Far Rockaway High School

Coordinates: 40°36′05″N 73°45′46″W / 40.6014°N 73.76278°W / 40.6014; -73.76278
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Far Rockaway High School
Far Rockaway High School in November 2019.
821 Bay 25th Street, Far Rockaway, borough of Queens

United States
Coordinates40°36′05″N 73°45′46″W / 40.6014°N 73.76278°W / 40.6014; -73.76278
School districtNew York City Department of Education
WebsiteFar Rockaway High School

Far Rockaway High School was a public high school in New York City, at 821 Bay 25th Street in Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens. It operated from 1897 to 2011. Its alumni include three Nobel Prize laureates and convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff.

The school was closed as part of a plan to stop students' average grades from declining. It stopped accepting students in 2008 and closed for good on June 27, 2011.[1]

Its longest-serving principal was Sanford J. Ellsworth, who served for more than 40 years; its last one was Denise J. Hallett.[2]


The school opened in 1897 with 19 students. The first graduating class of three students received their diplomas in ceremonies held on June 21, 1899.[3]

Until the 1919-1920 school year, Far Rockaway High School was housed within P.S. 39. In September 1921, the school superintendents decided that the school, and its 25 classes of students, would become an independent entity managed by its own principal.[4]

A contract to construct a new building for the high school with room for 4,500 students was awarded in August 1927 to the firm of Psaty & Fuhrman, which submitted the lowest bid of $1,459,971 to the New York City Board of Education. The firm had won an earlier bid, but withdrew its offer after determining that it had underestimated its costs. The firm that had come in second in the original bidding, came in second in the rebid, and unsuccessfully sued to have its original bid accepted after Psaty & Furman withdrew its original bid.[5] The school was nearing completion by January 1929, with costs having risen to $2.5 million, 67% over the original bid of $1.5 million. The school would be one of the largest in the nation, ready to serve 2,500 students on a campus covering a city block, with a three-story auditorium, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool and ample classroom and athletic space.[6]

By the 2006-07 school year, the school had 945 students and 72.8 teachers (on a full-time equivalent basis), yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13.0.[7]

In December 2007, the school announced that it would cease accepting new students for ninth grade and existing students would be allowed to graduate, after which the school would end its independent existence.[8] The Department of Education's decision cited declining marks under its school-monitoring system as the justification behind the planned closure. The school would stop accepting students as of the 2008-09 school year and would be phased out in its entirety over a four-year period.[9] Students in the area now attend A.M.T (school of medical technology, middle school & high school.) Frederick Douglass Academy, a high school; Q.I.R.T (Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology), a high school and Kappa VI, a middle school. [10][9]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ A 114-year-old educational legacy ends, Long Island Herald
  2. ^ Far Rockaway High School Archived 2009-04-15 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Staff. "School Honors First Graduates; 3 Women, Entire Class of '99, Reunited at Ceremonies at Far Rockaway", The New York Times, November 4, 1937. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  4. ^ Staff. "High School Formed To Educate Workers; Five Hundred Pupils to Alternate Weekly Between Studies and Wage Earning.", The New York Times, July 11, 1920. Accessed November 19, 2020.
  5. ^ Staff. "$1,459,971 Bid Wins School Contract; Award to Build Far Rockaway High School Goes to Psaty & Fuhrman for Second Time. Firm Withdrew Old Offer Second Lowest Bidder Suing to Get Contract - Pupil Transfer Protested.", The New York Times, August 12, 1927. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  6. ^ Staff. "Far Rockaway High School One Of Country's Largest; Building Now Nearing Completion Will Seat 2,500--Its Equipment Is Varied", The New York Times, January 27, 1929. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  7. ^ Far Rockaway High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Brosh, Brendan. "Far Rockaway High to close its doors", New York Daily News, December 7, 2007. Accessed June 11, 2013. "The school's alums include billionaire financier Carl Icahn and Nobel Prize winners Richard Feynman, Baruch Blumberg and Burton Richter."
  9. ^ a b Staff. "Metro Briefing | New York; Two More Schools To Close For Bad Performance", The New York Times, December 6, 2007. Accessed November 19, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d Cohen, Richard. "Goodbye, Bernie", The Washington Post, July 1, 2009. Accessed October 8, 2009. "I was in the Class of 1958, two years behind Bernie, but in the same class as his wife, Ruth."
  11. ^ Staff. "U.N.H. Opens Production Geared To The State's Little Thetare Goers", The Telegraph (Nashua), August 2, 1969. Accessed February 4, 2012. "Heading the cast is Richard Bey in the role of Sammy. Bey, a student at Far Rockaway High School (Long Island) is now in his second year with the U.N.H. Summer Theatre."
  12. ^ Morales, Tina. "School Of The Week/Far Rockaway High School", Newsday, February 25, 1990. Accessed February 4, 2012. "Alumni: Corporate raider Carl Icahn; polio vaccine inventor Jonas Salk; psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers; Richard Bey, talk show host; Hal Cooper, TV director; Nancy Lieberman, pro basketball player; and Nobel prize winners Dr. Richard Feynman, Baruch Blumberg and Burton Richter."
  13. ^ Shamo, Marc A.; Kyle, Robert A. "Baruch Blumberg—Work on Hepatitis B Virus", Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2003. Accessed June 22, 2007. "Blumberg, whose father was a lawyer, was born on July 28, 1925, in Brooklyn, NY, the second of 3 children. After graduating from Far Rockaway High School in Brooklyn [sic] in 1943, he joined the US Navy."
  14. ^ Weinberg, Sydney Stahl. Joyce Brothers, Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed August 20, 2007. "After graduating from Far Rockaway High School in 1943, she entered Cornell University, majoring in psychology."
  15. ^ "rhlist". www.farrockaway.com. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  16. ^ William Frank Brunner, United States Congress. Accessed June 22, 2007.
  17. ^ Gleick, James. "Richard Feynman Dead at 69; Leading Theoretical Physicist", The New York Times, February 17, 1988. Accessed June 22, 2007. "After graduating from Far Rockaway High School in 1935, he went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then to Princeton University, where he received his doctorate in 1942."
  18. ^ Travers, Bill. "Shooting stars still shine in college", New York Daily News, February 16, 1984. Accessed November 19, 2020. "Marcus Gaither, a former Far Rockaway High football star, was a walk-on in basketball at Fairleigh Dickinson and has developed into one of the top players in the metropolitan area and, according to assistant coach Ellonya (Tiny) Green, former Flushing High stickout 'Marcus will be a first-round pro pick this year.'"
  19. ^ About Me Archived February 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, The Icahn Report. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  20. ^ Herbert S Klein, Columbia University. Accessed June 13, 2017. "After graduating Far Rockaway High School I first attended Syracuse University from 1953 to 1955 and then transferred to the University of Chicago, where I obtained my BA in History in 1957, my MA in 1959 and my PhD in 1963 with a major in history and a minor in Anthropology."
  21. ^ Tomalonis, Alexandra. "In Appreciation: Alan M. Kriegsman", danceviewtimes, September 9, 2012. Accessed December 20, 2019. "He was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens, graduating from Far Rockaway High in 1945 (his high school yearbook picture is below)."
  22. ^ via Associated press. "Lieberman Makes Debut", The New York Times, June 7, 1986. Accessed June 11, 2013. "Miss Lieberman, who announced last week she had signed with the two-year-old summer league, also had two assists. The 5-foot-10-inch Miss Lieberman, who is 27 years old, starred at Far Rockaway High School in Queens and played for the United States in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal."
  23. ^ Reske, Henry J. "10 Things You Didn't Know About Bernard Madoff; Madoff pled guilty to charges stemming from a $65 billion fraud.", U. S. News & World Report, March 12, 2009. Accessed July 16, 2017. "He graduated from Far Rockaway High School, where he met his future wife, Ruth Alpern."
  24. ^ June 1956 Far Rockaway High School Commencement Program, FRHS Online Alumni Association. Accessed July 16, 2017.
  25. ^ Chapey, Dr. Geraldine. "Chatting with Chapey: Weber and Ribet Honored" Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, The Wave, October 21, 2005. Accessed June 22, 2007. "Speaking of successful professionals, Kenneth Ribet is a world renowned scholar.... He is a proud graduate of P.S. 114, J.H.S. 210 and Far Rockaway High School."
  26. ^ https://www.classmates.com/yearbooks/Far-Rockaway-High-School/198538?page=19. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Football Team 1945".
  28. ^ Schwach, Howard. "Rockaway Hosts MTV's 'The White Rapper Show' " Archived October 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, The Wave (newspaper), January 26, 2007.
  29. ^ Velez, Elio (June 6, 2008). "Utley Humbled At Selection To St. John's All-Century Team". The Wave. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  30. ^ Madden, Mekeisha. "5 Things to Know About 'Underground' Star Amirah Vann", Essence (magazine), May 11, 2016. Accessed July 16, 2017. "Vann graduated from Far Rockaway High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University."
  31. ^ Velez, Elio. "Nash Leads Woodmere To Victory at Crotty Classic" Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, The Wave (newspaper), February 3, 2006. Accessed June 22, 2007. "Far Rockaway High School alumni Mel Utley and John Warren, who was a member of the 1973 Knicks’ NBA championship team and recently Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson and Ron Artest are just a few of the names to play in the Big East court."

External links[edit]