About Suffern High School
According to some historical records, namesake John Suffern emigrated in 1763 from Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland. He bought land near the entrance to the Ramapo Pass and built a large house that became a tavern and inn. The success of his tavern enabled him to buy a large number of acres that he called New Antrim—now called Suffern.
The first school in Suffern was in his home, and the practice of educating local children in private homes continued into the 19th century. In midcentury Thomas W. Suffern, the son of William Suffern, and grandson of John Suffern, opened a private boarding school for boys and girls which ran for decades.
But a one room public school was established in 1854. Over time the growing population created a need for new solutions, and by 1900 the Suffern Union Free School District No. 3 opened a school on Wayne Avenue at a cost of $34,000. The date used to mark the founding of the Suffern High School is 1905 when the Wayne Avenue building had its first graduating class of five students.
As the Wayne Avenue building became crowded, the Board of Education planned for an independent high school building. In 1912 construction began on Washington Avenue and this “state-of-the-art” school opened its doors to students in the fall of 1913 at a cost to the local taxpayers of $64.000. The “High School in the Town” (as its school song referred to it) served until the Ramapo Central School District No.1 was formed in 1940.
With federal assistance (under the W.P.A.), the new Central School District began construction at the corner of Hemion and Montebello Roads, and in 1942, the students from grades six through twelve moved into the building. A population boom in the late 195Os necessitated an addition in 1961 to provide for the new classes entering with ever larger numbers.
Board of Education projected another jump in the school population for the decade of the 1970s, motivating the purchase of land in 1963 from the Meyers family estate that abutted both Mile and Viola Roads–commonly known as “Jam Hill.” Plans for a new high school on the site were executed in 1969. By September of 1971, grades nine through twelve moved into a modern building equipped with a planetarium, large gymnasium and auditorium, and a swimming pool. Grades seven and eight remained in the old building, renamed Suffern Junior High School.
New facilities enabled Suffern High School to expand its curriculum. (Current offerings can be explored here.)
In 1995, District voters approved a $10,000.000 bond issue to support new technology. Suffern High installed computers in classrooms, computer labs, numerous electronic resources for the library, supported by network infrastructure. Corporate donations assisted in the development of a multi-station darkroom for instruction in photography, and an upgraded television production studio.
In 1999 another bond issue facilitated the reconstruction and upgrading of district facilities. While still the youngest of the district facilities at 29 years of age, the high school underwent close to $25 million worth of expansion and retrofitting to meet the needs of a twenty-first-century school building. Classrooms were added as well as improvements in general fittings, fixtures, windows, heating, and facial decor. Other parts of the plan called for an upgrading of athletic facilities and the installation of a new track and field facility.
We continue to thrive…
Our community has grown, and so have the demands of higher standards for high school graduation called for by the New York State Board of Regents and federal government initiatives. But Suffern High School has continued to meet the new challenges.
In 2017, Suffern High School was named a New York State High Performing Reward School. Ninety-four percent of the Class of 2017 headed to college, including Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Clemson University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, Penn State University, Tulane University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Vermont.
We offer 27 Advanced Placement (AP) courses, providing students the opportunity to earn college credit, as well as the Cambridge Pre-U Global Perspectives and Independent Research, an elite two-year program that requires students to conduct advanced research and explore global challenges.
Our school provides a highly rated athletic program. In 2017, Niche.com ranked Suffern High School as the 9th best school in New York State for student-athletes. Students have the opportunity to compete in 22 sports, including gymnastics and crew. Students can pursue special interests by participating in our many activities. We offer more than 80 clubs and activities, listed here.
We are proud of our long history, traditions, and determination to maintain superior academic achievement as we tackle 21st-century challenges.