Philip Schuyler High School

The Road to Albany High

Named after a prestige General, Philip Schuyler High School proved to make its mark on Albany, and big names noticed.

In 1915, another school was built in Albany called Public School 14 (Albany Schools). It was a middle school designed by Walter Hunter Van Guysling, who enjoyed “a fanciful style” of architecture (Higgins, 54). He designed numerous homes and schools, including the Hudson River Day Line Ticket Office in 1907 (Higgins, 54). In 1934, the school was renamed Philip Schuyler High School after the General Philip Schuyler (Albany Schools).

Stefan Bielinski of the New York State Museum, comments on Philip Schuyler. In 1733, Schuyler was born and grew up in Albany, New York. Out of all the children who survived, as death was very common for children during this period, Philip Schuyler was the oldest son. Just before he turned seven years old, his father died, and he was left to be the man of the household. In 1961, he moved to England to find resources for a new home in Albany, where he returned only a year later! Near the end of the American Revolution, he was a General for the Contental Army from 1775-1779. In 1780, he was elected to the New York Senate. Bielinski continues to note that Schuyler was part of the most notable, and wealthiest, Albany families (Bielinski, 2013).

It may have taken Philip Schuyler High School time to become prestige, but they sure did. In 1963, two graduating seniors were awarded with other awards. One, Elenora McCargo received a DAR leadership pin, and Donna Guertze won about seven different awards. Just a few years later in 1967, Muhammad Ali surprised Philip Schuyler School by coming to Albany to discuss the Muslim Religion.

During this time, the principal of Philip Schuyler High was Ben Becker. He previously graduated from Philip Schuyler in 1925 and went to the Cortland State Teachers College. He began boxing at this school, and returned to Philip Schuyler as the athletic coach in 1930. He left Philip Schuyler to attend New York University, which he graduated from in 1934. In the 1950s, Becker helped to found the Big Brothers of Albany. He went on to coach boxing, as a part of the Amateur Athletic Union Adirondack District. He coached Muhammed Ali to the Olympics in 1960, perhaps why Ali visited Philip Schuyler in the later years. Becker eventually became the principal of Philip Schuyler, where he used many of his values as a boxer to teach students. The Albany Public Schools website noted, “In Ben Becker’s mind, there were no problem kids. Just kids with problems.” In 1970, he retired. He died in 1987 (Albany Schools).

In 1974, the Albany Free Academy (founded in 1868), which had changed its name to Albany High School, merged with Philip Schuyler High School. This school is still extremely prominent, as its website notes there are about 2,400 high school students present (Albany Schools).

Now, where the Philip Schuyler High School stood, is the exact same building. However, this building has now been converted into apartment complexes (Renter’s Guide, 2015).

Street Address:

69 Trinity Place [map]

Cite this Page:

“Philip Schuyler High School,” Albany Walks for Health, accessed December 13, 2018, http://www.albanywalksforhealth.com/items/show/190.

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