Weequahic High School

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Weequahic High School
279 Chancellor Avenue
Newark, NJ 07112
Type Public high school
Established 1933
School district Newark Public Schools
Principal Faheem Ellis
Faculty 64.0 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9 - 12
Enrollment 649[1] (as of 2012-13)
Student to teacher ratio 10.14:1[1]
Color(s) Orange and Brown
Athletics conference Super Essex Conference
Team name Indians
Publication Ergo
Newspaper The Calumet
Yearbook The Legend

Weequahic High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from Newark in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. The school is operated by the Newark Public Schools and is located at 279 Chancellor Avenue. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1935.[2]

As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 649 students and 64.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.14:1. There were 526 students (81.0% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 47 (7.2% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

The school was the 325th-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.[3] The school had been ranked 258th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 310th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[4] The magazine ranked the school 305th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[5] The school was ranked 308th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[6] Schooldigger.com ranked the school 353rd out of 376 public high schools statewide in its 2010 rankings (an increase of 6 positions from the 2009 rank) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the language arts literacy and mathematics components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[7]


Construction of the high school was completed in 1932 and classes began in September 1933.[8] Max J. Herzberg was the first Principal and remained as the leader of the high school for 18 years until his retirement in 1951.[9]

The high school is home to the New Deal era mural "Enlightenment of Man" painted by Michael Lenson who was director of New Jersey mural activities for the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).[10]

The Weequahic section of Newark, which is the neighborhood sending students to the high school, was described as it was in the 1930s and early 1940s by Weequahic alumnus Philip Roth in The Plot Against America.

Weequahic High School has an active alumni association that raises scholarship monies for the students.

A documentary film, Heart of Stone (2009), is about Ron Stone, the recently deceased principal of the high school and his efforts to work with students and further the mission of the high school. This documentary was presented at the Sundance Film Festival and has been shown in selected venues.[11]


The Weequahic High School Indians compete in the Super Essex Conference, which consists of public and private high schools in Essex County and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[12] With 444 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North II, Group I for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 61 to 478 students in that grade range.[13] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2009 realignment, the school had participated in the Hills Division of the Iron Hills Conference.[14] The school's athletic teams are called the Indians and its colors are orange and brown.

The boys basketball team won its first State Group IV Championship in 1962 and repeated as state champions in 1966, 1967, 1973 and 2001.[15] The 1967 team was the number one ranked team in the country. The 2002 Boys Basketball won the North II, Group III state sectional championship, edging West Side High School in the tournament final.[16]

The football team won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II state sectional championship in 2006.[17] The sectional title was the first ever for Weequahic and the first for a Newark high school since 1975. Coach Altariq White was named state Coach of the Year and Amara Kamara was selected as the state Defensive Player of the Year.

Lester Fine was the coach of the basketball team in the 1960s coaching many winning teams. His most successful season was 1966-67 when his team was 26-0 and captured the New Jersey State Championship in its Group. Some of his players went on to play in the National Basketball Association such as Al Attles.

2009 marked the return of the Thanksgiving Day game called the "Soul Bowl" between Weequahic and Malcolm X Shabazz High School, which had last been played in 1988. The 2011 game was the 29th between the two teams, ending in a 27-20 win for Weequahic, which won its fifth consecutive defeat of Shabazz.[18] The football team also had a successful season in during 2011 but fell in the sectional state championship game to Cedar Grove.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

The high school newspaper is The Calumet, the literary magazine is Ergo, and the yearbook is called The Legend. The school's student governing body is the Orange and Brown Association (OBA).


Core members of the school's administration are:[19]

  • Lisa A. McDonald, Principal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School Data for Weequahic High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Weequahic High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 1, 2012. Accessed March 30, 2015.
  3. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  4. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
  5. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 30, 2011.
  6. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  7. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2009-2010, Schooldigger.com. Accessed January 2, 2012.
  8. ^ Staff. "HEADS SCHOOL IN NEWARK.; Herzberg Is Named Principal of New Weequahic High.", The New York Times, September 1, 1933. Accessed January 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Staff. "PRINCIPAL ENDING 44 YEARS' SERVICE; Max J. Herzberg Is Honored by 400 at the Weequahic High School in Newark Speakers at Meeting", The New York Times, May 23, 1951. Accessed January 2, 2011. "Four hundred persons met tonight in the Weequahic High School auditorium here to honor Max J. Herzberg, the school's first principal."
  10. ^ Falkenstein, Michelle. "Creating Murals With Paint And Purpose", The New York Times, August 24, 2003. Accessed January 2, 2011. "Three of Mr. Lenson's New Jersey murals still exist, all in Newark -- the age-darkened History of the Enlightenment of Man at Weequahic High School, 279 Chancellor Avenue; the recently restored History of Newark in the council chambers at Newark City Hall, 920 Broad Street; and The Four Freedoms, an imposing work at the Fourteenth Avenue School, 186 14th Avenue."
  11. ^ Whitty, Stephen. "Weequahic, remembered and (maybe) reborn", The Star-Ledger, March 11, 2009. Accessed January 2, 2012. "In 1960, Newark's Weequahic High School was known as one of the best in the country. By the time Principal Ron Stone took over in 2001, it was one of the worst. What had once been called a "school for strivers" was now seen as a battleground for gangs. What's changed since then and what hasn't and how people have tried to make a difference - despite some tragic disappointments -- is at the core of Heart of Stone, a new documentary."
  12. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  13. ^ 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 November 25, 2014.
  14. ^ Home Page, Iron Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed November 23, 2014.
  15. ^ 2001 - Group II, Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 22, 2007.
  16. ^ 2002 Boys Basketball - North II, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 29, 2007.
  17. ^ Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 1, 2012.
  18. ^ Kinney, Mike. "Weequahic (27) at Shabazz (20) - Football", The Star-Ledger, November 24, 2011. Accessed January 2, 2012. "Hopefully, the Weequahic players conducted themselves a bit more graciously at the table yesterday than they did in the first half of the "Soul Bowl" at Shabazz Stadium in Newark.... Marquis Armstrong rushed for two touchdowns in the first half and helped his squad control the football for 17 minutes in those opening quarters on its way to a 27-20 victory before approximately 4,000.... It also was its fifth straight victory against Shabazz, which leads the overall series 15-12-2."
  19. ^ Administration, Weequahic High School. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Ortner, Sherry B. New Jersey dreaming: capital, culture, and the class of '58, p. 3. Duke University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8223-3108-X. "The most famous graduate of Weequahic High School is Philip Roth, who has written with great ethnographic acumen about the school and the neighborhood in many of his novels (starting with the collection of short stories, Goodbye, Columbus), Other graduates of the school, well known in other circles, include the former basketball star and coach Alvin Attles, a highly placed economist in the Reagen Administration named Robert Ortner (no relation, as far as I know), Feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, and urban sociologist Janet Abu-Lughod (who also happens to be the mother of anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod)."
  21. ^ Johnson, Roy S. "ATTLES COACHES IN A PERSONAL WAY", The New York Times, January 28, 1982. Accessed January 2, 2012. "Attles, who was graduated from Weequahic High School in Newark, concedes that he was not as good at basketball as at baseball. His interests even shifted to football, in which, at 155 pounds, he was a wide receiver and defensive back."
  22. ^ Past Inductees, Newark Athletic Hall of Fame. Accessed January 2, 2012.
  23. ^ The Lifetime Achievement Award: Lester Fein, International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Accessed January 25, 2011.
  24. ^ Mink, Nate. "Temple linebacker Kamara cares", The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 23, 2010. Accessed January 25, 2011.
  25. ^ Witzling , Mara Rose. "+weequahic Voicing today's visions:writings by contemporary women artists, p. 265. Universe, 1994. ISBN 0-87663-640-7. Accessed March 5, 2012. "Barbara Kruger B. 1945... The only child in a lower-middle-class Jewish family, Kruger was born in Newark, New Jersey. She graduated from Weequahic High School and, in 1964, spent a year at Syracuse University."
  26. ^ a b Staff. "The Dream Team; New Jersey Sports", The New York Times, June 18, 1974. Accessed January 25, 2011.
  27. ^ Kaplan, Ron. "A son recalls a Weequahic legend in new book", New Jersey Jewish News, September 9, 2009. Accessed January 2, 2012. "When New Jersey-born Bob Masin, a resident of Portland, Ore., for the last 20 years, learned that a Weequahic High School alumnus lived nearby, he gave the gentleman a call. “I introduced myself and said, ‘By the way, did you know of my father, Swede Masin?’ And this guy is probably 30 years behind my father and he answered the same way everyone answers: ‘Of course I knew about your father; he was a legend.”"
  28. ^ Neatby, Nicole. "Sherry B. Ortner, New Jersey Dreaming: Capital, Culture, and the Class of '58.", Labour/Le Travail, March 22, 2005. Accessed July 8, 2008. "SHERRY ORTNER is a respected anthropologist who has turned her attention away from Sherpas in Nepal to the Class of '58 Weequahic high school in Newark, New Jersey, the high school from which she herself graduated that year."
  29. ^ D'Alessandro, Dave. "D'Alessandro: Newark's Bo Porter hopes to help revive baseball in the city by succeeding as Astros manager", The Star-Ledger, October 5, 2012. Accessed July 31, 2013. "Porter was named the captain of those teams by Bill Hicks, who would later coach him at Weequahic."
  30. ^ Jones, Richard G. "A New Jersey Crime Story’s Hollywood Ending", The New York Times, November 1, 2007. Accessed November 22, 2007.
  31. ^ Lubasch, Arnold H. "Philip Roth Shakes Weequahic High", The New York Times, February 28, 1969. Accessed September 8, 2007. "It has provided the focus for the fiction of Philip Roth, the novelist who evokes his era at Weequahic High School in the highly acclaimed Portnoy's Complaint.... Besides identifying Weequahic High School by name, the novel specifies such sites as the Empire Burlesque, the Weequahic Diner, the Newark Museum and Irvington Park, all local landmarks that helped shape the youth of the real Roth and the fictional Portnoy, both graduates of Weequahic class of '50."
  32. ^ Forgosh, Linda B. Jews of Weequahic, p. 9. Arcadia Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-7385-5763-2. "It was also possible to graduate from Weequahic High School in three and one-half years. David Shapiro, author of 10 volumes of poetry, including the poem Weequahic Park in the Dark, graduated early to attend Columbia University."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′31″N 74°13′11″W / 40.708682°N 74.219844°W / 40.708682; -74.219844