Come check out ‘The Cougar Experience’

FLINT TWP. — Calling all Cougars. That’s an invitation to the upcoming Carman High School Reunion, Sept. 12-13.

Planned events include a tour of the high school at 1 p.m. and a golf outing, both on Sept. 13.

Another highlight will be first viewing of “The Cougar Experience” a DVD chronicling the 19-year existence (1967- 1986) of Carman High School before its name changed to Carman-Ainsworth.

Suggested donation price for a copy of the DVD is $15, with proceeds benefiting the Carman-Ainsworth Educational Foundation (CAEF). The foundation supports and partners with Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools to expand innovative learning opportunities for students and staff.

The DVD will be sold at the following times and places during the reunion weekend:

Friday, September 12, luncheon at the Jewel in Grand Blanc,11:00 a.m.

Friday, Sept. 12 at Ruggeros on Corunna Road, 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 13, CAHS tour 1-4 p.m. at the high school

Saturday, dinner at the Jewell after golf, 4:30 p.m.

Other reunion mementos will include Carman Cougars T-shirts and mugs from the CAHS Theatre program. For more details about the event, contact the C-A administration building at 810.591.3205.

C-A Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff said the high school tour will provide an opportunity to share with Carman alumni what the high school is doing in 2014.

A tour also is being planned for a C-A retirees’ dinner being held on Sept. 15.

DVD producers are also getting started on capturing the history of just Ainsworth High School, according to Peggy Anderson, a C-A school board member and member of the CAEF.

Lastly, early planning is starting for the C-A 30th anniversary celebration coming up in 2017.

For those who don’t already know, here is a history of the Carman- Ainsworth School District from its web site:

The Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools dates back to the 1830’s. Early records show that School District #8 was established in 1837. In 1847, this district was renamed the Carman School District in honor of Elijah Carman, a farmer who donated a section of his land for use as a school site. This his- toric site is at the modern-day corner of Bristol and Fenton Roads. The original Carman School District was only a small fraction of the size of the current Carman-Ainsworth school district. The 1950’s and 1960’s saw several smaller districts – Rankin, Graham, Hoover, Dye, Utley – merge with the formerly tiny Carman district to form the geographical boundaries of the current district. Since July 10, 1961, the outline and size of the district has essentially remained unchanged.

By July 1961, this new district had quadrupled its enrollment. With the exception of the City of Flint, it was the largest school district in the county. The burgeoning school system required new school buildings to accommodate the growing community.

In the fall of 1961, a new high school was opened off Maple Road in Mundy Twp., and named after the fatherson team, Donnelson and Wayne Ainsworth, who between the two had held a seat on the Carman Board of Education for over 60 years.

Ainsworth High School was overcrowded with students the day it opened. District officials immediately began plans to build a second high school in the north end of the district.

In 1967, Carman High School on North Linden Road, opened as the sister high school to Ainsworth. Simultaneously, the Carman School District was divided into two K-12 attendance zones with students in the southern end of the district graduating from Ainsworth and students in the northern end graduating from Carman.

In 1986, the Carman School District officially changed its name to the Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools. Two issues motivated this change. The first was a desire to reflect the dual K-12 communities that existed in the district. The second reason was to designate the “community school” approach embraced by the staff and Board.

In 1970, the Carman School district experienced its highest historical enrollment with nearly 10,000 K-12 students. Enrollment started to decline in the 1970’s with the decline of the automotive industry. By the mid 1980’s, the student population had dropped to around 5,000 and economic realities necessitated the closure of several school buildings. All three of the middle schools were closed and sold. The district reorganized from two high schools and K-12 attendance zones to one. Ainsworth High School became the sole junior high school and Carman High School became the sole high school.

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