Upper St. Clair High School

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Upper St. Clair High School
1825 McLaughlin Run Road, Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania 15241, United States Coordinates: 40°20′06″N 80°04′15″W / 40.33500°N 80.07083°W / 40.33500; -80.07083
Type Public high school
Motto Qui non proficit, deficit
(Latin: He who does not progress, fails)
School district Upper St. Clair School District
Faculty 101[1]
Grades 912
Number of students 1,451
Color(s) Red, white, and black
Mascot Panther
Rival Mt. Lebanon
Newspaper The St. Clarion
Yearbook The Clairvoyant
Information (412) 833–1600 x2236

Upper St. Clair High School (USCHS) is a public school in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, USA, serving students in grades 912. The school is part of the Upper St. Clair School District. USCHS is one of three secondary schools in Pennsylvania to be recognized as a Blue Ribbon School three times (in 1984, 1989, and 2000).[2]


Upper St. Clair High School was established in 1957, with the creation of a tenth grade class. Prior to 1957, Upper St. Clair students completing the ninth grade at Ft. Couch School were then enrolled as transfer students at neighboring high schools, primarily Mt. Lebanon, with Upper St. Clair Township paying their tuition as out-of-jurisdiction students. When Mt. Lebanon High School, due to crowded conditions, decided to no longer accept Upper St. Clair students, the Upper St. Clair School Board voted to create a high school. Dr. Carl Streams was recruited from Mt. Lebanon to become the new Supervising Principal, and he in turn recruited a high school faculty. One grade was added to Ft. Couch School each year from 1957 through September 1959, when the first high school senior class was enrolled. The inaugural class graduated in June 1960, and numbered 74 students, with most continuing on to college. The Class of 1960 created many of the traditions and artifacts for the high school, including the school colors, alma mater, mascot, yearbook, and school newspaper.

Concurrently, a new high school building was constructed at the northwest corner of the intersection of McLaughlin Run and Washington Roads, where formerly the Clifton School had been located. The Class of 1962 graduated from this new building, although they had not attended classes there. With the completion of a new high school building, Ft. Couch School reverted to its earlier status as a junior high school, then a middle school.

During Dr. William Pope's tenure as district superintendent, Upper St. Clair High School was substantially remodeled in 2000. The renovations included replacements of much of the school's aging building; the mechanical systems; and allowed for many technological advancements such as widespread Internet access. The renovations improved the facilities, allowing for a professional-sized theater, two full-sized gymnasiums, a weight room, and a racquetball court. Academic facilities were also improved with a 12,500-square-foot (1,160 m2) library at the center of the academic wing. The library was dedicated to Dr. Pope in 2003 upon his retirement.[citation needed]

In the late 18th century, Higbee School, a one-room log cabin, was the first known school in the area and was located on the northeast border of present Upper St. Clair. This was the first school west of the Alleghenies.[3]


A typical school day at Upper St. Clair High School runs from 7:40 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., and is divided into 16 25-minute modules, or "mods", plus a 10-minute "homeroom" period at the start of the day.[4] Generally, two mods corresponds to one "credit." Most courses are worth two credits and meet for ten mods a week.The school requires students to complete 45 credits to graduate. Of these, 28 credits must be in academic courses, including English (four years), mathematics (three years), science (three years), social studies (three years), and courses in the arts and/or humanities (two years).[1][5]

USCHS students may choose to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) courses to experience college-level academics and potentially earn college credit for passing AP exams. A 2009 report found that 62.9% of 12th graders enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement (AP) course, with 88.9% of those students passing at least one AP exam.[6]

The school also offers an International Baccalaureate (IB) program. A 2009 report found that 21.7% of 12th graders had taken and passed at least one IB test. Among participants in the IB program, 84.6% passed at least one IB test. Of the entire 12th grade class surveyed, 3.3% earned an IB diploma.[6]

In the Class of 2006, 96.8% of USCHS's graduating seniors took the SAT, and the mean scores were 621 out of 800 for the verbal component and 613 out of 800 for the mathematics component. Forty-four percent of graduating seniors took the ACT, and the mean composite score was 28.9 out of 36.[1] In the Class of 2008, 15 students were National Merit Scholarship Program semi-finalists and finalists, and 15 students were commended.[7]

A survey of seniors in the Class of 2005 found that 98.9% planned to attend a four-year college or university following graduation.[1]

Extracurricular activities[edit]


Upper St. Clair High School competes in the PIAA's District 7, commonly referred to as the WPIAL. WPIAL-affiliated sports at USCHS include baseball, basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, rifle, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling. Non-WPIAL sports include cheerleading, crew, fencing, and ice hockey.[8] Club teams are usually called the Upper St. Clair Panthers, with the mascot being the black panther.

Athletic facilities at USCHS include two gyms, an indoor swimming pool, a football stadium, and a track.

The 1989 football team won the WPIAL Quad A Championship and the PA Quad A State Championship, finished with a 15–0 record and No. 4 final ranking in the USA Today Super 25 national rankings.

The 2004 soccer team won the PIAA State Championship for the second year running, finishing with an undefeated 27 – 0 record, and was ranked #1 Nationally by the NCSAA.

The 2006 football team won the WPIAL QUAD A Championship and the PA Quad A State Championship, finishing with an undefeated 16 – 0 record, and were ranked in the top-ten nationally, in several polls.

Upper St. Clair High School maintains a heated rivalry with Mount Lebanon High School, right down the street.

PIAA Team Championships[edit]

Gender Sport Year(s)
Girls Basketball 1999
Boys Football 1989, 2006
Coed Rifle 1970
Boys Soccer 1980,2003, 2004, 2012, 2013
Girls Tennis 2000, 2001, 2003
Boys Tennis 2008
Boys Golf 2013
Boys Ice Hockey 1980,1987,2011
Girls Soccer 2015 Source:[9]

WPIAL Team Championships[edit]

Gender Sport Year(s)
Boys Baseball 1992
Boys Basketball 1996, 2005
Girls Basketball 1974, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2008
Boys Cross Country 1967
Boys Football 1974, 1975, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1997, 2006
Boys Golf 1963, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011
Girls Golf 1974, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Coed Rifle 1970
Boys Soccer 1972, 1980, 1988, 2000, 2004, 2011
Girls Soccer 1987, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2011
Girls Softball 1973
Boys Swimming 1973, 2011
Boys Tennis 1971, 1975, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Girls Tennis 1980, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003
Boys Track 1969, 1993


The USCHS music program has three components: (1) choral courses, (2) instrumental courses, and (3) extra-curricular activities. The focus of courses is on performance rather than music theory or history.[10]

Choral courses include Men's Ensemble, Women's choir, Clarion Choir and Pantheon Choir, and can be elective or selective. Extra-curricular vocal ensembles may include Chanteclairs, Show or Jazz Choir, Triple Trio and Barbershop groups, depending on student interest. Instrumental courses offerings include string and full orchestra, concert band, and jazz band.[10]

The two most popular student activities sponsored by USCHS are the marching band and the spring musical. The Panther Marching Band holds a two-week training program during the summer to help students prepare for football half-time performances and festivals. In addition, it rehearses after school during the first nine weeks of the school year. The band makes at least one trip each spring to perform at a major festival.[10]

Each March, USCHS students perform a Broadway musical. The musical is a community event, involving 30–40 student managers, 250 students in cast and supporting crew roles, an adult staff of 40 musical specialists, and a group of 100 adult volunteers called Theatre Angels. Students participate in a wide variety of capacities, including directing, acting, dancing, costume design, set construction, lighting, publicity, and playing in the pit orchestra. Recent musicals performed are 42nd Street (2009), Brigadoon (2010), The Music Man (2011), and South Pacific (2012).[10]


The St. Clarion is the school's student newspaper. It usually produces four issues annually as well as a senior magazine issue. The paper is made during both journalism classes and by student volunteers. The paper writes on both world and campus news, detailing many events from sports to school policy changes. The paper is funded by community advertisers as well as student fund-raising.

The Montage is the school's literary arts magazine produced by the student body. The Montage produces one issue per year, selling copies to the student body in May. The magazine publishes original poems, short stories, personal essays, artwork, photography, and musical compositions written by the students. A staff of 15–20 people compiles the submissions into the magazine. As with the St. Clarion, the Montage is funded by both community advertisers and student fund-raising.

The Upper St. Clair Theater, renovated in 1999, hosts a fall play and spring musical every year, with students filling most of the cast and crew roles. It is managed by Aramark.[11]

Academic teams[edit]

The USCHS forensics team competes in the National Forensics League, National Catholic Forensics League (NCFL), and the Pennsylvania High School Speech League (PHSSL). USCHS qualified 39 competitors to postseason tournaments in 2012, an all-time high. The team has produced seven PHSSL State Champions.

Also, the school participates in Hometown High-Q, a jeopardy-style quiz bowl game hosted by Pittsburgh's KDKA television station. The team won third place throughout Pittsburgh's eighty-six teams in 2007. Also, the Academic WorldQuest team came third out of fifty-three teams in spring 2009, after having won the previous two years.

Awards and rankings[edit]

Upper St. Clair High School is one of three secondary schools in Pennsylvania to have won the Blue Ribbon Award three times; the others being Fort Couch Middle School, which is also located in the Upper St. Clair School District, and neighboring Mt. Lebanon High School (Upper St. Clair's biggest rival).[2] In 2000, the United States Department of Education recognized USCHS as one of 27 New American High Schools. In 2008, Upper St. Clair High School ranked 216 in Newsweek's list of the 1,300 Top High Schools.[12] USCHS ranked in the "silver medal" category in U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools 2009 listing.[6] In 2012, for the 7th year in a row, Upper St. Clair school district was ranked the #1 best performing school district out of 105 school districts in the 7 county region around Pittsburgh by the Pittsburgh Business Times. http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2012/04/06/upper-st-clair-top-school-district-7.html?page=all

International Baccalaureate controversy[edit]

An academic controversy during the 2005–2006 school year was the elimination of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Members of the new school board elected in 2005 criticized the program as being too costly, a needless duplication of Advanced Placement, and a proponent of socialist values. In February 2006 the new school board voted 5–4 to phase out the IB program over two years, allowing only current 11th and 12th grade students to complete requirements.[13] In March 2006, the ACLU filed a lawsuit[14] and an out-of-court settlement was reached in May 2006 [15] with two main stipulations. First, the program was reinstated for a minimum of two years. Second, a nine-month study to determine the value of the IB program was conducted as part of the settlement agreement. The study resulted in a recommendation to retain the IB curriculum.[16]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "School Profile". Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Schools Recognized, 1982–1983 Through 1999–2002" (PDF). Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Upper St. Clair History". Upper St. Clair Township. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Calendars/Schedules". Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  5. ^ "2009–2010 Program of Studies" (PDF). Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Upper St. Clair High School". Best High Schools 2009. U.S. News & World Report. 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  7. ^ "School Board Meeting Minutes" (PDF). Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Sports offered to Upper St. Clair students". Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Championships". Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Fine and Performing Arts Department". Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Upper St. Clair Theater". Upper St. Clair High School. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  12. ^ "The Top of the Class 2008". Newsweek. May 17, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ Banks, Gabrielle (February 21, 2006). "Upper St. Clair school board kills International Baccalaureate program". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 25, 2007. 
  14. ^ Reiter, Thomas M; et al. (March 21, 2006). "Benda v. Upper St. Clair School District". ACLU. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  15. ^ Kerlik, Bobby (April 25, 2006). "Program reinstated at Upper St. Clair". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved December 3, 2009. 
  16. ^ Kurutz, Daveen Rae (April 13, 2007). "USC panel backs International Baccalaureate as 'vigorous, worthy'". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved November 25, 2007. 
  17. ^ "Player Information: Sean Casey". Official Site of the Detroit Tigers. Retrieved February 3, 2007. 
  18. ^ Blank, Ed (November 22, 2005). "Movie musical brings dream to life for screenwriter". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved February 3, 2007. 
  19. ^ "Craig Dunaway". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved February 3, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Kim Director". IMDb. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Player Bio:Kerk Ferentz". Official World Wide Web Site of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Retrieved February 3, 2007. 
  22. ^ "Haley 'excited' to be new Steelers offensive coordinator". May 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Anthony Jeselnik". Comedy Central: Comedians: Anthony Jeselnik. Retrieved May 29, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Sean Lee drafted by the Dallas Cowboys". Dallas Cowboys. April 24, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Jack Maitland". 
  26. ^ "Ryan Malone #12". Official Home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2007.  See Notes on that page.
  27. ^ "Kevin Orie". The Baseball Cube Website. Retrieved February 5, 2007. 
  28. ^ "Harvard (Men) 2006–2007 Numerical Roster". The official site of the ECAC Hockey League. Archived from the original on December 13, 2006. Retrieved February 5, 2007. 
  29. ^ "Kevin Slowey". The Baseball Cube Website. Retrieved February 5, 2007. 

External links[edit]