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Monfredo: A Little History of South High School

Saturday, September 01, 2018


In 2021 Worcester will not only have the Worcester Red Sox new stadium built but a new South High Community School. Just recently there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new South High. Local and state officials celebrated the event of this $210 million project.  Speaker after speaker spoke of the city’s investment in education.  This school will be 40% bigger than the existing school and will include a bistro and bakery in the cafeteria, state of the arts-science labs, career area for diesel teaching, and a larger service-learning component of Andy’s Attic… a student-run clothing and goods store that operates out of the school. 

State and city officials, one after another, raved about the city’s investment in education … Deborah Goldberg, State Treasurer, Edward Augustus, City Manager, Joe Petty, Mayor, Michael Moore and Harriett Chandler, State Senators, Kate Campanale, State Representative, John McCarthy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer from MSBA, Paul Moosey, Commissioner of Public Works, District Counselor Matt Wally and Jack Foley, vice-chair of the School Committee.

However, the speaker with the knowledge about the history of South High … being a member of the staff and later principal was Superintendent Maureen Binienda.   Those attending the event learned a great deal about the high school history and here in her own words is what Superintendent Binienda had to say…

“It was in August 1978 that I first walked into the halls of South High Community School as a 24-year-old teacher. It was a beautiful new building that included an amazing field house and an Olympic size pool. As a swimmer and a lifeguard, I was overjoyed at having the opportunity to teach at this brand new school. Faculty members were even allowed to swim during their planning period but when too many teachers were late to class, swimming was only allowed after school!! The faculty had been hand selected, mostly from the former South High School, and there was a welcoming climate throughout the school.

We were gathered in the English lecture area and we instructed in the new language of the new school:

1. Rooms would be called pods.

2. Lunch periods were called nutrition waves

3. The three main corridors would be called Main Street.

4. And we were shown the new schedule which was called the semi differential rotating schedule. We actually practiced saying that. There would be 6 periods a day and something called a rotating block. Days would not be days of the week but A, B, C, D day.

5. We learned to clap (moving fingers) not to disturb surrounding classes as it was explained- this was an open classroom school.

It felt like I had stepped into a new world.   I never imagined what this school would come to mean to me.   South High became my home for 38 years

From the beginning, there was a feeling of warmth, collaboration, a feeling of closeness, dedication to excellence. It has become home for thousands of students. Students who graduate from South High Community School value diversity, appreciate kindness, give back to their community and continue to excel. Students developed the slogan “No walls, no limits.”  Who would have known those walls that did not exist would help South High build a new high school to open in spring 2021?

I have the great honor of being actively involved in the building of the new South High Community School. In planning with the architects and MSBA, I know the students who attend South High will have what they deserve- the best of everything!! The sense of community that has been cultured and celebrated is at the heart of each area.

The South High faculty are as excited as I am about the new South High Community School. To them it is a dream comes true. State of the art science labs and supplies, a cafeteria with a bistro, pastry area, chapter 74 culinary, early childhood and a diesel area that has a garage door that is four times the current size, football stadium with lights and a sound system, media center,  turf fields, band and art and drama areas, 750 seat auditorium, security system and cameras- designated area for the food pantry, and Andy’s Attic, the school-based health center,  wellness room and preschool  and daycare areas. As we look around today, we are full of excitement as the process has begun- the new South High Community School is on its way.”

I want to thank State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Jack McCarthy, MSBA, Ed Augustus, Joe Petty, our state Representatives and Senators, School Committee, City Counselors, and DPW for making this become a reality for our staff, students, and their families. The dedication to this project shown by Mark Lydon and Katherine from Heery, Katie Crockett and the entire staff of Lamoureaux and Pagano Architects, and the builders Fontaine and WT Rich have made the work fascinating, impressive and enjoyable.

As the third South High is built- you can be assured as the two before; it will stand as a beacon of hope for all students who enter its door.”


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