West Milford High School

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West Milford High School
An outside view of WMTHS.
67 Highlander Drive
West Milford, NJ 07480
Type Public high school
Established 1977
School district West Milford Township Public Schools
Principal Fred Hessler
Assistant principals Doreen Elborj
Nicholas Pollaro
Matthew Strianse
Faculty 105.0 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,237 (as of 2011-12)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 11.78:1[1]
Color(s) Black      and gold     
Athletics conference Big North Conference
Mascot Stag
Team name Highlanders
Rivals Lakeland Lancers

West Milford High School is a four-year comprehensive community public high school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grades from West Milford, in Passaic County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the West Milford Township Public Schools. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools since 1968.[2]

As of the 2011-12 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,237 students and 105.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.78:1. There were 94 students (7.6% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 45 (3.6% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

The school was the 146th-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 163rd in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 185th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[4] The magazine ranked the school 191st in 2008 out of 316 schools.[5] The school was ranked 169th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[6] Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 167th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 48 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (80.1%) and language arts literacy (94.7%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[7]


West Milford High School offers Advanced Placement (AP), honors and college preparatory classes to its students. Students are placed in the Honors or AP program based on various criteria. The school offers many Honors and Advanced Placement courses as core classes and electives, including:

History: World History Honors, United States History I Honors, AP United States History II Honors, AP United States Government and Politics, AP Psychology, and Western Civilization Honors.

Mathematics: Geometry Honors, Algebra II Honors, Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry Honors, Introduction to AP Calculus A Honors, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science, and AP Statistics.

English: English I Honors, English II Honors (American Literature), AP English III Honors (British Literature), and AP English IV Honors.

Science: Biology Honors, Chemistry Honors, Physics Honors, Advanced Chemistry Honors, AP Physics, AP Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology Honors.

World Language: Spanish IV Honors, French IV Honors, German IV Honors, Spanish V Honors, French V Honors, German V Honors, AP Spanish V Honors, AP French V Honors, and AP German V Honors.

Fine Arts: Honors Band and Honors Choir. AP Art History, Advanced Art, AP Studio for 3D and Drawing

West Milford High School offers other non-AP and non-Honors electives, such as: Accounting, American Sign Language, Applied Band, Architectural Design, Art, Astronomy, Automotive and Transportation (Auto Shop), Behavioral Science, Bioethical Issues, Business Law, C++ Computer Science, Communications and Media/TV Science, Computer Design, Computer Literacy, Concert Choir, Creative Writing, Culinary Arts, DECA/Marketing/Entrepreneurship, Desktop Publishing, Discrete Mathematics, Economics and Law in American Society, Electricity and Electronics, Film Literacy, Graphic Arts, Harmony and Theory, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Home Economics, Industrial Arts (Wood Shop), Interior Design, International Business, Introduction to College Mathematics, Italian, Journalism, Keyboarding, Layout and Design, Mechanical Drawing, Multimedia Presentations, Oceanography, Personal Finance, Philosophy, Photography, Photojournalism, Sculpture, Spreadsheets/Microsoft Excel, Statistics, Web Page Design, Women's Choir, Word Processing/Microsoft Word, and World and National Affairs.

Clubs and activities[edit]

West Milford High School offers a variety of afterschool clubs and activities for its students. These clubs are run by the student members under the supervision of WMHS staff members, thus allowing these clubs to truly by student-run. These include clubs, student-government programs, peer leadership programs, honorary societies, and scholastic competition organizations:

Above the Influence Club, Accreditation for Growth (AFG), Art Club, Biology League, Chemistry League, Class Officers, Consumer Bowl, DECA, Environmental Club, ERASE Club, French National Honor Society, German Honor Society, Green Team, Highlander Marching Band and Color Guard, History Club, Interact Club, Literary Arts Club, Model Congress, Model United Nations, Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honorary Society, National Honor Society, Peers As Leaders (PALs), Peers Pledge for Peace, Peer Tutoring, Photography Club, Physics League, Spanish National Honor Society, Student Council, Varsity Club, World Language Club, and Yearbook Club.

Above the Influence Club was formed by a group of students who wanted to profess their desire to remain free of drugs and alcohol. This club provides a supportive peer group for other students who do not abuse controlled substances and is advised by an English teacher.

Accreditation for Growth (AFG) is composed of WMHS administrators, department supervisors, teachers, and two student liaisons who work towards improving the school. Their goal is to maintain the school's accreditation by the Middle States Commission. They contribute to Peace Week and other schoolwide events.

Art Club provides art students and students who are unable to take Art class during the school day to do art while having many resources and supplies available to them. This club is advised by a school art teacher.

Biology League is a competitive scholastic team that competes against other high schools in New Jersey in the subject area of Biology. Membership on this team is open to any student that is enrolled in a Biology course. This team is administered through the Science Department and is advised by a WMHS Biology teacher.

Chemistry League is a competitive scholastic team that competes against other high schools in New Jersey in the subject area of Chemistry. Membership on this team is open to any student that is enrolled in a Chemistry course. This team is administered through the Science Department and is advised by a WMHS Chemistry teacher.

West Milford High School has class offices at each grade level, with elected students representing their classmates in planning fundraisers, proms, and other class functions. Each graduating class has its own advisor (a WMHS staff member) and re-elects its officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) every school year.

The West Milford High School Consumer Bowl team is made up of some business education students enrolled in the International Business/Business Law course and is advised by that course's teacher. This competition deals with knowledge of consumer laws and is geared at educating its competitors on scams and frauds that consumers can become victims of. The team has dominated Passaic County, winning five consecutive county championships, from the 2004–05 to the 2008–09 school years. In the 2006–07 school year, the team won the Northern New Jersey Regional title and advanced to the State Championships, placing third in the state.[8] The 2007–08 team won the county championship after beating Passaic County Technical Institute and International High School of Paterson. The 2008–09 team won the county championship again by defeating those same two teams.

DECA is a comprehensive business program that improves the students' understanding of marketing and advertising, while building leadership and administrative skills, through business-related tasks and projects. West Milford's award-winning DECA team sponsors school events, works with charities, and competes on a state and regional level. In 2008, students went to Giants Stadium to learn about sports marketing. This club is advised by the DECA teacher.

ERASE Club deals with issues in the world that affect groups of people, including racism, religious intolerance, sexism, and other issues that impact society. The club is actively involved with showing movies to students afterschool and is advised by a History teacher and a Guidance Counselor.

French Honor Society is made up of inducted members who have shown proficiency and outstanding knowledge in French. The members are from the French IV Honors and AP French V Honors courses, and must have met numerous criteria in order to be considered for nomination and induction. This group has an elected executive board made up of members who serve as President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. It is advised by a French teacher.

German Honor Society is made up of inducted members who have shown proficiency and outstanding knowledge in German. The members are from the German IV Honors and AP German V Honors courses, and must have met numerous criteria in order to be considered for nomination and induction. This group has an elected executive board made up of members who serve as President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. It is advised by a German teacher.

Green Team (formerly known as the Environmental Club) is made up of students who deal with pressing environmental issues and who monitor and continually enhance the school's recycling program. The group has initiated a school-wide recycling program that has included putting separate recycling receptacles for cans/bottles and paper in every classroom. It is advised by a Science teacher.

History Club is open to any students who have a passion for the subject of History. Students from all History courses are able to join. The club watches movies on historical figures and plays interactive games to enhance their knowledge on certain time periods. The club is advised by a History teacher.

Interact Club participants perform volunteer work in the schools and in the community. They often work at various school-sponsored events, including dances and activity nights. They are advised by a History teacher and a town councilwoman.

Literary Arts Club is made up of students who possess an interest in writing and literature. This club works to improve each students skills in creative writing and literary analysis. The group hosts events where its members can read poetry and other pieces that they have written. It is advised by some school English teachers.

West Milford High School participates in the Model Congress program. Selected AP Government and Politics students meet with other schools' delegations and carry out the functions of a congress, writing and passing bills on various topics and issues. West Milford High School's Model Congress team won the Passaic County championship during the 2007–08 school year. This team is advised by WMHS's AP Government and Politics teacher.

Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honor Society is made up of inducted members who have shown proficiency and outstanding knowledge in Mathematics. The members are from a wide range of Mathematics courses, and must have met numerous criteria in order to be considered for nomination and induction. Mu Alpha Theta hosts multiple mathematics competitions for students from Macopin Middle School during the year. This group has an elected executive board made up of members who serve as President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. It is advised by a Mathematics teacher.

National Honor Society is made up of inducted members who have shown outstanding scholarship during their time at West Milford High School. The members must have met and exceeded numerous criteria, and are required to perform many hours of school and community service, including free peer tutoring. Membership in this society of scholars is a great distinction and honor, and is highly respected by post-secondary institutions of higher learning (colleges, universities, graduate schools, technical/vocational schools, and trade schools). The group is advised by an English teacher and has an elected executive board made up of student members who serve as President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Historian.

Peers As Leaders (PALs) is a group of hand-selected student in the junior and senior classes serves as peer leaders and role models for the other students of WMHS. This group plays an integral role in organizing and running the Freshmen Orientation, peer mediation, conflict resolution, and assisting new students with becoming acclimated to the school. The group has an Executive Board composed of a President, Vice President, and Secretary, and is run by two Guidance Counselors and a Science teacher.

Peers Pledge for Peace is open to a member of any club, honor society, student council, class officer, Peers as Leaders, or any sports team. The group is responsible for organizing and administering Peace Week at WMHS. During Peace Week, WMHS holds a food drive to help local food pantries. Students also are encouraged to wear white on certain days to promote peace and receive stickers that endorse peace. White carnations are also sold and can be delivered to another student with a message attached from the purchaser. The club is run by its co-Presidents who are the two Accreditation for Growth student liaisons and is advised by the school principal.

Peer Tutoring offers afterschool sessions are administered and operated by candidates and members of the National Honor Society. These open tutoring groups are cost-free to students and allow students to be educated by their peers who are proficient in certain subjects.

Photography Club allows students with an interest in photography to increase their knowledge and gain experience about the subject. The club is advised by the school's Photography teacher.

Physics League is a competitive scholastic team that competes against other high schools in New Jersey in the subject area of Physics. Membership on these teams is open to any student that is enrolled in a Physics course. Any students in a Physics course compete on the level of Physics I, while AP Physics students compete on the Physics II level. These teams are split in order to focus more on the subject matter taught in those different courses. These teams are administered through the Science Department and are advised by a WMHS Physics teacher.

Spanish Honor Society is made up of inducted members who have shown proficiency and outstanding knowledge in Spanish. The members are from the Spanish IV Honors and AP Spanish V Honors courses, and must have met numerous criteria in order to be considered for nomination and induction. This group has an elected executive board made up of members who serve as President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. It is advised by a Spanish teacher.

Student Council is made up of five elected students that represent the other students of WMHS on an Executive Council. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are eligible to run for the offices of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Communications Director. This organization is a separate entity from class offices, but does work with the individual class offices on certain projects to benefit the school. Students running for a Student Council office must deliver a speech, which is recorded on a video and viewed during English classes. Students are able to vote during that class period in their individual English class to ensure that every student has the opportunity to view the speeches and cast their vote. The Student Council is the only schoolwide student government organization and its officers are often considered the School President, School Vice President, School Treasurer, School Secretary, and School Communications Director. The group organizes and sponsors numerous school events and works with the school and districtwide administrators to enhance the school environment. The WMHS student representative at the West Milford Board of Education meetings is a member of the Student Council Executive Council. The group also extends to homeroom representatives, who attend meetings and relay important information back to their homerooms. The Student Council runs the Homecoming Dance and other events throughout the year, including a volleyball tournament. The group is advised by an English teacher.

Varsity Club is open exclusively to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who possess a Varsity letter in a sport. The Varsity Club organizes and runs the school Pep Rallies and raises funds to help the Athletic Department. It also organizes fundraisers to aid current and former WMHS students who have serious illnesses. The club is responsible for updating the outdoor schedule board, which is located outside the business wing of the school, where all of the athletic teams' scheduled games for the week are posted. The club has an Executive Board composed of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary, and is advised by a Special Education teacher.

World Language Club provides students interested in languages and cultures from around the world to learn more about those languages and cultures. The club organizes multicultural events and hosts a World Cuisine Night at which students prepare and serve foods from many nations and cultures to the guests. This club is advised by an Italian teacher.

Yearbook Club is responsible for producing the annual school yearbook. Members of this club work together to gather information on sports teams and clubs, prepare picture profiles for graduating seniors, and lay out all pictures and text for the final production of the yearbook. They are responsible for creating the treasured keepsake by which many people remember their high school years. This club is advised by a Computers teacher and a Special Education teacher.

Highlander Marching Band and Color Guard[edit]

Awards and honors
  • The West Milford High School Highlander Marching Band and Color Guard has won hundreds of awards and accolades over the years and has earned a reputation as one of the top marching bands in the northeast region of the United States. The band and guard host a "Tattoo" concert every year at which they perform, as do other bands from the area.
  • The Highlander Marching Band went back to their roots on a 10-day performance tour of England and Scotland in April 2008. They landed at England's Heathrow Airport and from there went to London to stay for a few days. After playing with the royal guards, they moved on to Shrewsbury, a very old town in Shropshire. There they played at St. Mary's Cathedral, of which the "new" part of the church was built in the early 12th century. While in Shrewsbury they did homestay's, staying in a home with people in the town. From there they took an 8-hour drive up to Edinburgh and played at many castles, including Stirling Castle. They then finished off the tour, half the band leaving from Edinburgh Airport, the other half leaving from Glasgow.
  • The Highlander Band was selected to perform at the South Street Seaport Tree Lighting Ceremony in New York City in 2007.
  • The Band has received Gold Medals at the NJ State Marching Festival in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
  • First Place in the New York Saint Patrick's Day Parade in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2011.
The Highlander Band Tattoo

In addition to marching competitively, the Highlander Band holds its annual Tattoo and Military Concert every November. Each year, many bands travel to West Milford to partake in this exciting display of kilts, bagpipes, marching precision, and the show repertoire of both the Clifton High School Mustang Band and the Highlander Band. Recently, the tattoo has been held in honor of local veterans, and volunteer emergency personnel. Over the past few years, guests have included the Queen's Piper and the USMC Leatherneck Pipes and Drums.

The MacLeod of Lewis Tartan

The West Milford Highlander tartan (the plaid of the uniform) is officially called the MacLeod of Lewis from the country of Scotland. The Clan Macleod is descended from Leod, son of Olaf the Black, King of Man. Leod's two sons, Tormod and Torcuill, gave rise to the two main branches of the Clan: the first, to the MacLeods of Harris and Dunvegan, the second to the MacLeods of Lewis. Since Tormond is believed to have been the elder brother, the Chief of the MacLeods of Dunvegan is styled MacLeod of MacLeod. The MacLeod of MacLeod supported Charles I but later in the 17th century the Chief turned Whig and during the Jacobite Risings of the early 18th century the Clan, with the exception of MacLeod of Raasay and his men, reminded on the side of the Hanoverians. The seat of the Clan chief is Dunvegan Castle, Skye, one of the oldest houses to be continuously inhabited in Scotland.

Model United Nations[edit]

The award-winning West Milford High School Model United Nations team has achieved success in New Jersey and around the northeastern United States, and is widely regarded as a highly successful program in the state and this region of the country. The team, which is advised by a History teacher, has attended conferences at various premier locations, including Princeton University, United Nations Headquarters (New York City), Yale University, the Historic District of Philadelphia, Saint Peter's College (Jersey City, New Jersey), Bergen County Academies (Hackensack, New Jersey), and Passaic County Law Day (Passaic County Courthouse, Paterson, NJ). The team was recognized at the 2007 United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) International Conference with award winners for Outstanding Delegation and Honorable Delegation.

At the 2006 Princeton University Model UN Conference, West Milford won the overall team championship.

At the 2007 UNA-USA UN Headquarters International Model UN Conference, West Milford students won four awards and the team won second place overall. Two of these were for Outstanding Delegation, while the other two were for Honorable Delegation.

At the 2008 Yale University Model UN Conference, out of 50+ schools, only four of which were public, West Milford's Model UN team placed highly and enjoyed great success, taking home third place overall. West Milford won five honorable delegate awards at the conference.

West Milford students also won seven awards at the 2008 Bergen County Academies Model UN Conference, with the team taking home Outstanding School Delegation for winning the overall championship.

West Milford's Model UN team won the overall championship at the Saint Peter's College High School Model United Nations conference for the third year in a row in 2008, taking home 10 individual awards, including four for best delegate.

At the 2009 Philadelphia Model United Nations Conference, West Milford won the overall team championship and Outstanding School Delegation, while taking home six awards for individual student delegations. Two delegations won Best Delegation, two won Outstanding Delegation, and two won Distinguished Delegation.

West Milford dominated the Saint Peter's College High School Model United Nations conference for the fourth consecutive year in 2009. The team won eleven awards overall, which was nearly double the next-highest team's total, with five individual students winning for their individual delegate performance, five pairs of students winning for their delegation, and one pair winning for their position paper.

West Milford's Model UN team coordinated, hosted, and moderated the first student-run Board of Education debate in New Jersey history on April 9, 2009. The four members of the Executive Board (President, Vice President, Treasurer, Chief of Staff) were the four moderators, with the other club members serving in other capacities, including timekeepers, ushers, and concessions workers. The debate featured the five candidates for the three available Board of Education seats. The candidates were asked questions ranging in topics from the school cafeteria program to gifted education programs to how to curb substance abuse among district students to what they would want their legacy to be once their time on the Board has ended. The event was met with great praise and acclaim from the public and gave the voters of West Milford an opportunity to learn where the candidates actually stood on the critical issues affecting the students of the district.


The West Milford High School Highlanders compete in the Big North Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[9] With 912 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North I, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 754 to 1,076 students in that grade range.[10] In the 2009-10 school year, the school competed in the North Jersey Tri-County Conference, which was established on an interim basis to facilitate the realignment.[11] Prior to the realignment, the school had participated in the Skyline Division of the Northern Hills Conference, an athletic conference that included private and public high schools located in Essex, Morris, and Passaic Counties.[12]

The school offers 28 varsity sports during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. In 2009, student-athletes from West Milford are now taking part in the "Take Five" program with the West Milford Messenger,[13] a program to enable fans to learn more about the players than just their statistics. For the first time in school history, lacrosse will be offered in the spring, but only on the junior varsity level.

  • Fall sports offered are: Soccer (B&G), Cross-Country (B&G), Football, Cheerleading, Tennis (G), Field Hockey, and Gymnastics
  • Winter sports offered are: Basketball (B&G), Wrestling, Indoor Track and Field (B&G), Skiing (B&G), Ice Hockey, Dance Team, Cheerleading, Fencing (B&G), and Bowling
  • Spring sports offered are: Softball, Baseball, Golf (B&G), Tennis (B), Outdoor Track and Field (B&G), and Lacrosse (JV only)


The Highlanders softball team is widely regarded as one of the top programs in the state of New Jersey and as the top public school program in the state. The program has won seven Passaic County championships, along with 24 conference championships (18 in the Northern Hills Conference, plus six in its predecessor, the Skyline Conference) and eight state sectional titles in North 1, Group III and North 1, Group IV. Varsity Head Coach Jim Dransfield has a career record of 496–103 during his 20-year tenure, ranking him among the winningest coaches in the state and the winningest all-time in North Jersey. Dransfield became the winningest softball coach in North Jersey (Bergen and Passaic Counties) with a 6–1 win over Hawthorne High School, giving him 471 for his career and moving him past former Clifton High School coach Rich LaDuke for the most all-time. The softball team has won at least 20 games in each of the last 20 seasons.

The softball program has produced two of the top ten winningest pitchers in New Jersey history: Karin Kolatac ('96) and Corinne Reiser ('00), who won 79 and 87 games during their high school careers, respectively. Kolatac was an All-American in 1996 (FP Magazine, NFCA). The program also boasts two-time FP Magazine All-American catcher Jen Pawol ('95) and DH Laura Remia ('97), the all-time leading home run hitter in the history of NCAA Division III college softball.

In 2003, the softball team won the North I, Group IV state sectional championship, edging Clifton High School 1–0 in the tournament final.[14] The 2004 team repeated the title, after a shift to Group III, with a 4–2 win over Ramapo High School.[15]

In the 2007 season, the softball team won the Northern Hills-Skyline championship with a 2–1 win over Mount Saint Dominic Academy, and won the Passaic County championship with a 3–1 win over Clifton High School, the eventual state Group IV champions and the #2-ranked team in New Jersey in the final The Star-Ledger polls. The Highlanders finished the season ranked #13, after reaching as high as #2 during the regular season.

The 2008 softball team was ranked first by The Record in its preseason poll for North Jersey. The team won its second-straight county title by capping off its tournament run with a 5–2 victory over Hawthorne High School, after the team defeated rival Lakeland Regional High School by a score of 11–0 in the semi-final round.[16] It has competed in the Mount Saint Dominic Academy Invitational tournament, and won the conference championship for the second-straight year, after beating Mount Saint Dominic Academy by a score of 4–0, Millburn High School by a score of 7–1, and Mount Saint Dominic Academy again by a score of 2–0. The team finished the season with a record of 22–8, making it the team's 19th consecutive 20-win season.

The 2009 softball team was ranked #3 by The Record in its preseason poll for North Jersey [17] and was ranked as high as #2 in that poll. The team was ranked as high as #6 in the Star-Ledger Top 20 poll and won 20 games for the 20th consecutive season. The team finished with a record of 20–5.

Boys' basketball[edit]

The Highlanders boys basketball team has won four conference titles, in 1973–74, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2008–09, and has been to three sectional championship games, in 2005–06, 2007–08, and 2008–09. The 2003–04 team went 23–3, going 16–0 in conference play, and advanced to the state sectional semi-finals where they lost to Teaneck High School. The 2005–06 team advanced to the state sectional finals before losing to Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan by two points. The 2007–08 team finished with a 21–6 record and captured its third conference championship (12–2 conference record). It received the #1 seed in the state sectional tournament but lost to Wayne Valley High School in the sectional finals, 48–45. The 2008–09 team finished with a 20–7 record and captured its fourth conference championship overall and second in a row (12–2 conference record). The team made its second consecutive appearance in the sectional finals and third in four years, but lost to Teaneck High School 58–51 in overtime.[18]

Girls' basketball[edit]

The Highlanders girls basketball team won the Group IV state championship in 1995 before losing to St. John Vianney High School in the finals of the New Jersey Tournament of Champions.

Boy's cross country[edit]

The Highlanders boy's cross country was the Passaic County Championship winners in 2007.

Girl's cross country[edit]

The Highlanders girl's cross country team won State titles from 2005–2008.


The Highlanders wrestling program has won many conference, county and district championships. Most notable of the seasons was in 2001–2002. Longtime wrestling Coach Mike Blakely led the Highlanders to the Northern Hills Conference, Passaic County & State District Championships. With a talented staff of wrestlers to include Ken Perry (152), Brad Griffiths (160), & Gus Vandenberg (171). Ken Perry went on to place 5th in the New Jersey State Wrestling Tournament. The following two seasons the Highlanders continued as Northern Hills Conference & Passaic County Champions (2002–2003, 2003–2004, 2005-2006). In the 2007–08 season, the Highlander wrestling team won the Passaic County Championship.

Ice hockey[edit]

The Highlanders ice hockey program has won the county championship in the 2001–02, 2003–04, and 2006–07 seasons. During the 2008–2009 season, the team won the Nardello Cup by defeating Nutley High School 2–0 in the championship game. In the 2009–2010 season, the team went the farthest into the state tournament in school history. The team defeated Number one seed and 2009 state champions, Ramsey High School, by a score of 4–2.


The Highlanders football team went 10–1 in the 2003–04 season, making it to the state semi-finals before losing to Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest. The team won the conference, going 9–0 in league play. This marked the second time in school history and the first time in 30 years the team won the conference. The most monumental win of the season came against the Delbarton School Green Wave, 28–15, a parochial powerhouse that hadn't lost a conference game in five years. Delbarton hadn't lost to West Milford since 1995. The team was led by the 2003 Passaic County defense of the year, which posted four shutouts, including three consecutive, and never gave up more than 18 points in a game.

Highlander Day[edit]

This school-wide carnival took place on June 2, 2009, from 11:30am until the end of the school day outside on the back field at West Milford High School. Booths were run by individual clubs and groups, with all students being invited to participate in the festivities. Some of the booth themes included "Win a Gold Fish", hot dog eating Contest, taco eating contest, dunk tank, pie throwing, face painting, pictures with friends in costumes, and . A local band, called Time For Plan B, with members such as the now graduated Chas Vulcano, played live throughout the afternoon's festivities. In the center ring of the field, twelve teams of six students apiece competed in five team challenges, which included a treasure hunt, tug-of-war, toilet paper mummy wrap-up, a seven-legged race, and a water balloon toss. This event was coordinated and run by the Student Council with assistance from many other school clubs.

Distinguished Scholars Recognition Awards Reception[edit]

On April 20, 2009, the school and district administrators held the first annual Distinguished Scholars Recognition Awards Reception in the high school cafeteria. This event recognized the top fifteen ranked students in each of the four graduating classes in the high school.

Notable alumni[edit]


Core members of the school's administration are:[23]

  • Fred Hessler, Principal[24]
  • Doreen Elborj, Assistant Principal
  • Nicholas Pollaro, Assistant Principal
  • Matthew Strianse, Assistant Principal
  • Joe Trentacosta, Athletic Director and Supervisor of Physical Education


  1. ^ a b c d Data for West Milford High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  2. ^ West Milford High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Accessed August 18, 2008.
  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 19, 2012.
  5. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed May 31, 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 2010-2011, Schooldigger.com. Accessed March 6, 2012.
  8. ^ Voorhees High School Wins 2007 State Consumer Bowl Competition, New Jersey Attorney General press release dated May 22, 2007. Accessed February 27, 2008. "Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, Hunterdon County, is the State Champion in the 11th Annual New Jersey Consumer Bowl, a quiz show-style competition that encourages students to become well-informed consumers.... Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, Ocean County, took second place and West Milford Township High School in Passaic County came in third."
  9. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  10. ^ 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North I, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  11. ^ New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association League Memberships – 2009-2010, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 24, 2011. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  12. ^ Home Page, Northern Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of January 28, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Take Five With The West Milford Messenger". Strausnews.com. June 4, 2009. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  14. ^ 2003 Softball Tournament – North I, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 16, 2007.
  15. ^ 2004 Softball – North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 29, 2007.
  16. ^ 2008 Passaic County Coaches Association Softball Tournament, Passaic County Coaches Association. Accessed October 23, 2014.
  17. ^ Softball Poll, The Record (Bergen County). Accessed March 31, 2009.
  18. ^ Staff. "Neptune faces off with Teaneck for Group 3 title (High school Boys Basketball news)", The Star-Ledger, March 14, 2009. Accessed January 28, 2011.
  19. ^ Lennie Friedman player profile, National Football League Players Association. Accessed July 24, 2007. "Hometown: Livingston, NJ...Friedman was a Super Prep Top 17 and All-New Jersey pick at West Milford (N.J.) High School. He started three years on both sides of the ball, winning all-conference honors as a junior defensive tackle—setting a school record with 111 tackles—and as a senior offensive tackle."
  20. ^ Makin, Robert. "Album Reviews", Courier News (New Jersey), June 1, 2000. Accessed January 28, 2011. "Keenan formed the band with West Milford-raised guitarist Billy Howerdel.
  21. ^ Kevin Walker, database Football. Accessed February 14, 2008.
  22. ^ Bondy, Filip. "SKIING: Albertville Profile; Spin Control at a Very High Speed", The New York Times, December 11, 1991. Accessed September 19, 2012. "Eventually, she formed her own ski team at West Milford High School."
  23. ^ District Administration, West Milford Township Public Schools. Accessed October 23, 2014. Note that Paul Gorski is listed as principal as of date accessed.
  24. ^ Home Page, West Milford High School. Accessed October 23, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°04′51″N 74°23′10″W / 41.080931°N 74.386239°W / 41.080931; -74.386239