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DeWitt Clinton High School

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DeWitt Clinton High School

DeWitt Clinton High School
Sine Labore Nihil
(Without Work Nothing Is Accomplished)
New York City (Bronx),
New York
Type Public high school
Established 1897
Principal Santiago Taveras
Faculty 270
Number of students approx. 1,700
Team name Governors
Colors     Red

DeWitt Clinton High School is a public high school located in New York City. Opened in 1897 and all boys at first, it became co-ed in 1983. From its original building on West 13th Street in Manhattan, it moved in 1906 to its second home on 59th Street and Tenth Avenue (now John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and in 1929 to its present home on Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx.

After more than a century in existence and a raft of famous alumni, DeWitt Clinton High School has recently faced serious problems involving student performance and security.[1][2] In 2013, to address these issues, the city’s Department of Education appointed Santiago Taveras, one of its former deputy chancellors, as the school’s principal.[3]


  • History 1
  • Organization-houses/small learning communities 2
  • Student organizations 3
  • Sports 4
  • School facilities 5
  • In the media 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • Distinguished visitors 8
  • Records 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Haaren Hall in 2008

Clinton opened in 1897 at 60 West 13th Street at the northern end of Greenwich Village under the name of Boys High School,[4] although this Boys High School was not related to the one in Brooklyn. This school was renamed for New York politician DeWitt Clinton in 1900.[4]

In 1906 it moved to a newly constructed building on Tenth Avenue between 58th Street and 59th Street in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood—the same year as the opening of the nearby DeWitt Clinton Park where students "farmed" plots in what was the first community garden in New York.

The school's H-shaped building, designed by Charles B. J. Snyder, was said to be the biggest high school building in the United States at the time.[5] After the school moved to the Bronx it became Haaren High School. It is now Haaren Hall on the campus of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.[6]

Until a high school education became compulsory in the early 1930s, Clinton, like all other public schools in the city, had a Classics Department, where Greek and Latin were taught. Perhaps its most famous teacher was history teacher Dr. Irwin Guernsey, known to generations of students as "Doc" Guernsey. He came to Clinton in the fall of 1914 and retired in the spring of 1959, due to illness. A cripple with two "Irish" canes, he taught from the chair and won twice in his lifetime the title of Master Teacher in New York City. He was also head of the Honors Association, Arista. The History wing is named "Guernsey Hall" in his memory, and one can still see the library cart "Doc's Special" on which he sat while students wheeled him to class during the last years of his tenure when he was sick.

The school moved to a new building on a 21-acre (85,000 m2) campus at 100 West Mosholu Parkway South and East 205th Street in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx in 1929,[4] where it has remained. Paul Avenue, which runs to the side of the school from Mosholu Parkway to Lehman College, is named after a DeWitt Clinton High School principal, Dr. Paul. It was under this principal that the school moved to its current location in the Bronx.

In the 1930s its enrollment peaked at 12,000 and it was said to be the largest high school in the world. Enrollment by 1999 was about 4,000.[7][8] It remained the last gender-segregated public school in New York City until 1983. The former principal was Geraldine Ambrosio, the first woman to hold the post at the school. In 1996, Clinton was selected by Redbook magazine as one of the five most improved schools in America. In 1999, US News and World Report designated Clinton as one of 96 outstanding schools in America.[7]

The school receives government aid because of the low income status of its students. As of 2006, the school has a large Hispanic population, followed by African-Americans and Asians. Caucasians, primarily Albanians, comprise a tiny minority.

Recently, DeWitt Clinton High School has received poor evaluations from the New York City Department of Education. In the latest Progress Report (2010–11) the school received a grade of F (39.4 out of 100) with the worst marks in school environment and closing the achievement gap.[9] The Quality Report for the academic year 2011-12 rated the school as "underdeveloped," its lowest rating. It particularly faulted the school for failing to design "engaging, rigorous and coherent curricula" and for failing to ensure that teaching was "aligned to the curriculum, engaging, and differentiated to enable all students to produce meaningful work products."[10]

Organization-houses/small learning communities

Clinton is split into several small learning communities (SLC). They include the Macy Honors Gifted Program (internally referred to often as the Macy House), Health Professions, Veterinary Professions, Public Service, Business Enterprise, Future Educators, Academy House, and Varsity House.

The Macy Program, "begun in 1985 with funding from the Macy Foundation,"[7] attracts intelligent, hard-working children and preparing them for exceptionally selective colleges. The Macy program has been expanded to serve 1,200 students. The current Macy coordinator is Ernesta Consolazio.[11] The Macy Honors Gifted Program in the Sciences and Humanities has its own teachers, and a nine-period day compared to the regular New York City eight-period day. The program offers Specialized and Advanced Technology (SMT) courses, Science, Math, English, Law, Government, Philosophy and Great Books. All students in the program are required to have a minimum average of 80 and not to fail any courses. When Macy students are removed from the program, they are placed in Excel, a special Macy-run program just for its kick-outs and drop-outs, before getting fully demoted to the lower programs. From at least 1998 to 2002 some students went directly into the Excel program.

Advanced Macy students are invited to join the even more selective Einstein Program which has about 50 students in each grade. The Einstein Program has even more rigorous academic performance requirements. Einstein students in their junior year are required to take a College Now course for philosophy and government science, in their first and second semester, respectively. These courses allow students to earn college credits. Einstein students are automatically assigned to honors and AP classes as early as freshman year, followed by the mandatory AP United States History and AP English Language for Einstein students who make it to their junior year.

Many Macy students are invited to MASTERS, a month-long summer program that offers many hands-on college courses that emphasizes mathematics and science. Some include: Forensic Science, Robotics, Anatomy, Business, Consumer Chemistry and Electricity.

Student organizations

The school has over 40 academic and interest clubs.

The Clinton News, the school's newspaper,[12] is written and managed by its students. However, like many other outstanding Clinton possessions, The Clinton News publishes several multi-page full color papers a year by a grant from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavour Foundation. Another Clinton High School publication is The Magpie. Published yearly, the historic color edition of this magazine came out May 2007. This literary collection received the most attention for its association with the Harlem Renaissance.[13]


The Governors are the school mascot at DeWitt Clinton and represent approximately 35 teams. There have been various teams which no longer exist such as fencing and rifle. Teams for the 2007–2008 school year include:[14]

  • Baseball: Boys Varsity, Boys JV
  • Basketball: Boys Varsity, Boys JV, Girls Varsity, Girls JV
  • Bowling: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Cricket: Co-ed
  • Cross Country: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Football: Boys Varsity, Boys JV
  • Golf: Girls Varsity
  • Gymnastics: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Handball: Girls Varsity
  • Indoor Track: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Outdoor Track: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Soccer: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Softball: Girls Varsity, Girls JV
  • Swimming: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Tennis: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Volleyball: Boys Varsity, Girls Varsity
  • Wrestling: Boys Varsity

The Cricket Team's formation was encouraged by the large number of South Asians.

School facilities

DeWitt Clinton High School is located at 100 West Mosholu Parkway South. It dominates the entire block excluding the ground at the south where the Bronx High School of Science is situated. Facing the main entrance of the building, Paul Avenue runs to the east and Goulden Avenue to the west. The school faces Mosholu Parkway, and has its turf field and track behind it, followed by their softball field, and then the school's baseball and grass football field named Alumni Field. It is after this point that DeWitt Clinton's territory ends, meeting that of Bronx Science.[15]

Clinton has a small branch of Montefiore Medical Clinic in it, capable of supplying essential services to the students of the campus.[16]

The school is located at Latitude: 40.88111 : Longitude: -73.8875 [17]

More images

  • Original building
  • Original building's cornerstone
  • DeWitt Clinton High School, photograph by Herbert Anhalt
  • Algebra at DeWitt Clinton High School
  • Stairwell at DeWitt Clinton High School
  • Classroom at DeWitt Clinton High School
  • DeWitt_Clinton-HS_2
  • Portion of Gym Building 2nd Floor Wall
  • DeWitt Clinton Murals

In the media

The institution was featured in A Walk Through The Bronx with David Hartman and historian Barry Lewis. In it, Hartman and Lewis take a peek at the library.[18]

The DeWitt Clinton Chorus performed songs in the 2000 production, Finding Forrester.[19]

A book has been written about the school: Pelisson, Gerard J., and James A. Garvey III (2009). The Castle on the Parkway: The Story of New York City's DeWitt Clinton High School and Its Extraordinary Influence on American Life. Hutch Press.

  • Official website
  • Alumni Association
  • Profile at
  • Then and Now, Clinton Cultivates Young Activists
  • DeWitt Clinton High School at NNDB
  • "Writings of James Baldwin", broadcast from DeWitt Clinton High School from C-SPAN's American Writers

External links

  • Kelley, Frank Bergen, ed. The DeWitt Clinton Book, New York: Clinton Memorabilia Society, 1906.
  1. ^ Samuels, Tanyanika; Chapman, Ben (August 29, 2012). "DeWitt Clinton High School makes dishonor roll: Judged most heavily armed with 33 weapons seized, 252 ‘violent or disruptive’ events in 2010". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ Trangle, Serina (November 28, 2012). "Two ‘F’ grades in a row lead city to mull closing DeWitt Clinton". The Riverdale Press. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ Anand, Anika (June 25, 2013). "Santiago Taveras, a former DOE official, returning as a principal". Gotham Schools. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Jackson, Kenneth T. The Encyclopedia of New York City, The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. p.332.
  5. ^ "To Open De Witt Clinton High School Bids". New York Times. May 10, 1903. 
  6. ^ F.Y.I., The New York Times, December 16, 2001.
  7. ^ a b c Lakhman, Marina. "Making it Work; F's to A's in the Bronx", The New York Times, March 14, 1999.
  8. ^ The DeWitt Clinton Way, Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  9. ^ Progress Report 2010-11: DeWitt Clinton High School New York City Department of Education. Accessed May 6, 2013.
  10. ^ Quality Review Report, 2011-2012: DeWitt Clinton High School New York City Department of Education (Review dates: February 13–15, 2012). Accessed May 6, 2013.
  11. ^ "Macy, Coordinator: P. McCabe-Department Information". Retrieved March 29, 2008. 
  12. ^ "DeWitt Clinton High School- School Newspaper". Retrieved July 7, 2007. 
  13. ^ "The Magpie Sings The Great Depression". Retrieved October 15, 2007. 
  14. ^ "PSAL School Profile". Retrieved July 30, 2007. 
  15. ^ "DeWitt Clinton High School Google Maps". Retrieved November 2, 2007. 
  16. ^ "New York State Hospital Profile". Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  17. ^ "DeWitt Clinton High School, Bronx, New York, USA". Retrieved November 2, 2007. 
  18. ^ "A Walk Through The Bronx. about the Program". Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  19. ^ "DeWitt Clinton High School Chorus-Trailer-Showtimes-Cast-Movies-New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  20. ^ "The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog". Retrieved December 28, 2007. 
  21. ^ Buckman, Adam. "HE'S AGENT 86'D – 'GET SMART' STAR DON ADAMS DIES", The New York Post, September 27, 2005. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Graduated from DeWitt Clinton HS in The Bronx."
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "DeWitt Clinton High School, Bronx, New York". Retrieved July 30, 2007. 
  23. ^ "Charles Alston Oral History Interview". Retrieved March 30, 2008. 
  24. ^ "About the Charles Henry Alston Papers", Archives of American Art. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Found here are Charles Henry Alston's resumes, vital information, a copied marriage certificate, memorial information, and educational records from Dewitt Clinton High School and Columbia University."
  25. ^ Boehm. "Theater; Lured Back for One Last Great Role", Los Angeles Times, December 31, 2000. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Arbus says he yearned to be an actor from his early teens, when he had a moment of special clarity while playing in a student production at DeWitt Clinton High School."
  26. ^ "Mainpage- Hoopedia". Retrieved July 22, 2009. 
  27. ^ Herzog, Bob; and Barker, Barbara. "Ewing, Five Former Knicks Among NBA's 50 Greatest", Newsday, October 30, 1996. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Three former Nets, Julius Erving (Roosevelt High), Rick Barry (Roselle Park, N.J., High) and Nate Archibald (DeWitt Clinton), also were selected"
  28. ^ a b Staff. "Richard Avedon", The Daily Telegraph, October 2, 2004. Accessed September 14, 2009. "He also edited the school magazine at DeWitt Clinton High, on which the black American writer James Baldwin was literary editor."
  29. ^ Miller, Bill. "PLUS: TRACK AND FIELD – NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS; Ayre of the Bronx Speeds to Victory", The New York Times, June 13, 1999. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Sanjay Ayre of the Bronx, who attended DeWitt Clinton but did not compete for the school this year as a senior, won the boys' 400 meters in a swift 46.25 seconds last night in the Foot Locker national scholastic championships at North Carolina State in Raleigh."
  30. ^ a b c d "The DWC Alumni Website- Notable Alumni Hall of Fame". Retrieved April 2, 2008. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh Allyn, Bobby"DeWitt Clinton's Remarkable Alumni", The New York Times, July 21, 2009. Accessed May 28, 2012.
  32. ^ a b Lester, Julius. "Afterglow; BALDWIN Early Novels and Stories By James Baldwin Edited by Toni Morrison; The Library of America; Volume I: 970 pp., $35; Volume II: 870 pp., $35", Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1998. Accessed September 15, 2009. "He attended New York's prestigious DeWitt Clinton High, where his classmates included writers Emile Capouya and Sol Stein and photographer Richard Avedon. He graduated in 1942 and, upon the death of his stepfather a year later, moved to Greenwich Village."
  33. ^ James Baldwin at
  34. ^ a b c d e Kipen, David. "Flawed look at career of blacklisted director", San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 2001. Accessed September 14, 2009.
  35. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence. "Martin Balsam Is Dead at 76; Ubiquitous Character Actor", The New York Times, February 14, 1996. Accessed September 14, 2009. "He grew up on Mosholu Parkway and became involved in theater and music at DeWitt Clinton High School."
  36. ^ Cunningham, Jennifer H. (August 26, 2013). "Longtime activist and Assemblyman Samuel Bea is dead at 80". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  37. ^ Mallozzii, Vincent M. "Lou Bender, Columbia Star Who Helped Popularize Basketball in New York, Dies at 99", The New York Times, September 12, 2009. Accessed September 13, 2009.
  38. ^ Colford, Paul D. "A BIRTHDAY SALUTE TO THE FATHER OF PUBLIC RELATIONS For Immediate Release: Edward Bernays Is 100", Newsday, December 5, 1991. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Through most of his life, home base was Manhattan, where Bernays grew up and graduated from P S 184 and DeWitt Clinton High School, then at 10th Avenue and 58th Street, before going on to Cornell University."
  39. ^ Berstein, Alice. "Harlem artist Robert Blackburn remembered", The New York Beacon, October 22, 2003. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Blackburn's early work at DeWitt Clinton High School, where classmates included artists Burton Hasen, David Finn and Harold Altman, was recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum."
  40. ^ China, Stacy Y. "WORLD SERIES / No Ordinary Path / After up-and-down times, Bronx' Borbon Jr. up again", Newsday, October 6, 1995. Accessed September 14, 2009. "He attended DeWitt Clinton High School, and was coached by Steve Nathanson."
  41. ^ Columbia University "1976 Winners", Pulitzer Prize, 1976. Accessed May 28, 2012.
  42. ^ Staff. "Securities Firm Founder Cantor Dies", Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1996. Accessed August 14, 2009. "Cantor was born in the Bronx in 1916 and attended DeWitt Clinton High School."
  43. ^ Burger, Timothy J. "PREZ TAPS MAVERICK FOR SURGEON GENERAL", Daily News (New York), March 27, 2002. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Carmona, 52, who dropped out of DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx at 16 and later joined the Army, got a GED and was a Green Beret in Vietnam, where he was wounded twice."
  44. ^ Voce, Steve. "Al Casey: Swinging guitarist with Fats Waller", The Independent, September 15, 2005. "Once in New York he studied guitar at DeWitt Clinton High School before his uncles sent him to the Martin Smith Music School for three years."
  45. ^ Champlin, Charles. "Another Year, Another Oscar Strategy – Movies: Gilbert Cates finds a different set of circumstances for this year's Academy Awards, his second as producer of the annual awards show.", Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1991. Accessed September 14, 2009. "He started fencing at Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and, he says, you spent three months of exercise just getting in shape to fence."
  46. ^ via The New York Times, "'Marty' And 'Network' Author Dies", Star-Banner, August 2, 1981. Accessed September 14, 2009. "He was born in the Bronx in 1923 and attended DeWitt Clinton High School."
  47. ^ Buckley, Tom. "THE LITERARY CONSPIRACIES OF RICHARD CONDON", The New York Times, September 2, 1979. Accessed September 14, 2009.
  48. ^ a b c Wasserstein, Wendy. "THEATER; A Place They'd Never Been: the Theater", The New York Times, June 20, 1999. Accessed September 15, 2009. "DeWitt Clinton High School, named for the 19th-century New York mayor and governor, is the alma mater of the comedian Robert Klein, the designer Ralph Lauren and the writers James Baldwin and Avery Corman."
  49. ^ Henahan, Donal. "When the stage director takes on the opera; Says Frank Corsaro: 'My productions are supposed to be so sensational and sexual, but what in God's name is the theater all about? Theater is vulgar in the best sense'", The New York Times, November 12, 1972. Accessed September 15, 2009. "'I attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx for a while and the Immaculata High School on East 33rd Street, but they threw me out after awarding me a prize for oratory. So I went back to DeWitt Clinton.'"
  50. ^ Justice Cotillo Dead Here at 53, The New York Times, July 28, 1939
  51. ^ "DeWitt Clinton Hidh School, Bronx, New York". Retrieved July 30, 2007. 
  52. ^ "Don Devlin".  
  53. ^ . " New York Daily News."
  54. ^ "Fliegel, Bernie". 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  55. ^ Greenfield, Josh. "Bruce Jay Friedman Is Hanging by His Thumbs", The New York Times, January 14, 1968. Accessed September 15, 2009. "While attending DeWitt Clinton High School, Friedman became interested in writing for the first time."
  56. ^ Waddles, Hank. "Bronx Banter Interview: Arnold Hano". Alex Belth Bronx Banter. September 28, 2009. Retrieved 2015-08-25. "I grew up in the Bronx and went to DeWitt Clinton High School, which is the high school at the north end of the Bronx, and we were there until I was maybe fourteen or fifteen when we moved into Manhattan. [...] So I was writing at that age, and when I went to college – I started college when I was fifteen – I was going to be a doctor."
  57. ^ "Writer Creates a Scholarship for Journalists". LIU Planned Giving. Retrieved 2015-08-25. "Arnold Hano B'41 is creating a scholarship in his will for journalism majors so the next generation of students can improve their lives as he did at LIU."
  58. ^
  59. ^ Langum, David J. "William M. Kunstler: the most hated lawyer in America", p. 25. New York University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8147-5150-4. "Kunstler attended DeWitt Clinton High School at its annex on West End Avenue."
  60. ^ Buford, Kate. "Burt Lancaster: An American Life", Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. Accessed September 14, 2009. "Before he graduated from DeWitt Clinton, where he was a basketball star, his mother was dead of a cerebral hemorrhage."
  61. ^ Staff. "Selling a Dream of Elegance and the Good Life", Time (magazine), September 1, 1986. Accessed September 15, 2009. "At DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Lauren attended business classes but paid little attention to studies. His adolescent idols were British and American style setters: the Duke of Windsor, for example, and Katharine Hepburn, who stole the show in The Philadelphia Story with her pants-and-pearls look."
  62. ^ Vardi, Nathan. "The Connecticut Oil Baron". Forbes. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  63. ^ "A Heritage Press Retrospective-How These Books Came to Be". Retrieved April 3, 2008. 
  64. ^ "Rangel, Charles B. – Biographical Information". Retrieved July 22, 2009. 
  65. ^ Schechter, Danny (February 17, 2013). "DeWitt Clinton: Singing the Praises of Free Public Education". The Epoch Times (China). Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  66. ^ "BRADY WORLD-SHERWOOD SCHWARTZ". Retrieved July 22, 2009. 
  67. ^ Columbia University "1942 Winners", Pulitzer Prize, 1942. Accessed May 28, 2012.
  68. ^ "Boston University School of Management". Retrieved April 2, 2008. 
  69. ^ Severo, Richard. "Howard Taubman, 88, a Times Music Critic", The New York Times, January 9, 1996. Accessed october 18, 2009.
  70. ^ "Lester Wunderman's Facebook Page". Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  71. ^
  72. ^ Fernanda Santos (September 21, 2005). "Protest Over Metal Detectors Gains Legs as Students Walk Out". The New York Times. Retrieved July 30, 2007. 


  • DeWitt Clinton High School (DWCHS) students organized one of the largest high school walkouts in New York on September 19, 2005. The protest occurred over installation of airport-style metal detectors and x-ray scanners, which had already been installed in many other schools throughout New York City.[72]
  • According to the school, it offers more Advanced Placement (AP) courses than any other school in the borough other than the Bronx High School of Science.


Visitors who have addressed Clinton assemblies include:

Distinguished visitors

Although they did not graduate, both guitarist Tracy Morgan also attended Clinton.

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan (class of 1987).

Garry Marshall.
Movie director Garry Marshall (class of 1952), known for directing films such as Pretty Woman & Valentine's Day.

American fashion designer, Ralph Lauren.
Ralph Lauren (class of 1957), American fashion designer and business executive; best known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand.

Winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics Robert Hofstadter.
Robert Hofstadter (class of 1931), recipient of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics.

U.S Congressman Charles Rangel.
U.S Congressman Charles Rangel (class of 1947) attended DWC, however, dropped out during his junior year.

Superhero legend, Stan Lee smiling for the camera with his iconic shades.
Comic books icon Stan Lee (class of 1939).

Notable alumni

Clintonites made headlines and New York City School history in September 2005, when they walked out. The 1,500 strong walk out was a result of the installation of metal detectors.[20]


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