Pelham Memorial High School

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Pelham Memorial High School
Pelham, New York
Type Public
Established 6 May 1922 [1]
School district Pelham Union Free School District
Grades 9-12
Number of students approx. 800[2]
Color(s) Blue & Gold
Mascot Pelican
Newspaper 'The Pel Mel'

The Pelham Memorial High School is the only high school within the town of Pelham, New York, USA. It is devoted to the promotion and achievement of academic excellence.[3]


Prior to 1918, the Siwanoy School housed elementary and secondary students in Pelham. However, the population was growing and the facility was no longer able to accommodate all of the students. It was decided that the Pelham Memorial High School would be a memorial to World War I and all wars in which Pelham residents fought. "Honor Here the Ideals for Which They Fought" is the inscription above the main auditorium stage.

PMHS was dedicated on May 6, 1922, costing $373,000. At the time, it was the biggest high school with the biggest field in Westchester County. This would only be the first of three sections that would later be constructed and attached as the number of students continuously increased. The second section, facing Corlies Avenue was completed in 1924, costing $350,000. The third section, facing Franklin Place, was completed in 1929, with a cost of $575,000. The building continued to be enhanced throughout the years, including a new annex which was created in 1963. This annex allowed for more classrooms and new science laboratories.

Later in the 20th century, the auto mechanic and other show classrooms were removed from the annex and converted to modern computer laboratories and art rooms. Wiring was also upgraded for new technology.

Community donations resulted in a new modern language lab, a bio-technology lab, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment in the auditorium. Recently, the school has been renovated significantly. These changes included an upgraded library, auditorium, and science laboratories.[1]


Like most public high schools in New York, Pelham Memorial High School students have to take a college preparatory curriculum that includes several mandatory classes for graduation. This includes 4 years of English, 4 years of Social Studies, 3 years of a Foreign Language, 3 years of Math, 3 years of Science (Earth Science is taken prior to high school in 8th grade at Pelham Middle School, and Living Environment and Chemistry are required classes), and 1 Art or Music class in order to qualify for an Advanced Designation Regents Diploma as opposed to a Regents Diploma. Health must be taken for one semester and physical education must be taken for all 4 years.[4]

Pelham currently offers 18 Advanced Placement courses with the intention of adding more as the budget allows. Among the courses offered already are AP Art History, AP Art, AP European History, AP US Government and Politics, AP Statistics, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Psychology, AP World, AP US History, AP Latin, AP Spanish, AP French, AP Music Theory, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry.[5] However, most of these classes are only available to juniors and seniors. Also, as AP Chemistry has a reputation in the school for being the most difficult class at Pelham, it is only offered once every two years due to the lack of students willing to take it.[6]

The Social Studies Department provides courses which follow the New York State Core Curriculum and recognize the diversity of interest, needs, and abilities within the student body. The department views its responsibility as the preparation of students to meet the challenges of a pluralistic, rapidly changing, and increasingly interdependent world. Students needs are met by providing, in addition to regents courses, an Honors program which includes four Advanced Placement Courses and multiple Syracuse University Project Advance courses. At the culmination of the two-year Global History and Geography Courses the respective regents exam is taken, typically in tenth grade. The United States History and Government regents exam is typically administered in 11th grade. For Students taking AP United States History a concurrent Political Process Seminar is given in podcast form to satisfy the government requirement for graduation. Otherwise, students may take any of the Participation in Government, American Law, Criminal Justice, Sociology, or Politics and Public Policy courses as a senior to complete the requirement. AP European History and AP U.S. Government and Politics are also available to seniors. Students enrolled in AP European History will complete their state economics requirement by enrolling in an Economics Seminar course. Otherwise an Economics course can be taken as a senior.[6]

In grades nine and ten, students can take either regents or honors English courses based on whether or not they meet honors criteria. These courses examine English literature and poetry with a fine lens, and require strong technical ability as well as insight and imagination in written interpretation. As a junior, either regents or Advanced Placement English Language and Composition can be taken. Finally in a students senior year, they may take Advanced Placement Literature and Composition. During a student's freshman year, they must take Freshman Seminar to graduate. This is a course designed to improve individual writing and learning abilities.[6]

The Pelham Mathematics Department has undergone changes as a result of the Board of Regents restructuring its standardized exams. The Department presently offers regents, honors, and advanced placement courses. Qualified eighth grade students are given the opportunity to take Integrated Algebra Honors to put them on the accelerated track. The Integrated Algebra regents exam is required to graduate. Following this same sequence, students take Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and AP Calculus AB/BC. The Geometry Regents and Algebra II/Trigonometry Regents are offered at the culmination of their respective courses. Also offered to Juniors or Seniors is AP Statistics. During the 2011-12 school year, a Science Research pilot program will be offered allowing students to take this course to improve their statistical abilities for competition. There is an alternative two-year sequence of Algebra which can be taken as well, typically in 9th and 10th grade. For more information on the wide variety of mathematics courses offered, see the course catalog on the school website.[6]

The Music Department offers Music Theory 1 as a pre-requisite to AP Music Theory. Students considering AP Music Theory take a qualifying test administered by the instructor. AP Music Theory includes sight-singing, contextual listening, analysis, composing, counterpoint, figured-bass realization, and ear-training. Students practice these skills daily.

The Science Department follows the New York State Core Curriculum and provides students with opportunities which suit their individual needs. All honors-level science courses cover additional topics which are not included in the core curriculum and go into greater depth with those topics which are included. All eighth grade students take Physical Setting: Earth Science, and take the regents as their final exam. As freshmen, students typically take Living Environment (Biology.) Then Physical Setting: Chemistry and Physical Setting: Physics are taken as sophomores and juniors respectively. Students interested in pursuing a career in science or medicine frequently take AP Biology or AP Environmental Science as a junior or senior. AP courses which are offered include AP Physics B, AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, and AP Chemistry. The latter has the reputation of being the hardest courses offered at Pelham, and therefore is only given every other year. Also, the Health Studies course is required to graduate and is offered normally to sophomores. However, this semester course may be taken at any point in time.[6]

The Science Research Department is a four-year elective program situated in the school's Biotechnology Laboratory. This course allows students with a declared interest in science to conduct original research alongside of researchers at college, university, hospital, and medical school laboratories. The courses include Introduction to Science Research, which introduces students to the research experience with the basic skills necessary to conduct research experiments. Science Instrumentation and Problem Solving is the next course in the sequence. This course teaches students how to adequately prepare reagents, perform sterilization exercises, run and maintain a biotechnology laboratory. Students also are instructed in various molecular biology techniques, such as DNA amplification via Polymerase Chain Reaction, Restriction Enzyme analysis, and bacterial culture, identification, and transformation. In the summer before 11th grade, research students find a mentor to work with on their own original research experiment. This will be carried throughout most of the junior year with the students working on paper to present their findings. This will subsequently be entered into the Siemens-Westinghouse and/or Intel Science Talent Search, as well as other science competitions. Students have previously been named semifinalists and region finalists winning scholarship money towards college. Teacher Steven Beltecas has played a critical role in improving the school's performances at these competitions.[6]

The World Language Department prepares students for a life in a contemporary society where globalization brings many different cultures and languages together. Modern foreign languages include French, Spanish, and Italian I II and III. There are also Honors/AP courses in French and Spanish. Spanish and Italian have a Syracuse University Project Advance course instead of this. Latin is offered to Latin IV/V. One foreign language credit is required to graduate, however three are required to graduate with distinction. Frequently, students take a two-year sequence of one language as seventh and eighth graders which counts as one credit on their High School Transcript.[6]

Honor societies[edit]

Pelham Memorial High School's Knight and Lamp Chapter of the National Honor Society is guided the four principles of scholarship, leadership, character, and service. Juniors and Seniors with an unweighted average of 89 and a weighted average of 91 will be eligible for consideration. Students must exercise positive influence on their peers and contribute to the school environment. They should be a leader in the classroom, at work, and in extracurricular activities. A candidate should be able to demonstrate respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring and citizenship. Students must have also completed ten hours of service to the school or community during grades 9 and 10 for juniors and during grades 9, 10 and 11 for seniors. Once inducted, 40 hours must be completed by the end of the academic year. NHS students provide free tutoring to any students who request it through their guidance counselors.[6]

Language Honor Societies include the French Honor Society, Latin Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, and Italian Honor Society. The French Honor Society chapter is The Pelham Memorial High School Chapter of the Société Honoraire de Français. The Latin Honor Society Chapter is simply a local chapter. The Spanish Honor Society is The Federico Garcia Lorca Chapter. The Italian Honor Society is The Vittorio Emmanuele Chapter of the Società Onoraria Italica. These societies require an 80 average GPA and a 90 average in the year of induction. Students are eligible based on their grades in the first two quarters of their level IV and V years. Students must provide tutoring services upon request.

The school also has a chapter of the New York State Mathematics Honor Society for students with one and one half years of high school math while enrolled as a student in a High School only. Students must also presently be enrolled in an honors or AP course with an 85% average in all math courses and an 85% GPA.[7]

The school has a chapter of the New York State Science Honor Society. This requires students to have completed four semesters of high school or college science. Candidates must have an 85% science course average and an 80% GPA. There must also be a 75% average in high school or college mathematics courses. Peer tutoring is strongly encouraged.[8]

Pelham Memorial High School's Chapter of Tri-M Music Honor Society requires students to maintain a minimum of 90% in their music class; achieve a score of 90 or better at Level 5 or 6 at NYSSMA Solo Festival; maintain a scholastic average of 80% or better; and work toward improving the Music Program. Tri-M members musically help younger students as well as their peers. Tri-M members perform in recitals at school. They also helped raise funds to build houses for the needy in the USA as well as abroad.

Extra-curricular activities[edit]

As a four-year high school with academically diverse students, Pelham Memorial High School provides a challenging range of courses and a rigorous college preparatory program. In a supportive environment that promotes respect and responsibility, students also develop through a rich performing and creative arts program and a wide variety of extracurricular and athletic activities.[9] •More than 35 extracurricular organizations and 20 competitive athletic teams •Full range of guidance/counseling services and academic support programs


Coordinates: 40°54′11″N 73°48′42″W / 40.90306°N 73.81167°W / 40.90306; -73.81167