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WikiMedia commons / Brady-Handy Photograph Collection

Today on Stateside, we talk to an elder care researcher about the mental and physical health challenges seniors face during the pandemic. Also, Flint poet laureate Semaj Brown reads an essay she wrote on why she believes her alma mater, Cass Technical High School should be renamed.

Portraits of poet Semaj Brown as a student at Cass Technical High School in Detroit.
Courtesy of Semaj Brown

Buildings and streets all over Michigan bear the name of Michigan politician Lewis Cass, but in the past several weeks, there has been a push to change that. Cass was a former territorial governor and U.S. senator. He was also a slave owner, a proponent of letting states decide whether to allow slavery, and a key architect behind atrocities committed against Native Americans, including the Trail of Tears and the Trail of Death. 

Richard T. James

Marilyn McCormick only expected to stay in Detroit for a year or two before moving to New York to live the “bohemian lifestyle.” Then she got a teaching job at her alma mater, Cass Technical High School. “I was totally enjoying what I was doing…[and] I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing,” McCormick said. Now forty years later, the performing arts teacher will be retiring.

Matthew Lewis / Model D

We mentioned this morning that despite Detroit's troubles, there are plenty of things in the city to cheer about.

One of those things is the Detroit City Futbol Club.

The team just completed an undefeated regular season thanks to skilled players and an enthusiastic fan base who loudly cheer on the team they call "Le Rouge."

The fans are not "hooligans," those people are violent. But the "Northern Guard" (as they are known) do like to set off smoke bombs when the team scores.

Mercedes Mejia

When a hand full of Cass Technical High School graduates from the class of '78 failed to call their fellow classmate for a field trip to the old school, Tony Lockard turned to social media.

Lockard  posted a message on Facebook calling for fellow graduates to come out and bid farewell to the old building one last time. He says he got message from people from all over the country.

"One man said that he lived in four different continents, and he’s met somebody from Cass in four different continents. So Cass Tech touches not just locally, it’s a global reach."

Since June, demolition of the almost 100 year old building has been in progress.  The facade of the building facing Second Avenue is the only thing still standing. Lockard hopes people will visit the site one last time and reunite with old friends.

Arvella Watkins says the building was special. She's a '65 Cass Tech graduate.

"Even now I have dreams about going to Cass and running up and down stairs and riding the elevators. ”

You can see video of the old school and hear interviews with Cass Tech graduates, including an interview with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Demolition on Detroit’s historic Cass Technical High School has begun. But a dedicated group of alumni and supporters still hope they can pull off an eleventh-hour effort to save it.

Cass Tech was and is one of Detroit’s most prestigious high schools. Alumni include Diana Ross, Lily Tomlin, and Jack White of the White Stripes.