Discover the Largest High School in Pennsylvania (And Notable Alums)

Written by Kathryn Koehler
Updated: September 15, 2023
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Beautiful front doors flanked by turrets lend it the nickname The Castle on The Hill. Inside, its bustling corridors are filled with 5,500 brimming young minds, each harboring dreams of a brighter future. Yet, behind the imposing facade, a complex tapestry of challenges weaves its way throughout the school. As Pennsylvania‘s largest high school, Reading Senior faces numerous issues. However, inside the castle’s walls, there exists a sense of determination and a commitment to surmounting the odds. Educators rally together and students defy expectations.

The Largest High School in Pennsylvania is Reading High School.

Journey with us as we discover the largest high school in Pennsylvania and its notable alums.

Reading Senior High School’s front turrets lend it the nickname

The Castle on The Hill


©Justin Waits, CC BY 2.0 – License

Reading Senior High School at a Glance

What is the largest high school in Pennsylvania?Reading Senior High School
Where is it located?Reading, Pennsylvania (pronounced Red-ing)
When was it established?1927
What type of school is it?4 year Public High School
How many students are enrolled?5,500
What other names does it go by?Red Knights, The Castle on the Hill
What are the school colors?Red and Black
What is the student to teacher ratio?22/1
What is the graduation rate?72%
Does it offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses?Yes

Where is Reading High School on a Map?

This high school can be found northwest of the town of Philadelphia. It is just over an hour drive on Highway 422. The town of Reading is almost a mirror reflection of Pittsburg’s location in the state. If you are lookin at flying into the area, the high school is about 15 minutes from the local Reading Regional Airport (RDG).

The Town of Reading

Reading Pennsylvania (pop. 95,000) is part of the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. It has a rich history rooted in the industrial revolution. It was a significant hub for manufacturing during the 19th and early 20th centuries. In fact, iron production was Reading’s claim to fame. The development of railroads and canals along the Schuylkill River played a crucial role in shaping the town. Reading’s history as an industrial town has left a lasting impact on its identity and development. However, today, the area’s economy is driven by agriculture, industry, and healthcare.

Reading Senior High School

As a large urban high school grappling with limited resources, Reading Senior High School navigates myriad challenges which are reflected in the statistics. Limited resources impinge the school’s ability to keep classrooms up-to-date, and restrict the availability of extracurricular activities, counseling services, and special education support. Reding Senior High School also has issues attracting and retaining top-notch faculty. Such challenges are evident in the school’s statistical analysis. The faculty and staff at Reading High are a reminder of the remarkable strength of the human spirit and the unyielding belief in the transformative potential of education. Along with the students, hope rings through the corridors of Reading High.


Reading’s graduation rate of 72%, places it in the bottom 50% of public high schools in Pennsylvania. Minority enrollment at Reading is 95%. Economically disadvantaged students make up 84% of the student body. The school falls woefully short in its math, reading, and science proficiency scores which all fall well below 50%. Addressing these multifaceted challenges is an ongoing struggle at Reading High. It’s best to remember, however, that statistics are but one facet of a school’s life. Though Reading’s numbers may fall short, the school has much to celebrate. Like the 275 Reading High students who pass at least one AP exam annually. Small victories.

Stack of colorful textbooks with gold lettering on spines. The books are all labeled with high school classes: English, Mathematics, physics, Chemistry, History, Literature, and geography. The books are textbooks isolated on white background

Reading’s graduation rate of 72%, places it in the bottom 50% of public high schools in Pennsylvania.

©Oleksiy Mark/


Beyond the physical benefits, participation in high school athletics promotes qualities such as teamwork, discipline, leadership, and resilience. High School sports provide a platform for building camaraderie, a sense of belonging, and school spirit. Athletics also offer physically talented students an arena in which to shine. Gifted athletes are also likely to receive scholarships to colleges and universities, which are the avenues to major league contracts and endorsements. Reading High’s nickname is Red Knights. The school’s colors are red and black. Reading has the usual sports teams. These include baseball, basketball, bowling, football, field hockey, golf, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. The Red Knights boys’ basketball team has brought home state championships in 2017, 2021, and 2023.


Extracurricular activities cover a range of pursuits that students engage in outside of the regular academic curriculum. Participating in these activities allows students to enhance their social, leadership, and teamwork skills while pursuing their passions and contributing to a well-rounded educational experience. Reading High doesn’t offer a lot of extracurricular activities, but the ones it offers are incredibly diverse and fascinating. From Aevidum, a suicide prevention group, to Baba Na Kaka International, a humanitarian aid organization, Reading students have 20 different clubs and activities from which to choose.

Reading Senior High School: Notable Alums

Since its founding in 1927, Reading Senior High School has had its share of notable alumni. From politicians and entertainers to all-star athletes, Reading has been responsible for educating some famous folk. These include:

  • Sian Barbara Allen: A 1964 graduate of Reading, Allen has had a lengthy career as a Hollywood actress.
  • Thomas Caltagirone: Caltagirone was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1977-2020. He graduated from Reading in 1961
  • Manny Guzman, Jr.: Guzman replaced Caltagirone in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Guzman graduated in 2006.
  • Stu Jackson: A 1974 graduate of Reading High, Jackson served as head coach of the New York Knicks.
  • Maurio McCoy: McCoy, a 2014 graduate, is a professional skateboarder.
  • Lenny Moore: A 1952 graduate of Reading, Moore was a professional football player. Moore was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1956. A seven-time Pro Bowler, he was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
  • Lonnie Walker IV: Walker is a professional basketball player. While at Reading High, Walker won a variety of awards and titles including Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball. As of 2023 he plays for the Brooklyn Nets.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Justin Waits, CC BY 2.0 – License / Original

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About the Author

Kathryn Koehler is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her focus is on unusual animals, places, and events. Kat has over 20 years of experience as a professional writer and educator. She holds a master's degree from Vanderbilt University. When she is not writing for A-Z-Animals, Kat enjoys puttering in her garden, baking deliciously healthful treats for her family, and playing with her two rescue mutts, Popcorn and Scooter. She resides in Tennessee.

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