Stuyvesant High School
|Stuyvesant High School|
|345 Chambers Street
New York City, New York, 10282
|School type||Public (Exam school) secondary|
|Motto||Latin: Pro Scientia Atque Sapientia
(For knowledge and wisdom)
|School board||New York City Public Schools|
|School district||New York City Department of Education|
|NCES School ID||360007702877|
|Principal||Jie Zhang |
|Faculty||155.10 (on FTE basis)|
|Grades||9 to 12|
|Number of students||3,278|
|Accreditations||National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology|
|Average SAT scores||2090|
Stuyvesant High School //, commonly referred to as Stuy //, is one of the nine Specialized High Schools in New York City. Operated by the New York City Department of Education, these schools offer tuition-free accelerated academics to city residents. The only way to be admitted into most of the Specialized High Schools, including Stuyvesant, is to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). Stuyvesant traditionally holds the highest cutoff score out of the Specialized High Schools; each November, over 28,000 eighth and ninth graders take the 21⁄2-hour exam, and roughly 800 students (less than 3% of applicants) are accepted annually.
Stuyvesant students undertake a college preparatory curriculum which includes English, history, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, foreign languages, two lab-based technology courses, and a semester each of introductory art, music, health, technical drawing, and computer science. Students can select from fifty-five Advanced Placement courses and over fifty electives, including ones about the mathematics of financial markets, system level programming, molecular biology, and science writing. Most students complete the New York City Regents curriculum by junior year and take calculus during their senior year, and the school offers math courses through differential equations for the more advanced students.
Stuyvesant is noted for its strong academic programs, having produced many notable alumni including four Nobel laureates. U.S. News & World Report ranked it as the fifty-eighth best High School nationwide in their 2012 list of America's best "Gold-Medal" public high schools and fifth best in its 2012 list of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) schools. Stuyvesant students regularly place as semi-finalists and finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search. In the most recent three years, Stuyvesant sent the most semi-finalists out of any school in the nation, with 13 semi-finalists in 2012, 10 semi-finalists in 2013, and 11 in 2014.
- 1 History
- 2 Enrollment
- 3 Academics
- 4 Public recognition
- 5 School facilities
- 6 Mnemonics (public artwork)
- 7 Extracurricular activities
- 8 Student body
- 9 Stuyvesant and 9/11
- 10 Notable people
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Stuyvesant High School is named after Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New Netherland before the colony was transferred to England in 1664. The school was established in 1904 as a manual training school for boys, hosting 155 students and 12 teachers. In 1907, it moved from its original location at 225 East 23rd Street to a building designed by C. B. J. Snyder at 345 East 15th Street, where it remained for 85 years. Its reputation for excellence in math and science continued to grow, and enrollment was restricted based on scholastic achievement starting in 1919. Stuyvesant went on a double session plan in 1919 to accommodate the rising number of students, with some students attending in the morning and others in the afternoon and early evening. All students studied a full set of courses. Theses double sessions ran until 1956.
The school implemented a system of entrance examinations starting in 1934. The examination program was later expanded to include the newly founded Bronx High School of Science, and was developed with the assistance of Columbia University. During the 1950s, the building underwent a $2 million renovation to update its classrooms, shops, libraries and cafeterias. In 1956, a team of six students designed and began construction of a cyclotron. The team was headed by Martin Gersten and included John Sutherland, Charles Abzug and Robert Rudko. The faculty advisor was Abraham Kerner of the Chemistry Department. By 1962, a low-power test of the device succeeded. Matt Deming (1962) remembered that a later attempt at full-power operation "tanked the electrical system for the building and surrounding area".
Prior to 1969, Stuyvesant did not accept female students. That year, 14 girls were admitted to Stuyvesant and 12 enrolled at the start of September, marking the school's first co-educational year. By 2002, female enrollment had grown to 42%. New York State Legislature passed the Hecht-Calandra act in 1972, designating Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, and The High School of Music & Art (now Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts) as specialized high schools of New York City. The act called for a uniform exam to be administered for admission to Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science and Stuyvesant High School. The exam, named the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), tested students in math and verbal abilities. Admission to LaGuardia High School is by audition rather than examination, in keeping with its artistic mission.
Stuyvesant moved into a new waterfront building in Battery Park City in 1992. The 15th St. building remains in use as of 2012[update], as "Old Stuyvesant Campus", and houses the Institute for Collaborative Education, the High School for Health Professions and Human Services and P.S. 226. During the 2003–2004 school year, Stuyvesant celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding with a full year of activities. Events included a procession from the 15th Street building to the Chambers Street one; a meeting of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology; an all-class reunion; and visits and speeches from notable alumni. In recent years, keynote graduation speakers have included future Attorney General Eric Holder (2001), former President Bill Clinton (2002), United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan (2004), and Late Night comedian Conan O'Brien (2006).
A major cheating scandal, which eventually implicated seventy students, emerged in late June 2012. According to the Department of Education, a student used a smartphone to send text messages to other students during a state examination. Some students involved were suspended as a result.
Stuyvesant has a total enrollment of over 3,000 students, and is open to residents of New York City entering either ninth or tenth grade. Enrollment is based solely on performance on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). The list of schools using the SHSAT has since grown to include all of New York's specialized high schools except LaGuardia High School, where entry is by audition rather than examination. The test score necessary for admission to Stuyvesant has consistently been higher than that needed for admission to the other schools using the test. Admission is currently based on an individual's score on the examination and his or her pre-submitted ranking of Stuyvesant among the other specialized schools. Each year, about 26,000 of New York City's eighth-graders sit for the test. Ninth and rising tenth graders are also eligible to take the test for enrollment, though far fewer students are admitted this way. The test covers math (word problems and computation) and verbal (reading comprehension, logical reasoning, unscrambling paragraphs) skills.
According to Article 12 of New York education law, "Admissions to the Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School, and Brooklyn Technical High School shall be solely and exclusively by taking a competitive, objective, and scholastic achievement examination, which shall be open to each and every child in the city of New York." The current admission policy is available from the NYC Department of Education. According to the Department of Education, Stuyvesant accepts students solely based on their performance on the SHSAT, although former Mayor John Lindsay and community activist group ACORN have argued that the exam may be biased against African and Hispanic Americans.
Accusations of bias in admission tests
The school's skewed demographic profile (72% are Asian ) and scarcity of Black and Hispanic students have often been an issue for some city administrators. Mayor John Lindsay argued that the test was culturally biased against Black and Hispanic students and sought to implement an affirmative action program. However, protests by parents forced the plan to be scrapped and led to the passage of the Hecht-Calandra Act, which preserved admissions by examination only. A small number of students judged to be economically disadvantaged and who come within a few points of the cut-off score were given an extra chance to pass the test. In 1996 the community activist group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) published two reports, Secret Apartheid and Secret Apartheid II, calling the SHSAT "permanently suspect" and a "product of an institutional racism", and claiming that black and Hispanic students did not have access to proper test preparation materials. Along with Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, they began an initiative for more diversity in the city's gifted and specialized schools, in particular demanding that since only a few districts send the majority of Stuyvesant's and Bronx Science's students, that the SHSAT be suspended altogether "until the Board of Education can show that the students of each middle school in the system have had access to curricula and instruction that would prepare them for this test regardless of their color or economic status." Jesse Shapiro, Stuyvesant valedictorian, and Alan Van Dyke and Micah C. Lasher, then sophomores, published several editorials in response, and change was averted.
A number of students take preparatory courses offered by private companies such as The Princeton Review and Kaplan, in order to perform better on the SHSAT, often leaving those unable to afford such classes at a disadvantage. To bridge this gap and boost minority admissions, the Board of Education started the Math Science Institute in 1995, a free program to prepare students for the admissions test. Students attend preparatory classes through the program, now known as the Specialized High School Institute, at several schools around the city from the summer after 6th grade until the 8th grade exam. Despite these free programs, the Black and Hispanic enrollment continue to decline.
Stuyvesant students undertake a college preparatory curriculum that includes four years of English, history, and laboratory-based sciences (biology, chemistry and physics are required), four years of mathematics (previously three, changed from Class of 2015 onward) and three years of a single foreign language, a semester each of introductory art, music, health and technical drawing, two semesters of computer science (previously one, changed from class of 2015 onward), and two lab-based technology courses. Several exemptions from technology education exist for seniors. Stuyvesant offers students a broad selection of elective courses. Some of the more unusual offerings include robotics, astronomy, New York City history, Women's Voices, and the mathematics of financial markets. Most students complete the New York City Regents courses by junior year and take calculus during their senior year. However, the school offers math courses through differential equations for the more advanced students. A year of technical drawing used to be required; students learned how to draft by hand in its first semester and how to draft using a computer (CAD) in the second. Now, students take a one-semester technical drawing class (a compacted version of the former drafting course), and a semester of introductory computer science, which introduces NetLogo and Racket. Beginning with the class of 2015, the one-semester computer science course will be replaced with a two-semester course.
Students can choose from 55 Advanced Placement courses to earn college credits; a few are thus able to start college as sophomores. These AP courses can be as equally unusual as the electives; One example is the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition - Physics and Mechanics course, an AP English course focusing on literature and media in the realm of physics and mechanics. Computer science enthusiasts can take three additional computer programming courses after the completion of Advanced Placement computer science: systems level programming, computer graphics, and software development. There is also a one year computer networking class which can earn students Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification.
Stuyvesant's foreign language offerings include Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. The school's Muslim Student Association raised funds to support courses in Arabic, which began in 2005. Stuyvesant's Biology and Geo-science department offers courses in molecular biology (a course sequence composed of a molecular science class in the Fall and a molecular genetics class in the Spring), human physiology, medical ethics, medical and veterinary diagnosis, human disease, anthropology and sociobiology, vertebrate zoology, laboratory techniques, medical human genetics, botany, the molecular basis of cancer, nutrition science, and psychology. The Chemistry and Physics department offers organic chemistry, physical chemistry, astronomy, engineering mechanics, and electronics.
Although Stuyvesant is primarily known for its math and science focus, the school also has a comprehensive humanities program, offering students courses in British and classical literature, Shakespearean literature, science fiction, philosophy, existentialism, debate, acting, journalism, creative writing, and poetry. The history core requires two years of global history (or one year of global followed by one year of European history), one year of American history, as well as a semester each of economics and government. Humanities electives include American foreign policy, civil and criminal law, prejudice and persecution, race, ethnicity and gender issues, small business management, and Wall Street.
Stuyvesant entered into an agreement with City College of New York in 2004, in which the college funds advanced after-school courses that are taken for college credit but taught by Stuyvesant teachers. Some of these courses include physical chemistry, linear algebra, advanced Euclidean geometry, and women's history. Before the 2005 revision of the SAT, Stuyvesant graduates had an average score of 1408 out of 1600 (685 verbal, 723 math). In 2010, the average score on the SAT for Stuyvesant students was 2087 out of 2400, or 674, 735, and 678 on the Reading, Math and Writing sections, respectively. Stuyvesant also was the high school with the highest number of Advanced Placement exams taken, and also the highest number of students reaching the mastery level.
According to a September 2002 high school ranking by Worth magazine, 3.67% of Stuyvesant students went on to attend Harvard, Princeton, and Yale Universities, ranking it as the 9th top public high school in the United States and 120th among all schools, public or private. In December 2007, The Wall Street Journal studied the freshman classes at eight selective colleges (Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Williams College, Pomona College, Swarthmore College, U. Chicago, and Johns Hopkins), and reported that Stuyvesant sent 67, or 9.9% of its 674 seniors, to them.
Stuyvesant, along with other similar schools, has regularly been excluded from Newsweek's annual list of the Top 100 Public High Schools. The May 8, 2008 issue states the reason as being, "because so many of their students score well above average on the SAT and ACT." US News & World Report, however, included Stuyvesant on its list of "Best High Schools" published in December 2009, ranking 31st. In its 2010 progress report, the New York City Department of Education assigned it the highest possible grade of "A".
By the 1980s the East 15th Street building was no longer a quality educational facility by modern standards. The five-story building, as pictured in the monochrome postcard above, could not cater adequately to the several thousand students, leading the New York City Board of Education to secure an agreement with the Battery Park City Authority for a new building, and construction began in 1989. The new ten-floor building, located near lower Manhattan's financial district was designed by Cooper, Robertson & Partners and has been in use since the 1992-1993 school year.
In 2006, Dr. Robert Ira Lewy, a graduate of the class of 1960, made a gift worth $1,000,000 to found the Dr. Robert Ira Lewy M.D. Multimedia Center. and donated his personal library in 2007. The school's library has a capacity of 40,000 volumes and overlooks Battery Park City. In late 2010, the school library merged with the New York Public Library (NYPL) network in a four year pilot program. All students of the school received a student library card which can check books out of the school library or any other public library in Bronx, Manhattan, or Staten Island. Students have the ability to return public library items in school or to place holds on public library items to be delivered and picked up in school. In addition, students can hold onto books for one week longer than those with ordinary NYPL card. For the first year, there will be no fines for lost/damaged items or late returns.
In early 2011, Stuyvesant conducted a pilot program in conjunction with Amazon, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), the City University of New York (CUNY), and the Department of Education (DOE). One Hundred Freshman (of the class of 2014) as well as three teachers were given electronic textbooks on Kindle DXs instead of traditional paper textbooks. The students received textbooks for Geometry, Biology, and World History and shared the same teachers for each of those subjects. While many universities have experimented with ebooks, Stuyvesant was the first high school to do so. Stanley Teitel, the principal at the time, told the Spectator he hoped to expand the program school-wide if the pilot program proved successful. However, a focus group conducted five months after the start of the program revealed that many students found the Kindles difficult to study from because of the lag while flipping pages in addition to the small screen. The teachers also complained saying the textbooks provided were below Stuyvesant's level of study. For these reasons, the pilot program was discontinued at the close of the 2011 spring term.
The New York City Department of Education reports that public per student spending at Stuyvesant is slightly lower than the city average. Stuyvesant also receives private contributions. Shortly after the new building was completed, the $10 million Tribeca Bridge was built to allow students to enter the building without having to cross the busy West Street. The new school building was designed to be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is listed as such by the New York City Department of Education. As a result, the building is one of the 5 additional sites of P721M, a school for older (aged 15–21) students with multiple disabilities and mental retardation.
In 1997, the eastern end of the mathematics floor was dedicated to Dr. Richard Rothenberg, the math-department chairman who had died from a sudden heart attack earlier that year. Sculptor Madeleine Segall-Marx was commissioned to create the Rothenberg Memorial in his honor. She created a mathematics wall entitled "Celebration", consisting of 50 wooden boxes — one for each year of his life — behind a glass wall, featuring mathematical concepts and reflections on Rothenberg.
Mnemonics (public artwork)
During construction, the Battery Park City Authority (in conjunction with the Percent for Art Program of the City of New York, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Board of Education) commissioned Mnemonics, an artwork by public artists Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel. Four hundred hollow glass blocks were dispersed randomly from the basement to the tenth floor of the new Stuyvesant High School building. Each block contains relics providing evidence of geographical, natural, cultural and social worlds, from antiquity to the present time.
The blocks are set into the hallway walls and scattered throughout the building. Each block is inscribed with a brief description of its contents or context. The items displayed include a section of the Great Wall of China, fragments of the Mayan pyramids, leaves from the sacred Bo tree, water from the Nile and Ganges Rivers, a Revolutionary War button, pieces of the 15th Street Stuyvesant building, a report card of a student who studied in the old building, and fragments of monuments from around the world, various chemical compounds, and memorabilia from each of the 88 years' history of the 15th Street building. As an ongoing work, empty blocks were installed, to be filled with items chosen by the 88 graduating classes following its installation, up through 2008. The installation received the Award for Excellence in Design from the Art Commission of the City of New York.
Stuyvesant fields 32 varsity teams, including a swimming team, as well as golf, bowling, volleyball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, fencing, baseball/softball, handball, tennis, track/cross country, cricket, football, and starting in Spring 2008, lacrosse teams. In addition, Stuyvesant club teams include boys' varsity and junior varsity, and girls' varsity Ultimate teams. The boys' Ultimate team, the Stuyvesant Sticky Fingers, won the UPA New York State Championships and New York City Championships in 2002, 2009, and 2010. The girls' Ultimate team, Sticky Fingers, won the UPA Junior National tournament in 1998. The Stuyvesant Cross Country team was Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) City Champions in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2010, and have been Manhattan Borough Champions since 1999. The Stuyvesant Boys Swimming Team, the Pirates, have been PSAL City Champions consecutively since 2000 and Opens champions since 1995. The girls soccer team, the Mimbas, brought home the City Championship title in 2001, 2004, and 2005, despite a severe lack of practice space and lack of a home field. Stuyvesant is also a powerhouse in fencing with a string of PSAL city championships from 1986 through 1989 and from 2007 through 2010, as well as in 2012.
In September 2007 the Stuyvesant football team were granted a home field at Pier 40. Stuyvesant does not, however, have a track, baseball field, or tennis court, although the new building does have a pool. Unlike most American high schools, most sports teams at Stuyvesant have their own name. Only the football and boys' lacrosse teams retain the traditional Pegleg moniker; other teams have their own unique names, such as the Runnin' Rebels (boys' basketball), Vixens (girls' volleyball), Lemurs (boys' gymnastics), Phoenix (girls' basketball), Renegades (girls' softball), Felines (girls' gymnastics), Hookers (boys' bowling), Pinheads (girls' bowling), Huskies (girls' lacrosse), Penguins (girls' swimming), Pirates (boys' swimming), Ballers (boys' soccer), Mimbas (girls' soccer), The Furies (girls' handball), Dragons (boys' handball), Smokin' Aces (boys' tennis), Sticky Fingers (boys' and girls' Ultimate), Lobsters (girls' tennis), Hitmen (baseball), Vipers (girls' fencing), Flying Dutchmen (hockey), Greyducks (track), Tigers (cricket) and Spartans (wrestling and roller hockey). These names tend to change with time.
The Stuyvesant chapter of ARISTA, the National Honor Society, was founded in 1910. It is an organization dedicated to upholding the four pillars of Character, Scholarship, Leadership, and Service. ARISTA is highly selective. Once selected, ARISTA's members are asked to complete a service requirement of 10 credits per month and to uphold all the pillars for which this organization stands. The ARISTA Executive Council consists of the President, Vice President, Vice President of Events and Services, Vice President of Tutoring, and Vice President of Communications. The ARISTA office is located in the Student Government Room, behind the Senior Bar. ARISTA provides a number of important and useful programs to the community, the school, and the student body.
ARISTA's Tutoring Service includes many programs both inside and outside of school and online. First of these programs is the Peer Tutoring Service, sponsored by the Tutoring Committee and directed by the Vice President of Tutoring. Peer tutoring allows any student who is having trouble in any subject to get help. Also, The Tutoring Committee sponsors numerous Peer Study Workshops throughout the year. New this year is tutoring online.
ARISTA's Events and Service Committee, headed by the Vice President of Events and Services, offer many volunteer opportunities both in school and out of school. Their activities include but are not limited to: monitoring for department offices, ushering for school theater productions, volunteering at parent teacher conferences, working at Soup Kitchens, tutoring at local elementary schools, participating in various walks (such as the MS Walk and the AIDS Walk), and volunteering at Stuyvesant's Open House Events.
The student body of Stuyvesant is represented by the Stuyvesant Student Union, a group of elected and appointed students who serve the student body in two important areas: improving student life by promoting and managing extracurricular activities (clubs and publications), and by organizing out-of-school activity such as city excursions or fund-raisers; and providing a voice to the student body in all discussion of school policy with the administration.
Clubs and publications
Stuyvesant offers clubs, publications, teams and other opportunities under a system similar to that of many colleges. It hosts over 200 clubs ranging from The Thinkers (philosophy) club, to the Photography Club. The sheer number of clubs at the school is due to Stuyvesant's relatively free policy of "student rule". Most clubs are entirely student run, requiring only a Faculty Advisor to maintain their existence. One example of this policy is the Stuyvesant Model UN club, which is one of the largest clubs in the school. The club attends as many as 6 Model UN Conferences each year, held at various colleges across the Northeast. The club also hosts StuyMUNC, an annual conference organized and run almost entirely by the students. Stuyvesant also has a Junior State of America program (a political debate club). The Stuyvesant Theater Community puts on three student-run productions a year (a fall musical, a winter drama, and a spring comedy) as well as a one-act festival and several smaller studio productions. Key Club International's branch at Stuyvesant was founded in 1990. With over 350 members, it is one of the largest clubs in the school.
The Spectator is Stuyvesant's official in-school newspaper. It contains twelve sections: news, features, op-ed, arts & entertainment, sports, photography, art, layout, copy, business, humor, and web. Most departments are headed by at least two editors, all of whom encompass the editorial board of the paper. The editorial board meets daily in the Spectator journalism class and is headed by the Editor in Chief and Managing Editor, or two Editors in Chief. At the start of their term, the Executive Editors select three or four editors to be members of the Managing Board, a group that advises the Executive Editors on matters relating to the paper. There are over 250 total staff members who help to produce the bi-weekly publication. At the beginning of the fall and spring terms, there are recruitments, but interested students may join at any time. The Spectator is independent from the school, but it remains a prime news source for students, teachers, and administrators.
The Spectator, founded in 1915, is one of Stuyvesant's oldest publications. It has a long-standing connection with its older namesake, Columbia University's Columbia Daily Spectator, and has been recognized by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
The Voice was founded in the 1973–74 academic year as an independent publication only loosely sanctioned by school officials. It had the appearance of a magazine and gained a large readership. The Voice attracted a considerable amount of controversy and a First Amendment lawsuit, after which the administration forced it to go off-campus and to turn commercial in 1975–76.
In the beginning of the 1975–76 academic year, The Voice decided to publish the results of a confidential random survey measuring the "sexual attitudes, preferences, knowledge and experience" of the students. The administration refused to permit The Voice to distribute the questionnaire, and the Board of Education refused to intervene, believing that "irreparable psychological damage" would be occasioned on some of the students receiving it.
The editor-in-chief of The Voice, Jeff Trachtman, brought a First Amendment challenge to this decision in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in front of Judge Constance Baker Motley. Judge Motley, relying on the relatively recent Supreme Court precedent Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (holding that "undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression"), ordered the Board of Education to come up with an arrangement permitting the distribution of the survey to the juniors and seniors.
However, Judge Motley's ruling was overturned on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge J. Edward Lumbard, joined by Judge Murray Gurfein and over an impassioned dissent by Judge Walter R. Mansfield, held that the distribution of the questionnaires was properly disallowed by the administration as there was "a substantial basis for defendants' belief that distribution of the questionnaire would result in significant emotional harm to a number of students throughout the Stuyvesant population." The Supreme Court denied certiorari review.
Stuyvesant's academic teams include its nationally recognized Speech and Debate team, Quiz Bowl, chess, and math, which regularly compete successfully at major regional (New York State Mathematics League), national (American Regions Mathematics League), and international (International Mathematical Olympiad) tournaments, and whose members fill up a considerable percentage of the New York City Math Team. A FIRST Robotics team, StuyPulse, first competed in 2001, and has since grown and won many regional competitions, most recently the New York Regional in 2013. Stuyvesant also has a Model United Nations team, a Junior State of America chapter, and a Model Congress team which competes at regional colleges. The Model United Nations team hosts StuyMUNC, an annual conference which takes place at Stuyvesant.
The annual theater competition known as SING! pits seniors, juniors, and "soph-frosh" (freshmen and sophomores working together) against each other in a contest to put on the best performance. Started in 1947 at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, SING! is a tradition at many New York City high schools. At Stuyvesant, SING! started as a small event in 1973 and has grown to a huge school-wide event—in 2005, nearly 1,000 students participated. The entire production is written, directed, produced, and funded by students. Their involvement ranges from being members of the production's casts, choruses, or costume and tech crews to Irish dance, Step, Bollywood, Hip-Hop, Swing, Ballet, Jazz or Latin dance groups. SING! begins in late January to February and culminates in final performances on three nights in March/April. Scoring is done on each night's performances and the winner is determined by the overall total.
Stuyvesant has contributed to the education of several Nobel laureates, winners of the Fields Medal and the Wolf Prize, and other accomplished alumni. In recent years, it has had the second highest number of National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists, behind Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Alexandria, Virginia. Over the past nine years (2002–2010), Stuyvesant has produced 103 semi-finalists and 13 finalists on the Intel Science Talent Search, the second most of any secondary school in the United States.
For most of the 20th century, the student body at Stuyvesant was heavily Jewish. A significant influx of Asian students began in the 1970s. For the 2013 academic year, the student body was 72.31% Asian and 21.44% Caucasian, 1.03% African American and 2.34% Hispanic. Stuyvesant's racial breakdown is far out of proportion to national and local population distributions.
Stuyvesant and 9/11
Stuyvesant is 0.5 miles (0.80 km) from the former site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001. The school was evacuated during the attack. Although the smoke cloud coming from the World Trade Center engulfed the building at one point, there was no structural damage to the building, and there were no reports of physical injuries. Less than an hour after the collapse of the second WTC tower, concern over a bomb threat at the school prompted an evacuation of the surrounding area, as reported live by NBC news reporter Pat Dawson on the Today show. When classes resumed on September 21, 2001, students were moved to Brooklyn Technical High School while the Stuyvesant building served as a base of operations for rescue and recovery workers. This caused serious congestion at Brooklyn Tech, and required the students to attend in two shifts, with the Stuyvesant students attending the evening shift. Normal classes resumed three weeks later on October 9.
Because Stuyvesant was close to Ground Zero, there were concerns of asbestos exposure. The US EPA indicated at that time that Stuyvesant was safe from asbestos, and conducted a thorough cleaning of the Stuyvesant building, but the Stuyvesant High School Parents' Association has contested the accuracy of the assessment. Some problems, including former teacher Mark Bodenheimer's respiratory problems, have been reported—he accepted a transfer to The Bronx High School of Science after having difficulty continuing his work at Stuyvesant. Other isolated cases include Stuyvesant's 2002 Class President Amit Friedlander, who received local press coverage in September 2006 after he was diagnosed with cancer. While there have been other cases linked to the same dust cloud that emanated from ground zero, a spot precariously close to Stuyvesant, there is no definitive evidence that such cases have directly affected the Stuyvesant community. Stuyvesant students did spend a full year in the building before the theater and air systems were cleaned, however, and a group of Stuyvesant alumni is currently lobbying for health insurance as a result.
Nine alumni were killed in the World Trade Center attack. Richard Ben-Veniste (1960) was on the 9/11 Commission. On October 2, 2001, the school paper, The Spectator, under Editor in Chief Jeff Orlowski and Faculty Advisor Holly Ojalvo, created a special 24-page full-color 9/11 insert containing student photos, reflections and stories. On November 20, 2001, the magazine was distributed for free in 830,000 copies of The New York Times to the entire New York Greater Metropolitan Area. In the months after 9/11, Annie Thoms (1993), an English teacher at Stuyvesant and the theater adviser at the time, suggested that the students take accounts of staff and students' reactions during and after 9/11 and turn them into a series of monologues. Thoms then published these monologues as With Their Eyes: September 11—The View from a High School at Ground Zero.
Notable scientists among Stuyvesant alumni include mathematician Paul Cohen (1950), string theorist Brian Greene (1980), physicist Lisa Randall (1980), and genomic researcher Eric Lander (1974). Other prominent alumni include entertainers such as Thelonious Monk (1935), and actors Lucy Liu (1986), Tim Robbins (1976), and James Cagney (1918), comedian Paul Reiser (1973) and NBA basketball player and game fixer/bookmaker Jack Molinas (1949). In business, government and politics, United States Attorney General Eric Holder (1969) is a Stuyvesant alumnus, as are Senior Advisor to President Obama David Axelrod (1972), former adviser to President Clinton Dick Morris (1964), Ronn Torossian, Founder of 5WPR, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt taught English at Stuyvesant before the publication of his memoirs Angela's Ashes, 'Tis, and Teacher Man. Teacher Man's third section, titled Coming Alive in Room 205, concerns McCourt's time at Stuyvesant, and mentions a number of students and faculty. Bram Cohen, creator of the BitTorrent protocol, graduated in 1993.
Four Nobel laureates are also alumni of Stuyvesant:
- Joshua Lederberg (1941) – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1958
- Robert Fogel (1944) – Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1993
- Roald Hoffmann (1954) – Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981
- Richard Axel (1963) – Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2004
- GNIS entry for Stuyvesant High School; United States Geological Survey; January 1, 2000.
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- Stuyvesant HS official website
- Stuyvesant High School's Official Newspaper—The Spectator
- The Campaign for Stuyvesant Endowment Fund