Elmira Free Academy

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Ernie Davis Academy [1]
933 Hoffman Street
Elmira, New York, 14905
Coordinates 42°05′46″N 76°49′50″W / 42.0962°N 76.8305°W / 42.0962; -76.8305Coordinates: 42°05′46″N 76°49′50″W / 42.0962°N 76.8305°W / 42.0962; -76.8305
School type Public, high school
School district Elmira City School District
NCES School ID 361056000814[2]
Principal John Wood
Assistant principals Rose Drake, Tim Hassen
Grades 8-9
Enrollment 1,047 (2007)
Color(s) Blue and White
Mascot Blue Devils
Athletic conferences Southern Tier Athletic Conference; Section IV NYSPHSAA

In 2014 Elmira city school district redistricted the school. Renaming EFA to Ernie Davis Academy for grades 8th and 9th only. Elmira Free Academy, or EFA, was one of the two high schools—opposite of its arch rival Southside High School—in Elmira, New York, USA. It was one of seven public high schools serving Chemung county. (Waverly, Spencer-Van Etten and Odessa-Montour are outside Chemung County, but serve students from Chemung County). As of 2007, EFA had an enrollment of 1,047 students, with a faculty that included 67 full-time teachers and many other instructors, administrators, and support staff.[3]

The metro-area surrounding EFA was both economically and racially diverse, traits reflected in the student body. 77% of the student body is White, 20% is Black, 2% Hispanic, less than 1% Asian or Pacific Islander, and less than 1% Native American. Also, 38% of the student body qualified for free or reduced lunches, a percentage significantly higher than the state average of 17%.[4]


Started in 1859 under the Jurisdiction of a Board of Education. EFA had many locations and upgrades as the City grew. Elmira Free Academy moved to Hoffman St in the 1960. The school also boasted many honors courses, taught to the standards of both AP and ACE (a program that offers direct college credits at many schools). Elmira Free Academy was also a strong statewide contender in many sports, despite a smaller student enrollment and budget than many competing schools. The school was classified as class A in Section IV of the NYSPHSAA.[5]

Every fall, Southside High School and EFA competed in football for the Erie Bell. In 2011, however, the Elmira City School District announced that due to severe budget problems, the 64 year old rivalry between Southside and EFA would have to come to an end. The two high schools combined their sports teams by the 2011-12 school year. A community vote was taken to determine what new mascot and colors people were interested in. On May 25, 2011, the district officially announced that the new team would be called the Elmira Express, a common nickname for Elmiran legend Ernie Davis, the first African-American to ever win the Heisman Trophy in the sport of football. The colors will be red, black, and white.[6] The Elmira City School District decided to make EFA the middle school and Southside the high school during the 2013-14 school year which began to operate officially by September 2014. Elmira Free Academy has been renamed 'Ernie Davis Academy' respectively due to the closure of Ernie Davis Middle School. The new Ernie Davis Academy consists of only eighth and ninth grade students unlike the building's predecessor in its earliest days consisting of students from grades tenth to twelfth and then from ninth to twelfth. Students in Elmira who are in grades tenth to twelfth are attending Elmira High School located at EFA's former arch rival's building.

Notable alumni[edit]

Past Principals[edit]

John Wood: 2008-2013

Scott Williams: 2006-2008

Robert Bailey III: 2000-2006

John Walker: 1996-2000

Theodore V. Faber: 1995-1996

Cynthia H. Haigh: 1994-1995

Joseph H. Nikiel: 1988-1994

Daile Rose: 1984-1988

William Doran: ?-1984

Martin Harrigan: 1973-?

G. Ellsworth Bradley: 1969-1973

Kenneth S. Weaver: 1954-1969

Albert Helmkamp: 1936-1954

Francis Parker: 1906-1936

Howard Conant: 1900-1906

Charles Evans: 1895-1900

Herbert Lovell: 1887-1895

James Monks: 1872-1887

Joel Dorman Steele: 1866-1872

G.W. Timlow: 1865-1866

Isaac Mortimer Wellington: 1860-1865

Moses Summer Converse: 1859-1860


External links[edit]