“A Class Act, The Life and Times of Southwestern High School”
Manny Crisostomo won a Pulitzer Prize at age 30 and immediately sensed the profound impact the prize could have on the rest of his career.
So he took his $3,000 Pulitzer Prize money and donated it to Detroit’s Southwestern High School to fund a journalism scholarship for graduating seniors and provide opportunities for others.
Those students at Southwestern High School, a racially diverse, inner city school just five miles from the Detroit Free Press newsroom, were the focus of Crisostomo’s Pulitzer-winning feature photography.
He spent the 1987-88 academic year chronicling life at the school, the successes and struggles of students from troubled neighborhoods overwhelmed by drugs, violence and plant closings.
“There were drugs everywhere. There was violence everywhere. Yet, it was still high school,” Crisostomo says. “There was dating. There were pep rallies. There was football.”
That complex and compelling portrait was presented by the Detroit Free Press in June 1988 as a 12-page, ad-free, special section titled “A Class Act, The Life and Times of Southwestern High School.”
Crisostomo wrote all the copy and produced all the photos. More than 60 were published in total.