Townsend Harris High School at Queens College is pleased to announce that it has dedicated its gymnasium to
longtime Athletic Director Wanda Nix. More than 150 students and faculty attended a ribbon‐cutting
ceremony on Saturday, April 21, 2012 for the “Wanda Nix Gymnasium,” led by Principal Kenneth Bonamo and
members of the school’s alumni association.
Wanda Nix, who retired at the end of the last school year, joined the Townsend Harris High School faculty in
1984 when the school reopened 40 years after being closed by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
Ms. Nix served as the Athletic Director for 24 of her years at the school and as Dean for all 27 years, and she
coached many of the school’s sports teams, including the girls’ volleyball and soccer teams. Her teams won
numerous citywide championships.
As a teacher, she was legendary for her rigorous physical fitness programs, and students in her regular
physical education classes were required to complete 50‐minute jogs.
Founding Principal Malcolm G. Largmann called Ms. Nix “model of all that is finest in our profession”. Fellow
longtime physical education instructor Lawrence Ceraulo referred to Ms. Nix as “an outstanding teacher,
mentor, role model and friend.”
Alumni Association Co‐Chairman David M. Herszenhorn, Class of 1990, remarked “No one has more perfectly
defined the ideals of Townsend Harris High School, and the ideals of a humanistic education than Wanda Nix
has, and generations of students, as well as American public education in general, have been the lucky
beneficiaries. When alumni look back at their years at Townsend Harris, which has long defined itself as an
‘intensive academic’ program, invariably they say that their most intensive academic experience was in Ms.
Nix’s class. Her relentless demand for excellence ‐‐ physically, morally, academically ‐‐ set the standard, not
just within the school’s walls but for all of us as we have journeyed on in our lives.”
Prior to joining Townsend Harris, Ms. Nix served in the athletic departments of Thomas Jefferson High School
from 1972 to 1978 and Samuel Tilden High School from 1978 to 1984. While at Jefferson, she served as the
girls' basketball and track teams' coach. She also coached the girls' basketball team at Tilden and served as the
Dean of Students. She was awarded the Townsend Harris Founders' Award in 2011, presented each year to a
member of the Townsend Harris family who has contributed over his or her lifetime towards the development
of Townsend Harris High School‐ its goals, ideals and spirit.
About Townsend Harris High School
Townsend Harris High School at Queens College is a public secondary school located in Flushing, Queens. The
school’s honored past began in 1848 as the New York Free Academy, the first municipal institution of free
higher education. Free Academy later became the City College of New York. The "introductory year" of the
Free Academy grew into Townsend Harris High School which flourished until 1942 when it was closed by
Mayor LaGuardia because of budgetary constraints. In 1984, Townsend Harris was reopened with a new
location and student body but the same spirit and desires as before. The school has won numerous accolades
and was named the Best High School in New York City by the New York Post.