South Senior High School is the largest public school in Minneapolis. It has been a part of the Corcoran Neighborhood for over 43 years. However, it was originally located several blocks north of where it is now. In 1885, South High School first opened in what is now known as the Phillips Community. The whole school was just four rooms in the attic of the old Adams School at Franklin and Sixteenth Avenues. Kind of small when you think about how huge the school is today.
Pretty soon the students and teachers needed more than just four rooms so they built a brand new school in an area that was once an orchard and a cornfield. A postcard of the school at that time looks like a cross between a castle and a church; twelve-foot ceilings, stained-glass bay windows and a six-story bell tower. Oddly enough, the tower never actually contained a regular bell. The school instead chose to use “an electric bell system run by a motor.” I also found out that Augsburg College’s football team used South football field as their home field from 1926-1945. The same article said that the “height of what is known as South’s Golden Age, which lasted from 1916 to about 1940, came, ironically, during the height of the Great Depression.”
The current South High first opened in 1970. My mom graduated from there, and, coincidentally, now lives in a house that’s less than half a block from the school. Also, the former Corcoran News Youth Reporter, Oscar Cozza, attends South and writes for the school newspaper. Recently, I spoke with Sophie Rothenberger. She is currently a sophomore at South. She is the first in her family to attend the school. Sophie told me that one of the things she really likes about South is the diversity of the student population. She said that this helps kids to learn to be more accepting of other cultures that may be different from her own. Which makes sense because if you grow up in a city full of people of other cultures and also go to school where you study and play with kids your age, the differences seem pretty normal. It’s just like that at my school Southside Family Charter School.
Sophie told me that after South she will attend college to become an engineer. That means a lot of math and science classes. I like science a bit more than I like math. Her favorite classes are History and Chinese. I have been learning Spanish since I was in Kindergarten. Some of my friends at school and in the neighborhood speak Spanish as well as English because their parents speak Spanish. In fact, the kids often speak English better than their parents. It’s a lot easier to learn another language, or two, when you’re a kid because you are learning them all at the same time.
Sophie also likes going to dance performances at South and the football games to watch the Tigers. (My Grandma J.’s high school mascot in Farmington, Minnesota, is also known as the Tigers.) Sophie would like everyone to know that besides the great diversity at South, the school is also concerned about bullying (same as my school). They have counselors that will talk to the kids who get picked on as well as the bullies themselves. “This really helps,” Sophie added, “plus there aren’t a lot of ‘groups’ and the ones that are here still try to include other kids.”
At the moment, I am in the 4th Grade so high school is still a few years away. South Senior High School sounds like a neat place so I might go there in five years. It would certainly be convenient since it’s not just in my neighborhood, it’s practically right outside my front door!