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Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (BPI), known most commonly as Poly, is a magnet high school in Baltimoremarker, Marylandmarker. Though established as an all male trade school Poly now serves as a coeducational college preparatory institution that emphasizes mathematics, the sciences, and engineering. Poly is located on a tract of land in North Baltimore at Falls Road and Cold Spring Lane, bordering Roland Parkmarker to the east and I-83 to the west. Poly and Western High School, originally Poly's sister school, are located on the same campus and share several amenities including a cafeteria, auditorium, and athletic fields. Baltimore City Collegemarker and Poly share a long standing rivalry centered around the annual Poly–City football game. Poly is a Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

History

BPI was founded in 1883 when Joshua Plaskitt petitioned the Baltimore City authorities to establish a school for instruction in engineering. The original school was named the Baltimore Manual Training School, and its first class was made up of about sixty students, all of whom were male. The official name of the school was changed in the 1890s to the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. The first principal, Dr. Richard Grady, along with his successor, Lt. John D. Ford, helped to strengthen and develop the curriculum of the school, which gained even further acclaim during the tenure of Lieutenant William King, the third director of the school, after which King Memorial Hall is named.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute on North Avenue


Relocation

Due to continued growth of the student population at Poly, the school relocated in 1913 to Calvert Street and North Avenue. While at this location, the school expanded both its academic and athletic programs under the supervision of Dr. Wilmer Dehuff, arguably the most famous principal of the Institute. Dehuff later served as the president and Dean of Faculty at the University of Baltimore. Dehuff, who was principal from 1921 to 1958 also reluctantly oversaw the racial integration of the school in 1952, the first instance in City of Baltimoremarker public schools.

Integration

Most Baltimore City public schools were not integrated until after the Supreme Courtmarker decision in Brown v. Board of Education. In the early 1950s, Poly was unusual among public high schools across the country for two reasons: its advanced college preparatory curriculum, and the fact that it would be forced to offer it to black students in 1952. The school's tough "A" course included calculus, analytical chemistry, electricity, mechanics and surveying; subjects not offered at the black schools in the City at that time. Poly was a whites-only school but supported by both white and black tax dollars. No black schools in the City offered such courses nor did they have the class rooms, labs, libraries or teachers comparable to those at Poly. Due to these conditions, a group of 16 African American students, along with help and support from their parents, the Baltimore Urban League and the NAACP, applied for the engineering "A" course at the Poly. The applications were denied and the students sued.

The subsequent trial on the suit began on June 16, 1952. The NAACP’s intentions were to end segregation at the 50-year-old prestigious public high school. In the Poly case, they argued that Poly’s offerings of specialized engineering courses violated the"separate but equal" clause because these courses was not offered in high schools for black students. To avoid integration, an out-of-court proposal was made to the Baltimore City school board to start an equivalent "A" course at the colored Frederick Douglass High School. The hearing on the "Douglass" plan lasted for hours with Dehuff and others arguing that separate but equal "A" courses would satisfy constitutional requirements and NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall arguing that the plan was a gamble and cost the City should not take. By a vote of 5-3, the board decided that a separate "A" course would not provide the same educational opportunities for African American students and that starting that fall, African American students could attend Poly. The vote vindicated the NAACP national strategy of raising the cost of 'separate but equal' schools beyond what taxpayers were willing to pay. Thirteen African American students, Leonard Cephas, Carl Clark, William Clark, Milton Cornish, Clarence Daly, Victor Dates, Alvin Giles, Bucky Hawkins, Linwood Jones, Edward Savage, Everett Sherman, Robert Young, and Silas Young, finally entered the school that fall. They were faced daily with racial epithets, threats of violence and isolation from many of the more than 2,000 students at the school.

Poly Complex

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute's current building on Falls Road
In 1967, then-principal Claude Burkert (1958-1969) oversaw the relocation of his school to its current location at 1400 West Cold Spring Lane, a fifty-three acre tract of land bordering Falls Road and Roland Parkmarker. Also occupying this site is the Western High School, an all-girl school founded in 1844. Notable buildings on the campus include Dehuff Hall, also known as the academic building, where students attend normal classes, and Burkert Hall, also called the engineering building, where students attend classes in the Willard Hackerman Engineering Program. Both Western High School and Poly students make use of the auditorium/cafeteria complex, and likewise share the large gymnasium, swimming pool and sports fields. While these two schools share grounds and buildings, that is all they share: their respective academic programs are completely separate from one another. The students of each school are not allowed on the other school's grounds with out permission.
In 1974, Poly officially became coeducational when it began admitting female students. In the late 1980s, the title "principal" was changed to "director." After the retirement of Director John Dohler in 1990, Barbara Stricklin became the first woman to head the school, as she accepted the title of Interim Director. During Director Ian Cohen's tenure (1994-2003), Poly's curriculum was again expanded when it began offering AP classes. During the 2001-2002 school year, Poly was recognized by the Maryland State Department of Education when Poly was named a "Blue Ribbon School of Excellence."

In 2004 Dr. Barney Wilson, a 1976 Poly graduate, became Baltimore Polytechnic Institute's first African-American Director.

Athletics

Lumsden-Scott Stadium at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

Football

Since the early 1900s, the Engineers, along with City, had dominated the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) football scene. However, since joining the MPPSSA in 1993 Poly made it to the final game once in 1993, the semifinals once in 1997 and the quarterfinals in 1994 and 1998.



Poly and City

The Poly-City football rivalry is the oldest American football rivalry in Marylandmarker, U.S.marker and one of the oldest public school rivalries in the U.S.—predated by the rivalry between the Boston Latin Schoolmarker and the English High School of Boston. The rivalry began in 1889, when a scrub team from Baltimore City College (Citymarker) met a team from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly), and has continued annually. Despite City's initial dominance in the series, Poly leads in overall wins with the record standing at 60–54–6.

Early years

Little is known of the first American football game between Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (Poly) and Baltimore City Collegemarker (City) in 1889, except that a JV team from Poly met City, in Clifton Park and City emerged the victor. That began the oldest football rivalry in Marylandmarker. City continued to win against Poly through 1901, however in 1902, for the only time in history of the series no game was played; though, in 1931, an extra game was played to compensate. Between 1903 and 1906, City won the series, but the tide turned in 1907, when the first tie in the series occurred. The next year Poly scored its first victory in the rivalry.

1910s and 1920s

Poly dominated the series in the 1910s. The only year of the decade that City won was 1912, and between 1914 and 1917, Poly shut out City. Poly's streak continued through 1921, completing a nine year winning streak, which City broke in 1922 with a 27–0 victory.

In 1926, one of the most famous Poly-City games was played. Prior to the game, the eligibility of City's halfback, Mickey Noonen, was challenged. A committee was formed to investigate Noonen's eligibility, but Noonen's father—frustrated with the investigation—struck one of the members of the committee. The result was that Noonen was not only barred from the team, but also expelled from the Baltimore City school system. In spite of Noonen's removal, the two teams met at the Baltimore Stadiummarker with 20,000 fans in attendance. The game remained scoreless well into the fourth quarter. Finally, Poly's Harry Lawerence—who later became a coach at City—kicked a successful field goal from the 30 yard leading to a 3–0 victory over City.

1930s and 1940s

The 1930s ushered in a period of resurgence for the City team. Poly, which had dominated in the previous two decades, only picked up two wins in the 1930s. In 1934, Harry Lawrence, who had kicked the winning field goal against City in 1926, became the head coach at his former rival. Lawrence led City to a series of victories over Poly through the 1930s and early 1940s. In 1944, the game, which had been played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, was moved to Thanksgiving Day. The change was the result of a scheduling conflict with the Army–Navy Game. The game remained on Thanksgiving Day for nearly 50 years.

Lumsden and Young: 1950s and 1960s

In the 1950s, Poly under its legendary coach, Bob Lumsden for whom Poly's football stadium is named, won five straight games against City and won 9 out of the 10 games of the decade. Lumsden finished with 11–7 record against City, when he retired as head coach at Poly in 1966. In 1962, Lumsden coached 9-0 Poly to the unofficial National High School Championship Game at the Orange Bowl in Miami against the Miami High Stingarees. Poly lost 14-6. However, Poly's fortunes changed in the 1960s, while City was coached by George Young. Young coached his teams to six wins over Poly and as many state championships. One of Young's most memorable victories occurred on Thanksgiving Day 1965 at Memorial Stadiummarker, when undefeated City beat undefeated Poly 52–6, which is the largest margin of victory in the series.

1970s–Present

Throughout the 1970s and well into the 1980s, Poly controlled the series. City lost a total of 17 consecutive games to Poly, before winning in 1987. Poly's dominance during this period is the longest winning streak in the series. In 1993, the Baltimore City public schools withdrew from the Maryland State Athletic association and joined the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA). This change meant that the football season would end earlier forcing Poly and City to move their game from Thanksgiving Day to the first Saturday in November. In November 2007, Poly and City met for the 119th time, which saw a large brawl breaking outside of M&T Bank Stadiummarker afterwards. On November 8th, 2008, Poly and City met for the 120th time.

Robotics

Poly recently formed a robotics team to compete with other Maryland schools. Calling themselves the High Tech Parrots, the members of the Poly robotics team and their coach Ron Hoge created a very functional robot for the 2008 FIRST Competition. The Chesapeake regional event was held March 14 and 15 at the United States Naval Academymarker. Poly kept its robot in the top ten for most of the competition.

Principals/Directors

  • Dr. Richard Grady (1883-1886)
  • Lt. John D. Ford (1886-1890)
  • Lieutenant William King (1890-1921)
  • Dr. Wilmer Dehuff (1921-1958)
  • Claude Burkert (1958-1969)
  • William Gerardi (1969-1980)
  • Zeney Jacobs (1980-1984)
  • Gary Thrift (1984-1985)
  • John Dohler (1985-1990)
  • Barbara Stricklin (1990-1991)
  • Dr. Albert Strickland (1991-1994)
  • Ian Cohen (1994-2003)
  • Sharon Kanter (2003-2004)
  • Dr. Barney Wilson (2004-present)


Notable alumni

Arts, literature and entertainment



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Judiciary/Law Enforcement



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Sports



Notes

External links




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