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William A. Shine Great Neck South High School (commonly Great Neck South or GNSHS) is an Americanmarker top public four-year high school. It is located in Lake Successmarker, serving students in grades 9 through 12. However, GNSHS is officially listed in Great Neckmarker. Great Neck South is one of three high schools in the Great Neck School District, which includes Great Neck North High Schoolmarker and Village Schoolmarker. Great Neck South offers its 1,303 students 19 varsity sports, 26 Advanced Placement courses, an independent study program to explore academic pursuits, and career training. A school publication, the Southerner, reports on athletics, academic and extracurricular issues, and news of the school and community.

Newsweek ranked Great Neck South High School 55th in its 2009 list of the 1,500 Best High Schools in America for a rating of 4.564 (the school has been cited in Newsweek's public school rankings on several other occasions). In the U.S. News & World Report 2009 ranking of American High Schools, Great Neck South was ranked 49th in the nation, making it one of only 100 schools awarded a 'Gold Medal' and the highest ranked school on Long Island. The school is the only large high school in the percentage of test-takers receiving 3 or better on the AP Psychology test.

The music program has earned international, national, and state awards. The choral program results in a full-scale opera. The Great Neck South High Opera Theater is probably the only known public high school opera company in the U.S. The department was selected in years 2007, 2005, and 2003 as a Grammy Signature School, rendering it among the top 40 high school music programs in the U.S. as determined by a panel from the Grammy Foundation. It has also been named a Grammy Signature School Finalist (top 100) in 2005, 2004 and 2003. The Great Neck District was selected as one of the top "100 Best Communities for Music Education in America 2005" by the American Music Conference. The Great Neck South High School Chamber Music Society has been selected as a winner of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society's "Young Musicians' Program" Chamber Music Competition on seven occasions (2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 & 1998).


The biggest real estate deal of all was the acquisition in 1949 of the 124 acre South complex in Lake Success from the former estate of Henry Phipps, steelmaster and one-time partner of Andrew Carnegie. His mansion and nine acres were gifted to the district by the Phipps heirs and is now the Phipps Administration Building. The rest of the property was purchased for $279,000. In 1958, Great Neck Senior High School was renamed Great Neck North High Schoolmarker to differentiate it from the district's new Great Neck South High School. Prior to 1979, Great Neck South High School included Grades 10 through 12. But in 1980, Grade 9 was added to the high school. In 2006, the school was renamed to honor Dr. William A. Shine for his respected status that he had to the Great Neck School District.


The Sign of William A.
Shine Great Neck South High School
Great Neck South operates on a 7:59 a.m. to 2:33 p.m. schedule. This includes nine periods of instruction. The students are provided with educational opportunities which include Regents, special education and TESL. Great Neck South curriculum offers 26 Advanced Placement (AP) classes for students, the most popular of which are AP Psychology, AP United States History, and AP English Language and Composition. 558 Great Neck South students participate in the school's AP Program. Students are offered honors (H) and accelerated courses as well. The AP courses include:
  • Art
    • Art: 2D
    • Art: Drawing
  • Art history
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Economics
    • Economics: Macro
    • Economics: Micro
  • English
    • English Language & Composition
    • English Literature & Composition
  • French
  • Government
    • Government & Politics: US
  • History
    • History: European
    • History: United States
    • World History
  • Italian
  • Latin
    • Latin: Literature
  • Mathematics
    • Math: Calculus AB
    • Math: Calculus BC
  • Music
    • Music Theory
  • Physics
    • Physics B
    • Physics C: E&M
    • Physics C: Mechanics
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
    • Spanish Language
  • Statistics

Students take major sequences in several fields of study which are required for graduation. In addition, students elect many others according to their abilities, interests, and future plans. The music and choral programs are well-known and students with an interest can participate. Students are offered an independent study program to explore their own academic pursuits, guided by a teacher. Students are offered eight languages, including Mandarin Chinese and American Sign Language, and remedial education.

The majority of South High students (more than 83%) achieve a B average or better. However, only a small percentage of South High students (10%) were recognized as finalists or received Letters of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Almost 98% of recent South High School graduates entered college.

Career training

The CO-OP Program offers students an opportunity to receive paid on-the-job training in each student's selected area of interest. Arrangements are made with cooperating employers to provide training to students in conjunction with part-time employment. Opportunities are offered in any of the three following noted areas: Industrial Co-op Business Co=op Distributive Co-op. School credit is given toward graduation for the work experience of 600 hours per calendar year.

Career internship program

This program provides an opportunity for students to experience a career or field of interest before they leave the high school environment. Every student will have the opportunity to select their individual internship. This community based learning experience will allow students to become familiar with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in a profession or career while developing future goals as an enhancement of classroom learning. Juniors and Seniors will have the opportunity to: develop workplace readiness skills and self awareness, personal talents and abilities, learn to apply information about the work world, learn by doing, focus on strengths, explore opportunities and develop overall skills necessary to be successful in careers and life long learning. This is an after school, volunteer program.


Students electing skill training in any of the following courses will receive three credits per year toward graduation. Enrolled students spend 2 1/2 hours per day at the BOCES Skill Center either in the morning or afternoon sessions. The remainder of the day is spent in the home school enrolled in courses necessary to meet graduation requirements. Students' transportation from the home school to the BOCES Center is provided by the Great Neck Public Schools.

  • Animal Care
  • Automotive
  • Business Services
  • Child Development
  • Large Animal Care
  • Computerized Tech
  • Cosmetology
  • Carpentry
  • Graphic Design
  • Habilitation/Rehab.
  • Nurse Assisting
  • Small Animal Care
  • Veterinary Tech
  • Computer Numerical
  • Construction Electricity
  • Building Maintenance
  • Culinary Arts
  • Fashion Design Tech
  • Construction Trades
  • Video Prod. & Comm.
  • Police Science
  • Refrig. Air cond.
  • Aviation
  • Health Skills
  • Med. Assisting
  • Nail Technology
  • Dental Assisting
  • Welding

Alternative educational and Special education programs

Great Neck South is a comprehensive public high school. Therefore, it is required to meet the needs of students who are at-risk of failing academically. These programs listed below are designed for them. Some students who are at-risk may be asked to leave Great Neck South to attend a special education school, special class operated by another school district or other in-district special education program. Parents are urged to look at these programs to determine if these are in the best interest of their child. If Great Neck South fails in providing the best interest for the child, parents are urged to use their "due process procedures" to challenge the school for not providing a "Free Appropriate Public Education" that is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • Village Schoolmarker (Alternative high school) - Program within the school district designed for at-risk students. However, once they begin this program they are no longer a student at Great Neck South.
  • SEAL Academy (District-wide alternative high school program) - Very structured program within the school district also designed for at-risk students. Students will receive a Great Neck South diploma.
  • Peak Experience - School-within-a-school. The Peak Experience Program is located at Great Neck South High School. The Peak Experience student is committed to a two-year program beginning in 9th grade. It is designed to meet each student’s academic and behavioral needs based on their IEP goals. The Peak Experience classroom enhances each student’s individual potential through a collaborative effort with guidance, the psychology team, and outdoor education. Parent groups and ongoing communication with the classroom teacher and School Psychologist are established as an essential aspect of the program. Functional Behavioral Assessments are developed and utilized with each student.
  • Academic and Career Education (ACE) - This program is designed to meet both the academic and career needs for students whose abilities are limited. Academics are offered in the morning, while the afternoon is devoted to career development, vocational training and on-site employment within the community. The program is served at Great Neck North High Schoolmarker.
  • Resource Room
  • Special class (Individual Development)
  • Aide

School threat

A student posted a threat on an Internet site late Sunday (April 22, 2007) against the school. This brought to the superintendent, Ronald L. Friedman's attention at 1:15 a.m. Monday (April 23, 2007) through the police department. Friedman conferred with Mr. Ross, Principal, Mrs. Berkowitz, School Board President, and various law enforcement officials on an ongoing basis throughout the night. Using technology and following district protocols, by 4 a.m. they had determined the identity of the student involved. The police acted immediately and made an arrest. Both the law enforcement system and the Great Neck School District consider such threats to be extremely serious matters and act accordingly.

School policies

If students engage in smoking inside the school building, on school ground, in the school bus, or at any school function or activity for three times, they are permanently suspended from school. Students can easily walk outside of school ground to smoke, as Great Neck South is an open campus; students are allowed to leave school supervision during school hours. However, there are restrictions to the open campus policy since the school is further from the shopping areas and a car is necessary to go out to lunch.

Student driving

Students in the 12th grade only will be permitted to participate in the Open Campus Privilege during the 4th quarter, as long as their behavior warrants. The South campus is closed for all student drivers until the start of the 4th quarter. Seniors are then allowed to drive off campus during the school day under the following conditions:

  • Explicit and verified permission will be required from a parent or guardian.
  • Seniors and parents must have attended a driver safety session prior to the 4th quarter, at which a safe driving contract will be signed.
  • Only students with two or more consecutive periods of free time will be able to drive off the campus during the day.
  • No more than one passenger, seniors only, will be permitted. Passengers must also have parental permission and consecutive periods free.
  • Drivers and passengers will be issued a laminated pass, prepared and approved by the Dean, which they will drop off with the security guard upon leaving the campus during the day.
  • Students who have driven unsafely on campus at any time will be denied the 4th quarter driving privilege.

Student clubs and activities

Students form new clubs by finding an advisor on staff and prepare a proposed charter explaining the purpose of the club. They must provide a list of at least ten interested students. This proposal should be submitted to the Principal for approval before it is sent to the Board of Education and Superintendent for final approval. Student activities such as interscholastic sports are offered by the school.


  • Academic Outreach
  • Academic Team
  • African-American Culture Club
  • American Sign Language
  • Animal Awareness
  • Anime
  • Art/Photo Club
  • Asian Arts and Crafts
  • Asian Culture Society
  • Asian Games
  • Astronomy Club
  • Autism Awareness
  • A.W.A.R.E. (All Ways Are Really Exceptional)
  • Botany Club
  • Boys Athletic Association
  • Canadian Culture Club
  • Chamber Music Society
  • Christian Seekers Club
  • Chess Club
  • Class of 2009
  • Class of 2010
  • Class of 2011
  • Class of 2012
  • Community Action
  • Culinary Club
  • Debate/Forensic Team
  • DECA (Distributive Education Club of America Club)
  • Drama Club
  • Economics & Investments Club
  • Electronics Athletics Club
  • Environmental Club
  • Exit 33 (Literary Magazine)
  • Fashion Club
  • South High Film Society
  • Frisbee Club
  • Future Educators of America
  • Gay Straight Alliance
  • Girls Varsity Club
  • Glamour Girls
  • Global Angels
  • Global Village
  • Government Club
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hebrew Culture Club
  • Hispanic Culture Club
  • Interact (Rotary) Club
  • International Club Council
  • Irish Culture Club
  • Italian Culture Club
  • Jazz Band
  • Key Club
  • Knitting Forever Club
  • Math Fair
  • Math Team
    • Great Neck South has a strong math program which is shown in the ranking of its math team in state and county math leagues. The math team is part of the Nassau County Interscholastic Math League [233728] where it has placed 1st in six of the past seven years; 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, it also placed 2nd in 2004. During the Spring 2006 UTD/UWW Mathematics Meet the math team has also placed 2nd out of 538 teams.
  • The Midnight Run
  • Mock Trial
  • The Mosaic (Foreign Language Literary Magazine)
  • Music
  • Native American Trust Organization
  • Peer AIDS Educators
  • Peer Drug Educators
  • Persian Culture Club
  • Post-Production Club
  • Program Outreach
  • Robotics Club
  • Russian Culture Club
  • S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions)
  • S.A.V.E. (Students Against Destructive Decisions)
  • Science Olympiad
    • The school's Science Olympiad team has in the past been one of the strongest in the region. It has participated in the Western Long Island division for at least 21 years and moved on to state-level competition 14 of those years by placing in top 5 or 6, depending on how many teams are chosen for state-wide competition in a given year. The team has placed top 10 each year, with the exception of 2009, and received bronze, silver or gold medals nine times. In 2005, the school sent two teams into competition for the first time. The following year, in 2006, both Team 1 and Team 2 placed top 10 in 7th and 8th place respectively. A third team was created in 2008.
  • SCOPE (School and Community Outreach)
  • Set Design
  • Southerner
    • It is a student-run newspaper.
  • S.P.E.C.S. (Students Putting an End to Cancer)
  • Sports Medicine Club
  • Student Government
  • Table Tennis
  • Technology
  • Theater South
  • VISTA Yearbook
  • Webmasters Club


Interscholastic sports

As of 2009, the school offers 12 varsity sports teams for boys and 18 varsity sports teams for girls. The school also offers 8 junior varsity teams for boys and 10 junior varsity teams for girls. These sports include badminton, cross country, football, soccer, basketball, bowling, fencing, swimming, track, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, golf, cheerleaders, field hockey, gymnastics and softball.

Varsity Gymnastics (Girls)
On February 7, 2009, the girls in the varsity Gymnastics team traveled to Cold Spring Harbor High School to compete in a major event with gymnasts from all over Nassau County. The Great Neck South Gymnastics program has progressed incredibly within the past year. In past years, the Great Neck South Gymnastics team was always on the bottom end of the list only winning on average 1 out of 9 meets in their season. At this county meet, many of the girls on the Great Neck South Gymnastics team were able to take top places on many of the events.

Varsity Fencing (Boys)
The Great Neck South High School boys' fencing team won the Nassau County High School Tournament held on February 7, 2009 at Great Neck North High School. All nine Nassau County high schools with varsity fencing programs (Great Neck South, Great Neck North, Manhasset, Jericho, Oyster Bay, Cold Spring Harbor, Wheatley, Garden City and Hewlett) participated in the round robin tournament.

Varsity Swimming (Boys)
For the first time in school history, the Great Neck South Rebels captured the Nassau County High School Swimming and Diving Championship. After completing an undefeated season in dual-meet competition, the Rebels easily won the Division B title on January 31. That left one more team goal to be accomplished --- the Section VIII title on February 6 and 7. Under the aegis of coach Andy Berlin, senior superstars led the team to victory over top-ranked Jericho High School, and perennial power, the reining champions, Long Beach High School.

Blazing Trails 4-Autism 4-Mile Run/Walk

Great Neck South has hosted the Blazing Trails 4-Autism on their campus.Walk> Run/Walk; URL accessed November 6, 2009. In 2009 the Run/Walk has been selected to be a part of the USATF-Long Island Grand Prix of Long Island Road Races.Walk/>



The student body in the 2007-2008 school year consisted of:
  • 0 American Indian or Alaska Native students or 0% of the student body
  • 30 Black or African American students or 2% of the student body
  • 77 Hispanic or Latino students or 6% of the student body
  • 443 Asian or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students or 34% of the student body
  • 753 White students or 58% of the student body
  • 0 Multiracial students or 0% of the student body

The student population at Great Neck South is predominantly White, with a large Asian American minority and smaller Hispanic and Latino Americans and African American minorities. Approximately 146 will be classifed as Special Ed. Approximately 40 will be receiving TESL services. Approximately 6.5 Free/Reduced Lunch (6.5% in 2008).

Great Neck South's population is increasing from 1333 to 1359 (52.5% male, 47.5% female).[233729] Data Summary for 2008-09, accessed September 25, 2009

  • Grade 9: 309
  • Grade 10: 344
  • Grade 11: 346
  • Grade 12: 356

From the 2009 senior class, 290 students graduated, while seven students did not. However, eight students in the 2009 senior class were not enrolled.

Notable alumni


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