The town was settled by refugee Huguenots (French Protestants) in 1688 who were fleeing persecution (such as dragonnade) in France . Many of the settlers were artisans and craftsmen from the city of La Rochelle, France, thus influencing the choice of the name of “New Rochelle.”
In 2007, the city had a population of 73,260, making it the seventh largest in the state of New York. As of the 2010 Census, the city’s population had increased to 77,062. In 2008, New Rochelle was recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) as one of the 100 Best Walking Cities in America, and the second best in New York State next only to nearby New York City. In November 2008 Business Week magazine listed New Rochelle as the best city in New York State, and one of the best places nationally, to raise children.
The city is served by the City School District of New Rochelle, which operates a public high school, two junior high schools and ten elementary schools. On seven separate occasions, the City’s schools have received the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education. New Rochelle High School is one of the most diverse high schools in the country; the student body represents over 60 different countries from around the world. The school offers over 240 courses including honors, research and advanced placement courses.
Libraries are operated by the New Rochelle Public Library System which is part of the county-wide Westchester Library System.
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