Wilson Magnet High School

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Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School
501 Genesee Street and 200 Genesee Street
Rochester, New York
Coordinates 43°8′25″N 77°38′15″W / 43.14028°N 77.63750°W / 43.14028; -77.63750Coordinates: 43°8′25″N 77°38′15″W / 43.14028°N 77.63750°W / 43.14028; -77.63750
Type Public middle school and high school
Motto Have a Great Day the Wilson Way!
Established 1905
School district Rochester City School District
Principal Uma Mehta (Commencement Academy)
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1300
Color(s) Black, Red and White
Mascot Willie the Wildcat

Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, sometimes referred to as Wilson Magnet or just Wilson, is a public high school in Rochester, New York. It is in the Rochester City School District.


Wilson began as West High School in 1905 on what was then the edge of Rochester. It was renamed the Joseph C. Wilson Junior High School in 1972, in honor of Joseph C. Wilson, a West High graduate, founder and CEO of Xerox Corporation, and a longtime pillar of the Rochester economy.

During the 1970s, Wilson became plagued with a poor academic record, a high suspension rate, high teacher turnover, and the lowest attendance in the district. In an effort to turn the school around Wilson was converted into a "magnet school" in 1980 with a School of Performing Arts, an "Academy of Excellence" focusing on the Humanities, and the Academy of Science and Technology. School of Performing Arts was later moved to its own wing of Monroe High School, and the Academy of Excellence has also since been dropped, leaving the focus now solidly on the Academy of Science and Technology.

By 1985 the school was named one of the 10 best senior high schools in New York.[citation needed] In 1998 it was in the top 1.5 percent of high schools in the nation based on percentage of enrollment taking AP exams.[citation needed]

In May 1989, four months after taking office, as part of his campaign to be known as "the education president", President George Bush visited Wilson for an hour, praising the school. "You are an example for the entire world," Bush told students.[citation needed] Wilson was chosen because of its national reputation as an urban school, which had become academically excellent through the help of private industry.

Twenty Wilson 9th-10th. graders and 20 Xerox Corp. engineers on the Wilson robotics team called the "X-Cats" met with President Bush at the White House in 1992 to celebrate their victory in the U.S. FIRST Design Engineering Competition and to receive the Chairman's Award for most outstanding partnership between a high school and its mentor company.[citation needed] The Rochester-based corporation, XEROX, has been actively involved with the X-Cats, organizing and funding the club and providing senior engineers that volunteer with the team.


Wilson Magnet performs better than other high schools in the Rochester school district, but is still below state averages.[1] 87% of its teachers have Master's degrees.[citation needed] It has offered a large variety of AP courses for many years, and has recently also offered a number of IB courses. Among the AP courses it has offered are Latin BC (2nd year AP Latin), Calculus BC (2nd year AP Calculus), and Physics BC (2nd year AP Physics); it currently offers 15 AP courses. It also offers courses such as a post-AP computer science class and astrophysics. 83% of its alumni go on to college, including Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, Stanford, and MCC.

In 2000, Wilson became one of only 270 U.S. high schools approved to offer International Baccalaureate (IB) classes.[citation needed] The IB program is offered as a completely separate course to take with an entirely different diploma available. Also IB graduates are granted an automatic free ride to the University of Rochester.

Recent changes[edit]

At the beginning of the 2005 - 2006 school year, the Rochester City School District converted James Madison High School into the Wilson Foundation Academy. Wilson Foundation still focuses on Science and Technology, but as of the 2007 - 2008 schoolyear, it houses grades 7 - 9. The original Wilson Magnet was renamed Wilson Commencement Academy and houses grades 10 - 12. Wilson Foundation has a school-wide uniform consisting of a vest, tie, dress shirt and pants. The Commencement Academy added uniforms beginning in September 2010.

The Commencement Academy is moving toward becoming an IB MYP (Middle Years Program) school. It is currently in the middle of this multi-year process, and will involve the Foundation Academy as well.

In 2011 Wilson added a 9th grade to its Commencement Academy, thus replacing the 9th grade at Wilson Foundation.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2016-08-04. 

External links[edit]