Monday, May 07, 2007
The Central High School of Philadelphia
I attended The Central High School of Philadelphia, which has a long and illustrious history. I graduated in 1971, a member of the 230th class.
Central High School is the second oldest public high school in the United States and is a part of the School District of Philadelphia. Until 1983, Central was an all-boys school.
Central was founded in 1836 and is a four-year, college preparatory, magnet school. About 2,400 students attend grades 9 through 12. It consistently ranks among the top schools in the city and state, and is among the top public schools in the nation for its academic standards.
The music department, comprising an orchestra and choir, is world-renowned, having traveled to such locales as Israel, London, Quebec, and Austria. It is one of the few schools that give academic credit for participation in the orchestra. It was scheduled to be the first American High School group to travel to China, when the SARS outbreak occurred and caused the trip to be postponed.
Central High School holds the distinction of being the only high school in the United States that has the authority, granted by an Act of Assembly in 1849, to confer academic degrees upon its graduates. This practice is still in effect, and graduates who meet the requirements are granted the Bachelor of Arts degree. Central also confers high school diplomas upon graduates who do not meet the requirement for a degree.
Central, rather than using a general class year to identify its classes (as in "class of 2007"), uses the class graduating number system (as in "266th graduating class"). This tradition started shortly after the school's founding, when it was common to have two graduating classes per year - one in January and one in June. In June of 1965, semiannual graduations were replaced by annual graduations. The current senior class will be the 265th graduating class of Central High School.
Central, due to its authority to grant academic degrees, traditionally refers to the principal of the school as the "President" of Central High School. The current president is Dr. Sheldon S. Pavel.
The Central High School website is located at http://centralhigh.net/ and has been developed and maintained entirely by Central students.