Collegiate School (New York City)
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|Motto||Latin: Nisi Dominus Frustra
("Unless God, then in vain")
Eendracht maakt macht
(In unity there is strength)
|Affiliation||Ivy Preparatory School League|
|Chairman||George R. Bason, Jr. '72|
|Headmaster||Lee M. Levison|
|Founder||The Rev. Jonas Michaelius|
|Location||260 West 78th Street,
New York, NY, USA
|Colors||Orange and blue|
Collegiate School is an independent school for boys in New York City and is the oldest school in the United States. It is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is a member of both the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League.
Collegiate was founded in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in 1628 by the Dutch West India Company and the Classis of Amsterdam. The school’s initial incarnation was located south of Canal Street and was an academic institution for both sexes. The school's location has changed sixteen times over the last four centuries, although the school has been at its current location, next to the West End Collegiate Church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, since 1892.
Controversy surrounds the school's actual founding date. Prior to 1984, the common belief was that the school had been founded in 1638, placing it two years later than the founding of Harvard University and three years after the founding date of Boston Latin School. Massimo Maglione, a historian and Upper School teacher at Collegiate, conducted research into the accuracy of this date and found that Collegiate's founder—the Reverend Jonas Michaëlius, the first minister of the Dutch Reformed Church in America—had written of his efforts to teach the catechism to Indian children as early as 1628. Based on this evidence, the school in 1984 officially moved up its founding to the earlier date. Whether Michaëlius' early teaching actually constituted the founding of a school, however, remains under debate. Maglione told The New York Times in 1985 that "it seems clear that the school was not an official entity until 1638."
On February 5, 2013, the Collegiate School board announced relocation plans for the institution. The school has acquired land for a new facility, situated between West End Avenue and Riverside Boulevard and between West 61st and 62nd Streets in New York's Riverside South neighborhood (a.k.a. Trump Place). Board Chairman George R. Bason Jr. '72 said the new 178,000-square-foot school would provide 30 percent more indoor space and 613 percent more outdoor space (16,268 square feet) for its 648 students from kindergarten through 12th grade than the current lodgings provide. He estimated the new school's construction cost at $125–$135 million, with a targeted move date of 2016.
School seal and mottoes
Collegiate's official seal is an adaptation of the coat of arms of William of Orange, who was the founder of the Dutch Republic and of the Reformed Church in Holland and led the cause of independence and of freedom for the Reformed Church against Philip II of Spain. Included in the school's seal are two mottoes: Eendracht Maakt Macht, Dutch for "In unity there is strength", and Nisi Dominus Frustra, Latin for "unless God, then in vain."
Currently, the school teaches students in grades K-12. The school's mission is the following: Collegiate School strives to educate each boy to reach his highest level of intellectual, ethical, artistic, and physical development. Drawing on what is known about boys' growth and learning, the school offers a rigorous K-12 program rich in opportunities for cultivating individual talents and interests in a climate of collaboration and respect.
The campus, located between 77th and 78th Streets and West End Avenue, consists of four separate buildings: The “Old Building,” Platten Hall, West End Plaza, and a new six-story extension that bridges Platten Hall with West End Plaza. The four-story “Old Building” is part of the original church and is home to the “Upper School,” grades 9-12. Platten Hall, originally nine stories, was extended in 1990 by two floors. It includes two gyms (in addition to the “Alumni” Gym located next to the “Old Building”), the recently renovated Ann and Edgar Bronfman Theatre, the Black Box Studio theatre, the “Lower School” (grades 1-4), the "Middle School" (grades 5-8), a full-service library, music and art studio facilities, a dark room, two computer labs, a weight-lifting room, and the science department. West End Plaza is a hotel that was purchased by the school in 1977. Though it still serves in part as a residence for teachers, Collegiate has renovated several floors into administrative offices, classrooms for the Kindergarten (added in 1997), “Lower School” and the "Middle School" (grades 5-8), and two cafeterias. All four buildings border a courtyard where students of all grades play various games ranging from Handball commonly played by the Lower School (although there has been a recent resurgence in the Upper School) students to Courtyard Football played by the Middle School students to Courtyard Soccer played by the Upper School students.
Each grade has approximately 50 boys, many of whom attend Collegiate for the full course of study, thirteen years (these young men are nicknamed "Survivors"). More than a quarter of Collegiate teachers hold a Ph.D..
Collegiate's Board of Trustees selected Lee M. Levison to serve as the school's 28th Headmaster, replacing W. Lee Pierson, who served as interim headmaster for two years after Kerry Brennan left to become headmaster at Roxbury Latin School, following a four-year tenure at Collegiate. Levison, who was head of school at the Kingswood-Oxford School for many years, began serving at Collegiate July 1, 2006.
Collegiate's Upper School (high school) curriculum consists of English, Math, Science, History, Modern Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, or Chinese), Classics (Latin and Ancient Greek), Religion & Ethics, Music, Visual Art, Drama, Technology, and Physical Education.
In 2007, The Wall Street Journal ranked Collegiate number one in the world in terms of percent of the senior class matriculating to eight selective American colleges. In 2002, Worth ranked Collegiate third among the nation's independent schools in terms of percentage of graduates attending Harvard University, Yale University, and Princeton University.
Sports and co-curricular activities
The school's athletic success has mainly been with the varsity basketball, baseball, track and field, soccer, and cross country teams. The Collegiate soccer team won the NYSAIS state championship in 2010, 2011, and 2012. The Collegiate varsity basketball team won five straight state championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Collegiate also has wrestling, lacrosse, and tennis teams. Students not participating in a sport take either physical education, yoga, or weightlifting. Yearly fitness tests are administered in the lower and middle schools.
The school has a number of clubs, especially in the Upper School.
- George Axelrod, 1940, playwright
- David Benioff, 1988, author and screenwriter
- Peter Bogdanovich, 1957, filmmaker and author
- Edgar Bronfman, Jr., 1973, CEO of Warner Music Group
- Christopher d'Amboise, 1978, An American dancer, choreographer, writer, and theater director
- Nick Davis, 1983, writer and producer
- Robert J. Dixon, 1938, U.S. Air Force general
- David Duchovny, 1978, Golden Globe-winning actor and director
- Ken Fields, 1990, real estate developer and environmentalist
- Edward Glaeser, 1984, economics professor
- Paul Hodes, 1968, U.S. Representative from New Hampshire
- Bill Keenan, 2004, professional ice hockey player
- Douglas Kennedy, 1972, novelist
- John F. Kennedy, Jr, 1978, son of President John F. Kennedy
- Bill Kristol, 1970, editor of The Weekly Standard
- Ben Lyons, 2000, film critic and TV personality
- Ian McGinnis, 1997, NCAA Division I men's basketball leading rebounder
- Walter Murch, 1961 Oscar-winning editor, sound designer, and filmmaker
- Bill Perkins, 1968, New York State Senator
- Ben Rhodes, 1996, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication
- Cesar Romero, 1926, actor
- Mark Ronson, 1993, Grammy-winning producer and deejay
- Andrew Rossi 1991, documentary filmmaker
- John Rubinstein, 1964, actor
- Michael Shnayerson, 1972, contributing editor, Vanity Fair
- Sam Sifton, 1984, New York Times restaurant critic
- Robert F. X. Sillerman, 1966, media entrepreneur
- Whit Stillman, 1969, filmmaker
- Luis Ubiñas, 1981, president of the Ford Foundation
- Andrew Wagner, 1981, filmmaker
- John Weidman, 1964, playwright
- Paul Weitz, 1983, filmmaker and playwright
- Alex York, pop singer-songwriter
- Alec Wilder, 1924, composer
- David Wise, 1972, screenwriter
- Ivy Preparatory School League
- National Association of Independent Schools
- New York State Association of Independent Schools
- "Collegiate's Arithmetic Makes It Oldest School." The New York Times, 5 May 1985.
- Multiple sources cited for the founding date of Collegiate School "Google Answers: oldest independent school". Retrieved April 19, 2006.
- Gamerman, Ellen (November 30, 2007). "How to Get Into Harvard". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "2003 PrepSchool/High School Rankings". American Universities Admission Program. Retrieved December 29, 2008. Attributed to Worth.
- Pat McGilligan (1997). "Backstory 3-Interviews with screenwriters of the 1960s(George Axelrod)". p. 50. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "Collegiate Yearbook auction(David Benioff)". Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- Peter Bogdanovich (2005). Who the Hell's In it: Conversations with Legendary Actors. Random House. p. 7. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
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