Moving from one city to another city can often be very difficult for a child. The reason for this is that you arent just moving to a different city. Youre moving to a different atmosphere, school, group of friends and neighbors. Luckily for me, moving was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
I grew up in the city of Berkley, MI. I went to school there, I made friends there, I played sports there, I was at home there. But in December of 1990 when I was in 3rd grade, my parents decided to move our family (me and my three sisters) to Hazel Park. When we heard about it we were absolutely against it. I didnt want to start all over in a new place. I was happy where I was and was not thrilled at all about leaving it all behind. As I began to get used to this new city I realized that, yes Hazel Park is very different from Berkley but in a good way.
Along with the many differences, there are many similarities between these two cities. They are both about the same size city with a sort of small town environment. They both have about the same amount of people living in them. Both cities high schools have about the same amount of students attending them. Families in the two cities are the same middle class type families. It seems as though many people have the opinion that Berkley is a much nicer city than Hazel Park, but when you break it down, there are significant differences, many of which actually favor Hazel Park.
First of all, at age 9 kids in Berkley were already starting to smoke and experiment with drugs. In Hazel Park, it wasnt until I reached High School that this became an issue. I am convinced that had I stayed in Berkley, I would have certainly gone downhill in that department because many of the people that I was friends with either dropped out of school or were very close to doing so because of drugs. In Hazel Park, the drop out rate is much lower.
Another difference that I noticed was that overall, the education that I received at Hazel Park was superior to the education that I had been getting in the Berkley schools. The teachers seemed to care more about making sure that the students retained the information that they were teaching. It also seemed like I was being prepared better for college and even the real world. The elementary schools in Hazel Park all had basketball teams, which competed in their own league and even had cheerleaders. I believe that this helped us to stay out of trouble and be productive. In Berkley, however, they had no school athletics at the elementary level.
Sports and activities outside of school were kind of a different story though. Berkley has a great scouting group, a soccer league, a successful ice hockey league, and a huge little league and junior league baseball program, while Hazel Park has only a small baseball program, which competes with other small programs in the county. They also have only a 5-10 person scouting group. I was fortunate enough to be able to continue playing baseball in Berkley through High School. Hazel Park is on the rise in this department however, after adding numerous teams to their baseball league and building a 9.7 million dollar Ice arena which now houses many competitive hockey teams from around the area.
Hazel Park appears to be only widening the margin, after the addition of the ice arena and entertainment complex which will surround it. The city has also torn down and rebuilt many old and/or abandoned buildings and homes around the city including all of the buildings at the intersection of 9 Mile and John R. Roads. These two main roads in Hazel Park have also been completely torn up and re-done, adding new sidewalks, light posts, benches, trash receptacles, and bus stops.
In the last ten years, I have not only accepted the move, but I have decided that I wouldnt have wanted it any other way. I am happy with where I ended up and I now know that this was the best place for me to grow up. I am glad my parents decided to move here and I have fit in more than I ever could have imagined. In my opinion, Hazel Park is a far better city to grow up in and live than Berkley.