Central High School (Traverse City, Michigan)

Central High School (Traverse City, Michigan)

seealso|Central High School "for schools of the same name"

Traverse City Central High School is a public high school in Traverse City, Michigan, located at 1150 Milliken Drive. The principal is James Leyndyk.

It is one of three high schools in Traverse City, with over 1,300 students each year. Central is located in the Traverse City Area Public Schools school district, which is part of the larger Traverse Bay Area intermediate school district. Central offers classes for students in grades 10–12. Additionally, students are given the option to dual enroll and attend classes at Northwestern Michigan College. In addition to the dual enrollment program, a wide variety of honors and AP classes are offered. These include AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP European History, AP World History, AP U.S. History, AP Chemistry, AP Psychology, and AP Statistics


The school was originally established as the sole high school in Traverse City, established in 1884. For many years the high school was just south of downtown Traverse City between Seventh and Eighth Streets. That large brick building now operates as Central Grade School. The current site of the school was first built upon in the late 1950s. In the 1990s the school underwent extensive renovations and only a few of the original structures still stand. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the school was referred to as Traverse City Senior High. In 1997, a second high school opened in Traverse City, Traverse City West Senior High, and the original school was renamed "Central High". Since West Senior High opened, there has been a westward shift of students; in the 2004–2005 school year, there was an enrollment gap of 178 students, though that number is increasing at a slower rate than in the past.

The old Central School covering a block of 8th street across to 7th street at one time included all grades. In 1963 a new high school, Traverse City High School was built on Eastern Avenue for grades 9-12. The Traverse City Junior High on a hill west of town opened in the fall 1971 of for grades 7-9. It later became Traverse City West Junior High. During the mid 1990's Traverse City East Junior High was built. In 1997 Traverse City West High School was built due to overcrowding at Traverse City High School. Traverse City High School became Traverse City Central High School.

Arts & Music

Central has an active music program, with multiple choirs, bands, and orchestras. In addition to the larger groups, there are also numerous small ensembles, including a jazz band, three small vocal groups, and some student-led chamber ensembles. In 2004, the chorale performed at Carnegie Hall; in 2006, the Choral-Aires participated in Mozart's 250th birthday celebration, touring Vienna and Salzburg.

The choir annually performs a show entitled "Rendezvous at the Jazz Club," which, in addition to featuring all school-sponsored vocal groups, also includes a large number of soloists and group acts. "Rendezvous" departs from traditional choral music to offer the audience a unique blend of rock, pop, country, jazz, and other styles.

The school puts on an annual musical which involves students from all fields. In the recent past, the musicals have been such classics as "Guys and Dolls", "Singin' in the Rain" and "Hello, Dolly!". In 2004, the musical "Beauty and the Beast" sold over 6,000 tickets, with two encore performances, due to overwhelming demand. The more modern show Disney's "High School Musical" was performed there in 2007 and held two encore performances and was standing room only selling well over 7,000 tickets. Central was the first High school in the area to do that particular show.

The Theater Arts classes put on five different shows for the public each year; in addition, the Thespian club puts on a performance and competes at drama festivals.


Central's most intense sports rival is neighbor school West Senior High; Central competes in figure skating, baseball, basketball, bowling, debate, cheerleading, cross country, cross-country skiing, dance, downhill skiing, equestrian, American football, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and wrestling. In boys' skiing, Central has been particularly dominant, winning 17 Michigan High School Athletic Association state championships from their inception in 1975 through their last in 2008. Central has won two football state titles in 1985 and 1988.

Before the split into Central and West Senior High Schools in 1997, Traverse City High was by far the largest high school within 100 miles and had more students in grades 10 through 12 than any other Michigan high school. It had over twice the enrollment of Cadillac High 40 miles away, and was eight to fifteen times larger than all other high schools within a forty mile radius; hence, it had no close-by rivals. At one point in the 1970s and 1980s, Traverse City's nearest conference opponent was in Muskegon, nearly 150 miles away. Since the split, Central competes against West, Petoskey, Cadillac, Alpena and Gaylord High Schools, the six largest high schools in Northern Michigan, as a member of the Big North Conference, while still scheduling many contests per season against powers in both southern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. While travel to and from Central games as of 2005 is not as long as it was in past decades, Central's teams and their opponents must still log many hundreds of miles more than most other Michigan schools each year.

Famous alumni

*William Milliken, former governor of Michigan
*Tom Kozelko, former member of the NBA Washington Bullets
*Terrie Taylor, international tropical medicine researcher
*Bill McCuddy, television entertainment reporter
*Mark Brammer, former NFL player for the Buffalo Bills
*Dan Majerle, former all-star NBA player

External links

* [http://www2.tcaps.net/csh/ Central High School website]
* [http://www.tcaps.net/annrpt/03/CSH03.pdf 2002-2003 School Report]
* [http://www.record-eagle.com/2004/jun/06hall.htm News article about school's Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.record-eagle.com/2005/may/13hall.htm News article about 5 Hall of Fame inductees]

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