White Students in Black School Share Experiences

Southfield+High+has+seven+Caucasian+students+this+year.+Here+are+three+of+them%3A+%28from+left%29+freshman+Jeremy+Maddox%2C+freshman+Mark+Holcomb+and+junior+Alexander+Mays.
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White Students in Black School Share Experiences

Southfield High has seven Caucasian students this year. Here are three of them: (from left) freshman Jeremy Maddox, freshman Mark Holcomb and junior Alexander Mays.

Southfield High has seven Caucasian students this year. Here are three of them: (from left) freshman Jeremy Maddox, freshman Mark Holcomb and junior Alexander Mays.

Victoria Holley

Southfield High has seven Caucasian students this year. Here are three of them: (from left) freshman Jeremy Maddox, freshman Mark Holcomb and junior Alexander Mays.

Victoria Holley

Victoria Holley

Southfield High has seven Caucasian students this year. Here are three of them: (from left) freshman Jeremy Maddox, freshman Mark Holcomb and junior Alexander Mays.

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The 1972 yearbook reflects the demographics of the school 40 years ago.

The 1972 yearbook reflects the demographics of the school 40 years ago.

The demographic shift of the school is reflected in the 2012 yearbook.

The demographic shift of the school is reflected in the 2012 yearbook.

Of the 927 students enrolled at Southfield High School this year, seven are Caucasian.

The school is largely comprised of African-American students, which is a huge demographic shift from what the school was in the 1960s and 1970s, according to teachers, yearbooks and alumni.

The seven Caucasian students are now living as minorities in a school where Caucasians were once the majority, said Biology teacher Craig Bonnington, who has taught at Southfield High since 1977.

“The school’s population shifted from white to black about 20 years ago, maybe more,” says Bonnington.

But the Caucasian students say it’s no big deal to them to attend an African-American school. “I’ve been in Southfield my whole life,” says junior Alexander Mays. “It has always been that way.” He says he’s not bothered by being the only white student in his classes. He says he is not teased about being white at a black school but is sometimes teased about his good grades.

Freshman Jeremy Maddox has had a somewhat different experience. “I don’t (feel isolated), but sometimes they call me ‘white boy,’ ” says Maddox.

School Counselor Tom Holliday says it can be difficult to be the only one of a kind in any situation. The only white student, the only Asian, the only Latino, the only African-American. He suggests, “Use the fact that you’re different to the best of your ability.”

Caucasian freshman Mark Holcomb says, “It’s not that different” being one of the handful of white students at the school. “It’s been that way everywhere I’ve been,” he said, referring to being around mostly black students his whole life.

Social studies teacher Jamie Glinz says he attended Southfield High in the 1990s when there were only a few white students in the school. But he says he had a wonderful experience as a white student in a predominantly black school. In fact, he was elected Homecoming King and was the star athlete of the school, as the center of the basketball team, the pitcher on the baseball team, the kicker on the football team, the number one singles player on the tennis team and a star on the soccer team.

Glinz says he liked Southfield High School so much that he chose to come back to his alma mater and teach.

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