Closet cleaning uncovers 35-year-old gift to the ‘other’ FHS in Michigan

ferndale golden eagle plaque
Recently found Eagle plaque was gifted to FHS in Michigan from FHS in Washington in 1983. Source: Ferndale High School (Michigan)

Thanks to Crystal at for the news tip.

Wednesday, staff at Ferndale High School in Ferndale, Michigan, discovered a plaque in a closet. Describing the discovery in a school newsletter, “we found something amazing!”

Although separated by about 2,000 miles, the Ferndale High Schools in Washington and Michigan are similar in some ways. Both were initially built in the mid-30s, both participated in an alternating exchange student program and both have eagles as their school mascots.

The surprising find in a closet in the Michigan school was a hand-carved wooden eagle on a plaque that was a gift from the Washington school back in 1983.

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According to the Michigan school staff, the inscription on the plaque reads,

To the Eagles of Ferndale, Michigan
In Friendship
From the Eagles of Ferndale, Washington
April 1983

The story in the newsletter went on to say, “We certainly thanked our fellow Eagles for this gift almost 35 years ago, but wanted to take a moment and thank them again. Our new friend has found a permanent home and will be prominently displayed in our Enrollment Office.”

ferndale eagle plaque closeup
Close up of the inscription on a recently found Eagle plaque gifted to FHS in Michigan from FHS in Washington in 1983. Source: Ferndale High School (Michigan)

Do you recall or did you participate in the student exchange program or the making of this gift for the Ferndale High School in Michigan? If so, add to the story in the comment field below.

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  1. I participated in the program in 1984, my junior year at FHS (here). I was in Germany as an exchange student for fall semester, and my exchange partner came to the U.S for spring semester. We both flew back to Ferndale, Michigan along with several other students. It was great touring around the Detroit area as well as checking out the differences from what was rural FHS and a suburban Detroit high school back there! Good times.

  2. FHS Michigan & Washington Schools:
    I think there is a plaque in the main office that designated the schools as “sister” schools. I remember looking at it when Athena Jennings still worked at the Michigan FHS High School (not that long ago.) Does the school still have that plaque? Hope so.
    Patti A.