Rochester Area High School (Pennsylvania)

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Rochester Area Junior - Senior High School
Rochester, PA, 15074
Type Public
School district Rochester Area School District
Superintendent Kathryn Gruber (Acting Superintendent)
Principal Mr. Michael Damon
Grades 7–12
Enrollment 450 (approx.)
Color(s) Navy blue & white
Athletics football, men's & women's basketball, baseball, softball, women's tennis, women's volleyball, track & field, golf, bowling
Athletics conference WPIAL Class A Big Seven
Mascot Rams
Information 724-775-7500

Rochester Area Junior-Senior High School is a secondary education school located in Rochester, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1890, it is one of the oldest high schools in the entire state of Pennsylvania. With a current student enrollment of approximately 450 students, Rochester Area Junior-Senior High School is also one of the smallest secondary schools in Pennsylvania. Located in the heart of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, at the confluence of the Ohio and Beaver rivers, (approximately 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh and 15 miles from the Ohio state line,) Rochester Area School District has a total K-12 enrollment of approximately 950 students. Over 90% of Pennsylvania school districts are larger. Rochester Area School District comprises the three small municipalities of Rochester Borough, East Rochester Borough and Rochester Township. Formerly known as "the hub of Beaver county", Rochester is in the center of a formerly heavily industrial area best known for its steel mills. Like many small towns in the "Rust Belt", the Rochester community is plagued by economic distress, an aging population, deteriorating infrastructure, and the exodus of many young people upon graduation from high school.

Despite these facts, in 2008, Rochester Area High School was named as one of the Best High Schools in the United States by U.S. News and World Report, receiving a Bronze Medal. It was one of only 44 high school across Pennsylvania (out of over 600) to receive this honor. Enrollment information and academic data from over 21,000 public high school across the country were anazlyzed by U.S. News and World Report to determine the very best high schools in the United States. The top schools were placed into gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention categories.

Interesting facts[edit]

Rochester Area High School is well known for being the first high school in the United States to show the musical My Fair Lady in 1964. The musical was directed by legendary Chorus and Musical director Mr. Philip Inman. It was reported that the high school auditorium was standing-room only for the musical's opening night.

Famous alumni of Rochester Area School District include Olympic athlete Lauryn Williams, and NFL players Derek Moye, Kris Griffin, and Babe Parilli.

Another little known fact is that Rochester was the childhood hometown of pop star Christina Aguilera. She attended Rochester Area Elementary School before moving to the North Allegheny School District.


Rochester Area School District is unique in that all grades (K-12) are housed in one large academic complex. The Elementary School is separated from the Jr.-Sr. High School by a common area that includes the district's K-12 library, a little theatre and several cafeterias. This design enables faculty, administration and students to interact with one another on a daily basis.


Despite its small enrollment, Rochester Area High School offers a rigorous academic environment and is building a reputation for academic excellence among small schools, as evidenced by the recent Bronze Medal award from U.S. News and World Report. The school offers many required and elective courses that are not offered by small schools of similar size in the state including German I-IV. Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics and Probability, English, The Holocaust, Mutimedia and Computer Graphics, Web Page Design, Theatre, Music History, Music Theory, Humanities, Marriage and Family Living, Painting and Printmaking and Drawing and Graphic Design. The school also has a cooperative program with Penn State, Beaver Campus, that enables upperclassmen to take college level classes for credit. In addition, Rochester Area High School is one of the few schools in the region that requires students to earn 30 credits prior to graduation. There are no study halls at Rochester.


Rochester Area is well known for its success in athletics, particularly football. The high school football team won the WPIAL Class A Championship in 1916, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004, and went on to win the PIAA Class A Championship in 1998, 2000, and 2001. The 1998 season is best remembered, as the team finished the season undefeated 15-0. Mr. Gene Matsook has served as head coach since 2000, and his brother, Daniel Matsook, served as the head coach from 1985–1999. Matsook is now the superintendent of the Central Valley School District. The Matsooks have established a well known football legacy throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Rochester Area, whose mascot is the Rams, shares a rivalry with another small Beaver County school - South Side Beaver High School. Since both schools use the ram as a mascot, the annual football game is known as the "Battle of the Rams".

The school is known as the home to Olympic track star Lauryn Williams, who set many school and state records in track.

The school also won the 1983 PIAA Class AA Men's Basketball Championship.

Battle of the Bridge[edit]

The football team played in one of the most notable rivalries in Western Pennsylvania high school football with rival Monaca High School, located in Monaca just across the Ohio River. The two schools played in the annual Battle of the Bridge, in which the winner has their name listed first on the Rochester-Monaca Bridge for a year. The rivalry is so well known that it is featured at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

The rivalry also led to the two schools meeting in the playoffs on several occasions. In 1998 and 2000, both schools met at Three Rivers Stadium to determine the WPIAL champion, with Rochester winning both times. When the two teams did meet in the postseason, the Rochester-Monaca Bridge was not on the line, as that year's results were already determined.

On occasion, the football rivalry would spill into other sports. In 2001, the two schools met in Rochester for the first of two men's basketball matchups for the season between the two schools. Near the end of the game, a fight erupted in the stands, with several people arrested. To prevent another incident for the second game at Monaca, only school administrators were allowed at that game, as fans, cheerleaders, and even parents of the athletes were not allowed at the game. Fans were allowed at future games after that season.

With the recent merger of the Monaca and Center Area School Districts into the newly formed Central Valley School District, the year 2009 marked the final season that Monaca High School will exist and field a football team. Consequently, 2009 was the last season in which the "Battle of the Bridge" between Rochester Area and Monaca will take place. This game took place on Saturday, October 31, 2009, in which the Rams won 28-0. The game was given national attention by the Great American Rivalry Series, which is sponsored by the United States Air Force, with Rochester Stadium reportedly having a standing-room only attendance of 11,000 fans witnessing the final game of a great rivalry.

The new Central Valley High School will be a Class AAA school while Rochester will remain as a Class A school, meaning the 2 teams would most likely never play each other. The permanent name of the bridge will be "Rochester-Monaca" on the Rochester side and "Monaca-Rochester" on the Monaca side.

Once Monaca High School ceases to exist, the Ram's new rival will most likely be the Western Beaver High School Golden Beavers. Western Beaver is another small Beaver County school whose football team is an annual contender for the WPIAL playoffs.

Notable alumni[edit]

Clubs and activities[edit]

Rochester Area High School offers many extracurricular activities to students. The most popular activity is the Cultural Diversity Club, which sponsors an annual Cultural Diversity fair. Other club offerings include "Hometown Hi-Q", Bowling Club, Student Council, Students of Service, Art Club, and National Honor Society.


Rochester Area High School's music department has established a reputation for excellence. Students are able to participate in Chorus, Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble and many small groups. The Music Department hosted the 2010 P.M.E.A. District 5 Band Festival.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′29″N 80°16′44″W / 40.708°N 80.279°W / 40.708; -80.279