A Rich History of Education and Community
Flint Central High School, nestled in the East Village of Flint, Michigan, was a cornerstone of the community for generations.
Established in 1923, the school was originally named Flint High School, but it adopted its new name when Flint Northern High School was built in 1928.
Flint Central was the city’s oldest school, with a proud history dating back to its first building in 1875.
Boasting a peak attendance of around 2,000 students, the school was a lively, bustling hub of learning and extracurricular activities, including athletics and theater.
Flint Central’s location in the East Village, near the corner of Crapo Street and Court Street, made it an integral part of the community.
In addition, graduation ceremonies were held at Whiting Auditorium, further connecting the school with the fabric of Flint.
Throughout its history, Flint Central has seen numerous students, teachers, and staff members pass through its halls, each leaving their unique mark on the school’s legacy.
A Bittersweet Farewell
Unfortunately, in April 2009, the Board of Education voted to close Flint Central High School due to declining enrollment and the high cost of maintaining the aging building.
The decision was not taken lightly, as several other schools in the district were closed as well, all of which were elementary schools.
The school’s closure significantly impacted the community, with many students, parents, and alumni expressing their disappointment and sadness.
The last day of classes was on June 11, 2009, followed by a farewell ceremony for alums to walk the halls one last time.
The decision to close the school was met with significant backlash from students, parents, and alumni alike.
While the school district initially stated that Central could reopen within five years with renovations, this was later deemed untrue as financial and enrollment challenges persisted.
As a result, the building has remained closed indefinitely, and city planners have drafted long-term plans to consolidate Flint’s high schools into a new high school at the existing Flint Central location.
A Legacy of Athletic Excellence
Flint Central was part of the oldest athletic conference in Michigan, the Saginaw Valley League.
The school’s football team played home games at Atwood Stadium and occasional games at their secondary home, Guy V. Houston Stadium.
Participating in various sports, Flint Central’s student-athletes proudly donned the school’s red and black colors, representing their school with dedication and enthusiasm.
The school’s athletic history is filled with memorable achievements, including:
Football coach Joe Eufinger’s impressive 138–102 lifetime record from 1976 to 2001 placed him as the ninth-highest win total amongst coaches in Genesee County.
The Men’s Basketball team’s three state championships (1981, 1982, and 1983) under coach Stan Gooch, who won over 500 games and is a member of numerous Halls of Fame.
The softball team’s 22 consecutive City League titles were led by Cuban refugee Margarita Calvo, an unprecedented achievement that showcased the team’s dominance.
The tennis team’s City Championship victory in the spring of 2007 was a first in over seven years, with Clem Rowe serving as the longtime Tennis Coach at the school.
The baseball team’s resurgence in 2007, claiming the city series title and finishing as the runner-up in the annual Greater Flint Tournament with a 15-win season.
In 2001, the Flint Board of Education voted to phase out mascots referencing Native Americans, including Flint Central’s Indians.
The change was completed for the 2005-2006 school year, with the mascot becoming the Phoenix.
This decision was part of a more significant trend across the United States to address the cultural sensitivity of using Native American imagery and names for sports teams and mascots.
The new mascot, the Phoenix, symbolized rebirth and renewal, reflecting the school’s commitment to embracing change and progress.
A Storied Theater Program
From 1976 to 2006, Flint Central High School housed the Magnet Program for the Flint Community Schools’ secondary school Theatre Program.
Led by notable teachers and directors, the program was nationally recognized for its excellence and innovation.
The theater program allowed students to develop their acting, directing, and technical theater skills, fostering a strong camaraderie among the participants.
Over 127 full-scale productions were staged, involving over 10,000 students from Flint’s four comprehensive high schools.
These productions included Broadway musicals, comedies, dramas, one-act plays, student-written works, and even ten works of William Shakespeare.
The program’s diversity of presentations showcased the incredible talent and dedication of Flint Central’s theater students and staff.
Alums from Flint Central’s theater program have gone on to have successful careers in the field, both on stage and behind the scenes.
The school even appeared on the Disney+ series Encore!, where alums reunited to recreate their 1992 production of The Sound of Music.
This reunion highlighted the talent of Flint Central’s theater alums and demonstrated the school’s theater program’s lasting impact on their lives.
Unfortunately, in 2006, the Magnet Program was dissolved due to changes made by the school board to reform the school district.
Remembering Flint Central High School
Though Flint Central High School closed its doors in 2009, the memories and impact of the institution live on in the hearts and minds of the community.
The school’s rich history of education, athletics, and theater is a testament to Flint’s resilience and spirit.
As the city moves forward, the legacy of Flint Central High School will continue to inspire and remind us of the power of community, learning, and personal growth.