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100 Candles for Cass Tech

Last week, Detroit's most famous school celebrated its 100th birthday.

For a century, Cass Tech High School has been known for its academic excellence and the diversity of its student body. Its list of alumni is impressive, and includes Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke (1975), Judge Wade McCree of the Wayne County Circuit Court (1974), Rick Smith, an editor at Newsweek Magazine (1964) and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, (1988). Diana Ross went to Cass. So did Lily Tomlin.

The downtown high school is part of a magnet program and eighth-graders must pass an entrance exam to get in. They then choose a major, or a specialized area of study, and must maintain a 2.5 grade point average to remain enrolled.

The school sits on land donated by former Gov. Lewis Cass. It became Cass Tech in 1907, and in 1922, moved into the 7 1/2 -story building at the corners of Second Avenue, Grand River and what is now the I-75 service drive.

The deterioration of the old school building led to the construction of the $127-million facility that opened next to the old one in 2005.

Model D photographer Dave Krieger, also a Cass Tech alum, was there to capture the centennial celebration with his camera. See his photo essay here.

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