South Side High School (Rockville Centre, New York)

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South Side High School
140 Shepherd Street
Rockville Centre, New York 11570

School districtRockville Centre School District
PrincipalJohn Murphy
Faculty93.7 FTEs[1]
Enrollment1,092 (as of 2014–15)[1]
Student to teacher ratio11.6:1[1]
Color(s)Red and blue   
SportsBaseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, winter track, wrestling
MascotSammy Cyclone
Team nameCyclones
NewspaperThe Sportsman
YearbookThe Colonnade

South Side High School is the only public high school in the village of Rockville Centre, New York. South Side, a part of the Rockville Centre School District, serves grades 9 through 12 and boasts a variety of academic, extra-curricular and athletic programs, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum in junior and senior years. School district boundaries can be found in Rockville Centre and South Hempstead. In 2008 South Side was ranked No. 47 in the top 100 high schools in the nation by Newsweek's "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the top 1,300 top U.S. high schools".[2] South Side has maintained this distinction, at No. 65 in 2003, No. 45 in 2005, No. 32 in 2006 and No. 44 in 2007.

The primary address for South Side is 140 Shepherd Street, Rockville Centre, New York 11570. Located further south in Rockville Centre is the "Greenhouse". Established in 1975, the purpose of this off-site school is to provide a different approach to teaching students with academic or personal troubles as well as different scheduling and academic programs. The main building has two floors.

As of the 2014–15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,092 students and 93.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.6:1. There were 109 students (10.0% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 28 (2.6% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

School history[edit]

The school's name reflects its status as the first high school on Long Island's south shore, east of Jamaica. It has retained that name though most of Long Island's incorporated villages have established high schools named for their village.

The Shepherd Street address is the third location for the school, its first site (1892–1923) was on College Place, now the Municipal Building of Rockville Centre. Its second site (1924–1954) on Hillside Avenue is now South Side Middle School. The school has served grades 9–12 since 1982–83, having previously been a 10–12 institution with the freshman attending what was then South Side Junior High School along with the seventh- and eighth-graders. The switch occurred as the district's sixth-graders moved to the Junior High, with that institution becoming the Middle School of RVC.

The most prominent architectural characteristic of the current building is the colonnade adorning the entrance on the west side of the building. This feature gives its name to the school's annual yearbook, The Colonnade, but is unusual in that it is not associated with either of the school's grand entrances to the north and the south, which face the parking lots and athletic fields.


The school district headquarters, the William H. Johnson Administration Building, is on the high school campus; it was given its current name in 2020.[3]


South Side High School has a rich athletic history dating back to the 1920s. Three teams (Boys Lacrosse, Boys Basketball, Girls Volleyball, Girls Soccer) have won New York State Championships. The most famous of the many championship teams is the 1971 Boys Basketball Team, co-captained by then senior Daniel Gastman and then Junior William "Beaver" Smith. It was the first championship of the modern era. The finals game was played at Hofstra Univerity's Athletic Center and transmitted over WWGBB radio. The other starting players on than historic team were Beaver's brother Greg Smith, David Lucey, and William "Igor" Sisti. South Side concluded its Championship season (21-2) with a thrilling Overtime Victory against a previously unbeaten Great Neck North Hi team that had been 21-0 up until that point. Senior's Dan Gastman's behind the basket 22'corner jumper and Bill's Sisti's strategic defensive offensive foul call helped tilt the result the Cyclones way. Bob Bigelow was South Side's Coach. South Side repeated as Champions the following year, and South Side won many more titles in the ensuing years. Another successful team is the Lady Cyclones Soccer Team, which discovered its championship pedigree after Bob Bigelow was relieved of coaching the boys' basketball team and accepted the position coaching girl's soccer. Bigelow said both Championship experiences were great, but the girls were easier to coach. In the past 20 years, the Lady Cyclones have won 17 State Championships including most recently in 2012, when the girls dominated their opponents, scoring 63 goals and only allowing 6, going 18–0–1. In 2013 the girls were ranked #1 in the State and #4 in the nation. At the end of the 2009 season, the varsity girls soccer team was ranked #1 in the nation.

In 2003–04 the boys' basketball teams captured the county championship for the first time since 1998, besting all Nassau County opponents. 2004 also saw the boys' lacrosse program capture its first State Lacrosse Championship.

Red and Blue[edit]

Red and Blue is an annual competition held by South Side High School since 1916. "Red and Blue started when girls weren't allowed to participate in team sports".[4] Author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote extensively about Red and Blue in her autobiographical memoir "Wait Till Next Year." Since 1979 Title IX has mandated that girls have equivalent access to sports and other activities, but the tradition has lived on, with approximately 300 (mostly) female students participating each year. In recent years, the event has also raised money to benefit Breast Cancer research and support.[5] Additionally, talks about removing or opening this competition to all genders have been a topic of heavy debate in recent years.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]

The following notable people graduated from South Side High School:


  1. ^ a b c d School data for South Side High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Nossa, Jill (2020-06-24). "Rockville Centre to rename administration building after retiring superintendent". Long Island Herald. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  4. ^, "Rockville Centre 'Color Wars' Never End", March 24, 2002
  5. ^, "South Side girls raise money for breast cancer", March 10, 2010
  6. ^, "It's time to re-evaluate Red and Blue", March 28, 2012
  7. ^ Kacharaba, Brian (March 22, 2017). "South Side soccer stars join L.I. Hall of Fame". Rockville Centre Herald. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Gussow, Mel. "AT LUNCH WITH: Doris Kearns Goodwin; Foundations of a Lifetime, Found in the Box Scores", The New York Times, November 12, 1997. Accessed December 12, 2007. "In common with Ms. Goodwin, I grew up in Rockville Centre. Her older sister, Jeanne, was a classmate of mine at South Side High School."
  9. ^ Marshall, Angela. "Inventor wins national honor: Villager recognized for contributions to science" Archived 2008-05-05 at the Wayback Machine, Rockville Centre Herald, April 10, 2003. "After graduating from South Side High School, Kamen went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts for five years, but left without earning a degree."
  10. ^
  11. ^ Amy Schumer Crashes Her Old High School CBS Sunday Morning. 5 July 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′02″N 73°37′18″W / 40.667228°N 73.621786°W / 40.667228; -73.621786