Lansing, MI High School’s

History’s of Lansing, Michigan High School’s from Presentation Cards at the Historical Society of Greater Lansing (HSGL) exhibit called “Lansing High School Days” on November 30, 2012. 

I did not write them, just copied them down. I do not know who did.

Lansing High School / Central High School

Lansing Technical High School

Opened: 1875

Closed: 1950s

Colors: Red and White

Lansing High School opened in 1875. Located on Capitol Avenue on the present site of the Lansing Community College Administration Building. Lansing High was the only public high school in the city at the time.

When Eastern High School opened in 1927, Lansing High School was renamed Lansing Central. In 1942, when J.W. Sexton High School opened, Sexton adopted Central’s mascot, the Big Red, the school colors, red and white, the school newspaper name (the Zodiac) and the yearbook name (the Oracle). The building then became the Technical High School. The building was eventually purchased, remodeled, and ultimately demolished by Lansing Community College.

Lansing Eastern High School

Opened: 1927

Mascot: Quakers

Colors: Blue and Gold

Lansing Eastern High School is the city’s second public high school. Located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down from the former site of a Society of Friends (Quaker) meeting house, the school’s mascot is the Quakers.

Eastern’s campus is home to Don Johnson Field House. Johnson served as principal and wrestling coach at the school, leading his team to five state championships. Today Eastern High School is home to students in the 7th-12th grades. It is also home to the area’s only International Baccalaureate program.

J.W. Sexton High School

Opened: 1942

Mascot: Big Reds

Colors: Red and White

J.W. Sexton high school was constructed in the early 1940s. The school is named for Dr. J. W. Sexton, longtime superintendent of the Lansing School District. Built to house grades 10-12, today the school is home to 7th-12th graders.

Sexton High School is considered to be Lansing’s finest high school, architecturally. The interior includes custom mosaics and decorative tiles. The outside of the building features multiple sculptures by Corrado Parducci representing various fields of study including Art, Law, and Literature. Construction of the building was gradual, as building supplies were in short supply during the World War II period.

Everett High School

Opened: 1959

Mascot: Vikings

Colors: Red and White

The City of Lansing annexed a portion of what is today South Lansing in 1949 that included the old Everett High School. Though they initially hoped to remain independent, the Everett School District, under Michigan law, was forced to become a part of the Lansing School District. The district built the present high school building not long after.

Interestingly, the name Everett was associated with education in Lansing long before any local high schools opened. According to local tradition, one of Lansing’s first one room school houses was located on land owned by the Everett family. The family lived on the South side. The school became known as the Everett School. As Lansing grew and the school system expanded, there was an Everett Elementary, and then finally Everett High School.

Harry Hill High School

Lansing Technical School

Opened: 1972

Closed: 1982

Mascot: Panthers

Colors: Orange and Black

Harry Hill High School is known for being Lansing’s newest and shortest lived public high school. The school was built to accommodate the last of the baby boom generation. Declining enrollments in Lansing Schools, however, forced the high school to close after only ten years. The building continued to be used for technical education classes for many years.

St. Mary’s Cathedral High School

Opened : 1903

Closed: 1963

Mascot: Big Blues

Colors: Blue and White

St. Mary’s High School opened around 1900. graduating its first class in 1904. The school was founded by St. Mary’s Parish. When the Lansing Catholic Diocese was established in 1937 the school became the St. Mary’s Cathedral High School, as St. Mary’s Church was then named a cathedral. A new building was constructed in 1939, and used until 1963.

As the number of Catholic parishes in Lansing increased, St. Mary’s student body grew to encompass students from a variety of churches, including St. Casmir, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Therese, and St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s High School closed in 1963, when the new Monsignor John W. O’Rafferty High School opened.

Resurrection High School

Opened: 1936

Closed: 1963

Mascot: Shamrocks

Colors: Green and White

Resurrection High School opened to students in the 1930’s, graduating its first class in 1939. The school was founded by Resurrection Parish, located on Lansing’s East Side. Though the school at first shared a building with Resurrection elementary and middle school students, a separate building was soon constructed.

As the number of parishes in Lansing increased, Resurrection’s student body grew to include students from a variety of parishes, including Resurrection, St. Therese, and Immaculate Heart of Mary, as well as some students from St. Thomas in East Lansing. Resurrection High School closed in 1963, when the new Monsignor John H. Gabriels High School opened.

Monsignor John H. Gabriels High School

Opened: 1963

Closed: 1970

Mascot: Shamrocks

Colors: Green and White

Monsignor John H. Gabriels High School opened om 1963. It is named for Monsignor John Gabriels, a Detroit native, who founded Resurrection Parish in the 1920’s. Located on Saginaw Street near Pattengill Middle School. Thus Gabriels kept Resurrection’s colors green and white, and their mascot, the Shamrocks.

Due to declining student populations in the late 1960s, the Lansing Catholic Diocese merged Gabriels and O’Rafferty High Schools together on the Gabriels campus, renaming the school Lansing Catholic High School.

Monsignor John W. O’Rafferty High School

Opened: 1963

Closed: 1970

Mascot: Raiders

Colors: Blue and White

Monsignor John W. O’Rafferty High School Opened in 1963. It is named for Monsignor John O’Rafferty, the former pastor of St. Mary’s Cathedral. Located on the west side of Lansing, the school was built to replace St. Mary’s Cathedral School. O’Rafferty kept St. Mary’s colors, blue and white, though their mascot did change.

O’Rafferty was only open for a few short years, as student enrollments began to decline by the late 1960’s, and the diocese realized that Lansing could no longer support two Catholic high schools. O’Rafferty merged with Gabriels High School in 1970 to form Lansing Catholic High School, located in the former Gabriels building.

Lansing Catholic High School

Opened: 1970

Mascot: Cougars

Colors: Blue, Silver, and White

Lansing Catholic High School (formerly known as Lansing Catholic Central) was created in 1970 when Gabriels and O’Rafferty High Schools combined. The school is located in the old Gabriels building, on Saginaw Avenue near Pattengill Middle School.

Today Lansing Catholic High School serves a population of nearly 500 students, drawn from over 20 mid-Michigan parishes, with some students attending from as far away as Howell.

Lansing Christian School

Opened: 1950

Mascot: Pilgrims

Colors: Black and Gold

Lansing Christian School was founded in 1950 by a group of families who wanted to provide their children with a Protestant Christian education. The school soon grew to include elementary, middle, and high school classes. After having multiple campuses, the school now maintains a K-12 facility on the South Side.

In order to promote service, all Lansing Christian High School students are required to perform a week of community service each June, at the close of their school year. Students volunteer on a variety of projects including park maintenance, Habitat for Humanity construction projects, and assisting with care for the elderly and children.

Michigan School for the Blind

Opened: 1879

Closed: 1994

Colors: Red and White

The Michigan School for the Blind was established as an independent entity by the state legislature in 1879. (Previous to this blind students were educated with deaf students at a combined institution in Flint). In 1880 the new School for the Blind opened on a site previously owned by the Michigan Female College, and then the Michigan Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows. The original main building was replaced by another structure, today referred to as “Old Main”, in 1915.

The Michigan School for the Blind educated students from across the state, many of whom actually boarded on campus. The school remained open until 1994 when the student population consolidated, ironically, with the School for the Deaf in Flint.

An example of one of the cards.

Everett High card



One response to “Lansing, MI High School’s

  1. My Grandmother was one of the early graduates of St Mary’s around 1906. As I recall there were only 5 in her class.

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