Bridgewater-Raritan High School

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Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School
Bridgewater-Raritan High School.PNG
Pursuing Excellence in Education
600 Garretson Road
Bridgewater Township, NJ, 08807
United States
Type Public high school
Established 1950s; reopened 1995
Principal Mark Morell
Assistant principals Dr. Michael Godown
James Argondizzo
Karen Jones
Roy Dragon
Faculty 220.7 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2,835[1] (as of 2012-13)
Student to teacher ratio 12.85:1[1]
Color(s) Black, red and silver
Athletics conference Skyland Conference
Team name Panthers

Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School (commonly abbreviated as BRHS) is a four-year comprehensive public high school. It is the lone secondary school of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from Bridgewater Township and Raritan in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. The school has been recognized by the Blue Ribbon Schools Program,[2] the highest award an American school can receive.[3][4]

As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,835 students and 220.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.85:1. There were 151 students (5.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 45 (1.6% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

History and symbols[edit]

Until the 1950s, high school students from the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District attended Somerville High School and Bound Brook High School.[citation needed] Bridgewater-Raritan High School was constructed in the late 1950s, with Dr. Norman A. Gathany serving as the school's first principal. Increasing enrollments in the early 1960s led to the construction of a second high school, which was named Bridgewater-Raritan High School East (The Minutemen), while the original high school was renamed Bridgewater-Raritan High School West (The Golden Falcons). Declining enrollments led to their consolidation into a single high school during the 1990s. The former High School West was expanded and updated over a period of several years, during which all of the district's high school students attended what had been High School East. In 1995, the former High School West reopened as the new consolidated Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and High School East became the district's Middle School.

The mascot of BRHS is the panther. BRHS's school colors are black and silver, with red serving as an accent color. The red in uniforms of the past has been mostly replaced by black, white and silver. The football, baseball, boys lacrosse, girls basketball, and various other teams have eliminated red from their uniforms. A minority of teams, including boys basketball and boys cross country, have continued use of red as an accent color. The uniforms for the marching band are black and red with silver buttons and helmets.

The high school's football field is named "Basilone Field", named for John Basilone, a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor who grew up in Raritan. On the wall of the field house next to the field is a mural honoring Basilone.[5]

The high school offers classes ranging from AP European History to Introduction to Culinary Arts.

In December 2009, two minors, a 16-year-old Bridgewater-Raritan student and a 17-year-old student from nearby Immaculata High School, were arrested in connection with an alleged Columbine-like plan to attack the school.[6][dated info]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

During the 1999–2000 school year, Bridgewater-Raritan High School was recognized with the Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.[2]

For the 1997–98 school year, Bridgewater-Raritan High School was named a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve.[7]

BRHS is one of only three high schools in the state of New Jersey to have received both awards.[8]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 36th in New Jersey and 1,190th nationwide.[9] In Newsweek's May 22, 2007 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Bridgewater-Raritan High School was listed in 983rd place, the 29th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[10]

The school was the 76th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology.[11] The school had been ranked 113th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 67th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[12] The magazine ranked the school 91st in 2008 out of 316 schools.[13] The school was also ranked 83rd in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[14] In previous years, the school had been ranked in the 20's in the same ranking. Following publication of the 2006 New Jersey Monthly article, the school's principal issued a public statement explaining changes in the magazine's ranking methods that altered the school's standing, and generally criticizing the ranking methodology.[15] ranked the school tied for 83d out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 20 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (89.0%) and language arts literacy (96.1%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[16]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 442nd in the nation among participating public high schools and 37th among schools in New Jersey.[17]


Bridgewater-Raritan High School offers an extensive range of music programs.


Led by John Wilson, The award-winning Bridgewater-Raritan High School choral program ensembles compete and perform regularly and are often awarded with superior ratings. There are three curricular choirs: the Mixed Choir and two choirs that require an audition Select Women's Ensemble and Symphonic Choir. There are three extra-curricular auditioned ensembles, the Men's Ensemble, the Glee Club and the Lorelei women's ensemble. Choirs at BRHS often collaborate with other ensembles, most recently having performed the Mozart Requiem with the Central New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, the Chamber Choir participated in a concert of Brazilian music at Westminster Choir College. In the spring of 2008, the BRHS Chamber Choir performed Joseph Haydn's Kleine Orgelmesse with Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Andrew Megill at Drew University's Dorothy Young Center for the Arts.[18]


The orchestras travel the region attending various festivals and events and is led by teacher Joseph Lalumia.

The orchestra program boasts high student enrollment and achievement. The ensembles annually approach serious orchestral literature, recently performing movements from Sibelius' Fifth Symphony. Past achievements include performing at Carnegie Hall in March 2008 along with the school's Wind Ensemble. In competition, ensembles have received ratings of superior. There are two curricular orchestral ensembles, the Concert Orchestra and the auditioned Symphonic Orchestra.


The school's wind ensemble has performed in the State Gala concert numerous times within the past decade, with multiple performances in the featured evening portion. The wind ensemble has also been invited to perform at the Mid-Atlantic Wind Band Festival. The symphonic band and wind ensemble have performed at Carnegie Hall for the Eastern Wind Symphony Symphonic Gala in March of 2013. Since 2002 BRHS has won three NJAJE state jazz band titles, eight NJ state marching band championships, four BOA regional class championships. In the fall of 2012, the BRHS marching band finished 18th in the nation as BOA semi-finalist and was awarded the national Espirit de Corps award, the highest placement of a NJ band in the history of Bands of America.

Extracurricular clubs[edit]

The high school currently has many ongoing clubs and activities, including a newly formed Model United Nations club and a long running Forensics Speech and Debate Team. In the past, the Forensics team has had National Championship qualifiers, as well as numerous state champions and one national champion. The school also has an Academic Team and Math League.

BRHS also is the home of Team 303 in the FIRST Robotics Competition, TEST Team 303. At the 2007 FIRST Robotics Challenge World Championships in Atlanta, GA, Team 303 ranked 23 in their division out of the 1500+ teams from across the globe that had attended the event. At the 2010 New Jersey Regional Competition, Team 303 were semifinalists. In the 2011 season the team won both the New Jersey and Philadelphia Regional Competitions, and were division quarter-finalists at the championships in St. Louis. In 2013, Team 303 ranked third in the Newton Division, and went on to win the Division against the number one alliance. The following year, Team 303 won the Chairman's Award at the Clifton District Event and at the Mid Atlantic Regional Championship, advancing them to the World Championship.

The school's honor societies include the National Honor Society and various language Honors Societies.

In the past decade, the high school has expanded its Peer Mediation program, training approximately 20 new mediators a year and student conflicts have followed a consistent downward trend since the program's inception.

The school's mock trial team has made the county playoffs in the annual tournament and achieved the Somerset County Title in 2005.

The Weightlifting Club includes over 60 trainees and several trainers. In the past there have also been BRHS delegations that participated in weightlifting and powerlifting competitions.

BRHS has two Envirothon teams which operate through the school but are almost entirely student-run. They joined the competition in the 2006 season. In the 2008, BRHS expanded to include a second team. Later that year Team One finished first in the New Jersey division and earned 14th out of 55 in The Canon Envirothon (which includes teams from the U.S. and Canada).[19] In the 2009 season, Team One earned 6th and Team Two earned 11th at the New Jersey regional.

In addition to the Envirothon team, BRHS has a Science Olympiad team which had placed 6th regionally at the Princeton University Regional Competition. At states, they placed at the top 20 teams in 2009. The club is run by students along with an advisor.

BRTV is a school television program, produced in the school's television studio, that goes out live on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The schedule is: Tuesday - Panther Power Plays; Wednesday - What's up Wednesday; and Friday - BRHS News. Media Communications, an elective, also uses the studio.

BRHS recently created a Science Bowl Team, which has competed in the 2011 and 2012 New Jersey Regional High School Science Bowls held at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

The school's Physics Forum hosts talks from physicists and other scientists who use physics extensively in their work. Past speakers include Dr. Michael Strauss, professor of astrophysics at Princeton University, and Dr. John Parsons, professor of particle physics at Columbia University and collaborator on the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. All talks are open to the public.


Bridgewater-Raritan High School competes in the Skyland Conference, made up of public and parochial high schools covering Hunterdon County, Somerset County and Warren County in west Central Jersey, operating under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[20] With 2,050 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North II, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,087 to 3,896 students in that grade range.[21]

The Bridgewater-Raritan East football team won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III state sectional championships in 1974 and the Central Jersey Group II title in 1989.[22]

The school was recognized as the Group IV winner of the NJSIAA ShopRite Cup in 2005–06. The award recognized the school for achieving a tie for 3rd in Girls Soccer, 1st in Boys Soccer, a tie for 3rd in Girls Volleyball, 2nd in Field Hockey, 1st in Boys Swimming, a tie for 3rd in Boys Lacrosse, 1st in Boys Tennis and 1st in Boys Volleyball.[23]

Kristen Helmstetter broke the girl's basketball record for most points in her high school career, topping her coach's previous record with 1,476 career points.[24]

The boys soccer team won the 2005 Group IV State Championship over Shawnee High School completing the best record the soccer team has ever seen with 23 wins and one loss, finishing the season with a ranking of second in the state and a national ranking of 24th.[25]

In 2006, the boys soccer team repeated as Group IV North II Sectional Champions, defeating Elizabeth High School 3-0.[26]

The boys volleyball won the 2005 State Championship over Clifton High School, 25-20, 21-25, 25-20.[27]

The boys tennis team won the 2005 North II, Group IV state sectional championship with a 4-1 win against Westfield High School.[28] The tennis team won the 2006 Group IV State Championship, defeating Cherry Hill High School East 3-2 in the semifinals and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South 3-2 in the finals to take the title.[29]

The 2007 girls tennis team won the North II, Group IV state sectional championship with a 5-0 win over J. P. Stevens High School in the tournament final.[30] The team moved on to win the Group IV State Championship with a 3-2 win over Montgomery High School in the semifinals and Bergen County Technical High School in the finals by a 4-1 score.[31] The 2003 team lost in the Group IV final to Cherry Hill High School East.[32]

The Boys Swimming team won the 2006 Public A State Championship over Cherry Hill High School West with a score of 88-82, winning their first state championship after going into the final event in a tie.[33] In back to back seasons in 2010 and 2011 the boys swim team took home the New Jersey state championship trophy, defeating Cherry Hill High School East both years.[34]

In 2003, the girls soccer team won the North II, Group IV state sectional championship with a win over Roxbury High School and were Group IV state finalist.[35][36] In 2007, the field hockey team won the North I, Group IV state sectional championship with a 2-0 win over Montclair High School in the tournament final.[37]

The girls soccer team won the North II, Group IV state sectional championship in 2007 with a 2-1 win over Ridge High School in the tournament final.[38]

In 2013, the girls soccer team captured their first ever Group IV State Title after defeating defending champion Montgomery High School 1-0.[39] The team ended the season ranked #2 in New Jersey by the Star Ledger.[40]

The boys lacrosse team won the 2011 Tournament of Champions with a 6-5 win over Summit Senior High School, marking the program's second state title and breaking Summit's 68 game winning streak.[41] The Panthers won their first state lacrosse title in 1998. To begin the 2012 season, the Panthers were ranked 5th in the nation and 1st in the state.[42] They finished the season undefeated at 21-0, extending their overall winning streak to 36 games. Along the way, the Panthers won their second consecutive Somerset County, NJ Group 4, and NJ Tournament of Champions titles, and head coach Chuck Apel achieved his 400th win.[43]


Core members of the school's administration include:[44]

  • Dr. Mark Morrell - Principal[45]
  • Michael Godown - Assistant Principal
  • Roy Dragon - Assistant Principal
  • James Argondizzo - Assistant Principal
  • KarenJones - Assistant Principal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School Data for Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 15, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982–1983 through 1999–2002 (PDF), accessed May 11, 2006.
  3. ^ "CIBA cited as one of the best by Education Department", Journal Inquirer, November 16, 2006. "The Blue Ribbon award is given only to schools that reach the top 10 percent of their state's testing scores over several years or show significant gains in student achievement. It is considered the highest honor a school can achieve."
  4. ^ Viers Mill School Wins Blue Ribbon; School Scored High on Statewide Test; The Washington Post. September 29, 2005 "For their accomplishments, all three schools this month earned the status of Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor the U.S. Education Department can bestow upon a school."
  5. ^ Marines join together to honor one of their own, The Reporter, September 6, 2004.
  6. ^ Stirling, Stephen. "Bridgewater-Raritan High School student accused of threatening 'Columbine'-like attack", The Star-Ledger, December 11, 2009. Accessed june 16, 2011.
  7. ^ BRHS' entry in the Star School winners' database, accessed May 23, 2006.
  8. ^ About, Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Accessed May 23, 2006. Archived February 18, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Bridgewater-Raritan Regional", The Washington Post. Accessed July 15, 2011.
  10. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools", Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  11. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  12. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 26, 2012.
  13. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 31, 2011.
  14. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  15. ^ Memo from James C. Riccobono, Principal, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 9, 2008. Accessed January 1, 2012.
  16. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010–2011, Accessed March 1, 2012.
  17. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013.
  18. ^ About, Bridgewater-Raritan High School choral program. Accessed January 1, 2012.
  19. ^
  20. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  21. ^ 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  22. ^ Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 1, 2012.
  23. ^ Third Annual ShopRite Cup: 2005‐2006 Final Standings, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 2, 2008.
  24. ^ Kristen Helmstetter, Princeton Tigers. Accessed July 15, 2011. "holds the Bridgewater-Raritan school record with 1,476 points"
  25. ^ Staff. "Ref's decision dooms Shawnee", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 19, 2005. Accessed June 16, 2011. "If not for that infraction, the Shawnee boys' soccer team might have won its sixth NJSIAA Group 4 state championship last night. Instead, Bridgewater-Raritan capitalized on the call against Shawnee, which occurred inside the box and led to a successful penalty kick. It was the first goal of the game and the pivotal moment in Bridgewater-Raritan's 2-0 championship victory at the College of New Jersey."
  26. ^ Chodan, Melissa. "Boys Soccer: Bridgewater-Raritan closes in on another crown", Courier-News (New Jersey), November 11, 2006. Accessed March 31, 2011. "The Bridgewater-Raritan High School boys soccer team moved one step closer toward repeating as Group IV state champions Friday. The fourth-seeded Panthers topped third-seeded Elizabeth 3-0 in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group IV championship game and are two wins away from their second straight state crown. "
  27. ^ 2005 Boys Volleyball Tournament, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 1, 2007.
  28. ^ 2005 Boys Team Tennis - North II, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 4, 2007.
  29. ^ 2006 Boys Team Tennis - Public Group Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 30, 2007.
  30. ^ 2007 Girls Team Tennis - North II, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 25, 2007.
  31. ^ 2007 Girls Team Tennis - Public Group Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 25, 2007.
  32. ^ History of NJSIAA Girls Team Tennis Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 31, 2012.
  33. ^ Chodan, Melissa. "BOYS SWIMMING: Bridgewater-Raritan boys win 1st state title", Courier News (New Jersey), February 27, 2006. Accessed June 16, 2011. "A first-place finish was the only thing that would bring the Panthers their first state title and the relay team came through again, winning in 3:14.74, one of its fastest times of the season, and the Panthers win the state title 88-82."
  34. ^ Cabnet, Bob. "Cherry Hill East boys fall in state swimming final", The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 27, 2011. Accessed June 16, 2011. "For the second straight year, Joe Cucinotti, coach of the Cherry Hill East boys' swimming team, could only shake his head in admiration of his opponent, Bridgewater-Raritan, on Sunday at the NJSIAA Public A championship meet."
  35. ^ Frezza, Harry Jr. "Girls Soccer", Courier News (New Jersey), November 19, 2003. Accessed June 16, 2011. "The Bridgewater-Raritan High School girls soccer team, which won its first sectional title since Bridgewater-Raritan East and West merged in 1991, is headed to its first state final."
  36. ^ Staff. "Roxbury displays intensity in loss", Daily Record (Morristown), November 18, 2003. Accessed June 16, 2011. "Lauren Cubas and Mandy Breen scored goals and goalkeeper Heather Linton posted a shutout on four saves in Bridgewater-Raritan's 2-0 win over Roxbury in a Group IV state tournament semifinal game at Wayne Valley High School on Tuesday."
  37. ^ 2007 Field Hockey - North I, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 12, 2007.
  38. ^ 2007 Girls Soccer - North II, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 15, 2007.
  39. ^ Patten, John (20 November 2013). "Soriano Propels Panthers to Group IV Soccer Championship". Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  40. ^ Schneider, Jeremy (22 December 2013). "Girls soccer: Final statewide rankings, 2013". Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  41. ^ Tufaro, Greg. "Panthers upset Hilltoppers: Win TOC title, end Summit's streak", Courier News, June 11, 2011. Accessed July 15, 2011. "The near-capacity crowd of more than 4,000 rose to its collective feet for the frenetic final 60 seconds, which saw Bridgewater-Raritan's air-tight man defense stymie two late scoring chances to preserve a thrilling 6-5 victory that snapped Summit's state-record winning streak at 68 games and gave the Panthers their first TOC title."
  42. ^ Bridgewater-Raritan High School Lacrosse, Accessed May 5, 2012.
  43. ^ Hachey, Chris. "Boys lacrosse state Team of the Year, 2012: Bridgewater-Raritan", The Star Ledger, June 24, 2012. Accessed November 9, 2012.
  44. ^ Telephone Directory, Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Accessed August 26, 2012.
  45. ^ Levine, Audrey. New Principal Talks Goals, School Ranking, Bridgewater Patch. Accessed August 26, 2012.
  46. ^ Goff, Steven. "Recruit Kassel Joins the Terps, At Least for Now", The Washington Post, August 29, 2008. Accessed January 15, 2014. "Although Matt Kassel committed to the Terrapins in 2007 during his junior year at Bridgewater-Raritan (N.J.) High School, he was also the subject of an MLS initiative encouraging clubs to develop homegrown talent."
  47. ^ Eric Murdock, Accessed January 1, 2008.
  48. ^ Staff. "The Daily Goes One-On-One With Jeffrey Vanderbeek", Sports Business Daily, October 7, 2005. Accessed November 20, 2011.
  49. ^ Frezza, Harry. "Vanderbeek named Sportsman of Year", Home News Tribune, January 28, 2008. Accessed June 16, 2011. ""Bridgewater Raritan East High School graduate Jeffrey Vanderbeek knew a bit about hockey before becoming a season ticket holder for the New Jersey Devils ..."
  50. ^ Goodnough, Abby. "IN PERSON; So What Will He Do After November?", The New York Times, September 28, 1997. Accessed March 1, 2012. "That early foray into politics did not hook Mr. Wilson, who said he never even considered participating in student government at Bridgewater-Raritan High School East, playing on the golf team instead."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°35′42″N 74°38′09″W / 40.59501°N 74.635904°W / 40.59501; -74.635904