Southdown School's top students in February were honored. (Darin Reed photo.)
Southdown School's top students in February were honored. (Darin Reed photo.)

February’s Southdown School Stars Recognized

March 13, 2023

February’s Stars of the Month at Southdown Primary School are an exceptional group of boys and girls who are all working very hard and getting along great with their teachers and classmates.

Southdown opened its doors to the community in September 1954 and has been serving Huntington UFSD uninterrupted ever since. It’s “graduates” have excelled in every academic discipline and career field over the past 69 years. It’s an incredible history of excellence that continues to this very day.

One Southdown student is selected monthly from every class in the building for formal recognition. They are stars in every possible way.

February’s award recipients include:

Universal pre-kindergarten: Brandon Cabrera Zavala; Kindergarten: John “Trace” Fulton, III, Isaiah Booker, Yamileth Peraza Sibrian, Rubina Jamaluddin; First grade: Angel Reyes Molina, Talia Bash, Gabriela Lazo, Fiona Costanzo; Second grade: Anthius “Tyler” Vanbrakle, Aleks Sarkisian, Malachi Allen; Third grade: Stiven Ordonez Rubio; Harrison Weston; Evelyn Sanchez Cartagena; Alexander “Alex” Aversano; Triana Lucero Aguilar

Southdown School has served the community well over the years. It’s history is an interesting one. When Huntington School Board members realized the district was nearing a desperate need for a school in its northwest corner, trustees lined up the purchase of an eight acre parcel carved from what was then known as the McKesson-Brown property, which featured vast open fields stretching from Southdown Road to the beach.

The district paid $38,000 for the land, which once formed a large tract surrounding George McKesson Brown’s 40-room mansion at Coindre Hall. Mr. Brown made his millions in the pharmaceutical industry. He lost much of it when the stock market crashed in late 1929.

District officials found that two other schools would be needed to service the northeast and southwest areas, too. Sites for those schools were evaluated and selected and an architect was engaged to draw up plans for three virtually identical buildings that would soon be known as sister schools.

Construction of the three schools was pegged at $544,000 each, respectively. Along with the purchase prices of the land that would eventually be the sites of Southdown and Washington schools (the Flower Hill parcel was purchased earlier), district residents were asked to approve five separate propositions to fund construction and land acquisition. The propositions totaled $1.73 million.

A district meeting was called for Wednesday, June 17, 1953 at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Robert K. Toaz Junior High School. It was there that residents gave the green light to proceed, approving all five proposals. Trustees gave a nod to final plans for the three schools in August 1953 and construction bids were accepted in the Village Green School auditorium on Thursday evening, September 25, 1953.

The district then sold bonds and had architectural drawings approved by officials in the State Education Department. When construction began on October 1, 1953 the building today called Southdown was known as Brown’s Road School. Before it opened the School Board decided that new buildings north of 25A should be named after the area in which they were situated and the ones south of Main Street should be named in honor of presidents, thus Southdown, Flower Hill and Washington elementary schools were born.

Frederic P. Wiedersum was Southdown’s architect and Paul J. Roche, Inc. served as the general contractor. Courter & Company, Inc. was the heating and ventilating contractor and Charles A. Mulligan served as the electrical contractor.

Although construction was not yet complete, the district began utilizing Southdown in September 1954 as 340 students packed 12 rooms, with the thirteenth room being used as a library.

Southdown was officially dedicated on September 18, 1954 with School Board President Richard McCormack presiding. An open house was held beginning at 1 p.m. with the public invited to tour the gleaming new structure. A formal ceremony was held at 4 p.m. after earlier ones the same day at Flower Hill (2 p.m.) and Washington (3 p.m.) School trustees and teachers were on hand to answer questions. Representatives of the district’s architectural firm and the contractors that built the structures were also present. District PTA organizations helped plan the ceremonies.