Far Rockaway High School

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Far Rockaway High School
821 Bay 25th Street, Far Rockaway, borough of Queens
New York City, New York
United States
Coordinates 40°36′05″N 73°45′46″W / 40.6014°N 73.76278°W / 40.6014; -73.76278Coordinates: 40°36′05″N 73°45′46″W / 40.6014°N 73.76278°W / 40.6014; -73.76278
Established 1897
School district New York City Department of Education
Campus Urban

Far Rockaway High School was a public high school in New York City, at 821 Bay 25 Street in Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens. The school was founded in 1897, with Sanford J. Ellsworth as principal for over 40 years. The last principal was Denise J. Hallett.[1] The school, whose alumni included three Nobel Prize laureates and Bernard Madoff, stopped accepting students in 2008 as part of a planned closure because of declining grades. Although Far Rockaway High School no longer stands, the building has been divided into multiple schools, including A.M.T (school of medical technology, middle school & high school.) F.D.A. (Frederick Douglas Academy, High School), and Kappa VI (middle school). [2][3] The doors closed on June 27, 2011.[4]


The school opened in 1897 with a total enrollment of 19 students. The first graduating class of three students received their diplomas in ceremonies held on June 21, 1899.[5]

Until the 1919-1920 school year, Far Rockaway High School had been housed within P.S. 39. As of September 1921, the school superintendents had determined that the school, and its 25 classes of students, would become an independent entity managed by its own principal.[6]

A contract to construct a new building for the high school, planned to have enough room to accommodate 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in second in the rebid, and had unsuccessfully sued to have its original bid accepted after the Psaty & Furman bid was withdrawn.[7] The school was nearing completion by January 1929, with costs having risen to $2.5 million, 67% over the original bid of $1.5 million.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 high auditorium, two gymnasiums, a swimming pool and ample classroom and athletic space.[8]

By the 2006-07 school year, data from the National Center for Education Statistics showed that the school had an enrollment of 945 students, with 72.8 teachers (on a full-time equivalent basis), yielding a student-teacher ratio of 13.0.[9]

In December 2007 the school announced that it would cease accepting new students for ninth grade and existing students would be allowed to graduate whereupon the school would end its existence as an independent school.[10] 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.[3]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Far Rockaway High School
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ a b Staff. "METRO BRIEFING | NEW YORK; Two More Schools To Close For Bad Performance", The New York Times, December 6, 2007. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  4. ^ A 114-year-old educational legacy ends, Long Island Herald
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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 October 8, 2009.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Far Rockaway High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Brosh, Brendan. "Far Rockaway High to close its doors", Daily News (New York), 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."
  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. ^ William Frank Brunner, United States Congress. Accessed June 22, 2007.
  16. ^ 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."
  17. ^ About Me Archived February 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., The Icahn Report. Accessed October 8, 2009.
  18. ^ 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."
  19. ^ 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."
  20. ^ 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."
  21. ^ June 1956 Far Rockaway High School Commencement Program,FRHS Online Alumni Association. Accessed July 16, 2017.
  22. ^ Chapey, Dr. Geraldine. "Chatting with Chapey: Weber and Ribet Honored", 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."
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Schwach, Howard. "Rockaway Hosts MTV's 'The White Rapper Show' ", The Wave (newspaper), January 26, 2007.
  25. ^ 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."
  26. ^ Velez, Elio. "Nash Leads Woodmere To Victory at Crotty Classic", 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]