Williamsville South High School
|Williamsville South High School|
|5950 Main St
Williamsville, New York, United States
|School district||Williamsville Central School District|
|Principal||Mr. Keith Boardman|
|Grades||9 - 12|
|Color(s)||Blue and White|
|Website||Williamsville South High School|
Williamsville Junior and Senior High School
|Architectural style||Colonial Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||08000407|
|Added to NRHP||May 12, 2008|
Williamsville South High School is a high school located in Williamsville, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, New York. South is one of three high schools in the Williamsville Central School District, along with Williamsville North High School and Williamsville East High School.
In 1853, the Williamsville Classical Institute was formed as a private school to provide education in Williamsville beyond the elementary level. The property on Academy Street was purchased for $700. The first catalog was published in 1857, but the Williamsville Classical Institute (which had become known as the "Academy") eventually closed in 1869. In 1874, School District No. 3 rented the building for use as an elementary school.
Academy Street School, 1892-1950
Union Free School District No. 3 was organized on May 7, 1892. The Board of Education purchased the property and building from the Institute for $250, naming it Union Free School No. 3, and added a high school program. The first Regents exams were held there in 1892 and its first graduating class consisted of five students in 1895. The first principals were George E. Smith, W. M. Pierce, and D.B. Albert, who had five assistants in 1898. By 1902, there were 65 high school students and 143 in the elementary program.
By 1921, the original red brick building had been condemned by the State Department of Education as antiquated and unsanitary. The public voted to demolish the old building and rebuild at the same site for a cost of $122,000. The new building was opened in 1924, although the auditorium was completed in time for the graduation of the Class of 1923. A large addition was built in 1931 and the curriculum was enlarged.
After the opening of the current building on Main Street in 1950, the 1920s-era Academy Street building continued in use as an elementary school for a time, and eventually also a middle school. In 1981, the Christian Central Academy rented the then-vacant Academy Street School, eventually purchasing the property from the Williamsville Central School District in 1985. In 1991, the Williamsville Historical Society declared and marked that location as an historic site.
Williamsville High School
Due to rapid growth and expansion, the Williamsville Central School District was formed and a new location was needed for the middle and high school students. The current building on Main Street was constructed for an approved cost of $2.5 million, and opened as Williamsville Junior and Senior High School in September 1950, serving grades 7-12. The building was re-designated as Williamsville Senior High following the opening of Mill Middle School in 1958, and finally as South High following the opening of North High School in 1968.
The building was designed by acclaimed local architect Duane Lyman, who was known as the dean of Western New York architecture. Its construction features beautiful classic columns and a traditional clock tower. A science wing was added to the building's east side in 1961, and a new athletics wing was added to the north side in 1992. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places (as "Williamsville Junior and Senior High School") in 2008.
Williamsville South offers two different New York State certified diplomas: the Regents diploma and the Advanced Regents Diploma. The Advanced Regents diploma has more requirements in the math and sciences than the Regents diploma. However, all students are required to take the New York State Regents exams as required by the state for graduation. Williamsville South does have a Foreign Language requirement, and every student must fulfill it by passing the regents exam in that language, usually in the end of the sophomore or junior years.
Advanced Placement Courses
Williamsville South has a wide range of Advanced Placement courses in many areas of study. Williamsville South offers 2 AP courses in English, AP Calculus as well as non-AP Calculus for Math. South offers AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Environmental Science, and AP Physics in the Science Department. There are several AP courses in the Social Studies department (both elective-wise as well as course-wise). Williamsville South offers many AP Language courses also. There are AP courses in the Art department, Music department, and Technology Department as well.
Williamsville South has long been an active participant in the Advanced Placement program. In 1998, Newsweek issued its first ranking of American high schools, based on a calculation of AP exam participation in May 1996 per enrolled student, with Williamsville South ranking 63rd in the country. The school's rank has fallen in subsequent years as AP participation has expanded nationwide, but its rank of 974 in Newsweek's 2010 list still places it among the top 5 percent of all U.S. public high schools.
The school's football team achieved significant successes under Coach Chuck Huber, who led the team from 1975 until retiring in 1998. In 1983 and 1984, the team was the Section 6 Champion (Division III-IV), and in 1984 was also ranked #1 in New York State. In 1990, the team was again Section 6 Champion (Class B-2). And in 1994, the team was Section 6 Champion (Class B) and advanced to the New York State championship game, but was defeated by one point.
The school's softball team has won three New York State championships, in 2000 (Class B), 2004 and 2006 (Class A). These are Williamsville South's first-ever New York State tournament championships in any team sport to appear in the New York State Sportswriters Association records.
The Williamsville school district's music programs have long been known for excellence and have produced many prominent alumni. Both symphonic bands at Williamsville South have long received accolades for musicianship and performance ability. In a 2008 competition in Virginia Beach, Virginia, both of Williamsville South's bands received ratings of "Superior."
Also, the bands performed for the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), where they each received the highest award possible, Gold with Distinction.
The orchestra program at Williamsville South is the largest of the three Williamsville schools. There are currently two orchestras, both conducted by Mrs. Elizabeth Nowak.
- Neil Abercrombie, Class of 1955 (Williamsville Central HS), Governor of Hawaii and former member of the United States House of Representatives from Hawaii
- Marty Angelo, Class of 1965, pastor and founder of Marty Angelo Ministries, Author "Once Life Matters: A New Beginning", "Vision of New Jerusalem: Now"
- Jacob Artist, Class of 2010, Actor "Glee"
- Alfred F. Beiter, Class of (c. 1907–08) (Williamsville HS), member of the United States House of Representatives from New York, 1933–39 & 1941–43
- Jim Dombrowski, Class of 1981, professional football player for the New Orleans Saints
- Robert Kinkel, founding member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- Wendie Malick, Class of 1968, actress
- Joyce Carol Oates, Class of 1956 (Williamsville Central HS), award-winning author and professor of English at Princeton University
- Faith Whittlesey, Class of 1956 (Williamsville Central HS), Assistant to the President for Public Liaison under Ronald Reagan and a United States Ambassador to Switzerland
The school's alma mater was written by Elizabeth Maurer Cotton, Class of 1928, and Margaret Brett Blocher, Class of 1929. An arrangement by Shirley Fidinger Sheffer, Class of 1937, survives to the present day. Sheffer was valedictorian of her class, and eventually taught in the Williamsville Central Schools and served as choir director for several local churches. Although apparently known and sung by students into the 1950s, the Alma Mater eventually fell into obscurity for many years before being performed during the graduation ceremony for the Class of 1996.
- Sue Miller Young, A History of the Town of Amherst, New York, Chap. 15 (1965)
- Town of Amherst, from Our County and Its People, A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York, Truman C. White, ed. (The Boston History Company, 1898)
- Christian Central Academy -- Heritage
- South High School Added to Register of Historic Places, Amherst Bee, August 6, 2008
- National Register of Historic Places -- Williamsville Junior and Senior High School, NRIS# 08000407, published May 12, 2008
- State Board Recommends Diverse Properties for Listing on State & National Registers of Historic Places -- March 12, 2008
- Jay Matthews, Class Struggle -- The Top 100* High Schools, Newsweek, March 30, 1998
- America's Best High Schools: The List, Newsweek, June 13, 2010
- Section 6 Football Champions 1979-Present
- RoadToSyracuse.com: Reference library, NYSSWA rankings, 1981-90
- Year by year champions, all sports from the New York State Sportswriters Association
- Success at Music in the Parks Festival
- "Glee Newcomer Jacob Artist on Dancing Dreams, Rap Nightmares and New-Girl Drama". Tvline.com. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Obituary, Shirley F. Sheffer, The Amherst Bee, January 30, 2008
- Class of 1996 Graduation Program
- Williamsville South High School official website
- Williamsville Central School District official website
- Williamsville South Football website