Amherst Regional High School (Massachusetts)

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Amherst Regional High School
Amherst Regional High School, Amherst MA.jpg
21 Mattoon Street
Amherst, Massachusetts 01002
Coordinates 42°22′51″N 72°30′46″W / 42.38083°N 72.51278°W / 42.38083; -72.51278Coordinates: 42°22′51″N 72°30′46″W / 42.38083°N 72.51278°W / 42.38083; -72.51278
School type Public High School
Founded 1956
Principal Mark Jackson
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,300
Area Amherst, Pelham, Leverett, Shutesbury
Color(s) Maroon and White          
Mascot Hurri the Cane
Team name Hurricanes
Average SAT scores 593 verbal
600 math
563 writing
1756 total (2015-2016)[1]
Newspaper The Graphic
Yearbook The Goldbug
Budget $30,957,738 total
$18,688 per pupil (2013)[2]

Amherst Regional High School (ARHS) is a secondary school in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States, for students in grades 9–12. Together with Amherst Regional Middle School, it makes up the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District, which comprises the towns of Amherst, Pelham, Leverett, and Shutesbury, Massachusetts.[3] Its official colors are maroon and white. ARHS's current principal is Mark Jackson.[4]


Amherst Regional High School ran on a trimester system until switching to a semester system in 2016. The students used to take five courses per trimester: normally, three to four were academics, and one to two were electives. Most academic classes ran for two trimesters. They ran either straight through or were broken up by the winter trimester. The exception to this was some social studies and English courses that were a trimester each and some music and higher-level courses that ran for all three trimesters. Under the current semester system, student take seven classes per semester.

Extracurricular activities[edit]


The school's sports teams are known as The Hurricanes.

The boys cross-country team is listed in the top 110 high schools in America, and has won many Western Massachusetts championships as recent as 2013.[5] The boys cross-country team's most recent victory tied them with the most Western Mass championships at 16.

ARHS is one of many high schools in Massachusetts with a nationally ranked Ultimate program.[6][7] The boys' and girls' Ultimate teams have both won the national championship several times; including the girl's program winning the national championship five consecutive times.[citation needed][when?] The program hosts the annual Amherst Invitational Ultimate Tournament which pits 30 high school teams from across the country in one of the oldest and largest high school tournaments in the USA.[8]

The 1992–1993 girls' basketball team inspired the book In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle by Madeleine Blais.

The Football team won the 1999 Massachusetts High School Super Bowl by defeating Southbridge 27-7. It was the first Super Bowl win for Amherst in 25 years.[9][10]

The boys soccer team won the first Western Massachusetts Division I Championship in school history in 2012. That team reached the 2012 State Finals, losing to Needham 1-0. The boys soccer team won the program's second championship in 2014 after beating West Springfield 1-0. The program won its third title in 5 years in 2016.

State championships[edit]

  • Girls' cross-country: seven since 1990
  • Boys' cross-country: 2001
  • Girls' basketball: 1993
  • Boys' basketball: 2003
  • Baseball: 2010
  • Boys' Indoor Track: 2014, 2015

Survival Living[edit]

ARHS is one of the few schools in the nation to offer a Wilderness Survival program.[11] The class meets after school from January through June, and covers subjects such as orienteering, wilderness first aid, emergency shelters, wild edibles, and emergency fire-building.


The town of Amherst, situated in an area surrounded by five colleges, prides itself on being particularly socially conscientious. Because of this, issues ranging from First Amendment rights to race relations have a habit of repeatedly cropping up in Amherst Regional High School. Recently it has experienced a wave of controversies over several different issues, many of which have helped put it in the national spotlight.

In 1990, Principal Ilene Levitt instituted a sexual harassment policy, among the first of its kind for a high school in the nation. The policy banned "staring or leering with sexual overtones", among other acts; it received significant media attention.[12]

In 1999, ARHS's school production of West Side Story was canceled when several Puerto Rican students and parents complained about what they perceived as stereotypical representations in the musical. The musical split both students and teachers, and put ARHS's superintendent Gus Sayer under fire for his stand that "No group, neither in the majority nor in the minority, should have the ability to censor the decisions our community’s educators make about what to teach, what to read, or what to produce on the stage."[citation needed] Internationally known conductor Jessel Murray, who had served as the choral instructor and director of the school musical, left the United States entirely and returned to his native Trinidad as a result of the debate and cancellation.[13]

The Vagina Monologues[edit]

In 2004 Amherst Regional High School received international press coverage for their decision to allow students to perform The Vagina Monologues. The performance was done under the direction of faculty member Katina Papson, who co-directed with 17-year-old student Kristin Tyler. Although many adults within and outside of the community felt that The Vagina Monologues dealt with inappropriate material for teenagers, some ARHS students felt that the performance had relevance to their lives. Appearing on NBC News, Kristin Tyler stated that "one in five girls in high school are either sexually or physically abused on a date."

In 2007 The Vagina Monologues were performed by Amherst Regional High School students again. Women's Rights Club, founded in fall 2006 by Sophie Rabinovitz, '07, sponsored the show. After seeking permission from principal Mark Jackson to perform the monologues in their high school auditorium, their request was denied. Jackson cited reasons such as the town's looming budget cuts, previous controversy and negative publicity associated with the show, as well as lack of interest by teachers and staff to help organize the performance. The members of the club persisted and succeeded in securing the Northampton Center for the Arts for their show. The Vagina Monologues took place on February 15, 17 and 18th. The Saturday and Sunday night shows both sold out, and the club succeeded in raising several thousand dollars to donate to local women's charities.

In 2008, due to continued student efforts, and the support of principal Mark Jackson, The Vagina Monologues moved back to the high school. The play was an energetic success, with strong support from community organizations, a large number of students and parents, and the high school administration. In combination with a "Week of Awareness" designed to talk about the issues discussed in The Vagina Monologues, the play raised over $8,000 for the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition and the Men's Resource Center for Change (Both based in the Pioneer Valley).

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Amherst Regional Public Schools website
  4. ^ Amherst Regional High School website
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ USA Ultimate youth boys rankings
  7. ^ USA Ultimate youth girls rankings
  8. ^ 2012 Amherst Invitational Tournament Website Archived June 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ [2] Fitchburg Sentinel from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Monday, December 8, 1975, Page 8
  10. ^ [3] HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Super Bowl history from 1972-2013, Boston Herald, August 10, 2014
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  12. ^ Amherst Highs Sexual Harassment Policies
  13. ^ The Trinidad Guardian -Online Edition Ver 2.0[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2014-04-14.