Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Powers Catholic Turns 40

Powers High School, the setting for many excellent adventures, has reached middle age. Melissa Burden of The Flint Journal reports:
Tuition was $450 when the ninth- through 12th-grade school opened its doors in 1970. Today, the cost is $7,200 a student per year (or $600 a month) and is higher if the student isn’t affiliated with an area parish.

The school opened with just shy of 1,500 students after seven Catholic high schools in the county merged to become Powers.

The Powers vision was honed in the mid 1960s, a time when the costs to run private Catholic schools were rising considerably as there were fewer nuns teaching who took less salary than other teachers and as schools began to struggle with offerings, recalls Joe Forlenza, who was assistant principal when Powers opened and served as its principal from 1974 to 2002.

“A lot of them could not continue to afford the quality of education, the variety they were used to,” said Forlenza, who coaches freshman and junior varsity football for Powers.

But joining forces, they could provide more programs for students.

The $4.2-million school, the site chosen when 80 percent of area Catholics lived north of the Flint River, was financed with donations from the parishes and a mortgage that was paid off around 1980, Forlenza said.


  1. "It was obvious from an early age that this youngster was going to be a troublemaker in adult life. In consternation, his mother relocated to Iowa before behavioral problems might reach frution as civil and criminal misconduct......"

  2. Joe Forlenza was football coach at Mandiville? when I was in school. If it's the same guy, he's gotta be pushing a hundred. He was a kick-um-in-the-butt coach and fielded some pretty good teams in the fifties. Can't remember his all stater there. I'd ask Narlin'sNow,but he's just a kid,he wouldn't remember...ha


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at