We recently came across this Brief History of Southeastern High School, written by Faye Beebe who had been the school librarian since 1917. The original copy, written in 1958,  was ragged and barely legible.

We thought it would be appropriate to include this on our website as we near our 50th reunion....and in less than six years, Southeastern High School will will celebrate its 100th birthday.

Even if you are not a history buff, we hope that you will enjoy learning a little more about the school at the corners of Fairview and Goethe.
I am looking forward to our visit, in just a few weeks, walking through the halls and peeking into our old classrooms of our old alma mater.
We hope that you will be able to join us for a fun-filled 50th Reunion weekend.

A special 'thank you' to Naida Kleefuss Okray for taking the time to decipher the old manuscript and type up this 'little bit of history' for us.


A Brief History of Southeastern High School

January 3, 1917 – January 3, 1958


By Faye Beebe, Librarian


          The cornerstone of Southeastern High School was laid in the year 1915.  Two years elapsed before the school opened.  Although far from completed, the building opened under the principalship of Joseph H. Corns with 630 students in the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades.


          The school contained four study halls under the supervision of Grace Palmerloe, Florence MacFarlane, Nancy Phelps, (all deceased), and Orritt Tatlock, who soon left to become a science professor at Wayne University.  Glen Pechtek replaced Mr. Tatlock until he too left to enter service in World War I.  He was replaced by Henrietta Carr, now retired.


          At the first Faculty meeting on the morning of January 3, 1917, nineteen teachers, a librarian (Faye Beebe) and clerk (Ida Zealand) were present.  Between January 12 and January 29, eleven new names were added to the faculty, making a total of thirty teachers through June, 1917.


          The year 1917 saw much confusion and much progress at Southeastern.  The firm spirit of the students and teachers compensated for what we lacked in the way of rooms and equipment.  February 2, 1917, a committee was appointed by Mr. Corns to make recommendations as to a school motto, (Aga Quod Agis), school song, “The Purple and the White”, and school colors, Purple and White.  Our school was so far out in the wilds that we soon became known as the “Jungaleers”.  We really were deep in the mud, and in March, 1917, Mr. Corns issued a general notice to the effect that “students on the way to school must not pass through the fields when ground is muddy” also, “No student will be admitted to the building wearing muddy shoes or rubbers”.


          By 1918 we had acquired a science laboratory, one gymnasium, library, lockers, lunch room, and class rooms.  We were now accommodating eleventh graders, and football and basketball games were being played.  We even began to hear something about having a school magazine.


          During World War I, Southeastern aided greatly in the purchase of



Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps.  Some of our faculty men were called to the colors.  Military training (R.O.T.C.) classes were held at 7:45 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  Numerous clubs were being organized.  June, 1919, saw the publication of our first school magazine, the Aryan, which came out quarterly for some years.  June 22, 1920, our first graduating class of thirty-nine, heard an address on “The Modern Value of Education”.  Many graduates of this first class have become leaders in Detroit.  Plays and Operettas were projects of the music department and senior classes.  Increasing interest in extra curricular activities grew to proportions where we were winning State basketball titles, under the leadership of Walter Draper.  New teachers continued to join our faculty, while others transferred elsewhere.


          In January, 1926, the new Central High School opened, taking our principal, Joseph Corns, and several of our teachers.  William R. Stocking, who was the assistant principal at Central under David McFenzie, became our principal.  Miss Flora Anderson, at first serving as head of the English department at Southeastern, was eventually to be our assistant principal.  George Hackman of our faculty later took over the supervision of the English department.


          The next ten to fifteen years saw Southeastern grow bigger and better.  The enrollment now reached 4,000 pupils.  In March, 1920, ground was broken for an addition to consist of a new gymnasium, extra study hall, new office, new library, cafeteria, and many new classrooms.


          In January, 1941, Mr. Stocking was called to Redford High School as principal.  Mr. Edgar Thompson, at one time our assistant principal, came to us from Pershing to serve as principal.  Walter Draper assumed the duties of assistant principal. 


          Southeastern’s enrollment continued to be heavy, but was beginning to show signs of decrease.


          In 1949 Mr. Thompson retired to be replaced by Mr. Charles A. Daly, who had taught in our social studies department in 1918.  Miss Marjorie Reedhead, study hall counselor from Western, took over as assistant principal.  These two very fine capable educators continued the good work at



Southeastern through June, 1956, when Mr. Daly retired.  During the intervening years, our enrollment has dropped +7a considerable degree.  However, we can assume that it will be on the up grade in a few years.


          June of 1956 saw the retirement of not only Mr. Daly, our principal, but also Mrs. Roberta Dotten, one of our charter members of the faculty.  Florence MacFarlane, counselor, advisor, and friend to thousands since January 1917, was to have retired in June, 1956, but death intervened a month before.  Faye Beebe, librarian since January 3, 1917, remained the only charter member of the original faculty.  In September, 1956, Miss Marjorie Readhead became our principal, ably assisted by Mr. Hobart Loomis, who came to us from Northwestern.


          Recognition has come to our school through many of its outstanding graduates.  Ours has been a proud heritage.  From a school containing four study halls, and a few classrooms in 1917, we have become one of the leading high schools in Detroit.


          Southeastern has been truly a fine school, made of up splendid boys and girls, and a hard working faculty.  We have won and we have lost in many ways – but with it all we have never lost our Southeastern spirit, our fine sportsmanship, or our ability to strive to obtain standards that have been met.


          We have now reached our forty-first anniversary.  Down through those changing and often difficult years, we have always tried to make Southeastern a better place for those who will follow in our footsteps.  May the faculty and the student body in the years to come proudly carry our purple and white banner to even greater heights.


                                                Faye Beebe




                     Pictured below is Faye Beebe, our librarian in 1961.