West Essex High School
|West Essex High School|
"Dedicated to Academic Excellence and Social Responsibility."
|65 West Greenbrook Road
North Caldwell, NJ 07006
|Type||Public high school|
|Vice Principals||Caesar Diliberto
|Faculty||81.9 (on FTE basis)|
|Enrollment||1,025 (as of 2010-11)|
|Student to teacher ratio||12.52:1|
|Athletics conference||Super Essex Conference|
West Essex High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school in North Caldwell, New Jersey in the United States. The high school is part of the West Essex Regional School District, which serves students from four municipalities in western Essex County. Communities served by the district's schools are Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1964. Commonly referred to as, Westex. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, it was announced that block scheduling would be implemented for the 2014-2015 school year, after it was pushed upon by the Class of 2013.
As of the 2010-11 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,025 students and 81.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.52:1. There were 20 students (2.0% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 2 (0.2% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
Awards, recognition and rankings
The school was the 16th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 328 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2012 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", after being ranked 36th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 48th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 34th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state. Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 106th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 23 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (86.8%) and language arts literacy (95.9%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
As of the fall of 1951, students from the what was to become the West Essex Regional School District – Caldwell Township (present day Fairfield), Essex Fells, North Caldwell, Roseland – attended James Caldwell High School as part of a sending/receiving relationship. A survey commissioned by the school boards of the four districts and the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools from the Rutgers University Extension Service estimated that the schools would have 1,200 junior-senior high school students by 1961.
A 1956 study had recommended the formation of a consolidated K-12 district for all of the five districts. When that recommendation was not accepted, the Rutgers group suggested the creation of a regional 7–12 school district that would include Caldwell Township, Essex Fells, North Caldwell and Roseland. A committee formed the following year that included individuals from each of the four communities and the Essex County Superintendent of Schools recommended that the four municipalities should form a regional school district, to be approved by voters in a referendum. The New Jersey Department of Education approved the move, and in December 1957 the referendum was passed by the voters.
Shortly thereafter, the first Regional District school board was established, with two members each from Caldwell Township, Essex Fells and North Caldwell and three from Roseland. In February 1958, the Regional Board of Education was elected by the voters, with Wallace S. Jones of Essex Fells as its first president. A Citizens School Curriculum Advisory Committee was formed which recommended that College Preparatory, General Academic, and Commercial programs should be offered to students based on the approach of offering "education for all, excellence of performance though self-discipline, independent thinking, and a sense of 'true values'", with a staff of high quality, adequate guidance, the grouping of students, availability of electives, insistence on effective English, and a broad extracurricular program.
In July 1958 voters authorized $290,000 for a 73-acre (300,000 m2) site, of which 60 acres (240,000 m2) lay in North Caldwell and 13 in Caldwell Township. The site is located between Grandview and Passaic Avenues, directly north of Greenbrook Road, about 25 miles (40 km) outside of New York City.
A December 1958 referendum decided upon by voters in each of the four communities proposed a $4.5 million bond that would be used to pay for construction of the new school facility to be available for use in September 1960, as the Caldwell-West Caldwell District had indicated that it was unwilling to accommodate any students at Grover Cleveland High School from outside the district after that date due to overcrowding. The West Essex district opened in September 1961 for students in grades 9–11 in facilities rented from the Caldwell-West Caldwell district, and the district's new building opened for use in September 1961, at which time grades 7–12 and 1,200 students were served.
West Essex Regional High School provides many opportunities for students, from theater productions to sports teams to service clubs.
The West Essex High School Knights now compete in the Super Essex Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. They had previously competed in the Iron Hills Conference, an athletic conference made up of high schools located in Essex County, Morris County and Union County. With 755 students in grades 10–12, the school was classified in the 2011-12 school year by the NJSIAA for most sports as North II, Group III, a category that includes schools with enrollment of 509 to 790.
Some of the many groups at West Essex are listed below.
- Football – Declared North II, Group III state champions in 1974, 1980 North II, Group IV Conference Champions and State Champions, and Ranked first in New Jersey by The Star-Ledger, North II, Group II State Champions 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2011. The 2007 football team won the North II, Group II title with a 27–6 win over Morris Hills High School. The 2011 football team won the North I, Group II title with a 32–14 win over River Dell Regional High School at Metlife Stadium.
- Boys Lacrosse – 2004 appearance in state championship, 2004 Waterman Division Champions, 2004 Essex County Tournament finalists, Ranked number 4 in New Jersey in 2004. Four consecutive New Jersey State Tournament appearances, 2005 State Championship appearance, (2nd straight), 2009 Essex County Tournament champions
- Girls Lacrosse — 2000 and 2003 Group II State Champions and appeared in state championship game, losing to Moorestown High School both times, Ranked 7th in the nation in 2004, 2004 ranked 5th in New Jersey, Essex County Champions, 2009 Essex County champions, 2009 Group II state champion with a 12–10 win against Hopewell Valley Central High School.
- Field Hockey — The girls field hockey team was the NJSIAA North champion from 1971 to 1974, and won the North II Group III titles in 1975 (state runner up), 1976, 1978, 1981 (runner up), 1987 (state champion), 1989 (state champion), 1990, 1991 (state champion), 1992 (state champion), 1993 (North I/II combined, state champion), 1994 (runner up), 1995 (runner up), in North I Group IV in 1983 (runner up), 1984 (state champion), in North II Group II in 1996 (state champion), 1997 (co-champion), 1998, in North I Group II in 2000, 2002 (state champion), 2004 (runner up), 2005 (state champion), in North II Group II in 2006 (state champion), in North I Group II in 2007 (state champion), 2008 (state champion) and 2010 (runner up). The time has won 14 state titles through 2010, tied for second most with Eastern High School 16 Shut-out Victories, Ranked No. 1 in Essex County, Ranked No. 2 in New Jersey, Iron Hills Conference Champions, Essex County Champions, Section I Group II State Champions (2005–2007). The West Essex field hockey team lost the 2006 Tournament of Champions, falling to Eastern High School by a 2–1 score. In 2007, the team won the North I, Group II state sectional championship with a 4–1 win over Newton High School in the tournament final. The team moved on to win the Group II State Championship with a 4–0 win over Madison High School in the semis and a 3–1 win against Camden Catholic High School in the finals.
- Baseball — In 2006, the team was seeded # 15 in the 74th Greater Newark Tournament, the West Essex Knights defeated No. 2 Nutley High School, No. 10 Montclair Kimberley Academy, No. 3, East Side High School, and No. 1 Seton Hall Preparatory School (Championship Game), en route to the school's first ever GNT Championship. In 2009 the Knights won the North II Group II sectional championship, defeating Hackettstown High School. In the most successful season in school history, the 2010 team won the 77th Greater Newark Tournament, Super Essex Conference champions, North II Group II and Group II state champions en route to becoming the No. 1 ranked team in New Jersey as well as 7th on the East Coast according to USA Today.
- Softball — 2006 Iron Hills Conference Champions, North II Group II State Champions, 2007 Essex County Champions (upset No. 1 Star-Ledger and No. 1 seeded Bloomfield in the semi-final game and beat the No. 2 seed Mount St. Dominic Academy by a score of 2–0 in the championship game), 2009 Iron Hills Conference Champions, 2010 North II Group II sectional champion (winning all four playoff games by shutout, including an 8-0 win over Rutherford High School in the tournament final), Ranked No. 1 in the County, First time in school history ranked in The Star-Ledger top 20, Ranked No. 9 in the state.
- Fencing − 1994 state champions in foil, third place overall. 1998, District 3 champions in foil.
- Boys Track - Since 2009 have been undefeated at home.
- Girls Track
- Boys Cross Country
- Girls Cross Country
- Boys Basketball
- Girls Basketball
- Wrestling — First Place in Garfield Tournament.
- Ice Hockey - 2004 NJSIAA Public School State Champions. 2010 League Champs, McInnis Cup Champs, Public School State Champions.
- Boys Soccer — 2000 State Champions and Essex County Champions, 2004 Iron Hills Conference Champions 17–2–2 record.
- Girls Soccer — 2005 North I Group II State sectional championships, Essex County champion and ranked 20th overall in New Jersey.
- Boys Tennis — Back-to-back Group II State champions in 2000 and 2001. 2006 Ranked 10th in New Jersey.
- Girls Tennis
- Golf — Complied an 88–0 dual match record from 1980 through 1983. 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 2007 Iron Hills Conference Champions, 2007 Group II State Sectional 2nd Place, 1983 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions 6th Place Overall, 2007 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions 8th Place overall.
- Boys Volleyball
- Girls Volleyball — 2009 SEC Liberty Division Conference Champions
- Swimming — Completed 2007–2008 season with new coach Jake Taylor, with an improved record from previous years. Girls team finished 8th in the 2008 Iron Hills Conference 'A' Championship.
- Marching Band — Since 2003, the West Essex Marching Knights have been ranked by TOB as one of the top 25 Bands on the East coast. In 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2012, they were also the TOB chapter X champions. The 2007 Marching Band placed 9th place in the Atlantic Coast Championships, having never placed before in the top 10 in ACCs. In 2008 the Marching Knights finished 8th at ACC's as well as a 4th place color guard and an award for the best overall woodwind section. The Marching Knights had an incredible season in 2009 with their show, "Into the Unknown". The band earned the title of Chapter 10 Champions and finished a school high of 5th with a score of 92.90 at the Atlantic Coast Championships. This was the 1st time the Knights had ever finished in the top 5 at ACCs.
- Wessex Wire school newspaper—Won multiple awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Garden State Scholastic Press Association, and other student journalism organizations.
- Roundtable literary magazine—Won multiple awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association and other literary organizations.
- Milestone yearbook
Additionally, there are many academic-based clubs (i.e. Italian Club, Robotics Team) and service-oriented clubs such as WE CARE (environment), WE HELP (community service), and WE STOP (peer leadership). WE also has a variety of arts-based groups, such as the art club, the Masquers theater group, the jazz choir, the girls a cappella choir (Ladies Knight), and a dance team.
West Essex in popular culture
West Essex is mentioned in the HBO hit series The Sopranos. North Caldwell, the town where Tony Soprano and his family reside in the show, is also where West Essex is located. In the first episode of the show, a character mentions he attended the high school shortly before being murdered by Christopher Moltisanti over a garbage disposal dispute. The town and school are mentioned numerous times in the show. The show is also filmed all over North Caldwell and the surrounding towns.
Core members of the school's administration are:
- Gary Suda, Principal
- Caesar DiLiberto, Dean of Students
- Cash Cash (born 2008) members Jean Paul Makhlouf, Alexander Makhlouf, Samuel Frisch, - an electronic music group signed to Atlantic Records with top 40 hit song "Take Me Home." 
- Ed Baker (born 1948), quarterback who played a single game in the NFL for the Houston Oilers in 1972.
- Denise Borino-Quinn (born 1964), Ginny Sacramoni recurring role on The Sopranos.
- Bob Bradley (born 1958), Head Coach of the Egyptian Men's Soccer Team; former Head Coach of the US Men's Team, MLS Chicago Fire, and MLS NY/NJ Metrostars.
- Rob Burnett (born 1962), television writer, creator of Ed.
- David Chase (born 1945), creator of The Sopranos.
- Joey La Varco (born 1995), performed on Broadway in 13.
- Joe Piscopo (born 1951), Saturday Night Live comedian.
- Ronald T. Raines (born 1958), scientist, educator, and entrepreneur; Guggenheim Fellow.
- Michelle Thomas (1968–1998), played Myra on Family Matters.
- Michelle Vizzuso (born 1977), former field hockey player.
- Timothy Glenn, 2004 New Jersey Boys' Lacrosse Coach of the Year
- Tom Kenny, New Jersey Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year
- Rex T. Morrison, 1974 Manufacturing Chemists Association Teacher Award—Eastern Region; 1975 James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching—Middle Atlantic Region
- Rod Trafford, NFL player with the St. Louis Rams
- Bill Wosilius, NFL player with the St. Louis Cardinals
- Data for West Essex High, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 11, 2012.
- West Essex Regional High School 2013 School Report Card, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed January 21, 2014. "West Essex Regional High School is located in North Caldwell and serves the four area sending districts of Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland."
- West Essex Senior High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed July 24, 2011.
- Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
- Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
- School Overview; Click on "Rankings" for 2010-11 HSPA results, Schooldigger.com. Accessed March 12, 2012.
- Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2013.
- Staff. "JERSEYANS TO VOTE ON SCHOOL DISTRICT", The New York Times, December 8, 1957. Accessed September 24, 2012.
- School History, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed July 24, 2011.
- Honig, Milton. "NEW SCHOOL PUT TO JERSEY VOTE; 4 West Essex Towns to Act Tuesday on a $4,495,600 Bond Plan – Taxes Argued", The New York Times, December 7, 1958. Accessed July 24, 2011. "Residents of four West Essex communities – Caldwell Township, Essex Fells, North Caldwell and Roseland – will vote Tuesday on a referendum proposing a $4,495,600 bond issue to finance a regional junior-senior high school."
- Staff. "Essex", The New York Times, September 5, 1960. Accessed July 24, 2011.
- Honig, Milton. "Essex", The New York Times, September 4, 1961. Accessed July 24, 2011.
- League Memberships – 2012–2013, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed September 24, 2012.
- 2011–2012 Public Schools Group Classification for ShopRite Cup–Tennis–Soccer–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 16, 2012.
- Goldberg, Jeff. N.J.S.I.A.A. FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONS, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 19, 2011.
- Reilly, Sean. "Hayek, Agrifolio power West Essex's repeat", The Star-Ledger, December 3, 2007. Accessed December 3, 2007. "And last night, he completed his career in supreme fashion, by rushing for two touchdowns in the first quarter as his team, ranked 15th in The Star-Ledger Top 20, defeated No. 18 Morris Hills, 27–6, for the NJSIAA/Gatorade North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 championship at Giants Stadium."
- 2007 Football – North II, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 3, 2007.
- Guthrie, Charles. "River Dell (14) at West Essex (32), NJSIAA Tournament, Final Round, North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 - Football", The Star-Ledger, December 3, 2011. Accessed March 14, 2012. "The unforgiving approach took hold in the second half and the defense finished with four sacks and five turnovers as West Essex claimed its eighth sectional title with a 34-12 victory over River Dell in the NJSIAA/Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 final Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford."
- Mattura, Greg. "Football: River Dell not quite Golden, fall to West Essex", The Record (Bergen County), December 4, 2011. Accessed March 14, 2012. "The Golden Hawks were at far less than their best in losing to top-seeded West Essex, 32-14, in the North 1, Group 2 final on Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium."
- Staff. "West Essex 12, Hopewell Valley 10 (High school Girls Lacrosse scores and results)", The Star-Ledger, May 29, 2009. Accessed January 16, 2012. "Cassera took matters into her own stick yesterday with a hand in 10 goals, scoring seven and assisting on three, as West Essex, No. 6 in The Star-Ledger Top 20, edged No. 9 Hopewell Valley, 12–10, for the NJSIAA/New Balance Group 2 championship in Robbinsville."
- History of the NJSIAA Girls' Lacrosse Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 16, 2012.
- History of the NJSIAA Field Hockey Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed March 14, 2012.
- 2006 Field Hockey Tournament – Tournament of Champions, accessed November 26, 2006
- 2007 Field Hockey – North I, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 12, 2007.
- 2007 Field Hockey – Group Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 13, 2007.
- 2010 Softball Tournament - North II, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Staff. "Raiders fall in Cup finals, prep for Public B tourney", Nutley Sun, March 3, 2010. Accessed March 4, 2012. "The Nutley boys ice hockey team settled for runner up in the 2010 McInnis Cup playoffs, as they lost 8-0 in the championship game to West Essex on Saturday at Codey Arena in West Orange."
- General Information, West Essex Senior High School. Accessed May 24, 2011.
- Ed Baker, databaseFootball.com. Accessed February 2, 2011.
- "An interview with Denise Borino Quinn, who plays the character of Ginny Sack on The Sopranos". Sopranosuessightings.com. July 23, 2000. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- Lewis, Michael. "Just one of the guys: to MetroStars coach Bob Bradley, success comes from creating a positive, friendly environment—something his new club sorely needs", Soccer Digest, March 2003, accessed April 28, 2007. "Born in Montclair, NJ., Bradley's interest in the game began when an assistant soccer coach asked him to try out for the varsity team at West Essex High School."
- Strauss, Robert. "ON TELEVISION; It's Not a Back Lot, It's Northvale", The New York Times, October 1, 2000. Accessed January 16, 2012. "Ed provides for a sort of homecoming for Mr. Burnett, who grew up in North Caldwell and attended West Essex High School."
- Oxfeld, Jesse. "Family Man: Crime boss Tony Soprano is the conflicted suburban dad at the center of HBO's influential hit series The Sopranos. Now meet the real father of the show.", Stanford Magazine, September/October 2002. Accessed July 24, 2011. "CHASE GREW UP in the Essex County suburbs of New Jersey, the same area haunted by Tony Soprano and his family. And, like Tony, he is Italian-American—before the family name became Chase, it was DeCesare. He lived in North Caldwell, as do Tony and his wife, Carmela, and he graduated from West Essex High School, which the Soprano kids, Meadow and Anthony Jr., would attend if they went to public schools."
- Strauss, Robert. "So Jersey, He Deserves His Own Rest Area", The New York Times, August 7, 2005. Accessed March 14, 2011. "Mr. Piscopo's father, also named Joe, was a lawyer and the family mostly lived in Essex County, the younger Joe graduating from West Essex High School in North Caldwell. With his Saturday Night Live fame, he moved to one of the richest corners of New Jersey, Alpine, persuading Mr. Murphy to join him there in that wealthy enclave by the Palisades."
- Pace, Eric. "Michelle Thomas, 30, Actress On TV Soap Opera and Sitcoms", The New York Times, December 28, 1998. Accessed January 16, 2012. "She was born in Boston, Mass., grew up in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from West Essex High School in North Caldwell, N.J."
- The Century's Best – Field Hockey, The Star-Ledger, October 3, 1999. "In 1991, Vizzuso became only the fifth freshman at West Essex to start on varsity in Alimi's 32 years of coaching."
- Kinney, Mike. "Boys lacrosse – COACH OF THE YEAR: W. Essex prospers under Glenn", The Star-Ledger, June 20, 2004. Accessed June 11, 2008.
- "Christian Ferrara, DT, Syracuse", USA Today, May 18, 2005. Accessed February 2, 2011. "High school strength coach, Bill Wosilius, played linebacker at Syracuse in 1966 and 1967 and for the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals for three seasons."
- West Essex High School
- West Essex Regional School District
- West Essex Senior High School's 2012–13 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- Data for West Essex Senior High School, National Center for Education Statistics