West Orange High School (New Jersey)

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West Orange High School
WOHS 2009.jpg
51 Conforti Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
Type Public high school
Established 1898
School district West Orange Public Schools
Principal Hayden N. Moore
Assistant principals Lesley Chung
Louis Della Pia
Dr. Kimberly Mancarella
Annette Towson
Faculty 175.6 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9 - 12
Enrollment 2,141 (as of 2011-12)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 12.19:1[1]
Color(s) Columbia Blue     , Navy Blue      and White     
Athletics conference Super Essex Conference
Nickname Mountaineers

West Orange High School (WOHS) is a comprehensive four-year community public high school, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from West Orange in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. WOHS is currently the only secondary school serving the West Orange Public Schools. West Orange High School is accredited by the New Jersey Department of Education and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1928.[2]

As of the 2011-12 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,141 students and 175.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.19:1. There were 714 students (33.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 131 (6.1% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

Faculty and academics[edit]

A faculty of 200 includes administration and supervisory personnel, as well as Guidance Staff, two full-time Library Media Specialists, two nurses, a Student Assistance Counselor, and a full-time Child Study Team. The majority of the professional staff members have earned masters degrees, seven have earned doctorates.

West Orange High School has a comprehensive program with a wide variety of course offerings. Graduation requirements are based on study in grades nine through twelve. Students must satisfy the state and local requirements for graduation and take additional courses to total a minimum of 135 credits. In addition to the basic academic courses offered at multiple ability levels, there are Honors and Advanced Placement courses in most disciplines. Programs in business education, technical and industrial education, computer education, performing and fine arts, and English as a Second Language are also offered. Now, West Orange High School offers block scheduling, which operates on a rotation that switches out 2 courses per day.

The Horizons Program, an alternative approach to education, is offered to meet the needs of disaffected students. The Cooperative Education Program provides students with the opportunity to study academics as well as receive on-the-job training. Students can also choose from a wide variety of electives.


The high school was built in 1898 on Gaston Street in West Orange and burned down in 1913. It was rebuilt and then moved to a new building on Northfield Avenue in 1922. The old building became Gaston Street Junior High School (Fairmount Elementary School was built behind it) and was torn down in 1972. The current facility was built in 1960 as Mountain High School. In 1984, the building constructed in 1922 was sold to become Seton Hall Preparatory School, a private Catholic school. Mountain High School and the adjoined Abraham Lincoln Junior High School were converted into the existing facility. In 2004, a new building was added, doubling the size of the school. The current athletic complex includes a football field, two soccer fields, five tennis courts and a baseball field.

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 44th in New Jersey and 1,379th nationwide.[3]

The school was the 170th-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.[4] The school had been ranked 136th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 128th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[5] The magazine ranked the school 114th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[6] The school was ranked 98th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[7]

For the 1998-99 school year, West Orange High School was named a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve.[8]

West Orange High School applied for, and was awarded, a Dodge Grant for the 2004-05 academic year through Montclair State University. The focus of the grant is to explore how to develop a Conflict Resolution program responsive to the needs of West Orange High School. The Dodge Grant Team has spent this past year researching and developing a potential Conflict Resolution Model for West Orange High School.


West Orange High School competes in the Super Essex Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[9] With 1,579 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North I, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,108 to 2,479 students in that grade range.[10] Before the NJSIAA's 2010 realignment, the school had competed in the Northern Hills Conference an athletic conference made up of private and public high schools located in Essex, Morris and Passaic counties.[11]

The 2006 boys soccer team finished the season with a 24-1 record, and was ranked 4th in the nation at the beginning of the 2006 Season but finished 17th in the NSCAA/adidas National Rankings.[12] The 2006 team won the Group IV State Championship with a 4-1 win over Bridgewater-Raritan High School in the semifinals and a 3-0 win against Manalapan High School in the finals.[13]

Their marching band, the Marching Mountaineers, are three-year United States Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) Group V Open State Champs (2005, 2006, 2009), USSBA Group V Open Northern State Champs (2009), and ninth in the northeastern region as of 2007 BOA (Bands of America). In addition, their Color Guard is nationally known for their "globe-tossing" performance.

The school hosted a match between a team representing the New York Athletic Club and teams from Russia and Romania. The NYAC team beat Russia 14-11 in free style and Romania 14-12 in Greco-Roman matches.[14]

The 2013 Boys Soccer Team won the Group IV State Championship with a 1-0 win over Clearview Regional High School.


Core members of the school's administration are:[15]

  • Hayden N. Moore – Principal
  • Lesley Chung, Assistant Principal & Dean
  • Louis Della Pia, Assistant Principal & Dean
  • Dr. Kimberly Mancarella, Assistant Principal
  • Annette Towson, Assistant Principal

Notable alumni[edit]

Popular culture references[edit]

In the fifth season of the HBO series The Sopranos an episode entitled "The Test Dream" shows Tony Soprano in a dream scene with his high school football coach, Mr. Molinero. The school letters "W.O.H.S." were shown on a jacket in the coach's office.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c d Data for West Orange High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  2. ^ West Orange High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed June 21, 2011.
  3. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: West Orange High School", The Washington Post. Accessed September 9, 2011.
  4. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  5. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
  6. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed April 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  8. ^ Star School Award recipient detail 1998-99 school year, West Orange High School, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 29, 2006.
  9. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 25, 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 November 25, 2014.
  11. ^ Home Page, Northern Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of January 28, 2011. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  12. ^ NSCAA/adidas National Rankings: National Final Regular Season Poll Poll, November 21, 2006. Accessed July 27, 2007.
  13. ^ 2006 Boys Soccer Tournament - Public Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed September 25, 2007.
  14. ^ Abbott, Gary. "NYAC beats Russia, 14-11 in freestyle and Romania 14-12 in Greco-Roman in dual meet in New Jersey", United States Olympic Committee, November 16, 2007. Accessed December 1, 2007.
  15. ^ 2014-2015 Student handbook, West Orange High School. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  16. ^ Brendan T. Byrne Archive - Biography, Rutgers Program on the Governor / Eagleton Institute of Politics. Accessed January 16, 2011.
  17. ^ "WORLD MARK SET BY ROSE IN SWIM", The New York Times, August 18, 1962, pg. 16."The unheralded 15-year-old Miss Duenkel cracked the listed world record in the 200-meter back-stroke in 2:32.1. The 125-pound sophomore from West Orange High School beat Miss de Varona in a tense dual [sic] in the last fifty meters. Donna was clocked in 2:33.1."
  18. ^ Mark E. Kelly Biographical Data, NASA. Accessed March 25, 2007.
  19. ^ Scott J. Kelly Biographical Data, NASA, accessed March 25, 2007.
  20. ^ "Major Army Command Says Farewell to Four-Star Commander", United States Army Materiel Command press release. Accessed November 19, 2007. "Kern was raised in West Orange, NJ and graduated from West Orange High School."
  21. ^ Ginsberg, Johanna. "Former New Jerseyan to be Israel’s envoy to U.S.; Author Michael Oren was Mountain High and Princeton grad", New Jersey Jewish News, May 7, 2009. Accessed July 30, 2013. "He graduated from West Orange Mountain High School and earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University before making aliya in 1979."
  22. ^ Q and A with Vinnie Politan, November 20, 2006, accessed April 12, 2007. "It'll be tough to deal with him, even if I was the two-time captain of the West Orange Cowboys' Group 2 Section 2 State Championship basketball team."
  23. ^ Sontag, Deborah. "Who Was Responsible For Elizabeth Shin?", The New York Times, April 28, 2002. Accessed September 24, 2012. "It is a reference to Elizabeth's admission to psychiatrists that she cut her wrists very superficially after she was bumped from valedictorian to salutatorian of West Orange High School."
  24. ^ West-O-Ranger 1968
  25. ^ Staff. "Engagements-Weddings-Anniversaries", Belleville News-Democrat, August 3, 2003. Accessed April 5, 2011. "Wolf is a 1986 graduate of West Orange High School in West Orange, NJ, and a 1990 graduate of George Washington University in Washington D.C."
  26. ^ Staff. "Celebrity Proms: ‘Dancing’s’ Ian Ziering", Access Hollywood, May 10, 2007. Accessed April 5, 2011. "We took Ian back twenty-five years to prom 1982 at Mountain High School in West Orange, New Jersey. We found his prom date, Julie Slavitt, happily married with two little girls in Demarest, New Jersey."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°48′23″N 74°15′28″W / 40.806306°N 74.257771°W / 40.806306; -74.257771