Newton South High School

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Newton South High School
Aerial Photograph of Newton South High School taken on December 30, 2014 from a Cessna 172
140 Brandeis Road
Newton, Massachusetts 02459
Coordinates 42°18′51.73″N 71°11′11.36″W / 42.3143694°N 71.1864889°W / 42.3143694; -71.1864889Coordinates: 42°18′51.73″N 71°11′11.36″W / 42.3143694°N 71.1864889°W / 42.3143694; -71.1864889
Motto Bona mens omnibus patet. (A good mind is open to all things.)
Established 1960
School district Newton Public Schools
CEEB code 221548
Principal Joel Stembridge
Faculty 143 (as of 2014) [1]
Enrollment Approx. 1850 (as of 2017) [2]
Campus size 33.477 acres (135,480 m2)
School color(s) Blue and orange          
Mascot Lion
Newspaper The Lion's Roar, Denebola
Yearbook Regulus

Newton South High School is one of two public high schools in the city of Newton, Massachusetts, the other being Newton North.

Layout and organization[edit]

Newton South places all students into one of four houses, Goldrick, Wheeler, Cutler, and Goodwin, in which they remain for the duration of high school. Unlike many other schools, houses at Newton South are only for administrative and attendance purposes. They have no effect on the courses or activities of students, except for students' homerooms. Classes are split into 7 blocks, A–G, which are spread over the week.[3]

The school consists of multiple buildings divided into 9 separate administrative groups, in addition to the auditorium and student center.[4] Connections between buildings are fully enclosed, creating the impression the campus is one giant building. Buildings 1 and 2 form an L shaped connection to the main campus body from the southwest corner. They are Goldrick, which also houses a separate preschool department, and Wheeler respectively. In the middle of the southern edge lies the Science building, also known as building 3. It contains the two central corridors to the central and northern campus buildings. In the southeast corner is the S shaped Cutler building (4). Cutler is closely joined with building 5, which contains an indoor field house and associated wellness classrooms. In between the south and central parts of campus lay two open-air parks, while the connection between Cutler and Goodwin (building 6, northeast corner) is the only non enclosed connection between two buildings on campus. The center buildings (number 7) houses the cafeteria and library. The small building 8 used for administration lies next to the northern entrance to campus. Lastly, the northwest corner contains the Van Seasholes Auditorium which is connected to the arts wing (building 9).[4]

Academics and student body[edit]

As of 2017, the school enrolls about 1,850 students. About 60% of them participate in Advanced Placement exams.[5]

The Massachusetts Department of Education rated Newton South as performing at the 88th percentile of state high schools for the 2013 year.[6]

Newton South's mean SAT score for the 2013 senior class was 1849, the fourth-highest mean score in Massachusetts.[7] The 2012 four-year graduation rate was 97%.[6]


The Newton-Beijing Jingshan School Exchange Program is the oldest exchange of public secondary school students between the United States and the People's Republic of China. The city of Newton hosts Chinese students and teachers for four months each fall and sends students and teachers to Beijing each spring. It has become a tradition for the Jingshan students to give an entertaining presentation on their culture to the school shortly before returning to their country.

Newton has also had a long-standing relationship with its sister city of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Every February, a small group of Newton South students go to Nicaragua to live with local families and perform community service.


Newton South competes in the DCL (Dual County League), which includes Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Bedford High School, Boston Latin School, Concord-Carlisle High School, Wayland High School, Westford Academy, Weston High School, Waltham High School, and South's principal rival, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

Fall sports[edit]

  • Football (B)
  • Soccer (B+G)
  • Cross Country (B+G)
  • Volleyball (B+G)
  • Golf (Co-Ed)
  • Field Hockey (Co-Ed)

Winter sports[edit]

  • Basketball (B+G)
  • Gymnastics (B+G)
  • Nordic Skiing (B+G)
  • Alpine Skiing (B+G)
  • Indoor Track and Field (B+G)
  • Wrestling (B)
  • Hockey (B+G)
  • Swimming and Diving (B+G)

Spring sports[edit]

  • Lacrosse (B+G)
  • Baseball (B)
  • Softball (G)
  • Volleyball (B)
  • Track and Field (B+G)
  • Tennis (B+G)
  • Rugby (B+G)

Awards and recognition[edit]

Newton South was named Massachusetts's top athletic program by Sports Illustrated in 2009.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Marisa Catalina Casey, class of 1997, co-author of Born in Our Hearts: Stories of Adoption, is the Founder and Executive Director of the arts education nonprofit Starting Artists, Inc. located in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Priyanka Chopra, class of 1999, actor for ABC's drama Quantico, Bollywood actress and Miss World 2000.
  • John Krasinski, class of 1997, actor for NBC's comedy The Office.
  • Ben Kurland, class of 2002, an actor in The Artist, which won five Academy Awards.
  • Bill Lichtenstein, class of 1974, Peabody Award-winning journalist, filmmaker, radio producer.
  • Robert C. Lieberman, class of 1982, American political scientist and former provost of the Johns Hopkins University
  • Jonathan Mann, class of 1965, World Health Organization chief against AlDS.
  • Roger Myerson, class of 1969, was one of the three recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2007 "'for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory'."[9]
  • Hari Nef, class of 2011, transgender actress, model, and writer. Debuted at New York Fashion Week Spring 2015.
  • B. J. Novak, class of 1997, co-executive producer, writer, and actor for NBC's comedy The Office.
  • Joe Rogan, class of 1985, TV host of Fear Factor, The Man Show, Joe Rogan Questions Everything, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
  • Eli Roth, class of 1990, film director, producer, writer, and actor. Co-starred with Novak in Inglourious Basterds.


Newton South's print publications used to be Denebola,[10] the school's official paper, and The Lion's Roar, a student-run paper. Jack Dvorak, an Indiana University professor who studies high school journalism, said, "I don't know of any school other than [South] that has two papers at least in part supported by the school. That really is rare, if not unique".[11]

During the 2011–2012 school year, Newton South's journalism program underwent a major revamping. The Lion's Roar remained unchanged. Denebola, was dissolved, and reborn as the website, "".[10] In addition, a newsmagazine, Leo, was established.

The two publications are consistently ranked among the best in the region; Denebola has been noted as one of the best scholastic online publications in the nation, while The Lion's Roar has been noted as one of the best scholastic papers in the nation.

In 2004, The Lion's Roar won the Pacemaker Award at the National Scholastic Press Association's annual conference.[citation needed] In 2007, both editors-in-chief of The Lion's Roar finished first and second, respectively, in the 2007 JEA Massachusetts Journalist of the Year Award.[citation needed] In November 2007, The Lion's Roar placed 10th in the nation for "Best of Show" in Philadelphia at the National Scholastic Press Association's annual convention.[citation needed] All five of The Lion's Roar write-off participants placed in their respective categories, earning the highest and second highest distinctions. One of the editors-in-chief was also published in "The Best Teen Writing of 2007" for a story she wrote about a teacher battling cancer. She also received a Gold Award from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.[citation needed]

In November 2008, at the NSPA/JEA National Convention in St. Louis, The Lion's Roar moved up four slots to sixth place in the "Best of Show" category. One of the editors-in-chief also placed second in the "Story of the Year" category for sports writing for a piece on concussions in high school sports. In the write-off competitions, the Roar fared well for the second straight year, as six students placed: one with a Superior rating, one with an Excellent rating, and four with honorable Mentions in their respective categories.[citation needed]

In 2009, The Lions Roar was once again nominated for the Pacemaker Award, and received a finalist position. In November 2011, The Lion's Roar won 5th place in the Best in Show competition at the NSPA/JEA National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[citation needed]

The Lion's Roar has continued to receive regional and national awards. In 2012, The Lion's Roar won the MSPA General excellence prize and in the same year was nominated as a finalist for NSPA's 2012 Pacemaker award.[citation needed] In 2013, The Lion's Roar placed sixth in the "Best of Show" category for the November NSPA/JEA National Convention in Boston.

After Denebola transitioned in early 2012, it placed 2nd in the "Best of Show" category for the November NSPA/JEA National Convention in San Antonio. In 2013, Denebola won the Pacemaker award at the National Scholastic Press Association's annual spring conference.[12] Denebola also won the Massachusetts Press Association's Award for General Excellence in Online Journalism at Suffolk University, and placed 3rd in the "Best of Show" category for the November NSPA/JEA National Convention in Boston in 2013.

Denebola was ranked as one of the best papers in New England during its print existence. In the spring of 2007, 2008, and 2010, Denebola won first place at the annual New England Scholastic Press Association conference. In 2009, Denebola won second place at this annual conference. In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 Denebola also won the Massachusetts Press Association's Award for General Excellence at Suffolk University, a title for the best high school newspaper in Massachusetts.[citation needed]

In its December 2007 issue, Denebola reported on five hidden security cameras found at the school.[13] According to the article, students, parents, faculty, and administrators were unaware of the cameras, three of which were disguised as smoke detectors. The article was highlighted in the local newspaper, The Boston Globe,[14] and reports appeared on local TV channels WCVB, WHDH, and WBZ.[citation needed]

Public attention[edit]

The school gained notoriety in 2002 for its "Senior Scavenger Hunt",[15] a student-organized contest that featured theft, vandalism, illegal drug use, and various sexual acts committed by the graduating seniors in exchange for points.

On February 8, 2007, the Newton South STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition chapter organized a Darfur Benefit Concert with the well known band, State Radio, raising over $23,000 for Save the Children and the Genocide Intervention Network.[16]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "School Information". Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "School Information". Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Newton South High School Overview". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "2013 Massachusetts School Report Card Overview NEWTON SOUTH HIGH (02070510)". Massachusetts Department of Education. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  7. ^ "Map: SAT scores by Massachusetts high school". Boston Globe. Retrieved 15 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Top athletics program in each state and the District of Columbia". Sports Illustrated. 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  9. ^ "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2007". Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  10. ^ a b "NSHS Denebola - Denebola is a school news paper run by the students of Newton South, reporting news in the community and in the school". Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Archived from the original on 2013-11-05.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ Jason Kuo and Nathan Yeo (December 2007). "Secret cameras installed". Denebola. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  14. ^ Drake, John C. (2007-12-27). "Newton school newspaper gets the scoop on hidden cameras". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  15. ^ Time Waster. "Lewd, Crude High School Scavenger Hunt". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  16. ^ Christopher, By (2007-02-13). "Darfur Benefit Concert Multimedia Sound Slide Show - Newton, Massachusetts - Newton TAB". Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 

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