David Farragut Junior High School (JHS 44) Bronx, New York

Note: A few extra notes and corrections as a result of correspondence with several alumni of JHS 44: Mitch Turbin, Rob Slayton and Larry Pryluck.

Due to a family move between the 8th and 9th grades, I attended two Junior High Schools. My 7th and 8th grades were located within the ancient (19th century) halls of Junior High School 44 which had taken the name of David Farragut, America’s first Rear Admiral and a hero of both the War of 1812 (having enlisted at the age of 12!) and the Civil War. Those of us in the Bronx didn’t know much about New Orleans, so the tales of David Farragut were my first introduction to that exotic place.


Much to the chagrin of the school, its most famous graduate was Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President of John F. Kennedy. Most of us who lived through that event recall exactly where we were at the moment we heard the news. I was in JHS 44’s Wood Shop when the announcement came over the school speaker. I think we went home early that day, although I don’t recall that clearly. Some time later I noticed that one of the names carved into a desk where I sat was Lee Oswald. It may have been the prank of one of my contemporaries, who knows.

If I remember correctly, the school had two graduates more worthy of recall. Dr. Jonas Salk, the inventor of the Polio vaccine, and Hank Greenberg, a rare example of a Jewish major league baseball player.

On a visit to New York City a few years ago, I found myself close enough to 44 to take a walk over and see how the old building was faring. I was surprised (actually) to see that it was still in operation, but it is now an elementary school, grades K-6. It was a little sad. Not exactly my fondest memories to begin with, no one seemed to have the remotest interest in talking about the school’s former glories. So I left without much to show for my interest other than the dying embers of a few more synapses. It turns out that JHS 44 was at least in part an elementary (K-6) school even in my day. Larry Pryluck actually attended K-1 there. I don’t know how many other schools were like this in New York City, combining the youngest school children with middle schoolers, but it would be interesting to discover. Larry then joined me in Mrs. Mitchell’s 2nd grade class at PS 92.

Larry reminded me of another of JHS 44’s distinctions, although it was hardly a credit to the school so much as the neighborhood. Strange as it may seem now, that crumbling part of the Bronx was home to a televsion studio-Biograph Studios. Biograph was the home of Naked City and Car 54 Where Are You? Naked City was a bit before my time, but I remember Car 54 very well. The cast included Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynn, Al Lewis and Nipsey Russell (!). I don’t know how often these guys were seen around the neighborhood, but a few of my family were in the background of scenes shot on Southern Boulevard. Naked City is easily available at this time, but unfortunately Car 54 is out of print as I write this. There is a movie by the same name, but it has the distinction of being rated the worst film since Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space so I wouldn’t recommend it.

David Farragut JHS had a somewhat well-known school song which celebrated its namesake. Although just about every High School has a school song, Junior High songs are not common, and good ones are rare. JHS 44 had had a good music teacher who came up with a song I’d bet would be a candidate for “best in show”. The one time that Google has failed me in recent years is the time that I put in some of the words expecting to find that one of my classmates or teachers had uploaded the words to the song, but nothing turned up. There are gaps in what I recall, so here’s my first attempt. If others can help me fill in the gaps, I’d post a music file to preserve this little memory of a Bronx backwater.

Lets give a cheer for dear old 44

For all the boys and girls who’ve gone before

Lets cheer the green and white

And shout with all our might

For David Farragut!


He sailed the Union fleet right up the bay

He won the battle at Mobile that day


Dear Old Salamander

We praise thy name

Our hearts with love aflame [maybe]

Honor thy great name

Though soon we will graduate

[more gap]

JHS44 in 2010

PS 44 (No longer JHS!) in 2010

119 thoughts on “David Farragut Junior High School (JHS 44) Bronx, New York

  1. I went to JHS44 1952-1955 Does anyone remember PEANUTS best friend was
    TITO hector vazquez we use to play ping pong in the morning

  2. email address jherzb4569@aol looking for anyone 1952-1955JHS44

  3. I attended JHS 44 (Farragut Junior High) from September ’53 to June ’55. I was an “SP” kid and finished grades 7-9 in two years. Mrs. Drill taught math and science and Ms. Byrne taught English and Social Studies.

  4. I started my teaching career in 1969 at 44 as a Spanish teacher. In 1973 the student body moved to the new Lorraine Hansberry IS 167 in West Farms and 44 converted back to an elementary school. I have yearbooks from 1969-1973. I retired from the school system in 2002 and now am a psychologist and Psychology professor. The principal at that time was Martin Roberts and the Assistant Principals were John Ryan and Beatrice Mangin. If there are any of you out there who might have had me for Spanish give me a shoutout at Mjk38@columbia.edu.

  5. Michael, I hope you can reconnect with some of your old students! Thanks for the contribution and glad to hear you have had a successful career.

  6. Graduate of ’66 from JHS44 wanting to thank you on behalf of many long lost classmates whom surely like myself have spent countless hours/days/years seaching.
    Found your (what I believe to be) most recent page with complete song and possibilties to, maybe, reconnect with friends. Thank you.

    Wanted to add if anyone remembers bulletin board by Mr Chicetti’s (principal) office with ship (made from construction paper I think) for students with perfect attendance.
    3 years and you would get rank of admiral. Also Farragut Log when one April fools joke was the escape of Mrs Riggs snake…uff. Aaaand, schedule, floors and flavors water fountains would serve soda…pffff
    Yup, I’m truly grateful recalling how hard I practiced for talent show with friends, Alba and Mary as Diana Ross & Supremes (note: tried hard, haha)
    So many memories unfolding, some good some bad. All lessons….most definitly will keep site under favorites.

  7. Thanks! Pretty sure our principle spelled his name the Italian way–Ciccetti. Not sure of the number of t’s. 🙂

  8. Mr. Koski, I attended JHS 44 from 1969 and graduated in 1972.
    Name was Kenley at that time.

  9. Gwen: I don’t think I had you in any of my Spanish classes in those years. Do you remember some of the names of your teachers while you were at 44?

  10. How great it is to find a bunch of guys and gals who went to Junior High 44. I graduated June of 1941. I found my David G Farraget graduation album with l;ots of picture, and well wishes when Mr. Scoppa was Principal. My graduating homeroom teacher was Mr. Martin J. Glicksberg and I graduated June 24, 1941.

    I still have friends living here in Boynton Beach, Florida who graduated with me, including Helen Mallin (now Haas) Lillian Diamond (now Yormark) . Marvin Horowitz and Jack Bernstein who are both alumni, graduated the same time.

    I lived on 176th street and Marmion and Past the Old Biograf Movie Studios when I waled to and from school. I believe the studio is still there. I believe my building was also a victim of the Cross Bronx expressway.

    I did a lot of singing in those days and was the Class President.
    Miriam Ginsburg was the Vice President, and Vera Berg was the Secretary, with Lillian Diamond being the Treasurer. Class of June 41.

    I would appreciate anyone from those days or any other writing – thanks for creating this site!

  11. Amazing that you remember all this! I’m glad if this web site triggered pleasant memories.
    — Jack Love

  12. wow, I really enjoyed reading this. I went to JHS 44 from 1959/1960 until 1960/1961. I was in the SP’s and was originally supposed to go to Herman Ritter, JHS 98; but they did not have to SP program or else it was too full(not sure)…I remember my Science Teacher Mrs. Riggs and I loved her dearly. I also remember the “Gold Medal Studios”. We used to watch them film Car 54 on our way home. I remember Fred Gwynn and Joe E Ross. One day my friend Donna and I stopped to talk to them. She wanted an autograph but for some reason, we didn’t have any paper with us. She picked up a piece of torn cardboard off the street and handed it to them with a pen. They both signed it, with Fred Gwynn writing on it..”tell your mother to use Beacon Wax”. Looking at it, I am not sure if that was a hint for clean paper, or pure American advertising

  13. Thank you Loves for starting this web site. Like everyone else here, it has opened a floodgate of memories. I’m Jerry Waldman and am here with Chuck Strouchler. We both attended ’56-’59. We hung around with Marvin Rosen, Harriet Kitover, Mike Sternberg, Dorothy Weinstock, Rhoda Chamsky, Larry Gingold and Joyce Miller.
    Some highlights – On the first day of a class with Mrs Thompson, who was going to teach us boys how to sew, Nicky Kandanis (who looked like he was nineteen years old) walked up to her to shake her hand. He started to squeeze her hand real hard and she gave him a judo flip that sent him half way across the room. She never had trouble with us boys for the rest of the year. At the end of that year we modeled the shirts we made on the stage in the auditorium.
    Mrs. Heit who told us ,”This year we will be reading Shakespeare.” The boos and jeers were loud from the back of the room, but in two weeks she had us enraptured with Julius Caesar and left everyone with a fondness for Shakespeare that would mature in later years.
    Mr. Blum, who would say, “You better not leave out the “l” when you spell my name”.) We didn’t have him for math , but in PE he gave the boys one nasty noogi.
    He was also famous for the “Tis Bottle” joke.
    Who could forget Mrs. Grossman who gave us a love of music, especially Gilbert and Sullivan who I still listen to today.
    Alan Mandel, I remember you and Beverly Kirshner, you’re Chuck’s cousin and he says “hi.” Cary Kaplan, chuck thinks you lived in his building.
    Thank you all for the memories,
    Chuck and Jerry

  14. I graduated from JHS 44 in June, 1969. I also went there for kindergarten and first grade. In Sept, 1961the powers that be made 44 a junior h.s. I went to PS 92 for 4th-6th grades. Mrs. Fedi was my 6th grade teacher. She was great.
    Back to JHS 44, Mr. Alliota was my Spanish teacher for 3 years. On my first day in his class he said, “if you’re anything like your sister, you’re okay.” My sister graduated in ’66. She was his favorite. Mr. Culhane was great for phys. ed. He played football after school with everyone in the neighborhood. Good times. Lots more to say, but some other time.

  15. I went to PS 44 from September 1956 through June 1958. I never realized that Lee Harvey Oswald went to PS 44; if true, what an albatross around the school’s neck.
    What I remember about that period was the start of Rock n Roll. We had Rock’s National Anthem, Rock around the Clock, premiere in the movie, Blackboard Jungle. We had the transistor radio and the Alan Freed Show on radio. We had the Alan Freed Rock n Roll Movie with Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers who would visit individual Movie theaters with Alan Freed’s first movie and sing live when it was over. So great!!!
    But the Best was to have the neighbor singers,Dion and the Belmonts, climbing the Music Charts and return of Alan Freed. Mr. Freed was secretly filming his next Rock Movie at the Gold Metal and then threw a Block Party. It seem the students found singer Teddy Randazzo’s Red an White DeSoto and carved their names into his car. Alan promised,on the radio, that if the neighborhood kids would leave the personal property of the singers alone, he would have a block party in two weeks. Besides Good Humor ice cream and soda, he had the singers perform on the balcony of the second floor. Super Great!
    Alan Freed faded away to be replaced by Murray the K and Rock and Roll Shows at the Brooklyn Paramont. The Bronx really Rocked in those few years. I left PS44 in 1958 to go to Cardinal Hayes HS, Vietnam, and graduated Baruch College.

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