Grand Rapids South High School Apparel
Grand Rapids South High School Apparel
Grand Rapids South High School Apparel
Grand Rapids South High School Apparel
Grand Rapids South High School Apparel
Grand Rapids South High School Apparel

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Grand Rapids South High School, Trojans Alumni Apparel

South High School
Grand Rapids, Michigan

 Quick Facts
State:  MI
City:  Grand Rapids
Name:  South High School
Nickname:  Trojans
Color1:  Dk. Blue
Color2:  Red
School District:  Grand Rapids School District
County:  Kent
Year Opened:  1914
Year Closed:  1968
(Converted to Jr. High)

South High School's most famous Alumnus
Gerald R. Ford
38th President of the United States

(from "Grand Rapids and Kent County, Michigan (1918)")
"In 1913 it was decided to establish a high school in the south end, and accordingly, in 1914, a fine building was erected on the south side of Hall street, between Salem and Jefferson avenues, and this is now designated as the South High School."

The former South High School building at 110 Hall St. SE, is now the Gerald R. Ford Job Corp.

Grand Rapids South High School 1925
1925 postcard of Grand Rapids South High School

Grand Rapids South High School boys' teams won several Michigan state championships in athletics:
- Tennis in 1928 and 1929;
- Cross Country in 1930;
- Football in 1924 and 1944. (U. S. President Gerald Ford played football for South during his high school years, 1927-1931, and earned all-city and all-state honors.)

Track State Champions:
- 1926 - long jump - Dick Chapman
- 1926 - mile run - Don Kingsford
- 1928 - 100 yd. dash - Lester Nelson
- 1928 - 220 yd. dash - Lester Nelson
- 1932 - 440 yd. run - Darwin Jones
- 1933 - 440 yd. run - Carl Lauterhahn
- 1934 - high jump - Ray McDonald
- 1934 - long jump - Chester Peevy
- 1938 - 100 yd. dash - George Doran
- 1938 - 220 yd. dash - George Doran
- 1938 - 880 relay - Otto Veenkamp, Jimmy Krestakos, Red Kremer, George Doran
- 1944 - long jump - Archie England
- 1945 - 880 yd. run - Wilbert Beattie

From 1958-1965, the South men's basketball team was 82-6 in the Grand Rapids City League, going undefeated for three consecutive seasons, 1960-1963.

Some Former Students:
- Douglas H. Powell, Internationally famous Psychologist and Author
- Gerald R. Ford ('31), 38th President of the United States
- Philanthropist Peter C. Cook ('32)
- Carl Van Heck ('55) has been a sports official for over 40 years and won the MHSAA Vern L. Norris award in 2004.
- Lee Lafayette ('65), Michigan State basketball star (once scored 54 points in a South
   High School game)
- Soul singer Al Green ('66)

---------- Web Links ----------

  • South High School apparel
  • Trojan Alumni on Facebook
  • South High School Football & Basketball records 1950-1968
  • Michigan High School Athletic Association website
    Drive by South High School, 110 Hall St., Grand Rapids, MI 49507
    (If you don't see this Google Maps "Street View", click "View in another window" below)

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    Our South High School apparel would make a great gift. Or be the coolest person at the next reunion by wearing a South High School Alumni shirt or jacket.

    (comment from an alum, Geoffrey L. Gillis) The school fight song was based on “On Wisconsin”, as in “On You Trojans...”, until about 1960 when the band director, the esteemed Charles Berry, said he got sick of having both sides stand up when he played the fight song. So he changed it to something based on the Oregon State fight song, whatever that is. It was not a popular move.

    In 1861, leading up to the Civil War, the corner of Hall St. and Jefferson Ave. was the site of Cantonment Anderson, a military campground.

    From 1945 through 1954, South High School had "A League of Their Own". The South baseball field was the home of the Grand Rapids Chicks, a professional baseball team that played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. In their first full season, 130,000 fans turned out to watch the Chicks play baseball.

    Grand Rapids South High School library 1954
    (1954 photo)

    Report of the State Librarian, 1914
    (Grand Rapids Public Library)
    The Board of Education is building three new school buildings in all of which provision is being made for branches of the public library. These will be ready for operation in 1915. The most important of these is the new South high school. In the branch library in this building the public library will serve not only the people of the community, but it will also serve as the high school library for the teachers and pupils of the school.

    Annual report of the State Board of Library Commissioners of Michigan, 1915
    The new branch library in the South high school opened at the beginning of the school term, September 7, with $3,000 worth of books as a starter, and with room ultimately for 10,000 volumes or more in the quarters assigned us in this splendid new building. The library is open from 8:15 a. m., until 9 o'clock p. m. on school days and from 12:30 until 9 on all other week days, winter and summer. There are reading room accommodations for about 100 persons at a time, and frequently the room is crowded to the limit. The library is designed to serve both the teachers and pupils of the high school, and the public generally.

    The "school song" was written by Anna Eikenhout and published in her graduation yearbook in 1920. In 1943 she married Harlan Hubbard. They spent the first six years of their marriage building and living on a "shantyboat", drifting the Ohio & Mississippi rivers and the Louisiana bayou.

    South High Fight Song
    Raise a song for South High Trojans
    As they fight for victory!
    Cheer them 'til they are victorious!
    Let us hear your voices strong!!
    Give your best
    The Men of South High
    And keep your honor true!
    For to win is our Tradition,
    Let us cheer the Red and Blue!!
    (Thanks to Barbara Jones for the song)

    Grand Rapids South High School 1931
    Grand Rapids South High School 1931
    (the same year the new auditorium was opened)

    Photos courtesy of Roger Plafkin
    (Roger's comments on left)
    (band page from South High School yearbook)

    (click photo to enlarge)
    The picture of the small dance band was taken in the gym after a basketball game at South High; I am the saxophone player in the center.

    (click photo to enlarge)
    The list of names on the board is of South High students who lost their lives during World War Two.

    (click photo to enlarge)
    The picture with the full band on stage is with the Ludington band; they spent a weekend in Grand Rapids where they gave a combined concert with the South High Band; we, in turn, spent a weekend in the spring up at Ludington where we gave a combined concert at the Lyric theater with the Ludington Band. Glen Litton was the director of the band and orchestra at South-beginning in 1928; he was a tall gentleman from Montana; he is the gentleman on the far right in front of the combined band picture.

    (click photo to enlarge)
    The South High Band marching picture took place in Grand Rapids; the picture was taken by David Hecht who is now an attorney; the band was marching down Monroe Street in the downtown area; I am the drum major.

    (click photo to enlarge)
    These pictures are self-explanatory; I hope that they will reflect the "Spirit of South High".

    (click photo to enlarge)
    These pictures are self-explanatory; I hope that they will reflect the "Spirit of South High".

    (click photo to enlarge)

    If you can provide us with any additional information about South High School, please email us. We would love to share your information with other visitors to this page.

    If your South High School class has a reunion committee, please send them a link to this page and ask them to "get the word out".

    Thanks for visiting We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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