Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
|Acton-Boxborough Regional High School|
|School district||Acton-Boxborough Regional School District|
|Color(s)||Blue & Gold|
|Athletics||21 interscholastic sports|
|Average SAT scores||616 verbal
1863 total (2015-2016)
$13,962 per pupil (2012-13)
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (ABRHS) is an open enrollment high school in Acton, Massachusetts. A part of the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, it serves the Massachusetts towns of Acton and Boxborough and has students in grades 9 through 12. It is situated downhill from the Raymond J. Grey Junior High School, at 36 Charter Road in Acton. Raymond J. Grey Junior High School occupies the facility that, until 1973, was the high school. ABRHS underwent an $80 million renovation and expansion in 2005.
ABRHS has consistently ranked among the top secondary schools in the country. It was one of 39 American high schools named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked Acton-Boxborough #3 among open enrollment high schools and #7 overall for STEM education. Nonprofit group GreatSchools ranked Acton #2 among small cities nationwide for its public education. ABRHS has achieved this success while serving many immigrant and limited-English-proficient students and maintaining per-pupil spending below the state average.
The National Wildlife Federation awarded ABRHS a Green Flag Award for its work to increase environmental awareness and promote environmental stewardship. It is only the fourth school to receive this award. ABRHS is also set to receive environmental awards from the Massachusetts state government and the National Energy Education Development Project.
ABRHS offers classes in a wide range of academic and artistic subjects, including Chinese, Latin, photography, graphic design, and anatomy & physiology. For most classes in academic subjects, students have the option of taking SP (standard prep), CP (college prep), AE (accelerated enriched), or Honors/Advanced Placement (AP) classes. The school regularly has graduation rates over 95% and college attendance rates over 90%.
In 2012, ABRHS produced 24 National Merit Semifinalists, 20 of whom became Finalists. The school has had several students become Semifinalists or Finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, most recently in 2012 and 2013. Students have also participated in the Siemens Competition, and in 2008 an ABRHS team won a $30,000 scholarship.
ABRHS consistently has strong showings on standarized tests including the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) exams, the SAT and SAT Subject Tests, and AP exams. On the Spring 2012 10th grade MCAS, 96% were "proficient" or "advanced" in English/Language Arts, 94% in Mathematics, and 94% in Science.
The school had the highest average SAT Math scores in Massachusetts from 2010-2012. During the same period, average scores for all three sections were above 600. Average SAT Subject Test scores in 2012 ranged from 647 (Latin) to 750 (Mathematics Level II). 95% of the Class of 2012 took the SAT, as opposed to 89% statewide.
ABRHS has 21 different interscholastic sports, many of which are divided into Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman teams. All sports have boys' and girls' teams or are co-ed except for football, field hockey, cheerleading, wrestling, gymnastics, softball, and baseball. The school is a member of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, within which it competes in the Dual County League (DCL).
The fall sports are football (boys), football cheerleading (girls), field hockey (girls), soccer, volleyball (girls), golf, swimming (girls; boys' is in the winter), and cross-country running. ABRHS's winter sports are basketball, ice hockey, indoor track, wrestling (boys), gymnastics (girls), alpine ski, basketball cheerleading, swimming (boys; girls' is in the fall), and cross-country skiing.
Spring sports include lacrosse, softball (girls), baseball (boys), tennis, volleyball (boys), and track and field.
The school's sports teams have a long history of success. Among the fall sports, the football team set a state record with 52 consecutive wins and has won five Super Bowl titles. The girls' field hockey team won the state championship in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2015 and girls' soccer won the state championship in 2007. The girls' swimming/diving team has won 13 state championships.
For winter sports, the boys' swimming/diving team has won nine state championships and boys' indoor track was the Class A state champion in 2012.
Among the spring sports, the girls' tennis team won the state championship in 2008 and 2012 while the boys' lacrosse team won the state championship in 2014 Also, the boys Varsity tennis team has lost 7 times in the past 7 years .
Acton-Boxborough's student media includes a radio station, newspaper, yearbook, and magazines. WHAB is the school-run radio station operated by technical advisors and Student DJs. The student newspaper, The Spectrum, is an entirely student-run and student-produced paper. In 2009 and 2010, it won awards for Editorial Writing from the Suffolk University Journalism Competition and First Place with Special Merit from the American Scholastic Press Association. The school's yearbook is called The Torch and its student-run magazines include Idiosyncrasy and Window Seat.
Other ABRHS clubs include Anime Crew, "Best Buddies" Club, Chess Club, Chinese Culture Club, Classics Club, Common Ground (a gay-straight alliance), Computer Science Club (AB-IdeaLab since 2014), Film Club, French Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Hip-Hop Club, Human Rights Club, Invisible Children, Italian Club, Outdoor Club, Photography Club, Recycling Group, Robotics, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Spanish Club, Videogame Design Club, Window Seat (a literary magazine), Acton Boxborough Young Democrats Club, Acton Boxborough Young Republicans Club, and Youth in Philanthropy.
The academic teams at Acton-Boxborough are Academic Decathlon, Envirothon, Math, Mock Trial, Ocean Sciences Bowl, Science Olympiad, Speech and Debate, Classics Club, and Trivia. Many of them have an impressive history of success, regularly winning state competitions and competing at the national level. The Academic Decathlon team has won 22 of the last 23 state championships and competed in the national tournament following each win. The Math Team has earned first place among large schools in New England, and the Science Olympiad won the state championship in 2005, 2006 and 2010-2014. Speech and Debate team members have regularly qualified for the National Forensic League and National Catholic Forensic League national tournaments, including five students in Student Congress in 2012. The Classics Club is establishing a presence in Certamen, the Latin Quiz-Bowl competition which has been traditionally dominated by schools such as Boston Latin School and Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School.
ABRHS's performing arts groups include the Choral program, the marching band, and Proscenium Circus (PC), the theater group. AB Friends of Drama, a nonprofit organization, helps support PC through fundraising and volunteers. Acton-Boxborough Friends of Music is a parent-run organization that financially assists the musical organizations.
ABRHS's Choral Program consists of four unique choirs that run year-long. The choirs' repertoire includes different time periods and composers. Every year, the Chorus Department hosts a variety show called Cabaret Night as well as the Pan-Choral Concert and Spring Jam.
- La Capella consists of females who are new to the program.
- Concert Choir is a heterogenous group that consists of slightly advanced members of vocal performance.
- Chamber Choir includes the most advanced vocal performers of the program.
- Madrigal Singers include the some members of the Chamber Choir. It performs regularly in a medieval-style manner and performs in competitions, receiving a gold medal at MICCA competition in 2010 and 2011.
The choral program also supports student-run a cappella groups, including "13 Fish Named Jennifer," "Cascade", "Treble Strike", "Downbeat" (females only), "Fresh Beat" (freshmen only), "Masti" (performs Indian music), and "Testostertones" (males only).
The marching band is led by Mark Hickey and includes music, marching, visuals, color guard, percussion, and drum majors. Each year it performs a different field show. It has received many awards for being the best band marching in statewide parades. In October 2011, the band earned a gold medal at the Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) Marching Band Festival Finals.
- In 2003 and 2009 the band traveled to Disney World in Orlando, Florida
- In 2004, they participated in New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade
- In 2006, it participated in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, and was awarded "The Best Band Overall in Dublin's St. Patrick's Day Parade," and received an award for "most entertaining" at the Limerick International Band Competition
- In April 2008 and April 2012, the band traveled to Washington, D.C. to march in the National Cherry Blossom Festival parade
- In March 2014, the band traveled to Ireland, where they were awarded "Best International Band" at the Limerick International Band Festival, and "Best Youth Band" in the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The high school's theater group is named "Proscenium Circus" (PC). The club, which has existed since 1978, has over 100 members and stages several productions each year. These productions traditionally include a fall play, a musical in winter, the Massachusetts State Drama Festival entry play, student-directed class plays, and "The Festival of 10 Minute Plays." PC's fall 2007 production of The Laramie Project led members of the Westboro Baptist Church to demonstrate outside the school, but students counter-protesting greatly outnumbered them.
Acton-Boxborough has worked to reduce its environmental impact and received several awards, including the prestigious Green Flag Award from the National Wildlife Federation, for its efforts. Involved student groups include the Recycling Club and the school's Green Council. In September 2010 students initiated the "Power Down" project to promote energy conservation, primarily by encouraging teachers to power down all electronics in their rooms at the end of the day. The project reduced energy consumption by 10%. After finding that most trash thrown out at lunchtime could be recycled or composted, students created a "recycling peers" program to make sure everyone put food waste in the appropriate containers. That program reduced the number of trash bags produced at lunch from 40 to four or less. In addition to these programs, students worked with teachers and the Acton Garden Club to divert water runoff from Charter Road into a new rain garden.
- Steve Hathaway, MLB pitcher
- Seth Abramson, poet
- Tom Barrasso, Hockey Hall of Fame Goalie and member of the 2002 U.S. Silver Medal hockey team
- Bob Brooke, NHL hockey player
- Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox
- Maria Konnikova, writer and journalist
- Jeff Norton, NHL hockey player
- Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street puppeteer who performs Big Bird
- Evelyn Stevens, cyclist
- Bob Sweeney, NHL hockey player
- Ilya Zhitomirskiy, co-founder of open source distributed social networking software company Diaspora; did not graduate from ABRHS
- Jessamyn West, librarian
- Skylar Kergil, LGBTQ activist, public speaker, YouTube vlogger, and musician
- Jamie Eldridge, MA Senator
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