|The Baltimore City College|
|3220 The Alameda; also: Thirty-third Street and The Alameda
Baltimore, Maryland 21218
|Type||Public, College Preparatory, Exam, Timeline of Baltimore history, History of Baltimore, Baltimore.|
|Motto||"Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat"
(Honor to one who earns it (older version: Let him who earns it, bear the palm"))
|Founded||1839, current (eighth building) constructed 1924-April 1928, with annexes in 1958, 1979|
|School district||Baltimore City Public Schools system|
|Campus type||Urban, park-like|
|Color(s)||Black and Orange
sometimes Black and Gold (state colors)
|Athletics||Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, (previously Maryland Scholastic Association, since 1919 to 1990's)|
|Mascot||"The Black Knight"|
|Team name||"The Black Knights" or "The Collegians"|
|Rival||Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (since 1889-oldest high school rivalray and one of oldest college rivalries)|
|Accreditation(s)||Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools|
|Newspaper||"The Collegian" (established 1929, collector of highest awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association and National Scholastic Press Association)|
|Yearbook||"The Green Bag" (established 1896, one of oldest high school yearbooks in America)|
|Affiliation||International Baccalaureate advanced curriculum program|
The "The Baltimore City College" (BCC), also referred to as "The Castle on the Hill" or "The Castle", historically as "The College", and "The City College" and most commonly, just "City", or "B.C.C." is a public high school located in northeast Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. The City College curriculum includes the International Baccalaureate Programme and emphasizes study in the classics, humanities and liberal arts. The Baltimore City College is a magnet school and admission is competitive. Applicants from Baltimore City and the surrounding area of counties are evaluated for admission using a cumulation of academic grades and standardized test scores.
Established in 1839 as "The High School", originally as an all-male institution, the City College is listed among the oldest high schools in the United States, traditionally as the third oldest public high school in America The school has been located in seven different buildings in downtown Baltimore over its 174 years before relocating on April 10, 1928 to its current 38-acre (153,781 m2) campus known as "The Castle On The Hill" at 33rd Street and The Alameda, which are park-like boulevards with median strips. Located in the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello community (former roadside villages) near Harford Road and east of the former "Peabody Heights" neighborhood, now Charles Village) and the Waverly neighborhood and commercial district along Greenmount Avenue which leads north to York Road (Md. Route XX of northeast Baltimore. To the west across Loch Raven Boulevard is the landmark former Eastern High School, founded in 1844 for young women (along with its companion twin school - Western High School) and moved here in 1938 with construction of its fourth site with a brick Tudor English, Gothic Revival building. Northwest across 33rd Street is the site of the former "Memorial Stadium" used by football's Baltimore Colts and baseball's Baltimore Orioles since 1950, succeeding the earlier football "Municipal Stadium" (also known as "Baltimore Stadium") of 1921-22 in the area of the former "Venable Park" along with E.H.S.). Today the site is the location of "Stadium Place", a mixed-use development of housing and athletic facilities for the YMCA.
After a long and extensive political campaign culminated in the early 1970's, bolstered by a feeling of disappointment and desperation in response to continued changing conditions, perceptions of decline and increased delayed maintenance by the BCPS of "the Castle" since the high hopes raised by the goals and aspirations of the "City Forever" movement in 1965-66. Various ideas had arisen since Superintendent George Brain's high school pilosophy and thir roles in education in 1963 contrasted with newly-appointed Superintendent Laurence Pacquin's controversial proposals for the Comprehensive High Schools in Baltimore in 1965, which failed to fully recognize the BCC's special place among Baltimore's public high schools (along with Poly, Eastern, Western High Schools, and separately the vocational-technical schools of Carver and Merganthaler). This had resulted then in a long public campaign of at first Faculty proposals and Alumni proposals and support, growing into a mostly student-led series of demonstrations, picketing, newspaper and television stories, letters-to-the-editor, and speeches and public comments at School Board meetings, which also raised the subject of continuing the peaceful gradual racial integartion of the schools. The outrage and reactions then stunned the city and its leadership which resulted in a furor and additional conferences among the City Schools and municipal government into 1967 with final partial acceptances by the School Board and replacement Superintendent Thomas D. Sheldon of the special role of the selective academic high schools and their new specializations, then with the first coined term "magnet" by School Board member and BCC alumnus, Larry D. Gibson, '60, and the separate roles of the comprehensive neighborhood "local/district" high schools such as the older Southern, Patterson, Forest Park High Schools (opened in the 1920's, the original neighborhood schools - previously all-white, now integrated) and the former "colored/Negro" high schools of Frederick Douglass and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, which still remained predominately black. Polytechnic Institute and Western High had combined their college-prep, single-sex institutions in a unique shared campus in north-central Baltimore along the upper Jones Falls in 1967, sharing however their auditorium and cafeteria. Along with the new larger, super-modern high schools on the edge of the city scheduled to be opened during the '60s of Northwestern (1965) and Northern (1966) and three in one year (1971) of Lake Clifton (largest high school then in the USA), Walbrook and Southwestern. These newwer schools were forced by the growing "baby boom" (post-World War II) attendence boom in the high schoolsand. By 1975, with the failure of the BCPS to adequately fund the new varied interest City College special Humanities curriculums and enforce the higher admissions standards, the B.C.C. Faculty, students and powerful, influential alumni literally waged another campaign and almost "went on-strike" single-handedly led by Prof. Frank Thomas and was finally later joined by Baltimore City Mayor and alumnus William Donald Schaefer, '39, and Comptroller Hyman A. Pressman, '33, who promised for the City to advance the funds for the oft-delayed Maryland State School Construcution Program's extensive renovation of the school's main building for about $9 million (enough in those dollars then to build a new school entirely) and also to use some of the money originally slated for renovation of the dilapidated swimming pool to fund an intensive across-the-board, two-year study (1977-79) of the City College situation and integrate it with other high schools. Joined by educators, faculty, parents, alumni and community neighbors with some consultants which reviewed two decades of earlier proposals and experiments of curriculums, admission standards and faculty/administration qualifications, and the "New City College Task Force" met religiously almost every two weeks during the years and analyzed reams of data, with hours of meetings, conversations, memos/reports, debates and even arguments among the various constituencies. In the mean-time, BCC temporarily relocated from the Castle to the old Poly building (used by BPI, from 1912 to 1967 - now called the Calvert Educational Center) at West North Avenue and North Calvert Street for the two years which the extensive renovation required. The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners later accepted all the proposals of the "New City College Task Force" by 1979 for stricter admissions and passing standards, revitalized humanities and liberal arts courses and curriculums, and selective recruitment of faculty and administration with the new goals in mind.
Except for the one reccomendation (after a long debate and study with a divided vote by the task force) suggesting continued all-male enrollment with concerns raised regarding the conflicting various federal district and circuit courts decisions at that time which had not been resolved then yet by the U.S. Supreme Court. Consequently, the School Board decided to let City join Poly (which had admitted women in 1974, after a state circuit court case) and so later the school's student body became coeducational, ending its all-male admissions after 141 years. This followed recent trends among previously all-male colleges and universities in the nation such as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, and even the military academies during the 1970's to admit women on an eaqual basis. Interestingly enough though, by the 2010's, interest in single-sex education had risen again to a new level, across America, even resulting in Baltimore City to the establishment of several single-sex charter elementary schools and one womens' high school named the "Baltimore Leadership Academy for Young Women" located in the old Y.W.C.A. central building at West Franklin Street and Park Avenue, across from the central Enoch Pratt Free Library. These joined the traditional Western High School which had remained all-female, despite sharing a campus since 1967 with the formerly all-male Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, long-time rival of BCC and co-educated in 1974.
City College has long maintained a strong academic tradition and has many notable alumni including a Nobel Laureate, a Wolf Prize recipient, Pulitzer Prize winners, and leaders in business, military, legal/justice along with city, state and national politics. City College is a "National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence" for the academic year, 1999–2000, one of only two public secondary schools in Baltimore City to receive the award, a "Maryland Blue Ribbon High School", a "Maryland Character Education High School of the Year" (1999) and a National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), "Breakthrough High School" designation (2003). A long-standing rivalry since 1889 exists between City College and the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (formerly the Baltimore Manual Training School, 1883-1893); one of the oldest in American schools and colleges/universities, though centered around the annual "City–Poly" football game, often traditionally played on Thanksgiving Day, the rivalry extends to other sports as well as academics.
, (located here 1843-1873).
The creation of an alien high school "in which the higher branches of English and classical literature should be taught exclusively" was authorized unanimously by the City Council of Baltimore, Maryland, on March 7, 1839. Accordingly, a townhouse structure (probably of the newly-built Georgian/Federalist-era style architecture then prevalent in the neighborhood) on what was then called Courtland Street (now on the east side of Saint Paul Place (southern end of St. Paul Street) in the "Preston Gardens" - across from present-day Mercy Hospital, later Medical Center), just north of East Saratoga Street, was acquired to serve as the new high school. "The High School" (as it was first called), opened its doors on October 20, 1839, with 46 students and one teacher, Nathan C. Brooks, who also served as principal. The school was housed in three different locations in its first three years of existence before returning to the original building on Courtland Street. Finally, in 1843 the city council allocated $23,000 to acquire the Assembly Rooms at the northwestern corner of Fayette and Holliday Streets for the school. In 1850, the city council granted the board of school commissioners the right to confer graduates of the school with certificates, and the following year the school held its first commencement ceremony.
In 1865, in accordance with a recommendation from the Board of Commissioners of the Baltimore City public schools, the school began offering a five-year track, as part of a process aimed at elevating the school to the status of a college so that it could grant its graduates baccalaureate degrees. The following year on October 9, 1866, as another part of this process, the school was renamed "The Baltimore City College" (BCC) by act of the city council. The city council failed to take any further action, and although the school changed nominally, it was never granted the power to confer Bachelor of Arts degrees.
The building on Fayette and Holliday Streets had been in a state of decline for two decades. It was not until 1873, when a fire spread from the Holliday Street Theater to the "Assembly Rooms", that the city council finally decided to expend the resources to erect a building for City College. A lot was acquired on Howard Street opposite Centre Street and the city council allocated $150,000 for the construction of the new building. The new English Gothic revival-styled building was dedicated on February 1, 1875, and the school moved in the following week.
The Tudor Gothic building which housed the school lasted until 1892, when it was undermined by the construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tunnel from Camden Station to Mount Royal Station and collapsed. In 1895, a new structure, designed by the architects Baldwin and Pennington, was erected on the site. This new building quickly became overcrowded and an annex was established on 26th Street. The addition did not help with the increase in school-aged youth beginning to attend City College by World War I. During the 1920s, alumni began a campaign to provide the school with a more suitable building, and in 1926 ground was broken for a massive Collegiate Gothic stone castle at 33rd Street and The Alameda. This new structure cost almost $3 million.
The school began admitting African American students following the landmark ruling Brown v. Board of Education. In September 1954, 10 African-American students entered City College. The administration also sent two African American men, Eugene Parker and Pierre H. Davis, to teach at the school in 1956. Parker taught at City College for 30 years and Davis, after teaching for one year, returned as the school's first black principal in 1971.
In 1978, at the urging of concerned alumni, City College underwent its first major capital renovations. When the campus reopened, the high school welcomed women for the first time. The all-male tradition did not end easily; alumni had argued for the uniqueness of a single-sex educational system and convinced the task force studying the issue to vote 11–6 in favor of keeping the all-male tradition. The Board of School Commissioners, in a reversal, voted to admit women citing constitutional concerns.
City College stands on a 38-acre (153,781 m2) campus in northeast Baltimore at the intersection of 33rd street and the Alameda. The campus consists of two buildings, the Gothic-style edifice known locally as the "Castle on the Hill" that sits in the center of the campus, and the power plant building east of the castle. In addition to providing the building's utilities, the power plant originally housed five work shops: an electrical shop, a mechanical shop, a metal shop, a printing shop, and a wood shop. Only the main building is in academic use by the school. Both buildings were designed by the architecture firm of Buckler and Fenhagen. Just south of the main building is Alumni Field, the school's stadium, which serves as home to the football, boy's and girl's lacrosse and track teams. During a major building renovation in 1978 a modern gymnasium was added to the southwest corner of the main building.
On June 30, 2003, the current building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the result of an Alumni Association initiative. The listing of the building coincided with its 75th anniversary. The previous location of the school on Howard Street is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On April 24, 2007, the Castle on the Hill earned the additional distinction of being a Baltimore City Landmark. This new status means that the building's exterior cannot be altered without approval of the city Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. On June 21, 2007, City's alumni association received a historic preservation award from Baltimore Heritage for its leadership role in preserving the building as an historic Baltimore landmark.
Throughout most of the 20th century the college preparatory curriculum at City College was divided into two tracks: the "A" course and the "B" course. Though both tracks were intended to provide students with the skills necessary for college, the "A" course was intended to be more rigorous, enabling students to complete sufficient college-level courses to enter directly into the second year of college. In the early 1990s, Principal Joseph Antenson removed the two-tier system because he believed it to be racially discriminatory. In 1998, the academic program took on the general form in which it exists today, when Principal Joseph M. Wilson introduced the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB Program) into the 11th and 12th grade curricula. The IB Program is a comprehensive, liberal arts program that must be completed in students' junior and senior years. Students now have the option to pursue a standard college preparatory curriculum, the IB Program, or a combination of the two.
In 2007, opposition to the continuation of the IB Program arose. Members of the Baltimore City College Alumni Association argued that the IB Program was diverting a significant amount of the school's resources, in order to benefit a fraction of the student population. Only approximately 30 students are in the full IB Diploma Program at City College. Some members also argued that the rigidity of the program did not give students enough flexibility. Citing these concerns, the alumni association encouraged the school to replace the IB Program with the "A course" and expand the number of Advanced Placement courses offered. The alumni association's recommendation, though non-binding, was intended to persuade the school to terminate the IB program and replace it with a more equitable and flexible curriculum. Nevertheless, the school administration is moving ahead with plans to expand the IB Program by incorporating the IB Middle Years Program into the 9th and 10th grade curricula.
In addition to the 23 IB courses, the school offers six Advanced Placement courses. Both programs have contributed to the academic ranking of the school. In the 1999–2000 academic year, City College was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School. In June 2005, the Johns Hopkins Magazine reported that the Johns Hopkins University had awarded full-time, four-year scholarships to ten seniors. In the May 2007 Newsweek report of the nation's top 1200 schools, City College was ranked 258 and in the 2006 report the school was ranked 206. The expansion of the number of AP and IB courses offered allowed City to perform well in the Newsweek rankings, which are based heavily on the number of AP and IB courses offered.
Students wishing to enroll in City College must apply in the eighth grade. Enrollment is open to both residents and non-residents of Baltimore City, though non-residents must pay tuition. Eligibility is based on a composite score that is determined by the Baltimore City Public School System. The school system generates the composite score based on a student's grades in the seventh grade and first quarter of the eighth grade, and a student's performance on a national standardized test, with the student's grades receiving double the weight as the test scores.
There were 1,319 students enrolled at City College in 2009. Of those students, 514 were males and 805 were females. Approximately 1,193 students identified themselves as African American, comprising 90.5% of the student population. An additional 109 students identified themselves as Caucasian, comprising 8.3% of the student population. The remaining 1.2% of the population identified themselves as Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian.
City College offers more than 20 student clubs and organizations. These activities include chapters of national organizations such as National Honor Society (established at City in 1927) and Quill and Scroll. City College offers service clubs such as the Red Cross Club and Campus Improvement Association. In addition, City offers clubs and activities including Drama which holds the annual play, Art, Model UN, Band, and Dance. Other unique clubs and activities include One City One Book, an organization that invites the entire school community to read one book selected by faculty and invites the author of the book for a reading, discussion, and question and answer period. In 2007, Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur Fellow, and novelist Edward P. Jones discussed his book Lost in the City. There is also the in school poetry club known as Expressionz. Expressionz is a club held in the Drama and Creative Writing teacher, Mr. McBe's room at least once a month. They gather and share their literary works. This past year, they hosted the first ever Poet Explosion, inviting poets such as, Olivia, E-the-Poet-Emcee, BlacberryLadie, Temple, Aquil Mizan, K. Lo. Flo., and Sabarah. Alongside these performances were the actual students that participate regularly in Expressionz. The evening was emceed by the graduating President Grace Givens. Moreover, the campus school store is completely student ran and managed by the Student Government. One of City College's most notable academic teams is the It's Academic team which participates on the It's Academic TV show.
The origins of the speech and debate program at City College lie in the Bancroft Literary Association, which was established in 1876. In 1878, a second competing society, the Carrollton Literary Society, was established. That society was later renamed the Carrollton-Wight Literary Society, after its first faculty adviser, Professor Charles Wight. The two societies competed through the 1960s but became dormant in the late 1970s.
In 1997, under the leadership of Donald Koch, the two societies were resurrected as the Baltimore City College speech and debate team. The speech team has retained the name of the Bancroft Society and the debate team has retained the name of the Carrollton-Wight Society. The team currently competes in the Baltimore Catholic Forensic League, the Baltimore Urban Debate League, and the National Forensic League. The team has had success at the national level, advancing at the Harvard University Invitational Tournament, the National Catholic Forensic League Grand National Tournament, and the National Forensic League National Speech Tournament. Mock trial was not a traditional part of the literary societies, but it has been incorporated into the speech and debate program. In 2006, City College defeated the 2005 State Champion Squad from Richard Montgomery High School to advance to the semifinals of state championship, but was later defeated by local rival the Park School of Baltimore, which advanced to the final trial. In September 2010, under the direction of Patrick Daniels (Director of Speech and Debate), BCC debate has established itself as one of the dominant programs on the East Coast by earning a Tournament of Champions invitation in Lincoln-Douglas Debate for Gareth Imparato as well as a full qualification for the Policy Debate team of Dikshant Malla and David Neustadt.
The marching band at City College was created in the late 1940s. At the time, the instrumental music program consisted of the orchestra, concert band and marching band. The director who brought the band to prominence was Dr. Donald Norton. In 1954, while on sabbatical, he was replaced by Professor Charles M. Stengstacke. The 65 member concert band doubled as a marching band in the fall. During halftime performances at home the band would form the shape of a heart or a car, but always ending the performance by forming the letters C-I-T-Y.
In the 1980s, under James Russell Perkins, these groups grew in size and changed styles, adding "soulful" dance steps. Perkins's groups toured and traveled the east coast. They received superior ratings at district and state festivals. Perkins is responsible for the creation of the City College Jazz Band, the "Knights of Jazz".
In 1994, Alvin T. Wallace became Band Director. During his tenure, a wind ensemble was added and the marching band grew to include over 150 members. In 1999, the band swept the top categories in the Disney World high school band competition. In 2006, the wind ensemble received a grade of superior at the district adjudication festival and marched in the Baltimore Mayor's Christmas Day Parade.
The City College choir was founded in 1950 by Professor Donald Regier. Originally a co-curricular subject with only 18 members, by 1954 it had developed into a major subject of study with 74 students enrolled. Under the direction of Linda Hall, today's choir consists of four groups: the Mixed Chorus, the Concert Choir, the Singin'/Swingin' Knights, and the Knights and Daze Show Choir. The Mixed Choir is opened to all students at City College and currently has a membership of approximately 135 students. The Concert Choir is a more selective group consisting of about 50 students, who must audition for their places in the choir. The Singin'/Swingin' Knights is an even more selective group composed of 25 students. The Knights and Daze Show Choir is a group of students, who perform a choreographed dance routine while they sing. With the exception of the Knights and Daze Show Choir, which performs jazz and pop music, the choir's repertoire consists of gospel music, spirituals, and Classical works by composers such as Handel and Michael Praetorius.
The choir has traveled to Europe on several occasions; its first trip was in 1999, after receiving an invitation to perform at the Choralfest in Arezzo, Italy. In 2003, the choir returned to Italy to perform at the annual Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The choir has also performed in France and Spain.
On October 2, 2007, the Weill Institute of Music at Carnegie Hall announced that the City College choir was one of four high school choirs selected to participate in the National High School Choral Festival on March 10, 2008. The four choirs will perform Johannes Brahms' A German Requiem under the direction of Craig Jessop, Mormon Tabernacle Choir Director. The choirs will also be led by their own directors in performing choral selections of their choosing.
During the late 1880s, interscholastic sports became a feature of school life and a number of teams were begun in various sports. The formal organization of an athletic program did not occur until 1895. During the early years of the athletic program, City College played mainly against college teams because few other secondary schools existed in Maryland. The 1895 football schedule included St. John's College, Swarthmore College, the United States Naval Academy, University of Maryland, and Washington College. The current City College athletic program consists of six boys' varsity teams, seven girls' varsity teams, and five coeducational teams. The boys' sports played are baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer, and wrestling. The girls' teams are badminton, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, and volleyball. The five co-ed teams are cross country, indoor track and field, swimming, outdoor track and field, and tennis. Although much of City's athletic history involves boys sports, it was the girls' basketball team that won City's first state championship in 2009. Four hours later, City's boys' basketball team won the Maryland Class 2-A championship, beating Douglass High School (Prince George's County) at the Comcast Center.
The football program began in the 1880s, yet at the time the school faced mainly collegiate opponents, since few other schools in the area fielded teams. By the early 20th century this trend shifted, and the team began competing with other high schools. Between 1936 and 1940, under coach Harry Lawrence, City College remained undefeated for 38 consecutive games, which included 35 wins, three ties, and four state championships. In 1959, George Young, who also taught in the History Department and would later join the coaching staff of the Baltimore Colts in 1968 and become the general manager of the New York Giants, became head coach of the team. Young coached City College to a total of six Maryland state championships. He had left after the 1967 season to become an offensive line coach for the Baltimore Colts One of his later star players was quarterback Kurt Schmoke who later became States' Attorney for Baltimore City and later served two terms as the first elected black mayor.
In 1975, George Petrides, a City College alumnus (Class of 1967), became head coach of the football team and has remained in this position for 35 years. During his tenure, Petrides has led the team through a 29 game winning streak—the longest consecutive winning streak in the history of Maryland football—and to two consecutive Maryland Scholastic Association's 'A' Conference championships in 1991 and 1992. On September 11, 2006, Petrides was honored as the Baltimore Ravens High School Coach of the Week for the third time.
The Poly-City football rivalry is the oldest American football rivalry in Maryland, and one of the oldest public school football rivalries in the U.S. The rivalry began in 1889, when City College met the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) at Clifton Park for a football scrimmage. Little is known about the first game, except that it was played between the City JV team and Poly with City emerging as the victor. City remained undefeated in the series until 1908. In the 1920s, the rivalry had gotten so fierce that riots erupted on the streets of downtown Baltimore on the day before The Game when opposing parades clashed and the sons of both the Mayor of Baltimore and the Governor of Maryland were arrested in 1928. By the 1930s a "Peace Pact" was sworn out annually and signed by student government leaders of both schools before the cameras of the press in the Mayor's Ceremonial Office in City Hall. Several student disturbances at games or on transit buses afterwards in the late 1960s and early 70s threatened to put an end to the athletic tradition reflecting the tense tenor of the times, but goodwill eventually prevailed again by the quieter 1980s. In November 2012, City and Poly clashed in the 124th City–Poly football game. By the 1950s, it had become a Baltimore tradition that after a morning of church services, parades and rallies, the two Catholic high school football powers of Loyola High School (Loyola Blakefield) and Calvert Hall College would play on Thanksgiving Day morning at 10 a.m. followed at 2 p.m. by City-Poly as the two public school rivals at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street with approximately 30,000 fans (including the upper deck) from schools across the metro area, with faculty and ancient alumni often with radio and television coverage by local stations. Afternoons were complete with a dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, sauerkraut, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter, plus helpings of pumpkin or mincemeat pie. That evening's TV news and sports casts led off with the scores and highlights of "The Game" and half-time shows and parades. Next day's papers in "The Sun" and "The News-Post and American" had special sections and stories covering all facets of the day before.
One of the most memorable Poly-City games occurred on Thanksgiving Day 1965, at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, with some 25,000 fans in attendance. City beat Poly 52–6, and completed a 10–0 season with the team being ranked eighth in the nation by a national sports poll. City's 52–6 victory over Poly in that game is the largest margin of victory in the history of the series. Former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke was the quarterback and Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson was the captain of that team. The game is no longer played on Thanksgiving or at Memorial Stadium, but is now located at the home of the Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore. With 2007's 26–20 win by City, Poly leads the series 62–54–6 (counting the first 15 scrimmages won by City).
The lacrosse program at City College is the oldest high school lacrosse program in the state of Maryland and possibly the nation. The informal playing of lacrosse began at the school in 1879, when a group of students decided to field a team; this continued annually until 1891. In 1902, lacrosse became a permanent part of the school's athletic program. During the program's inception, City College played against collegiate teams, including Johns Hopkins University. It was not until City's archrival Poly fielded a team in 1912 that the school had high school opponents. At least 10 former members of the boys' lacrosse team are in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Currently, both boys' and girls' lacrosse are played at City. The women's lacrosse team had stellar performances in 1998 and 1999, taking the City Championship titles, further advancing them to state championship games against various suburban schools in Baltimore County such as Perry Hall, Kenwood and Eastern Tech High Schools.
The boys' and girls' basketball teams have enjoyed success recently with both winning MPSSAA State 2A championships. The Lady Knights won the state title in 2009. The boys' team won state championships in 2009 and 2010.
The Green Bag is the senior class annual at City College. Published continuously since 1896, The Green Bag is the oldest publication still in existence at the school and one of the oldest high school or college yearbooks in America. G. Warfield Hobbs Jr., (later an Episcopal priest), president of the 1896 senior class and first editor-in-chief of the Green Bag, gave the publication its name in recognition of the role of City College graduates in political leadership. Historically, the carpet bag containing the political appointees of the Governor of Maryland to be approved by the General Assembly of Maryland have been known as the "green bag", though the derivation of the term is unknown. The first yearbooks contained sketches of faculty and seniors, and included recollections, anecdotes, stories, and quotes significant to the student body. Underclassmen were included for the first time in 1948. In 2007, The Green Bag released its first full-color edition.
The most controversial issue of the Green Bag was published in 1900 when Members of the senior class used the annual to make fun of their professors. The school board attempted to censor the edition by requiring the Green Bag to be reviewed by Principal Francis A. Soper. The yearbook had already been printed, and in defiance of the school board, the editors refused to have the edition censored and reprinted. The school board responded by withholding the diplomas of six of the editors and the business manager and by preventing the school from holding a public commencement ceremony. One of the boys expelled, Clarence Keating Bowie, became a member of the school board in 1926.
The Collegian has been the school student newspaper of City College since its first publication as a bi-weekly newspaper in 1929. Though several other publications existed in 1929, such as the student magazine "The Oriole" since 1912, The Collegian is the only publication other than the Green Bag still printed. Originally, the paper was both managed and printed by students. During the 1930s, The Collegian won numerous awards including second place in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's annual contest for five years in a row. In recent years, the publication has waned. Budget cuts have reduced the number of issues printed. Citing the decline of The Collegian and increasing disorder in the school, 2 underground publications were started, the first entitled Knights' Voice by Marshall Troutner and the second entitled Omnibus by Leah Goldman and Maia Gottlieb in May 2007. Goldman and Gottlieb later went on to revive The Collegian, going to print in 2008. The Collegian is still being published quarterly at the school, often with a bonus issue around the time of the City-Poly game.
The Baltimore City College Alumni Association Inc. (BCCAA) was established in 1866 as a support network for City College. The BCCAA holds an annual meeting at the school every November and its Board of Governors meets the first Monday of each month at the school.
The BCCAA publishes the class reunion guide, established and maintains a life membership endowment fund, presents Golden Apple Award annually to faculty members, sponsors the Hall of Fame selection and induction, publishes a semi-annual newsletter, maintains an alumni data base and assists with numerous projects designed to enrich student life and improve the facility.
To succeed a similar organization which was established in 1924, the Trustees of the Baltimore City College Scholarship Funds, Inc., was established and incorporated in 1983. The Trustees manage numerous endowments, most of which provide annual scholarships to graduating seniors based on criteria stipulated by the donors. Combined endowment assets are currently valued at or around $1,500,000 covering 34 annual scholarships. To recognize the custodianship provided by the Trustees, the BCCAA has placed a bronze plaque in the main hall of the school which carries an individually cast nameplate for each of the 34 permanent endowments held by the Trustees.
The Baltimore City College Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held every October. Alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary service to the school, the city, state, country or the world are selected to become members with former inductees, alumni and students attending the two-hour ceremony. One of the 2007 inductees was Robert Hormats, a Vice-President at Goldman Sachs.
Many City College alumni have become civil servants, including three of the 10 individuals currently representing the state of Maryland in the U.S. Congress—Congressman Elijah Cummings, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, and Senator Ben Cardin. Among graduates with significant military service are two Commandants of the Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Frederick C. Billard and Admiral J. William Kime, as well as 2nd Lieutenant Jacob Beser, the only individual to serve on both the Enola Gay when it dropped Little Boy and Bocks Car when it dropped Fat Man. In addition, three City College alumni are recipients of the Medal of Honor.
The list of alumni includes prominent scientists, such as theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler, who coined the term black hole and received the 1997 Wolf Prize in Physics, Martin Rodbell, who received the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of G-proteins, and Abel Wolman, the "father" of chlorinated drinking water and a National Medal of Science recipient. Notable writers such as Leon Uris, author of the Exodus, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist Russell Baker are also alumni. Businessmen, who have graduated from the school, include David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, and David T. Abercrombie, namesake and co-founder of Abercrombie & Fitch. The list also includes Donnell S. Henry of the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
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