Stuyvesant High School

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Template:Stuyvesant High School infobox2 Stuyvesant High School, nicknamed Stuy, is one of New York City's specialized math and science-based public high schools. The school was founded in 1904. Admission to Stuyvesant is by competitive examination, and tuition is free. The school is noted for its many accomplished alumni, its rigorous academics, and for sending the most students to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton of any public school in the United States.



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Stuyvesant High School, view of the school looking northwest from Chambers St. and West St.

Stuyvesant has a total enrollment of about 3,200 and is open to residents of New York City entering either ninth or tenth grade. Enrollment is based solely on performance on the Specialized High School Admission Test (Specialized High School Admission Test), formerly known as the Specialized Science High School Admission Test because the three schools which used that test were all science oriented. Those three schools were Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Technical High School. In recent years, three other schools have been added to the list, all using the same test for admission. Those schools are High School of American Studies at Lehman College, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, and High School for Math, Engineering and Science at City College. The test score necessary for admission to Stuyvesant since its relocation to its Battery Park City campus has been the highest of the schools. Of New York City's 90,000 eighth-graders, about 22,000 sit for the test each year, while about 800 of the highest scoring applicants are admitted to their first choice school. (The test is offered to both eighth and ninth graders, so the Stuyvesant ninth grade class is smaller than the upper-grade classes.)

Those who score in the second-highest score bracket are offered admission to their second-choice school, while those who score in the third-highest bracket are offered admission to their third choice school. According to Article 12 of New York education law, "Admissions to the Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School, and Brooklyn Technical High School shall be solely and exclusively by taking a competitive, objective, and scholastic achievement examination, which shall be open to each and every child in the city of New York." [1] (

Stuyvesant has contributed to the education of several Nobel laureates, winners of the Fields Medal and the Wolf Prize, and a host of accomplished alumni. It consistently leads the nation in number of National Merit Scholarships as well as Intel (formerly Westinghouse) Science Talent Search Semi-Finalists and Finalists. Stuyvesant sends nearly all its students off to four year universities and around 30 percent go on to the Ivy League.

Stuyvesant graduates earn an average SAT score of about 1400 (685 verbal, 723 math). [2] ( Stuyvesant also was the high school with the highest number of Advanced Placement exams taken, and also the highest number of students reaching the mastery level. [3] ( Stuyvesant celebrated the graduation of its centennial class in 2004.


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The 15th Street Stuyvesant building

Stuyvesant High School is named after Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New Netherland before the colony was taken over by England in 1664.

The school was established in 1904 as a manual training school for boys, hosting 155 students and 12 faculty. In 1907, it moved from its original location at 225 East 23rd Street to 345 East 15th Street, where it remained for the following 85 years. Its reputation for excellence in math and science continued to grow, and the school had to be put on a double session in the early 1920s to accommodate the rising number of students. In the 1930s, admission tests were implemented, making it even more competitive. During the 1950s, a $2 million renovation was done on the building to update its classrooms, shops, libraries and cafeterias. In 1969, 14 girls enrolled, marking the first co-educational year. Now, approximately 43 percent of students are female. [4] (

In 1957, a team of 50 students began construction of a cyclotron, with the project sponsored by the physics department. By 1962, a low-power test of the device succeeded, while by account of Matt Deming '62, a later attempt at full-power operation "tanked the electrical system for the building and surrounding area".[5] ( [6] ( According to Abraham Baumel, Stuyvesant principal from 1983–1994, "... I can tell you with certainty that [the cyclotron] never worked at Stuyvesant any more than it did for Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and he was awarded a Nobel Prize for his invention of the cyclotron. The Russians never succeeded in getting one to work, either." [7] (

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Teacher Alfred Bender with the cyclotron

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Stuyvesant was struck particularly hard by the AIDS epidemic, with at least four teachers dying from that disease.

By the 1980s, it was clear that the East 15th Street building was showing its age, both on the exterior (it was sometimes humorously claimed to be "sinking" - as evidenced by the foundation date of 1904 on the cornerstone, half-buried under the adjacent sidewalk, but was actually an effect caused by added layers of concrete) and on the interior (many of the facilities, such as the physics labs could most charitably be described as "decrepit"). Furthermore, with a student body of several thousand crammed into a relatively small, five-floor building, the school was undeniably overcrowded.

The New York City Board of Education secured an agreement with the Battery Park City Authority for a new building, and construction began in 1989. The new ten-floor building, located near lower Manhattan's financial district, was constructed at a cost of about $148 million and houses 65 classrooms with a 26" color RCA television in almost every room, about 450 computers on 13 networks, two full size gyms as well as 3 smaller gyms for gymnastics, wrestling, dance and fitness, a state-of-the-art theater with acoustics and lighting to accommodate concert, musical, and dramatic productions, with two lecture halls with movable partitions, a skylit cafeteria overlooking the Hudson River, 12 science laboratories, including a molecular biology lab and an analytical chemistry lab, and special shops for instruction in ceramics, photography, wood, plastics, metal work, robotics, and energy studies.

One unusual feature of the new building is an indoor PSAL swimming pool, thus obsoleting an old Stuyvesant prank—disoriented new freshmen in the old building were traditionally directed by older students to the "sixth floor pool" (there was no pool, nor did the building have a sixth floor). Now, many students are instead directed towards the "tenth floor pool" (again, there is no such pool, though there is a tenth floor). As part of the seven semesters of physical education required, students are now required to demonstrate swimming proficiency.

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Interior of the library

The library has a capacity of 40,000 volumes and large glass windows overlooking Battery Park City, although the windows are often shuttered to prevent the sun from overheating the library. The library is a popular hangout for students during their free periods, with tables for studying, computers for work or play, and hundreds of square feet of carpet for sitting and socializing.

The New York City Department of Education reports that public per student spending is actually slightly lower than the city average. [8] ( However, Stuyvesant also receives some private contributions. [9] (

Between classes, skip-story escalators ferry students up and down the ten-story building, and although four elevators exist, they are off-limits to students. Passes can be given for injured students to ride the elevators, although being caught in the elevator without a pass guarantees one a trip to the dean.

A common student gripe is the alleged frequency of escalator breakdowns; The Broken Escalator became the title of a school humor publication. When the escalators do break down, groans can be heard as Stuyvesant students grudgingly clamber up the steps. In the summer of 2004 the school finally took close to a million dollars from a special Department of Education fund for school repair in order to overhaul the ailing escalators. They work much better now, although there are still occasional breakdowns.

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Assistant principal Danny Jaye with the Rothenberg memorial

Glass boxes set into various places in the building's wall hold mementos from the year of each graduating class, with some boxes left open for future classes. Curiosities in the boxes include water from most large rivers, mud from the Dead Sea, a Revolutionary War button, pieces of the old Stuyvesant building and of monuments around the world, and various chemical compounds. In 1997 the mathematics wing was dedicated to Dr. Richard Rothenberg, the math department chairman before his premature death from a sudden heart attack in 1997. The Rothenberg memorial, commissioned in his honor, is a wall made up of 50 of these boxes, each featuring a concept in mathematics.

One room in the Stuyvesant building, called the "Museum Room", is a replica of one of the rooms in the old Stuyvesant building, with desks, chairs, a table and blackboard from the old building, as well as period style paint and flooring. The room is dedicated to teacher Dr. A. Edward Stefanacci, who died in 1993.

Shortly after the new building was completed, the $10 million TriBeCa Bridge was built to allow students to enter the building without having to cross the extremely busy and dangerous West Street. The bridge is now the primary method by which students enter the building, and many Stuyvesant students will have memories of crossing it twice a day.

In the early 2000s, Gary He '02 started the now-defunct, a website where students could rate their teachers, although he later shut down the evaluation section after mathematics teacher Bruce Winokur threatened a libel suit. Words left on the website read "Teacher Evaluations is currently down but will soon be back better than ever. The vox populi must be heard." [10] ( now lives on under its new alias,, after ownership was transferred to Josh Weinstein '05. There, the teacher evaluations are dubbed "course evaluations" and cause less controversy than their predecessors.

Moviegoers may be able to recognize the school from several scenes in the movie Hackers, filmed in November, 1994 using upperclassmen as extras.

Centennial celebration

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Stuyvesant centennial logo

Stuyvesant celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2004. Events began on October 19, 2003 with "The Stuy Strut" [11] ([12] ( — a walk from the old Stuyvesant building to the new one, symbolizing the transition. During March of 2004, Stuyvesant and City College hosted the NCSSSMST, while June 6th was the all-class reunion. Celebrations were concluded with the centennial homecoming on October 10th, and the centennial gala dinner [13] ( on the 28th, featuring speakers Frank McCourt and Richard Axel.

The South Florida Alumni Association of Stuyvesant High School had its own centennial celebration [14] ( on December 4th at the Boca Raton Country Club. School principal Stanley Teitel was guest speaker.


Stuyvesant students undergo a college preparation curriculum including four years of English, history, and a lab-based science, three years of math (though most student opt to take four years) and foreign language, and a semester each of introductory art, music, health, computer science, and a lab-based technology course.

Stuyvesant offers students a broad selection of electives; some of the more unusual offerings include robotics, physics of music, astronomy, and the mathematics of financial markets. Most students take calculus, and the school offers math courses through differential equations and linear algebra. A year of drafting used to be required; in its first semester students learned to draft by hand and in the second drafting was done by computer (CAD). Now, students take a one-semester class called Technology Graphic Communications (equivalent to the former year of drafting), and a semester of introductory computer science, in order to introduce the mainly science-oriented students to computer programming early in their career.

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Entrance from the TriBeCa Bridge

A variety of Advanced Placement courses (55 are available [15] ( offer students the chance to earn college credits; a few students earn enough to start college as a sophomore. In 2004, after long resisting the change, Stuyvesant began complying with Department of Education regulations mandating that Advanced Placement courses be weighted by a factor of 1.1 in grade point averages. Later in 2005, Stuyvesant reverted the weight of AP courses back to 1.

Computer science enthusiasts can take two additional computer programming courses after the completion of advanced placement computer science: systems level programming and computer graphics. There is also a 2 year computer networking sequence which can earn students CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification.

Stuyvesant's foreign language offerings rival those of many colleges, including the basics like French and Spanish as well as German, Latin, Hebrew, Japanese, and Italian. In 2000, Mandarin Chinese and Korean for native speakers were introduced in response to Stuyvesant's burgeoning Asian American population. The Muslim student body has been pushing for Arabic to be taught, and although it was expected to be offered in 2004, it has been cut due to budgetary constraints.

Stuyvesant's Biology and Geo-science department offers courses in oceanography, meteorology, Molecular Genetics/Biology/Science, human physiology, medical ethics, medical and veterinary diagnosis, human disease, nutrition science, anthropology and sociobiology, vertebrate zoology, laboratory techniques, medical human genetics, botany, and psychology. The Chemistry and Physics department offers organic chemistry, physical chemistry, calculus-based physics, modern physics, astronomy, engineering mechanics, and electronics.

Although primarily known for its strength in math and sciences, Stuyvesant is also home to a robust music program and offers students eight music groups, ranging from a symphonic orchestra and jazz ensemble to a chamber choir. Comprehensive programs in the humanities offer students courses in British and classical literature, philosophy, existentialism, debate, acting, journalism, and a host of creative writing and poetry classes. The history core requires a year of ancient, European and American history, as well as a semester of economics and government. Humanities electives include American foreign policy, civil and criminal law, Jewish history, "prejudice and persecution", "race, ethnicity and gender issues", small business management, and Wall Street.

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Math Survey, Stuyvesant's resident mathematics publication

Stuyvesant has recently entered into an agreement with City College of New York, in which the college funds advanced after-school courses that are taken for college credit yet are taught by Stuyvesant teachers. Some of these courses include physical chemistry, linear algebra, advanced Euclidean geometry, and women's history. [16] ( [17] (

Grade point averages at Stuyvesant are calculated to two decimal places; some argue that the distinction is overly fine and encourages excessive grade competition, while others use the theory of significant digits to argue that they are irrelevant. Nevertheless, the practice continues. The practice is not entirely unprecedented; in calculations for honors and other designations, the University of Chicago calculates grade point averages to four decimal places.

Extracurricular activities

Stuyvesant offers clubs, publications, teams and other opportunities with a system similar to that of many colleges. It hosts over 100 clubs and 30 publications ranging from "PottyRings", a club dedicated to Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, to Pink LEMONed, a Japanese rock culture club, to the Key Club, dedicated to community service to the "Cheese Club", dedicated to cheese. [18] ( The Stuyvesant Theater Community puts on 3 student-run productions a year (the Fall Musical, Winter Drama, and Spring Comedy) as well as a one-act festival and several smaller studio productions. [19] ( An annual theater competition known as SING! pits seniors, juniors and "soph-frosh" against each other in a battle for the finest student-written, run, and funded performance.

Stuyvesant fields 26 varsity teams, including a swimming team, as well as golf, bowling, volleyball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, fencing, baseball/softball, handball, tennis, track/cross country, and football teams. Stuyvesant does not, however, have a football field, baseball field, or tennis court, though the new building does have a pool. Unofficial club teams include men's and women's ultimate frisbee teams. [20] (

Its academic teams include speech and debate, chess, and math, which regularly compete successfully at major regional, national, and — at least in the case of the math team — international tournaments. Stuyvesant also has a Model United Nations, Junior State of America, and a Model Congress team which compete at regional colleges.

Student body

Main article: Stuyvesant High School student body

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Students entering through the Tribeca bridge

The student body at Stuyvesant has historically been heavily Jewish, with Asian students beginning to make an influx in the 1970s. As of 2005 the student body was approximately 51 percent Asian and 38 percent Caucasian, with Blacks and Hispanics each constituting roughly three percent of the population. [21] ( Russian and Indian students are well-represented, and Jews continue to comprise a large portion of the student body. About 30% of the incoming freshman class are immigrants to the United States, while 20% are first-generation Americans. [22] ( As of 2003, the most common countries of origin of immigrant students were China, Russia, and India. [23] ( (See also Demographics of New York City)

September 11 and Stuyvesant

Stuyvesant is a quarter-mile from the former site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed on September 11, 2001 attacks. The school was evacuated during the ordeal and the students were temporarily relocated to Brooklyn Tech starting September 21 while the Stuyvesant building was used as one of several bases of operations by rescue and recovery workers. Normal classes resumed three weeks later on October 9. The following is a list of the Stuyvesant alumni who were killed during the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center:

  • Daniel D. Bergstein '80 (tribute (
  • Alan Wayne Friedlander '67 (tribute (
  • Marina R. Gertsberg '93 (tribute (
  • Aaron J. Horwitz '94 (tribute (
  • David S. Lee '82 (tribute (
  • Arnold A. Lim '90 (tribute (
  • Gregory D. Richards '88 (tribute (
  • Maurita Tam '97 (tribute (
  • Michael Warchola '68 (tribute (

Richard Ben-Veniste '60 was on the 9/11 Commission.

On October 2, 2001, the school paper, The Spectator, included a special full-color 9/11 insert containing student photos, reflections, and stories. The insert was reprinted in the Nov. 20, 2001 issue of the New York Times.

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With Their Eyes

In the months after 9/11, Annie Thoms, an English teacher at Stuyvesant, a '93 alum, and the theater adviser at the time, suggested that the students take accounts of staff and students' reactions during and after 9/11 and turn them into a series of monologues. Thoms then published these monologues as With Their Eyes: September 11th – The View from a High School at Ground Zero (ISBN 0060517182). Alexander Epstein of the Stuyvesant Standard, an independent school publication, contributed the section Out of the Blue to the book At Ground Zero: Young Reporters Who Were There Tell Their Stories (ISBN 1560254270).

Notable alumni

See List of Stuyvesant High School people

Faculty scholarship

Frank McCourt taught English at Stuyvesant before the publication of his novels Angela's Ashes (ISBN 068484267X) and 'Tis (ISBN 0684865742). Other faculty publications include physics teacher Eugene Majewski's Earthquake Thermodynamics & Phase Transformation in the Earth's Interior (ISBN 0126851859), and chemistry teacher Sasha Alcott's Roadmap to the Regents: Physical Setting/Chemistry (ISBN 0375763082).
Papers written by Stuyvesant faculty include:

  • Reducing Radicals in Nitrate Solution: the NO3- System Revisited by Benjamin Dreyfus (physics teacher) et al Pub: American Chemical Society
  • Magnetic irreversibly line in I intercalated Bi Gregor Winkel (physics/music teacher) et al Pub: '95 Elsevier Science
  • Stimulated Acceleration and Confinement of Deuterons in Focused Discharges M. Esper (physics teacher) et al pub: '88 IEEE
  • A Study of Graphic Representations of Thermodynamic Relations Zhen-Chuan Li (Chemistry Teacher) not yet published
  • John Avallone (physics teacher) is the holder of US Patent 5919182 (

See also

External links




Stuyvesant Publications

Alumni sites



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