A look at Loyola
Small in size, but big in stature for Detroit’s young males
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Although the school has an enrollment of only 142 boys, it has made a big impact on the student body it serves. Located at 15325 Pinehurst near Fenkell, Loyola High School has been a pillar in the northwest Detroit neighborhood where it stands. Although known for its athletic program, there’s more to the Loyola High School than just its Bulldog varsity and junior varsity sports teams.
“Actually football is secondary to the boys’ education,” Loyola head football coach John Callahan told the Michigan Citizen. “We at the school try to prepare them with life skills. One of the best compliments I received from one of the players who graduated is, ‘Thanks Coach Cal for what you have told me. I wished I had listened more.’
Coach Callahan said after the students leave they get out into the real world that is tougher than football. “However, football teaches you the ways of life: You win some, you lose some. It gives you the opportunity to learn to play with team discipline.”
Loyola was started in 1994 by Father Dave, a Jesuit Priest who felt there was a void to fill for youth who live in Detroit. He wanted to provide an opportunity for a premium Catholic education. Several Catholic schools have closed over the years and Loyola is one of the few Catholic schools remaining in Detroit, along with U-D Jesuit (on Seven Mile) and Cristo-Rey (Southwest Detroit).
Like Cass Tech, Renaissance and DCP-Northwestern, boys must apply by taking an entrance exam to enroll in the school. Tuition is $4,500 a year. Callahan explains there are various ways the boys and their families can pay.
Loyola has payment plans that are monthly, bi-weekly and through a work-study program. Some of the students work for companies like General Motors, DTE, Ford and others as interns. A percentage of their paychecks are deducted and applied toward tuition.
The student population is richly varied. Some come from traditional homes, some from single-parent homes, and others from homes headed by grandparents, aunts and uncles.
“It takes a lot to be a parent these days and requires a lot of commitment because there so much peer pressure on kids,” Callahan said.
The school’s grounds are clean and the building inside is well-kept to encourage a prime educational environment. The school is also known for its academics, its discipline and its debate team.
“It’s great to see what the kids can do because we’re building character and pride into kids,” Callahan said.
As for the athletics — football, basketball, track and cross-country, Callahan explains Loyola is not mimicking St. Martin DePorres, as rumors have been circulating.
“DePorres had a rich legacy in the city with its several Catholic and state championships,” he said. “At Loyola we’re trying to be Loyola by building our own legacy. We build relationships and healthy attitudes with teammates and teamwork. It carries over to our football and other sports teams.
“If Detroit wants a better future, then it starts here at Loyola,” Callahan concluded. “Despite the poor economic climate in the city, the future is bright here.”