and the only non-neighborhood enrollment school in Detroit. Today, Cass is one of four magnet schools in Detroit. Entrance to Cass is based on test scores and middle school grades. Students are required to choose a curriculum path—roughly equivalent to a college "major"—in the ninth grade. Areas of study include, but are not limited to, architecture, music, graphic arts, business, human services, and chemical/biological sciences.



Cass Technical High School, formerly known as Cass Union School, was founded in 1861. Cass Union School was established to provide training in woodworking and metal trades for young men. The school was built on land given to the City of Detroit by former Secretary of State and Michigan Governor Lewis Cass. The donated land formed a triangle at Second Avenue, Grand River Avenue, and High Street West. That land had a pickle factory on it, but they transformed it into a school building. (Although known as Cass Tech, the sign on the freeway service drive, identified it as The World War 1, Memorial Building. Further, In some pictures, the bridge going into the second story from where the freeway in now, can be seen.) In 1918, Cass Technical High School lent its space to Ford Motor Company outside of regular school hours to allow their employees access to the industrial training facilities within the building. During the 1920s Cass held classes in chemistry, bacteriology, biology, and dietetics for local nurses in addition to printing classes. In 1970, concern over the condition of the school building surfaced. It was feared that the building would be allowed to deteriorate beyond repair and that the school and its curriculum would be eliminated. Modernization of the school began in 1981 and was completed in 1985. The addition was designed by Albert Kahn Associates. The new wing included a gymnasium, various music rooms, a recital hall, and a practice room. The new wing provided an enclosed lunchroom on the second floor that held approximately 700 students. Classes in the business wing were also renovated. On Monday July 30, 2007 the old school building was set on fire.[1] The police arrested two of the three men in connection to the fire. At least six homeless men were believed to have been living in the vacant building. The fire is said to have started in the first floor classroom and risen up to the third floor before firefighters were able to put it out. In addition to two police officers, two firefighters were also injured while fighting the three-alarm fire.[2]

The New Cass Technical High School

During the 2005-2006 school year, Cass Tech faculty, students and staff were moved to the new building, which was constructed on and around the school's old football field. The move into the new building sparked controversy because of uncertainty about the future of the old building, which is considered to be a historic landmark.

The new Cass Technical High School building was designed by TMP Associates Inc.[1] The new building is physically partitioned to emphasize its varied activities. Academic, public, athletic and performance spaces are all distinct pieces of the building. The building required organization vertically on six levels in order to accommodate its small urban site. The new school includes a 2,000-seat theater with audio and video projection, a 3,000-seat gymnasium/arena, dance and music rehearsal spaces.

One design challenge was to accommodate the unique lab environment, catering to career pathways and retaining flexibility for future curriculum requirements. The solution was a collection of "collaboration centers," situated strategically, to promote interaction between the pathways and to encourage team teaching.

In the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, Cass Tech opened a credit union in the north lobby of the new building. Students, parents, and staff are all eligible to use it.

The construction of a football field behind the building was a substantial portion of the new development, however, until the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, it could not be used because of construction errors.

The building won the top design award given out by Learning by Design, which honors and showcases school design and construction projects. It also received the American Institute of Architects - Michigan Chapter Honor Award in 2007.[2]


Cass Technical High School's average ACT score is 21, which is four points higher than the average for Detroit public high schools. Cass offers eleven advanced placement courses including language composition, history, chemistry, calculus, and physics. Students are required to maintain a 2.5 grade point average on a scale of 4.0 in order to retain enrollment.


In 2003 Maurice El-Amin, the Academic Games coach, was awarded the 'Most Outstanding Coordinator' award.[citation needed] In 2006 Cass represented DPS at the National Academic Games Olympics and won the Team Sweepstakes award.

Music Department


The Choir does vocal training under the direction of Dr. Cheryl V. Harden. She has been the choral director of Cass tech since 1999. Over the years, the choirs have produced two CDs and are now working on their third. Cass Tech has many choir groups, including the following:

  • Concert Choir
  • Madrigal Singers
  • V-Jetts/ Vocal Jazz Ensemble
  • Choral Genesis
  • Cass Tech Mens Glee
  • Mystique Women's Chorale

Harp and Vocal


Cass Tech is the only school in the city of Detroit with a Harp and Vocal Ensemble. The Harp and Vocal Ensemble has existed for eighty-two years since its inception by Cass Tech alum Velma Froude. The Director from 1976-2007 was Patricia Terry Ross, a former student of the ensemble. As of 2007 the Director is Lydia Cleaver, also a former ensemble student.

Harp Ensemble

The harp ensemble is usually composed of five well-seasoned student harpists. They each receive private lessons under Lydia Cleaver, learning performance skills and the traditional techniques of the Carlos Salzedo Method. The group does not usually perform outside of school related functions.


There are beginner, intermediate, advanced and jazz band classes, as well as a marching band. The marching band, under the direction of Sharon Allen, has performed for Patti Labelle, Sinbad, and Jay-Z as well as at various college and university, and homecomings. The marching band was also a part of the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, but was not televised. In 2008, the band performed at Texas Southern University.


The orchestra is under the direction of Marc W. Haas. The 2005-2006 Cass Tech String Quartet was the winner at the 2006 MASTA state-wide chamber music competition.[citation needed] The quartet was also featured in the 2006 Michigan Youth Arts Festival. The Cass Tech Chamber String Orchestra, the school's advanced orchestra, participated in the All City High School Symphony Orchestra program at the Renaissance Center's Ambassador Ballroom on March 8, 2007.



In recent years Cass Tech football has become one of the hot beds for Div 1 talent. Because Cass Tech is not a neighborhood high school, it can recruit players from all over the city. Cass Tech has sent players to the top DIV 1A programs like, Michigan, LSU, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. Cass Tech has also produced NFL talent. Most recent, Vernon Gholston, who was the 6th pick overall in the 2008 NFL draft. He played his collegiate ball at Ohio State and now plays for the New York Jets. Most of its' recruiting success has to do with their head football coach, Thomas Wilcher. Wilcher hold numerous high school state records in track and field. He also holds the all time record for 60m hurdles and 110m hurdles at the University of Michigan. He was also a star running back and played in 4 bowl games, winning the Fiesta Bowl in 1985. Cass Tech got a brand new football field with press box's to showcase star talent for div 1 programs all over the country. In 2009, Cass Tech had the #1 rated recruit in the state according to William Campbell, 6'5", 317 lbs defensive tackle accepted a full scholarship to play for the Michigan Wolverines. In addition, Cass Tech sent two other players to the University of Michigan, Teric Jones and Thomas Gordon. In 2008, Cass Tech also had the #1 rated recruit in the state, Boubacar Cissoko, who also went to University of Michigan. In addition, three other players got scholarships to play for division 1 programs. In 2007, Cass Tech had the #6 rated recruit in the state, Joseph Barksdale, who accepted a full scholarship to play at LSU.

JROTC program

Cass' JROTC Program is the largest organization in the school. It has a curriculum that includes Leadership Lab and Cadet Challenge, a drill team, and an honor guard team. The drill team is composed of: a First-Year Color Guard, an Open-Year Color Guard, an Armed Exhibition Team, an Unarmed Exhibition Team, a Female Armed Exhibition Team, an Unarmed Regulation team, and an Armed Regulation Team. The JROTC program has the "Gold Star Insignia", which is the highest attainable rank in the JROTC program. The Cass Tech Renegades Drill Team has attended the National Drill Team Competition held in Daytona Beach, Florida on multiple occasions. The honor guard team has attended many events throughout the city, including many parades and grand openings, as have the color guard and exhibition teams.


  • The mother of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, Mrs. Evangeline Land Lindbergh, was a chemistry teacher at Cass; 1922-1942.
  • The old school building is shown briefly in the film, Four Brothers.
  • The student-led civil rights group, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), has its largest chapter at Cass.
  • On November 25-26 1927 the School Science and Mathematics Association held their annual convention at Cass
  • In Summer 2008, Cass Technical High School student Philip Johnson landed a leading role in the Lifetime Original Movie, America.
  • Alumnus John Carethers MD named Chairman of the department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.
  • From 2007 to 2009, Triumph Church of Detroit held a contract with Detroit Public Schools to conduct a weekly church service at the school's auditorium.[citation needed]
  • Radomir Dimovski is currently the most successful Macedonian graduate of Cass Technical High School ever, earning a scholarship and a seat in Wayne State's prestigious Medstart program.

Notable alumni

  • Geri Allen - Jazz pianist
  • Harry Bertoia - acclaimed furniture designer and artist
  • Ellen Burstyn - Academy Award winning actress
  • Cora Brown- (1931)First African-American woman to be elected to a state senate seat, Michigan State senator
  • Donald Byrd - jazz trumpeter and educator
  • Regina Carter - violinist
  • Ron Carter - jazz bassist
  • Lydia Cleaver - harpist
  • Aundray Cornish (formerly) - member of Evolution
  • James E. Craig - (2009) Police Chief, Portland, Maine. First African-American police chief in the state of Maine.
  • Mark Cwiek (1973) - earned All-America honors as a javelin thrower for Wayne State University
  • Dana Davidson - teacher and author of Jason and Kyra and Played
  • Michael Davis (1962) - professional musician; bassist with pioneering acid-rock group, MC5
  • John DeLorean - automotive executive and engineer
  • Niels Diffrient - industrial designer
  • Chris Douglas-Roberts - NBA player for the New Jersey Nets
  • Bob Dozier (1964) - former educator and football coach at Mackenzie High School; six of Dozier's athletes performed in the NFL
  • George Gembis - 1936 Collier's All-America Football Team; Wayne State University Hall of Fame inductee
  • Vernon Gholston - NFL player for the New York Jets
  • Carole Gist - First African-American to win Miss USA, 1990
  • Ed Gordon - Award-winning broadcaster
  • David Alan Grier - noted actor and comedian
  • Pat Harvey - Award-winning broadcast journalist
  • Kevan Hall - celebrity fashion designer
  • Rev. Nicholas Hood - former Detroit City Council member
  • Delores Ivory Davis - singer, actress, Drama Desk nominee
  • Ali Jackson - Jazz drummer
  • Dr. Richard T. James, Jr. - Cass Tech Business teacher and author of For Your Eyes Only" and "Reality From The Heart",
  • Ray Johnson - seminal figure of the Pop Art movement
  • Ella Joyce - Award-winning theater actress
  • Kwame Kilpatrick - former Mayor of Detroit
  • Eric Lamb (Science and Arts) - flutist
  • W. Bill Loving - won five events (in total) at the 1925 and '26 Michigan High School Athletic Association Track Championships
  • Susan Mazer - harpist
  • James A. Mendrala - Emmy Award for Engineering the 1984 XXIII Summer Olympics TV broadcast
  • Carlos "Los Da Mystro" Mckinney- Grammy Nominated music producer
  • Kenya Moore - Miss USA, 1993
  • Naima Mora - winner of America's Next Top Model cycle 4
  • Toni Neal - Emmy award journalist
  • Greg Phillinganes - Session keyboardist
  • Della Reese-(1947)Actress
  • Paul Riser-trombonist
  • Shaun Robinson - Access Hollywood co-anchor
  • Diana Ross - (1962)actress and lead singer for the Supremes
  • Cornelius Smith Jr. (2000) - actor; plays Frankie Hubbard on All My Children
  • Dominic Suchyta - Bassist for Steppin in It
  • Eddie Tolan - first African-American as "World's Fastest Human"; gold medalist in the 100 and 200-meter dash, 1932 Summer Olympics
  • Lily Tomlin - Academy Award and Tony Award winning actress and comedienne
  • Edwin Turashoff - the only schoolboy ever to win consecutive MHSAA Class-A championship titles in the javelin throw (1927, 28)
  • Jack White (1992) - guitarist and lead vocalist, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather
  • Thomas E. White - former Secretary of the Army during the Bush Administration
  • Gerald Wilson - legendary jazz composer/arranger
  • Janice Winfrey - Detroit city clerk
  • Charles Wysocki, famous American painter
  • Derrick Dial - Former NBA basketball player - San Antonio Spurs
  • David Small - Caldecott Medal winner, author and illustrator


# Beamer, Christine. "'U' catches Cass Tech talent". The Michigan Daily. 5 Apr 06.
  1. "DPS students shine at the National Academic Games Olympics". DPS News online. 19 May 2006. Detroit Public Schools. 22 Apr 2007. DPS students shine at the National Academic Games Olympics
  2. Shurney, Simone. "Music program is aged to perfection". CT Visionary. 30 Apr 2007.
  • Farrell, Perry. "Douglass earns 1st playoff trip". Detroit Free Press. 19 Oct 07.

External links

[(Category:Educational institutions establishment Darby 1-248-990-1925]]

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