From Masten Park High School to City Honors:- Table of Contents
Preface | 1973-74
| 1975-76 | 1976
| 1975-80 | 1980-95
| 1995-98 | Staff
A Brief History of City Honors High School From 1975 to 1998
1980-95: The Anelli Era
Curriculum Coordinator Sam Alessi left the program and was appointed Director of Curriculum for the city. The newly appointed principal was Michael J. Anelli, who would oversee the move to the Fosdick-Masten building and guide the school until his retirement in 1995.
One of Anelli’s first priorities was to lessen tension between middle and high schools. He did this by refusing to take part in the raging philosophical debate about acceleration vs. enrichment and by giving high school teachers seventh and eighth grade assignments in order to unify the school. He convinced the middle school to forego using the school colors they had chosen (blue and gold) and adopt the high school colors and alma mater instead.
MICHAEL J. ANELLI
(Photo: 1981 City Honors yearbook)
To further unify the school, he supported school-wide "festivals" like Buffalo as an Architectural Museum and Olympics of the Mind that Creative Resource teacher Chuck LaChiusa organized.
Anelli was a frequent visitor in fifth and sixth grade classes. One of his favorite activities - he was a popular history teacher at Riverside H.S. before he became an administrator - was to read a holiday-relevant excerpt from the Fosdick-Masten Park Chronicles (ancient history to students) at annual Christmas assemblies for grades 5-12.
Anelli encouraged grade levels to hold human relations days off campus. He convinced the high school to hold the annual camping trip in the fall instead of the spring so that the good will that developed at camp would carry over into the rest of the school year.
The school motto, Scientia Causa Scientiae (Knowledge for the Sake of Knowledge), was Anelli's addition.
In an attempt to make the school more of an "honors" school, an entrance exam was added to the admissions process in 1980.
Anelli also formed an academic review committee that, after two years of study and debate, recommended that senior year be given more importance in the high school program; thus, the academic credits for a City Honors diploma were upped from 18 to 22, including a year each of art and music - a highly controversial decision at the time. He encouraged the formation of additional college-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses and oversaw the establishment of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program in 1991. The number of students opting for the IB program grew rapidly because of the quality of the Geneva, Switzerland-developed curriculum, but also because of the skill and dedication of staff members like IB Coordinator Dr. Joseph Shanahan and History teacher John Toy.
Anelli maintained cordial relations with Fosdick-Masten Park alumni, and he often spoke glowingly about the architectural splendor of our building. Another of Anelli’s priorities was completing renovation of the outdated building. Some classrooms were re-sized, some new light fixtures were added, and most importantly, wall-to-wall carpeting was installed throughout the building (except for science labs) helping to combat the atrocious acoustics in high-ceilinged classrooms. Carpeting was a logical choice because, throughout the history of City Honors, beginning at the Main and Delavan building, it has been common for students to sit on the floor in halls or in classrooms to study and to bond.
The present site for City Honors.
The Italian Renaissance building was opened in 1914 after the original building was destroyed by fire in 1912. To see some photos of the original building and a list of the four schools that have occupied the building, click here.
(Photo by C. LaChiusa, 2000)
By the middle of Principal Anelli's tenure, especially with the start of the IB program, it was clear that acceleration had become the driving principle of the school, although there were many vestiges of the earlier enrichment and human relations emphases that, in the eyes of students and teachers, made the school "special."
The number of extracurricular activities at Honors is impressive. Take one small example: music. Each spring, an annual musical or musical review, often involving a cast of a hundred-plus, takes place. Music teacher Carolyn Morgante was largely responsible for establishing the tradition; Ann Mosner continues it. The Marching Band, established and directed by teacher Gary Beuth and supported by an active group of parents, regularly performs in out-of-state parades.
City Honors slowly became an established institution in the public perception. The most common form of publicity for a school is given in newspaper sports pages. The number of city championships and consecutive victories in swimming, girls' volleyball, girls' track, boys' soccer, and girls' track is amazing. The two dominant coaches among many have been Drake Francescone and Mike Wech.
Public awareness about the academic excellence of Honors would be greatly increased the year after Anelli retired.