Columbia High School (New Jersey)

Coordinates: 40°44′08″N 74°15′58″W / 40.73556°N 74.26611°W / 40.73556; -74.26611
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Columbia High School
17 Parker Avenue

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°44′08″N 74°15′58″W / 40.73556°N 74.26611°W / 40.73556; -74.26611
TypePublic high school
Established1814; 210 years ago (1814)
School districtSouth Orange-Maplewood School District
NCES School ID341533002422[1]
PrincipalAnn Bodnar (interim)
Faculty150.4 FTEs[1]
Enrollment1,930 (as of 2022–23)[1]
Student to teacher ratio12.8:1[1]
Campus typeSuburban
Color(s)Red   and
Black  [2]
Athletics conferenceSuper Essex Conference (general)
North Jersey Super Football Conference (football)
Team nameCougars[2]
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[3]

Columbia High School is a four-year comprehensive regional public high school in Maplewood, in Essex County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. It serves students in ninth through twelfth grades, as the lone secondary school of the South Orange-Maplewood School District, which includes Maplewood and South Orange, neighboring communities in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools since 1928; its accreditation expires in July 2025.[3]

As of the 2022–23 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,930 students and 150.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.8:1. There were 247 students (12.8% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 46 (2.4% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

School history[edit]


Since the days of the Revolution, a one-room stone schoolhouse had stood on a grassy area known as the Common, located close to the present intersection of South Orange Avenue and Academy Street in South Orange. In 1814, this building blocked the construction of a new toll highway from Newark to Morristown. The 73 "Proprietors and Associates" of the school met on August 3 of that year and resolved to erect a new school building near the site of the old one, naming seven trustees to thereafter oversee the education of local children. The resolution reflected "the desire of the meeting that the said school should in the future have the name of Columbian School of South Orange."[5]

The new schoolhouse was a two-story wood structure, topped by a thin steeple and a lofty weather vane. It was completed before the fall term of 1815. The trustees decided "That the price of tuition in this school be fixed at $1.75 per quarter for spelling, reading and writing; for Arithmetic in addition to the above branches the sum of $0.25 cts and for Grammar or Geography the further sum of twenty-five cents." The cost of firewood was to be "divided equally among the scholars." On May 10, 1816, the trustees adopted a seal for the school in the form of "a spread eagle standing on a globe with the word Excelsior underneath in Roman Capitals."

In the early years, students at the Columbia School were not separated according to grade. All were subject to the same rules, among them the following adopted by the trustees on May 2, 1827: "Every scholar must be made to name every silent letter in his spelling when he spells a word with one in and mention every figure which is placed over a letter and be taught to know their uses and for every mistake or omission in such letter or figure shall be considered the same as spelling a word wrong and subject to the same usage.

"Every scholar that spells a word wrong or omits a silent letter or figure shall step in the rear of the class and there stand until the class shall have spelled through, then those that have spelled right are to move up in a solid body and those who are in the rear to move down and take their places at the foot."

For decades, the school was supported by tuition payments. But gradually the State began to assume a share of the financial responsibility. In 1820, a law authorized townships to levy a tax to pay the tuition of poor students. By 1828, townships had the power to tax for general school purposes. The State itself began to contribute money in 1830, and in 1846 every township was required to raise as much money each year for schools as the State itself contributed. The last tuition assessment for residents occurred in 1861, and thereafter the Columbia School was entirely supported by public taxation.

Post-Civil War[edit]

After the Civil War, improvements on the railroad contributed to a decided growth of population in the old Township of South Orange. The general character of the citizenry underwent a significant change and residents known as "commuters" began to emerge in numbers. In 1867, a state law required that Columbia become a graded school. By 1877, the old two-story wooden building erected in 1815 was found to be woefully inadequate for the growing community. One resident complained that "in very cold weather, with stoves at red heat, it is impossible to raise the temperature in the room above 55 degrees, and in such a place are sown the seeds of suffering, disease and death."

The trustees responded in 1879 by resolving to erect a new brick building, of two stories, to accommodate between 220 and 240 pupils. The new structure was opened in 1880. The final cost of construction was $17,094.49. The building later became the northeast wing of the old South Orange Junior High School, demolished when the present middle school was built.

The separate existence of the high school began in 1885, when the trustees decided "that in order to increase the efficiency of the Columbia School a new class of a higher grade shall be formed at the commencement of the coming term to be taught by the Principal." Lower grades continued to be housed at Columbia. The trustees' minutes of May 31, 1888, reflect the principal's request "that a diploma be voted to Miss Etta A. Kilburn" and that, "on motion, a diploma was voted to Miss Kilburn, the first graduate of the high school.

20th century[edit]

In 1894, the South Orange, Maplewood, and Hilton school districts were consolidated and became the South Orange and Maplewood School District, with borders essentially identical to those which presently exist. The district remained unified even after Maplewood and South Orange became separately incorporated as municipalities, although there was considerable pressure to split as early as 1904.

The close of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th brought significant changes in high school curriculum and school management. The Board of Education had by now replaced the old board of trustees. In 1890, "manual training" was offered in school. By 1891, sciences had been added to the course of study. A tradition of excellence was beginning to evolve, and in 1892 two Columbia graduates were admitted to Cornell University. Musical enrichment was added in 1894 with the hiring of a singing teacher from New York City. Early in the 1900s the value of athletics was recognized and encouraged at Columbia by the organization of boys' and girls' teams. The student council was formed in 1912, and The Columbian student newspaper followed in 1915.

There was a reaction to these changes. Complaints arose over so-called "fads and frills"-inessentials said to be leading to the neglect of reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic. New York papers read by local commuters campaigned for a return to the efficiency of the "little old red schoolhouse." But the changes were here to stay.

At the same time, pupil behavior was becoming less inhibited, much to the distress of the adult population. Henry W. Foster, superintendent of the district from 1900 to 1927, described the conditions in 1913: "Long before prohibition was adopted, venturesome boys were surreptitiously now and then bringing liquor to dances to add to the excitement. There was a decided reversion to animalistic excitement. Musical rhythm from the wilds of barbarism stirred the pulse. The dance abandoned the restraint and refinement of waltz and polka; Bunny Hug, Turkey Trot, Fox Trot, and Shimmey began to reign."

The Board of Education reacted by banning all but "polite dances" on school premises. However, the proscribed behavior persisted, and the Board then stopped all school dances. That continued until it became apparent that students were going to outside dances anyway and the efforts at control were abandoned.

World War I[edit]

Many students and teachers were enlisted during World War I, which had a significant effect on life at Columbia. Pupils in assembly regularly delivered patriotic "four-minute speeches." Every room in the school had a full complement of war posters.

Epidemics raged during the same period of time. Polio spread around the country in 1916 and, at Columbia, resulted in the deaths of one teacher and several children. In 1918, the global influenza epidemic closed all of the schools in the district for three weeks and one teacher died.

In the early part of the 20th century most of the remaining farms in Maplewood and South Orange were sold and subdivided, leading to the present suburban character of the two communities. The increase in population placed enormous pressure on the schools. In 1900, the total district school population was 792; by 1927, it had risen to 4,960, an increase of 526%.

Post-World War I[edit]

The Board of Education initially responded by constructing a sizable addition to the old Columbia School in 1910, which building still housed primary school children as well as high school students. Seth Boyden School and the old Fielding School were erected in 1913 and 1914, respectively. By the fall of 1922 Marshall School was completed. First Street School followed the next spring, and Jefferson School opened in January 1924. Later that year the junior high schools were organized, and both the Tuscan and Montrose buildings were finished.

More was needed. The old Columbia School could no longer safely accommodate the student population. A magnificent new structure was planned. The design process was unique in that the faculty and all members of the staff participated by submitting sketches, drawn to scale, of the facilities necessary to satisfy their needs. In 1926 construction began on the present Columbia High School building. Work was completed in September 1927, in time for the fall term. So well-designed was this building that two years later its floor plan was described and pictured in the Encyclopædia Britannica in an article describing ideal American schools.

During this period of time Columbia gained increasing fame for its academic excellence. Educators generally considered it to be one of the most outstanding high schools in the United States. Much of that reputation was due to Henry W. Foster, superintendent from 1900 to 1927, and John H. Bosshart, principal from 1920 to 1927. Bosshart succeeded Foster as superintendent, and later served as the first head of the New Jersey Department of Education.

American public schools were all significantly impacted by World War II. In the words of Lt. General Brehon Sommervell, then Commanding General, Services of Supply: "The job of the schools in this total war is to educate the nation's manpower for war and for the peace that follows." Columbia High School met the challenge, primarily with curriculum changes designed to prepare boys for service in the military. The science department developed courses in aeronautics. In biology, students studied the effect of flying on the human body. A new modern history course emphasized the "historical background for an understanding of the forces which have caused this global war, of the necessity of destroying that for which our enemies stand and of the magnitude of the international problems which face the world." Even the music department offered a new program "to train pupils in the informal singing that grows out of wartime needs." Columbia had its own Victory Corps with the objective of encouraging pupils "to take some active part in their own community's war effort while they are yet in school.

For many years following its opening in 1927, the high school physical plant was more than sufficient for the needs of its population. Although four classrooms and a shop were added to the structure in 1939, it was not until 1958 that a large addition (now C Wing) was constructed to accommodate a burgeoning student body. By 1964, the dimensions of a new population explosion were perceived, and a special Board of Education committee was formed to investigate the needs of Columbia High School in the 1970s. As a result of this study, it was calculated that further additions would be required. During the 1970–71 school year, B and D Wings were added at a total cost of $5,250,000.

The total high school population was now approaching 2,400. The same committee which concluded that physical additions were needed also recommended a new organizational plan to prevent students from feeling depersonalized in such a large system. What grew out of this was the House Plan, which, in 1970, divided Columbia into four sub-schools (or "houses") of approximately 600 students each. The goal was to provide the intimacy of a small school within a large plant, and each of the houses had, for example, its own student council, intramural athletic teams, and newspapers. All of these were in addition to the traditional school-wide activities.

Vietnam War[edit]

Student reaction to the Vietnam War was a nationwide phenomenon, and Columbia provided no exception to the pattern. A Student Peace Group was organized at Columbia in 1968, and over 300 students actively participated. Members wore black armbands on April 26 of that year, and a community rally was held the next day with faculty members present. On March 27, 1969, a group of Columbia students were suspended for distributing leaflets in school opposing the Vietnam War, without the approval of the school's administration.[6][7] The American Civil Liberties Union agreed to defend the students, but the issue became moot as the students were reinstated, though the State Commissioner of Education ruled in June 1969 that the leaflet ban could not be sustained in its original form and that a new policy would need to be implemented by the school board.[6]

Invention of Ultimate Frisbee[edit]

The Vietnam era generally coincided with a time of protest against all things establishment. One manifestation of this was the ascendancy of Ultimate (also known as Ultimate Frisbee), which became popular around the country as an alternative to varsity sports. The game was conceived of by Columbia students in the late 1960s. It is said that the first organized game took place in 1968 between the staff of the school's student newspaper, The Columbian, and the Student Council.[8] An annual CHS Ultimate Alumni game is played in the student parking lot on the night of Thanksgiving. The event has drawn former CHS Ultimate players from as far back as the original 1968 team to return to "The Lot" to play against the current incarnation of the team.

Columbia High School today[edit]

By the late 1970s, student populations around the nation had entered what proved to be a period of extended numerical decline. The Board of Education organized a citizen Educational Task Force, which conducted a District-wide demographic study and ultimately recommended a series of school closings and consolidations. One of the results was the entry of the 9th grade into the high school in 1980. Declining enrollment, as well as cost considerations, led to the discontinuance of the House Plan in 1982.

Columbia High School was the first school in the nation to observe Earth Day, on April 17, 1970. Due to the fact that Columbia was on spring break on April 22, when Earth Day was scheduled for national observance, the presentation was known as Earth Day Minus Five and a specially prepared flag was run up the main flagpole. The all-day observance, which was coordinated by biology teacher Jeffrey Himmelstein, began with Congressman Joseph Minish as the keynote speaker; several noted scientists from the area conducted seminars. Featured was an assembly with films and slide shows that were created by several students and environmentally themed folk songs were sung.[citation needed]

Awards, recognition and ranking[edit]

For the 1992–93 school year, Columbia High School received the National Blue Ribbon Award of Excellence from the United States Department of Education, the highest honor that an American school can achieve.[9]

Columbia was ranked the 36th best high school in New Jersey in 2012 by U.S. News & World Report.[citation needed]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 43rd in New Jersey and 1,358th nationwide.[10] In Newsweek's May 22, 2007, issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Columbia High School was listed in 1192nd place, the 39th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[11]

The school was the 96th-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.[12] The school had been ranked 47th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 75th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[13] The magazine ranked the school 89th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[14] The school was also ranked 79th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[15] ranked the school 150th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 29 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (82.5%) and language arts literacy (94.6%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[16]

The Columbia High School Student Council was named an "NJASC Honor School" for the 3rd consecutive year in January 2008. It also won a "Top 10 Projects" award for their event, 'School in Action Night'. They won the same honor the year before for their 'How to Start a Gay-Straight Alliance' presentation.[citation needed]


Columbia High School's clock tower, located at the front entrance on Parker Avenue.

While thousands of schools were constructed in the same era with little more than local notice, the opening of the present-day Columbia High School warranted articles in The Architect, Architecture, Architectural Record, American School and University, The Brick Builder, Pencil Points, and The American School Board Journal. Rendered in the Collegiate Gothic style by James O. Betelle of the Newark, New Jersey architectural firm of Guilbert & Betelle, the school served as a standard in design as evidenced by the inclusion of a floor plan in a 1930 Encyclopædia Britannica article, and later design homages such as John Marshall High School (Los Angeles, California). Collegiate Gothic, or Academic Gothic, construction was prevalent among schools and colleges in the 1920s, and was Betelle's preferred building style for both its scholastically historic roots and practical considerations.[17] The 1927 main building still garners recognition, including recognition by Architectural Digest on its 2017 list of the "Most Beautiful Public High School in Every State in America".[18]

Prominent original exterior features include carved limestone detail, numerous false chimneys, steeply pitched slate roofs, and a seven-story clock tower. While it is not known for certain that Columbia High School was inspired by any earlier structures, there is a strong resemblance to Laynon Hall at Queen's University of Belfast. At the very top of the clock tower is a copper pyramidal structure. The entire pyramid structure rotates, and one side opens, serving as an observatory. The observatory is equipped with a large refracting telescope made by John Brashear. The telescope continues to remain functional as the observatory's primary instrument (receiving a restoration in 2018-2019 including a motorized Go-To system). Other reflecting telescopes courtesy of club donations and fundraisers are used during observations. Two levels below are the E. Howard & Co. Style No. 3 clock works. Alongside the clock is an enormous bronze bell by the Meneely Bell Foundry. Inside the school can be found rooms with fireplaces, hallways with beautiful faience wall tiles by John Scott Award recipient Herman Carl Mueller of Trenton, and mosaic inlaid terrazzo floors in the front hall. The front foyer was recently renovated, removing non-period lighting and mid-century acoustic tile. The restoration included doors that more closely replicated the 1926 originals, a new terrazzo floor, and dramatic lighting of the zodiac-inspired plaster ceiling. Recently, dubious student art dating from as far back as the 1970s was painted over, among other improvements. The auditorium includes a three-manual Ernest M. Skinner Organ. Although it is little used and not completely functional, the organ is one of the few unmodified Skinners in existence and has received an Organ Historical Society citation. Regrettably, on either side of the stage the large plaster grills that hide the organ pipes were water damaged. The original auditorium chandeliers have also been removed. A similar story exists with regard to the swimming pool; while the original vaulted Catalan Guastavino tile ceiling remains, the chandeliers are gone, and a giant arched window is blocked by a later addition.

CHS has had a major addition every 20 to 30 years. In the 1930s, an industrial arts wing brought students the skills needed during the Great Depression. In the 1950s, a large addition, now known as "C-Wing", added classrooms to cope with increasing student numbers as well as a massive gymnasium (bringing the total number of gyms to three). In the early 70s, a projected enrollment boom and the need for new science, fine arts, and industrial arts space created the need for "B" and "D" wings. A new cafeteria, the largest public school library at the time, space for academic advising, a now-gone small movie theater and A/V room and a TV studio were built. With these additions, the earlier 1927 structure is only visible from the front facade and between later additions. In 2005, much of the space previously used for industrial arts such as wood shop and auto shop was transformed into a theatre performance and general use space. In 2009, renovations were completed on the main entryway, reviving original stone and woodwork, but with a conspicuous misspelling of the school's motto, "Excelsior", carved as "Excelcior" into the masonry floor.

In each era of construction, the chosen design was seen as controversial. The D-Wing, the most recent and most obvious addition to the School, boasts a dramatic modernist design typical of the late-1960s and early 1970s. The clash between this new (and already out-of-fashion) style and the original architecture of the A-Wing is especially visible from Parker Avenue.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

In 1956 (tied with Cranford High School), 1982 and again in 1990 (tied with Cherry Hill High School East), the school's chess team was the New Jersey high school team champion, winning the Father Casimir J. Finley Trophy.[19]

The FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team 4102, founded in 2011, placed first in the New Jersey FTC state championships during its rookie year in 2011 and again in 2013, qualifying for the FIRST Championship both times and placing as a finalist both years.[20][21] The team returned to the World Championship in 2017.

Columbia High School has won multiple Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for their musical program. Bethany Pettigrew and Tricia Benn won for Best Director in 2015 for Ragtime[22] as well as for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography and Staging for the 2022 production of Newsies. "The Silly Girls" won Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group in 2016 for Beauty and The Beast.[23] Louis J. Medrano won for Outstanding Scenic Achievement in 2022 for Newsies

Columbia High School has a series of clubs. The Columbian is a club where students write a newspaper for students and staff of Columbia High School that includes topics from in the school itself, but also includes current events from around the world.[24] The paper was recognized by the American Scholastic Press Association in 2014–2019 with first place in its Scholastic Newspaper Awards.[25] In addition, the Columbia Politics Club debates present and past political issues.


The Columbia High School Cougars[2] compete in the Super Essex Conference, which is comprised of public and private high schools in Essex County and was established following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[26] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2010 realignment, the school had competed as part of the Iron Hills Conference, which included public and private high schools in Essex and Union counties.[27] Prior to 1972, the school competed in New Jersey's Big Ten Conference. With 1,514 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2019–20 school year as Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,060 to 5,049 students in that grade range.[28] The football team competes in the Freedom White division of the North Jersey Super Football Conference, which includes 112 schools competing in 20 divisions, making it the nation's biggest football-only high school sports league.[29][30] The school was classified by the NJSIAA as Group V North for football for 2022–2024, which included schools with 1,313 to 5,304 students.[31]

The school participates with Bloomfield High School in a joint ice hockey team in which Nutley High School is the host school / lead agency. The co-op program operates under agreements scheduled to expire at the end of the 2023–24 school year.[32]

Ultimate Frisbee was invented at Columbia High School in 1968. The ultimate team has won the state championship 11 times in the tournament's 13-year history. The team has won the championship every year since 2001 giving it a 12-year winning streak. The team has attended the Paideia cup tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, a nationally competitive tournament, every year since its inception in 2006, as well as the Amherst Invitational in Massachusetts. The men's team was recognized in town hall meetings and Board of Education meetings after winning the 2008 High school eastern championship. The women's team has won the state championship every year that it has been contested, beginning in 2007. However, the team is not recognized as a sport by the school and does not receive funding by the district.

The school's fencing team was started in 1982 and was included in the sport section of the yearbook for the first time. Prior to this had existed as a fencing club for a couple of years before.[33][34][35]

Athletic titles[edit]

Trailing by eight points in the final three minutes of the championship game at the Newark Armory, the 1925 boys basketball team came back to win the Class B (since recategorized as Group III) state title with a 24-21 victory against Princeton High School.[36][37][38]

The boys swimming team won the Public state championship in 1942, 1949, 1955 and 1956, and won the Division A title in 1960.[39]

The boys spring / outdoor track team won the Group IV state championship in 1948.[40]

The boys cross-country team won the Group IV boys' title in 1960.[41]

The boys tennis team won the Group IV state championship in 1969, defeating Teaneck High School in the semifinals and Ridgewood High School 2-1 in the tournament final.[42][43]

The boys' soccer team won the Group IV state championship in 1978 (defeating Brick Township High School in the finals), 1979 (vs. Neptune High School), 1989 (vs. East Brunswick High School) and 1998 (vs. Bridgewater-Raritan High School).[44] The team was coached for 50 years by Gene Chyzowych, who had 757 career wins in his coaching career that ended in 2013, making him one of the most successful scholastic soccer coaches in the nation's history.[45][46][47] The 2007 boys' soccer team won the North II, Group IV state sectional championship with a 1–0 win over Westfield High School in the tournament final.[48]

The baseball team won the Greater Newark Tournament in 1978, 1979, 1986 and 1995. The program's four titles are tied for fifth-most in tournament history through 2019. The team won the 1995 Greater Newark Tournament title, defeating Belleville High School 1-0 in the finals.[49]

The girls basketball team won the Group IV state title in 1979 (defeating Atlantic City High School in the tournament final), 1998 (vs. Piscataway High School) and 2001 (vs. Marlboro High School).[50]

The boys' lacrosse team won the overall state championship in 1979 (defeating Montclair High School in the final game of the tournament) and 1982 (vs. West Morris Central High School).[51] The 1979 team finished the season with a 17-0 record after winning the state title against defending-champion Montclair.[52] The 1982 team won the state title with a 10-6 win against Summit in the championship game.[53]

The girls' track and field team won the New Jersey Group IV indoor relay state championship in 1982-1984, 1994, 1996-1998, 2004, 2013 and 2014; the 10 state titles are tied for the most won by any girls track program.[54] The girls track team won the winter / indoor track Group IV state championship in 1983, 1994-98, 2010 and 2012-14. The program's 10 state group titles are tied for the most in the state.[55] The boys' track team placed 5th at the Nike Indoor Nationals in the 4x400 meter relay in 2009, making it the best in history for Columbia boys and breaking a school record. In the 2010 outdoor season, both the girls' and boys' teams went to the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, where the girls' team won, making them No. 1 in the country, and the boys placed 6th.

The wrestling team won the North II Group IV state sectional championship in 1989[56]

The girls spring / outdoor track won the Group IV state championship in 1994-1998 and 2010-2014. The 10 state titles won by the program are ranked third in the state and the two five-year streaks are the seventh-longest in state history.[57]

The field hockey team won the North II Group IV state sectional title in 1995 and 1996.[58]

The girls fencing team won the state team championship in 1998-2001, 2003-2006, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2015; the twelve team championships won by the girls fencing team are the most of any school in state history. The team was foil team winner in 2004-2008 and 2015, épée team winner in 2005-2007, and sabre team winner in 2004; the 11 team titles are the most of any school in New Jersey.[59] The girls' team record for the combined 1999–2005 seasons was 94–4. In 2006, the girls' fencing team defeated Bernards High School 19–8 to win the NJSIAA 2006 Girls' team fencing state tournament.[60] In the 2010–11 season, the girls placed third in the team state championships after defeating Governor Livingston High School in the consolation meet.

The boys fencing team won the overall state title in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014; the seven team titles are ranked third in the state. The team was épée team winner in 2004 and 2009, and was the sabre team winner in 2005, 2013, 2014 and 2016.[61] Columbia won the 2007 Boys' Team Fencing state championship with a 16–11 win over Voorhees High School.[62] In the 2008–09 season, the boys' fencing team took home the épée state title.[63] In the 2009–10 season, the boys' team won the Cetrulo Tournament and the NJSIAA/Bollinger District 3 championships, earning them a top seed going into the NJSIAA state championship Tournament. The boys' team won state championships for the first time since 2007 in a 15–12 win over Bernards High School.[64] In 2010-11, the boys won their second consecutive state championship defeating Montclair High School in the final by a 14–13 score.[65] In the 2012 NJSIAA/Bollinger tournament, Columbia lost in the final to second-seeded West Morris Mendham High School by a score of 14–13, ending the school's 49-match winning streak.[66]

Columbia's varsity football team had been notably unsuccessful for several years, winning only two games over a span of five seasons, including three consecutive winless seasons from 2005 to 2007, but broke their 45-game losing streak with a 48–0 victory over Dickinson High School in the last game of the 2008 season.[67]

The 2019 Columbia / Nutley co-op team won the McMullen Cup and the Monsignor Kelly Cup in 2019.[68] The team won the McMullen Cup in 2019 with a 4-2 win against Frisch School in the tournament final at the Richard J. Codey Arena.[69]


In the mid-1970s the school district was sued for teaching Transcendental Meditation and its Science of Creative Intelligence course for credit. The U.S. District Court ruled in the case called, Malnak v. Yogi (1979), that TM was "religious in nature" and that its use in public schools was in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which requires "separation of church and state."[70]

In June 2000, writer Tamar Lewin of The New York Times wrote "Growing Up, Growing Apart", a lengthy feature highlighting how an ethnically diverse trio struggled to maintain friendships and cope with teen life at Columbia. The story trailed Aqeelah Mateen, an African-American Muslim, Kelly Regan, an Irish Catholic, and Johanna Perez-Fox, a Puerto Rican Jew; the group quickly became ambassadors for the school, and for their respective ethnic groups. The article wasn't controversial, per se, but directed national attention to the school district and to Columbia specifically.[71]

In 2004, Columbia High School made national headlines when the administration amended a policy regarding religiously themed holiday songs putting more strict guidelines in place. Many people believed the new rules to be too strict. Radio personality Don Imus produced a song on his radio program entitled "Oh, Little Town of Maplewood", mocking the new rules of Columbia High School. The new guidelines were also mentioned on The O'Reilly Factor.[72]

In the school year 2018–2019, 35% of the students were African American and 52% were Caucasian.[73] Within this black-and-white composition are found a variety of ethnic backgrounds including Jamaican, Nigerian, Haitian, African-American, English, French, Jewish, Polish, Italian, and Irish. There has been much discussion regarding the Racial Academic Achievement Gap in the school district, and the tracking is often cited as the most glaring example of a racial disparity.[74]

Columbia High School has also had many student-led walk-outs. In late March 2006 hundreds of students walked out after tensions with the principal regarding censorship issues and racial comments. The students were calling for her resignation. The next year a new acting principal was instated and the following school year she became the official principal.[75] On April 27, 2010, hundreds of students participated in a statewide walkout of high school students protesting the budget cuts put in place by Chris Christie.[76] On January 20, 2017, in protest of the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, hundreds of CHS students participated in a school walk-out and marched to the Maplewood Town Hall building.[77]

In September 2014, instructor Nicole Dufault was indicted on 40 counts of aggravated sexual assault committed against six male students.[78]

In October 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Columbia High School and the South Orange-Maplewood School District in relation to its academic leveling and disciplinary systems, stating that the overuse of discipline and "zero-tolerance" policy, and implicit racial bias within the level selection system violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.[79] Claims were made that the suspension rate for black students was five times higher than that for white students, in a classroom environment in which black students were significantly underrepresented in AP and honors classes.[80] In late February 2018, the non-profit The Black Parents Workshop[81] filed a new suit concerning this same topic — systematic suppression of minority students via their academic opportunities.[82] In July 2020, with the conclusion of a subsequent lawsuit, Columbia and the District more broadly, agreed to enact an integration plan. The plan was designed with input from Temple University Professor Edward Fergus, and implementation will be overseen by retired New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John Wallace, Jr.[83]

In March 2023, Columbia principal Frank Sanchez was involved in a confrontation with a student, resulting in his eventual arrest and charge.[84] In the weeks following the incident, the student in question filed an Affirmative Action complaint against Sanchez, alleging he used excessive force by grabbing her and slamming her against a wall. Sanchez claims he was preventing an altercation between the student and others who said she had threatened them. The incident, partially captured on video from three different sources, has sparked division in the community, and following official and private investigations, has led to legal proceedings questioning whether Sanchez used excessive force or acted to protect students. Principal Sanchez has been on paid administrative leave since January 2024, and in March 2024 surrendered himself to detectives working for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office on charges of simple assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.[85]. Sanchez entered a not guilty plea in his first court appearance and was released, with a future court date slated for June 14, 2024.[86] As with many controversial events at Columbia, there is a focus on class and race; Sanchez is white and latino, and the student involved is black. These particular events revived broader discussions about the treatment, discipline, and punishment of black students in the district.


The school's interim principal is Ann Bodnar, whose administrative team includes four assistant principals.[87] Bodnar, an assistant district superintendent, was named as interim principal in January 2024 after Frank Sanchez was placed on administrative leave.[88]

Notable alumni[edit]

The school has a hall of fame listing many notable alumni. They include:[89][90]

Other notable alumni not currently in the hall of fame include:

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e School data for Columbia High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 1, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Columbia High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Columbia High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. Accessed February 1, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Clubs, Columbia High School. Accessed March 10, 2022.
  5. ^ Foster, Henry W. "The evolution of the school district of South Orange and Maplewood, New Jersey, 1814–1927
  6. ^ a b Decision by Commissioner of Education re Jeffery Goodman, et. al. v. Board of Education of South Orange-Maplewood, Essex County, New Jersey State Library. Accessed October 23, 2019.
  7. ^ Waggoner, Walter H. "School Fought on Leaflet Ban", The New York Times, November 5, 1974. Accessed October 23, 2019. "The dispute arose after a number of Columbia High School students were suspended in 1969 for violating a school rule prohibiting leaflets or other written materials that had not been cleared with school authorities, The leaflets opposed the Vietnam war and denounced the 1968 Presidential candidates."
  8. ^ a b Gold, Daniel M. "An Accidental Sportsman in Hollywood", The New York Times, February 5, 2006. Accessed November 3, 2007. "And yet, as documented in a new book, Ultimate: The First Four Decades (, that's exactly what happened when Joel Silver introduced a motion to the council at Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., in 1968."
  9. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982–1983 through 1999–2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
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  11. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools" Archived May 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  12. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 27, 2012.
  14. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 18, 2011.
  15. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
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  17. ^ Architectural Styles as Applied to School Buildings
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  19. ^ N. J. High School Team Champions 1956 – Present, New Jersey State Chess Federation. Accessed August 13, 2013
  20. ^ 2010–2011 FTC World Championship Award Winners, First Tech Challenge.
  21. ^ 2012–2013 FTC World Championship Awards List, First Tech Challenge.
  22. ^ Staff. "Columbia H.S.'s 'Beauty and the Beast' Receives Ten Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Nominations and Four Honorable Mentions",, May 12, 2016. Accessed February 1, 2017. "In 2015, Columbia High School received fourteen Rising Star nominations for Ragtime: School Edition. Tricia Benn and Bethany Pettigrew won for Outstanding Direction."
  23. ^ Staff. "Columbia H. S.'s 'The Silly Girls' Win 'Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group' at 21st Annual Rising Star Awards ",, June 8, 2016. Accessed February 1, 2017. "The 'Silly Girls'" from the Columbia High School spring musical production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast won the award for 'Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group' at the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards last night."
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  27. ^ Home Page, Iron Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 3, 2014.
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  34. ^ 1982 yearbook (PDF). p. 197. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 6, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
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  38. ^ "South Orange Wins The Class B Title; Princeton High Collapses In Final Quarter", The Record, March 23, 1925. Accessed February 1, 2021, via "Columbia High school, of South Orange, rallied in a sensational manner to vanquish Princeton High in the final round of the Class B tournament at the Newark armory, preliminary to the Passaic-Union Hill tilt, by a score of 24 to 21. With Princeton in the lead by eight points, and but two and a half minutes to go, the South Orangeites took a brace and in the next minute almost closed the gap when Orsi and Lange came through with 'hawkers.'"
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  66. ^ Daur, Erik. "Mendham stuns Columbia to win state team championship", The Star-Ledger, February 29, 2012. Accessed March 27, 2012. "Led by a 3–0 showings from Alex Andriatis and Adam Campos Mendham, No. 2 in The Star-Ledger Top 10, defeated top-ranked Columbia, 14–13, in the NJISSA/Bollinger Championships at Morris Hills in Rockaway.... Zimmermann came out on top and Mendham captured their first state title, while stopping Columbia's consecutive dual-meet victory streak at 49."
  67. ^ Staff. "Columbia 48, Dickinson 0 (High school Football scores & results)", The Star-Ledger, November 15, 2008. Accessed June 19, 2011. "The senior, a three-year starter at running back and defensive back, rushed for three touchdowns and returned an interception for a score when the South Orange-Maplewood team ended the longest active losing streak in New Jersey with a 48–0 victory over Dickinson in a consolation contest yesterday at Underhill Field in Maplewood. Anderson ran 12 times and gained 107 yards for Columbia (1–9), which had lost 45 straight games since it scored a 21–18 victory over East Orange campus on Oct. 2, 2004."
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  77. ^ Maynard-Parisi, Carolyn. "Video, Photos: Columbia High Students Walk Out in Protest of Trump Inauguration", The Village Green, January 20, 2017. Accessed July 18, 2017. "Hundreds of Columbia High School students walked out of class and marched to Maplewood Town Hall, where they voiced their opposition to — and fears of — the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump."
  78. ^ Goldstein, Sasha via New York Daily News. "N.J. teacher had sex with 6 students ages 14, 15: prosecutor", MSN, February 19, 2015. Accessed April 3, 2016. "Among the damning evidence is video of 35-year-old Nicole DuFault – the single mother of two young children – performing oral sex on one of the boys while another victim was nearby, according to prosecutors, who levied 40 counts of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child against the former Columbia High School teacher."
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  95. ^ Staff. "Columbia HS to Induct Grammy-Award Winner Eric Hudson (’04), YouTube Star Marques Brownlee (’11) to Hall of Fame", The Village Green of South Orange and Maplewood, June 2, 2021. Accessed June 4, 2021. "Columbia High School will be inducting Grammy-award winning music producer Eric Hudson (CHS ’04) and online video producer and YouTube powerhouse Marques Brownlee (CHS ’11) into the CHS Hall of Fame on Friday, June 4, 2021."
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  109. ^ Desocio, Lois. "Columbia Recognizes 'Fabulous' and Judicial Alumni" Archived October 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, May 27, 2010. Accessed August 31, 2011. "Robert Verdi, Ms. Hoens' fellow 2010 inductee who is a celebrity stylist and television personality, said he felt "out of sorts" over the recognition, considering the judges, doctors and scientists that have come before him."
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  112. ^ Thomas, Bob. "Teresa Wright "Pride of the Yankees" co-star dies" Archived November 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, copy of item from Associated Press, March 8, 2005. Accessed May 15, 2007. "Wright was born in New York City on October 27, 1918, and grew up in Maplewood, N.J., where she showed promise in theatricals at Columbia High School."
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  114. ^ Delo, Cotton. "CHS '99 Grad Starts Foundation for Nigerian Girls Mobolaji Akiode, 27, recently started Hope4GirlsAfrica, a non-profit designed to increase young African women's participation in sports.", South Orange, NJ Patch, February 1, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2020. "'There's never a wrong time to do the right thing,' said Akiode, 27, a 1999 graduate of Columbia High School, where she started playing basketball under Coach Johanna Wright, who bought her her first pair of basketball sneakers and with whom she still speaks constantly."
  115. ^ Amy Arnsten / Department of Neuroscience, Yale University. Accessed February 10, 2020. "Dr. Arnsten was raised in Maplewood, N.J. where she attended Columbia High School."
  116. ^ Carter, Barry. "Salute this N.J. native. The Army’s top dentist is busting down racial barriers.", NJ Advance Media for, March 14, 2019. Accessed February 23, 2022. "Shan K. Bagby didn’t know much about dentistry, but as an 8-year-old boy growing up in Newark, meeting a dentist in the 1970s stuck with him. The gentleman was African-American, like him.... He took advantage of his intellectual curiosity as a kid, who moved around a lot, before settling in Maplewood long enough to graduate in 1985 from Columbia High School."
  117. ^ Olivia Baker, Stanford Cardinal. Accessed March 10, 2022. "High School: Columbia; Hometown: South Orange, N.J."
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  119. ^ 2017 AAPT Winter Meeting program, American Association of Physics Teachers. Accessed April 22, 2021. "Ken Bloom is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and a Visiting Scientist in the Scientific Computing Division at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). He grew up in South Orange, NJ, where he met his first physics teacher in fourth grade and then was the captain of the Columbia High School Physics Team."
  120. ^ Joshua Braff, MFA Fiction '97, Saint Mary's College of California. Accessed February 10, 2020. "Joshua Braff grew up in South Orange, New Jersey, and went to Columbia High School."
  121. ^ Thor, Ira. "NJCU Men’S Basketball Coach Marc Brown To Be Inducted Into Columbia High School Hall Of Fame", New Jersey City University, press release dated April 15, 2009. Accessed November 12, 2018. "New Jersey City University second-year head men's basketball coach Marc Brown will be inducted into his second different Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 7 when the former basketball star is enshrined in the Columbia High School Athletic Hall of Fame as part of that school's fourth annual induction ceremonies."
  122. ^ "Gallery Exhibit Features Work of CHS Grad Bisa Butler", The Village Green of Maplewood & South Orange, September 12, 2005. Accessed July 30, 2019. "The current exhibit at the Domareki Gallery at Columbia High School features the work of graduate Bisa Butler (Class of ’91), who has returned to her alma mater as an instructor."
  123. ^ The Mirror 1948[permanent dead link], Columbia High School. Accessed August 3, 2019. "Patricia Connamacher 27 Woodland Road, Maplewood"
  124. ^ Claude Coleman Jr., Accessed September 2, 2022. "He is a graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ."
  125. ^ Staff. "Paul R. Erlich", Current Biography yearbook, Volume 31, p. 127. H. W. Wilson Company, 1971. Accessed April 29, 2011.
  126. ^ Polner, Murray. "Paul R. Erlich", American Jewish Biographies, p. 88. Facts on File, 1982. ISBN 0-87196-462-7. "During his childhood his family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey, where he was graduated from Columbia High School in 1949."
  127. ^ Angell, Roger. Season Ticket, p. 160. Open Road Media, 2013. ISBN 9781453297834. Accessed November 12, 2018.. "Emil Roy Eisenhardt (the first name is vestigial) grew up in South Orange, New Jersey — a suburb just west of Newark that is so self-concisously tidy and green that it looks like a World's Fair replica of a turn-of-the-century village – in what he describes as 'the middle of the middle class'.... Roy, who has a younger brother and sister, was an extremely energetic member of his class at Columbia High School, in nearby Maplewood, where he belonged to the dramatic club, played bass drum in the band, and held down right field on the baseball team, in spite of inordinate and incurable shortcomings at the plate."
  128. ^ Staff. " Top Neo-Nazi Shock Jock Grew Up in Maplewood NJ", Village Green of Maplewood and South Orange, October 26, 2017. Accessed July 3, 2019. "According to a report on today, neo-Nazi shock jock and white supremacist Mike Enoch grew up in Maplewood NJ and attended Columbia High School."
  129. ^ Cieply, Michael; and Finke, Nikki. "Spy in L.A. Unsettles `Industry'", Los Angeles Times, January 4, 1989. Accessed August 27, 2012. "Feirstein ("Real Men Don't Eat Quiche") said when informed that four movie producers had privately expressed suspicion that he was contributing and had been a major source for Brady's [Joel Silver] column. The suspicion seems natural: Feirstein is listed on Spy's masthead as a contributing editor, and he has stayed in touch with Silver since the two went to high school in Maplewood, N.J."
  130. ^ 1959 Mirror Yearbook, Columbia High School, 1959. Accessed November 1, 2022.
  131. ^ Sokan, Taiwo. "CHS Radio is Reborn" Archived December 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, The Columbian, February 2011. Accessed August 27, 2012. "CHS has fostered many radio personalities over the years including greats such as legendary National Public Radio (NPR) producers, Jonathan "Smokey" Baer and Donna Fiducia."
  132. ^ "How guts, grit and gusto helped one of N.J.'s most influential LGBT advocates change the game", Inside Jersey, July 25, 2018. Accessed July 3, 2019. "He moved with his mother to Maplewood, and once he got settled into Columbia High School, change is what he made."
  133. ^ Kai Greene, Seton Hall Pirates. Accessed November 3, 2018. "Hometown South Orange, N.J. High School Columbia"
  134. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy. "Isaiah Hill has that Swagger. Kevin Durant’s Apple basketball series stars N.J. teen.", NJ Advance Media for, October 28, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2024. "Isaiah Hill in Swagger, a new series on Apple TV Plus.... Following his graduation last year from Columbia High School in Maplewood — he transferred from Union Catholic for his senior year — he’s been on the court as a post-grad for We Believe Academy and its new basketball program in Waterbury, Connecticut, which prepares players for college teams."
  135. ^ Edwards, Haley Sweetland. "A Homegrown Director who had to tell this Story" Archived June 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, March 27, 2009.
  136. ^ Worth, Marcia. "Jersey Boys: James Kaplan talks Sinatra and South Orange: James Kaplan recalls a great teacher and an "idyllic" South Orange as he discusses his new biography of Sinatra" Archived March 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, South Orange, NJ, Patch, November 28, 2010. Accessed February 4, 2012. "It takes one Jersey guy to know another. South Orange native James Kaplan has made Hoboken's Frank Sinatra the subject of his newest book, Frank: The Voice. 'I heard the Jersey in his voice as a very familiar sound,' says Kaplan, who moved to South Orange as a young child and attended Montrose School, the brand-new South Orange Junior High School, and Columbia High School."
  137. ^ Navasky, Victor S.; Cornog, Evan (2012). The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-13136-0.
  138. ^ Logic, Jack. "Kinney Wants To Add Trophy To Lafayette Baseball History", The Morning Call, September 19, 1999. Accessed November 12, 2018. "Baseball was the only sport played by Kinney until he entered Columbia High School. There he added football to his sports resume as a tight end and a cornerback.... After graduating from CHS in 1984, Kinney entered Lehigh, majoring in economics."
  139. ^ Sherman, Ted. "Ex-federal prosecutor is sworn in as Union County Superior Court judge", NJ Advance Media for, April 18, 2010. Accessed December 22, 2022. "Kirsch grew up in South Orange and played varsity basketball for Columbia High School in Maplewood. His primary contribution there, he said, was to ensure that a seat on the bench was kept at body temperature for when one of the starters needed a rest."
  140. ^ Mattheiss, Derek Josef. "You've Seen Her on TV, but Hometown Comedian Jessica Kirson is Funnier in Person", South Orange, NJ, Patch, November 4, 2011. Accessed April 20, 2023. "Being a Columbia High School graduate prepared the young star well. The member of the Class of ’87 had a winding road to stardom after graduating from the University of Maryland and pursuing her graduates at NYU."
  141. ^ "College Corner", The Item of Millburn and Short Hills, December 2, 1957. Accessed May 1, 2022, via "Eileen Shanley. daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Taylor of Mohawk road is a member of the planning committee for the annual Holly Hop dance to be held at Mount Holyoke College on December 14.... Eileen is a graduate of the Columbia High School."
  142. ^ Venutolo, Anthony. "From heroes to villains, Frank Langella finds the heart in them all", The Star-Ledger, November 29, 2008. Accessed June 14, 2011. "The family moved to South Orange, where Langella graduated from Columbia High School before heading off to Syracuse to study drama."
  143. ^ Grimes, William. "David Levin, the Only Triple Crown Balloonist, Dies at 68", The New York Times, May 18, 2017. "David Norman Levin was born on June 10, 1948, in Newark.... After graduating from Columbia High School, he enrolled at Boston University, where he earned a degree in business administration in 1971, a law degree in 1975 and a master’s in tax law in 1976."
  144. ^ Leyner, Mark. My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, Vintage Books, 1993. ISBN 0-679-74579-3. Accessed June 14, 2011. "I attended Columbia High School, where I wrote a column called 'This Side of Paradise' for the school paper. The column chronicled the parties that my friends and I attended."
  145. ^ Okwodu, Janelle. "Selah Marley on Asserting Her 'Star Power' and Releasing Her Debut EP",Vogue, August 17, 2021. Accessed March 1, 2023. "When I was in school, I was Selah, the junior at Columbia High School who took Gender Studies with Mrs. Martling & Pre-Calc with Mr. Kirkland."
  146. ^ Dwyer, Andrea. "Feature: A Conversation With Cellist And Singer Leyla Mccalla", Afropunk, April 6, 2015. Accessed January 15, 2020. "LM: Well that’s another kind of point of pride for me because Lauryn Hill went to the same high school as I went to, Columbia High School, so everyone in my town sort of claims her, she our homegirl."
  147. ^ Meier, Richard. Building the Getty, p. 6. University of California Press, 1999. ISBN 0-520-21730-6. Accessed June 14, 2011. "At Columbia High School in my hometown of Maplewood, New Jersey, I took the usual art history and art courses."
  148. ^ Vickar-Fox, Shira. "Head of the Class", New Jersey Monthly, September 2000. Accessed April 29, 2011. "What do singer Lauryn Hill, sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, actor Roy Scheider, and publisher Grace Mirabella have in common? They're all graduates of Columbia High School in Maplewood."
  149. ^ McGlone, Peggy. "Eiditor's memoir laments out-of-touch fashion industry", Star Tribune, October 8, 1995. Accessed December 30, 2021, via "When she was in fifth grade, she moved with her parents to suburban Maplewood, N.J. ('That kind of told us things were getting better economically') and eventually she attended and graduated from Columbia High School there."
  150. ^ Carter, Barry. "N.J. Muslim fencer at the tipping point of Olympic history", The Star-Ledger, February 12, 2016. Accessed August 8, 2016. "Ibtihaj Muhammad of Maplewood qualified for the Olympics and is considered to be the first American Muslim woman to compete in the games wearing a hijab, the scarf that covers her head.... Both got into fencing at Columbia High School in Maplewood and they even coached the team, with big sister as head coach and little sister as the assistant."
  151. ^ Yosuah Nijman, Virginia Tech Hokies football. Accessed October 25, 2020. "Hometown: Maplewood, N.J.; High School: Columbia"
  152. ^ Quinn, Sean. "CHS grad loses gender inequity complaint" Archived July 6, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Essex News Daily, April 12, 2015. Accessed July 7, 2015. "Ellen Pao, CHS Class of 1987, lost her suit claiming that she was not promoted from her position of junior partner to senior partner due to her gender."
  153. ^ Arkin, William; Johnson, Alex; Siemaszko, Corky; Connor, Tracy; Bailey, Chelsea; and Bratu, Becky. "Ahmad Rahami: What We Know About N.Y., N.J. Bombings Suspect", WNBC-TV, September 19, 2016. Accessed September 21, 2016. "Rahami graduated in 2007 from Edison High School in Edison, N.J., where he'd transferred from Columbia High School in Maplewood."
  154. ^ Bohning, James J. "Transcript of Interview with Eugene G. Rochow on January 24, 1995", Science History Institute. Accessed February 22, 2018.
  155. ^ Mirror 1927 Archived February 22, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Maplewood Public Library. Accessed February 22, 2018. "A mathematician and scientist of renown, His head's full of brains to the top of his crown; Not a bore or a grind, but a darn good fellow, In spite of his bashful mien and quiet hello."
  156. ^ Durbach, Elaine. "Ex-'60s radical shows kindler, gentler side at his alma mater" Archived January 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Jewish News, April 19, 2007. Accessed February 22, 2018 "But while the former member of the Weather Underground showed a kinder and gentler side at an April 9 gathering at Columbia High School in Maplewood, his alma mater, he still remains wedded to many of the causes that landed him on front pages – and sent him into hiding – in the 1960s and '70s."
  157. ^ Staff. "Coach Builds New Eleven: No Veteran of '39 First String in '40 Squad", Newark Sunday Call, September 15, 1940. Accessed June 14, 2011. "In fact, there are left only four letter men of the 1939 squad. They are Tony De Luca, captain and quarterback; Ralph Sazio and Allen Tonkin, tackles, and John Mercandante, fullback."
  158. ^ Richardson, William D. "Colleagues Honor Stanford Mentor; Shaughnessy Named 'Coach of the Year' in Poll Taken by the World-Telegram", The New York Times, December 20, 1940. Accessed June 14, 2011.
  159. ^ Maxine N. Lurie, Marc Mappen. Encyclopedia of New Jersey, p. 736. Rutgers University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-8135-3325-4
  160. ^ Jonathan Gathorne-Handy, Sex the Measure of All Things: A Life of Alfred C. Kinsey (Indiana University Press ): 14. ISBN 0-253-33734-8
  161. ^ "General Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler" Archived August 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, United States Army General Orders, January 10, 1994. Accessed June 14, 2011. "He attended Columbia High School in South Orange, New Jersey, and in the fall of 1918, after two months of his senior year, he was accepted for the United States Military Academy, entering with the special class starting in November of that year."
  162. ^ Perlez, Jane. "Man In The News; Democratic Victor In Jersey Prepares: Peter Shapiro To Battle A Popular Incumbent: Political Success From Early Age", The New York Times, June 6, 1985. Accessed January 20, 2020. "At Columbia High School in Maplewood, he led a protest against the Vietnam War and was promptly expelled. The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union came to his rescue, and he was eventually reinstated."
  163. ^ Tony Smith Sculpture Project, Lennie Pierro Memorial arts Foundation. Accessed August 31, 2011. "Today Kiki Smith, Tony's daughter, is one of the foremost artists of her generation. Her sister, Seton, a photographer, is also well known in the art world. Both grew up in South Orange and attended Columbia High School."
  164. ^ Kiki & Seton Smith; A Sense of Place, Seton Hall University. Accessed January 19, 2020. "'Seton knew she wanted to be an artist when she was 12, but I had no idea,' Kiki says. 'I went to Columbia High School and just hated it. My parents sent me to Changes, Inc., which was run by the Ethical Culture Society and was more progressive.'"
  165. ^ Brown, Preezy. "Angela Yee Recalls Being 'Good Friends' With Lauryn Hill In High School", Vibe, January 18, 2023. Accessed May 8, 2023. "According to Yee, she and Hill attended Columbia High School in New Jersey during the early ’90s Yee, a native of Brooklyn, had begun her high school career at Brooklyn Poly Prep, but transferred to Columbia High School after her family moved to New Jersey."
  166. ^ Bandler, Michael J. "The Will to Win", New Jersey Monthly, December 20, 2007. Accessed December 25, 2023. "But few get to turn them into a full-length feature film as the Shues have done with Gracie, which was released last month. They shot the movie in South Orange and Maplewood, where the story is set, even filming inside their alma mater, Columbia High School."
  167. ^ Lissner, Caren. "Zach Braff Movie, Shot At High School In Maplewood, Gets Opening Date; Actor and Columbia High School alum Zach Braff filmed A Good Person in Maplewood and his native South Orange.", Maplewood, NJ Patch, December 27, 2022. "You can go home again. Actor Zach Braff returned to his old school, Columbia High School in Maplewood, a year ago to shoot scenes from his feature film A Good Person."
  168. ^ "Zach Braff, Morgan Freeman, Florence Pugh Film A Good Person at Columbia High School", The Village Green of Maplewood and South Orange, November 6, 2021. Accessed December 25, 2023. "CHS Hall of Fame alum Zach Braff returned to his alma mater on Monday and Wednesday to film scenes from his newest film, A Good Person."

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