This site serves as a supplement to the independent, feature-length documentary about Community High School in Ann Arbor, MI—produced by 7 Cylinders Studio—providing extensive extra content available for public viewing and research. Additional materials and development are anticipated in future editions.
Community High School was started in 1972 with some radical ideas, enthusiastic teachers, and a reclaimed elementary school building in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. The concept was based on a “school without walls” approach where the city could serve as the classroom. Students were encouraged to design their own courses and take responsibility for their education. There was no cafeteria, no traditional sports teams, no annual prom and an anti-zebra anti-mascot. Students called teachers by their first names. Welcome to Commie High.
Through the 70s and 80s, enrollment was an ongoing challenge and recruiting students was critical to sustain Community High. By the early 90s, however, it became cool to go to Commie High school and demand to attend increased beyond its capacity. A waiting list led to a partial lottery and line-ups that grew longer each year, culminating in 1996 with a 2-week camp out by students (and their parents, siblings, friends, etc.) saving a place in line with the hope of gaining admission. This was the last line for Commie High, as the school system shifted to a complete lottery the following year. More than four decades since its inception, Community High serves as one of the longest-running alternative public high schools in America.
To learn more about the feature-length documentary “Welcome to Commie High”, please visit: https://www.7cylinders.com/commie-high/
To learn more about the history of Community High School, visit our Community High School portal.
The Online Archive contains supplemental material to the film and the history of Community High School. This material includes:
Video Extras - Videos from the making of the film and the recent past of Community High School. Future additions will included expanded interviews, archival footage, and more short films.
Making of the Film Photos - A collection of photos from the making of the film by 7 Cylinders Studio.
CHS Music Database -A searchable database featuringhundreds of musicians and bands with members who were students at Community High School.
CHS Yearbook Collection - Digitized yearbooks from the from Community High School's first 30 years.
Historical Photos - Photo archive featuring hundreds of photos related to Community High School from the AADL Archives.
Historical News Articles - Hundreds of newspaper articles related to Community High School from the AADL Archives.