Alumni Share Wisdom With Students


Rachel Walker

Welcome home: Southfield High alumnus Tom Beach prepared a Power Point presentation of advice for students. He spoke to students of science teacher Craig Bonnington.

Four dozen alumni were invited back to Southfield High recently to share their wisdom with current students for the annual Reality Check program, sponsored by the school’s Counseling Center.
The speakers were sent to classrooms through the school to address students.
Among those who came back to speak was Tom Beach, who graduated in 1986.Beach attended the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and now works as an auditor for automotive supplier SRG Global.
“The key thing is family first,” Beach advised students. “Family is the best support system.”
He confided that the transition from high school to college was hard for him because he had to learn how to live on his own.
He told students to value what they learn in high school because they are actually learning about themselves at the same time. He said the school looks even better now than it did when he graduated in 1986 because it has had additions and updates.
He also advised students to take a senior photo for their yearbook so they can look back and appreciate their high school years.
In high school, Beach ran track and was part of the cross country team.
Another popular speaker was class of 2004 graduate Ezekiel “Zeke” Moore. Unlike many of the other alumni, Moore did not get a college degree. “College was not for me,” he said. “It wasn’t what I wanted to do.” He took another route in order to build his success.
“I went to college for 15 minutes,” said the Oakland Community College dropout. Instead, he attended barber school and the entrepreneur went on to become a successful owner and barber at the well-known Sharp Kutts at Nine Mile and Beech roads.
In addition to his barber shop, he is also working on starting a fitness center for all ages.
“I’m happy in life,” Moore said. “That’s the important thing. I have a wife, a child, a house. I’m happy.”
Moore encouraged the students to do what makes them happy: “You cannot live under what people want you to do. You have to live for yourself.”
He closed his presentation by showing students how much money they would need to budget in order to live for one month in a three-bedroom home or apartment. “You have to have that drive, that want to be successful and live like that,” he said.
Another speaker was Eric Hutchenreuther, who graduated in 2000. While attending Southfield High he said he was a “band geek,” playing the euphonium and baritone in the Southfield High School Marching Band.
Hutchenreuther is now an Application Engineer for Broetje Automation in Auburn Hills.
His advice to students was to follow their dreams. “Don’t always go for the money, do what you love to do.”
The alumni were treated to breakfast in the morning and lunch when they were done speaking. Many stayed and lingered afterward to visit former teachers and soak up the nostalgia or their alma mater that will soon take on a new name when it merges next fall with Southfield Lathrup High School.
Hutchenreuther in particular was sad to learn of the upcoming merger. He said, “I feel disconnected with the plans coming this way. If could do something, I would.”
But Beach was more optimistic about the merger. He said, “The community is coming together and it will be successful.”
Moore said he had mixed feelings about the merger but “Southfield will be stronger as a whole in due time.”