The first school to service Sylvan Lake was a small white frame building with a drab interior, built at a cost not to exceed $300. May 22, 1852, was the first day of school. The teacher, Samuel Rod, was hired for $18 a month.
When a new building was erected in 1894, the first school was sold for $13. The new one-room school contained only one item from the first school - the bell. Miss Edith Brandan, the teacher, taught grades one through eight for $20 a month. In September of 1920 the name of the school was changed from Skae or Hammond to Daniel Whitfield School.
Designed by Charles Fisher, the third and final school was completed in 1927. Its original design included seven classrooms, an office and a clinic. In October, 1929, a library, music room, and gym were added.
There were approximately 180 pupils enrolled in 1947 when Whitfield was annexed to the Pontiac School District. Until annexation the school consisted of kindergarten through eight grade. Mr. Glen Husted was the eighth grade teacher as well as superintendent of Whitfield. When it became part of the Pontiac School District, kindergarten through sixth grade only were taught.
In 1953, a two-story addition was built which housed six classrooms. The Primary Building was ready for use in 1955. There were two kindergartens and five regular classrooms. In June, 1959, the enrollment was 715 students.
Former pupils and teachers have fond memories of Whitfield School. The school was like a family. Everyone walked home for lunch. At Halloween, Detroit Edison contributed old telephone poles to be used for a bonfire where hot dogs were roasted. In the winter children brought sleds and slid down the hill behind the school. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts were active at Whitfield. Daniel Whitfield was closed in 1991 after 64 years of community service because of Pontiac School District budget problems.