Cranford High School

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Cranford High School
Cranford High School is located in Union County, New Jersey
Cranford High School
Cranford High School
Cranford High School is located in New Jersey
Cranford High School
Cranford High School
Cranford High School is located in the US
Cranford High School
Cranford High School
201 West End Place
Cranford, NJ 07016

United States
Coordinates 40°39′41″N 74°18′44″W / 40.661446°N 74.312258°W / 40.661446; -74.312258Coordinates: 40°39′41″N 74°18′44″W / 40.661446°N 74.312258°W / 40.661446; -74.312258
Type Public high school
Motto Praeclara video proboque
(I see and acclaim excellence)
Established 1902
School district Cranford Township Public Schools
Principal Mark Cantagallo
Asst. principals Barbara Carroll
Gary Sorrentino
Faculty 106.6 FTEs[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,187 (as of 2015-16)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 11.1:1[1]
Color(s)      Royal blue and
Athletics conference Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference
Team name Cougars[2]
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[3]
Newspaper Spotlight News

Cranford High School is a four-year public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades, located in Cranford, in Union County, New Jersey, United States, and operating as the lone secondary school of the Cranford Township Public Schools. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1929.[3]

As of the 2015-16 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,187 students and 106.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.1:1. There were 23 students (1.9% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 9 (0.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

The student population consists primarily of students who attended junior high school at either Orange Avenue School or Hillside Avenue School within the Cranford Township Public Schools or went to Saint Michael's School. The school is home to championship sports teams, a competitive academic program, and a large amount of clubs.


Founded in 1902, the present building was built in 1937, and classes began in January 1938. For several decades, the school was actually a six-year school, housing students from seventh grade to twelfth grade. In the 1970s, while the school was undergoing renovations, it was a two-year school for students in eleventh grade and twelfth grade. In 1973, the school completed the additions, and it returned to its status as a four-year school in 1979.


CHS offers 20 Advanced Placement classes in addition to many honors and college-preparatory classes. The faculty contributes to the scholastic environment with over 40% of the staff with post-baccalaureate degrees. Recently, the school developed "The High School University of Cranford," a program that provides additional opportunities for those who wish to extend their education without having to place in the top portion of the class based on class rank formulated from GPA calculation (though it tends to best suit high-achieving students with top grades). It serves as the school's equivalent to a "gifted and talented" program.

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

The school was the 49th-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 51st in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 13th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed (and second-highest in Union County).[5] The magazine ranked the school 29th in the magazine's September 2008 issue and 39th in the magazine's September 2006 issue.[6] ranked the school tied for 47th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 78 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (91.7%) and language arts literacy (98.2%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[7]

In its listing of "America's Best High Schools 2016", the school was ranked 377th out of 500 best high schools in the country; it was ranked 43rd among all high schools in New Jersey and 26th among the state's non-magnet schools.[8]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 206th in the nation among participating public high schools and 15th overall (eighth of non-magnet schools) in New Jersey.[9]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 12th in New Jersey and 513th nationwide.[10] In Newsweek's June 13, 2010 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Cranford High School was listed in 551st place, the 11th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[11]

For the 2002-03 school year, Cranford High School was designated as a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve,[12] and the school has been selected for the Best Practice Award.

In 2004, Cranford High School was recognized as a National School of Character Winner by the Character Education Partnership, one of ten schools selected nationwide for its efforts in instilling character education in its curriculum and students.[13]

Student life[edit]


Cranford High School has over 70 extracurricular groups. The CHS Model United Nations team, the second largest organization in the school, returns each year with numerous awards with many conference officers as well as one Secretary General in 1996-1997. The Youth In Government Team has also been accustomed to high achievement with a smaller contingent of members. Members of the Youth in Government Club have been successful in passing mock legislation in this annual statewide conference and in having students serve in the Cabinet. Both clubs have produced political science and international relations students at the collegiate level.

Cranford's DECA delegation also comes home from their conference(s) with numerous awards as well. Twelve students advanced during the regional competition to participate in the state competition, and two subsequently advanced to the national competition.

The Math League, the school's largest student club with over 300 members, holds six competitions throughout the year. CHS students have regularly placed well in New Jersey Math League competitions. The CHS Mock Trial team has been active for many years and ranks as one of the best mock trial teams in Union County, New Jersey. The mock trial team has won over a dozen county championship. Their newest victory was the Union County Mock Trial Finals in 2011. The CHS Forensics Team has been ranked as a top team in New Jersey and has competed in the New Jersey Catholic Forensics League and has sent several students to national competitions.

The CHS Student Government is an active presence in the school, staging a series of events during the course of the year, including food drives, spirit weeks, and community service fundraisers. The student government president and other members serve on a variety of school committees. The four class governments stage fundraisers and events throughout the year. The senior class stages an annual Pasta Night as a big final fundraiser for the school prom.

The school's Drug Free Youth Club advocates for a drug-free school environment. In past years, the DFY Club has staged a series of Dialogue Nights which bring together students, faculty, parents and community leaders to discuss high school issues and to prevent underage drinking in the community.

The CHS Peer Development Program was started in the 1980s in order to assist freshmen with the transition to high school. The program consists of juniors and seniors serving as peer leaders. The juniors and seniors take a class in peer leadership and high school issues and then they lead a weekly class all freshmen take. Two peer leaders lead each peer class, which is held once a week in place of gym for freshmen. In the classes, students explore the transition to being a teenager, peer pressure, sex, and alcohol. The class is meant to be a supportive environment for students to discuss these issues with peer leaders who are only slightly older than themselves.

The Spotlight is the student newspaper of CHS. The Spotlight is published several times a year and students are both volunteers and in journalism classes. The Spotlight has received regular awards from statewide and national student press organizations.

In 1956 (tied with Columbia High School), the school's chess team was the New Jersey high school team champion, winning the Father Casimir J. Finley Trophy.[14]


The Cranford High School Cougars[2] compete in the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which includes public and private high schools in Union County and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[15] With 852 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as North II, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 778 to 1,062 students in that grade range.[16] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2009 realignment, the school participated in the Mountain Valley Conference.[17]

From the conference's inception until the 2005-06 school year, Cranford had been a member of the Watchung Conference. Due to the change in size of the student body and location, Cranford's decision to leave the Watchung Conference for the Mountain Valley Conference was approved in 2006 and Cranford began competition in most sports in the 2006-07 school year, remaining there until the realignment.[18]

The track team is one of the won county and conference championships in its two seasons of running. The cross-country team has won Union County and Watchung Conference championships for the past eight years. The cross country and track teams have been known as some of the best teams in the school over the years, with many individual and team championships over the years. Recently, the girls track team has won state sectionals and has had two group champions in 2009.

Cranford High School's baseball won the state championship in 1971, 1997, 2010 and 2012 the Union County Championship in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2010. The baseball team won the 2003 North II, Group III sectional championship, edging Millburn High School in the tournament final.[19] The 2007 team won the North II, Group III state sectional championship, edging West Morris Central High School, by a score of 5-4.[20] The 2010 baseball team was the first team to win all five championships possible: Conference, County, Section, North NJ, and State, including a 15-3 win over Ocean City High School for the program's third win in a Group III final, as part of a season in which the team finished with a record of 26-5.[21]

Softball also won the best in the state. Field hockey, ice hockey, golf and tennis are also some of the best teams in the school. The ice hockey team won a series of conference and division championships in the 1990s.

Cranford High School football the past three years has become extremely successful throughout the state playoffs. Coach Erik Rosenmeier has been the football coach since 2004. Cranford recently erected lights at the local football field. Cranford's football team was undefeated in 1957, won the North Jersey, Section II, Group III state championship, and was ranked eighth in the state behind seven Group IV schools. The Blue-and-Gold eleven shared the sectional title with the former Clifford Scott HS of East Orange in 1952. Cranford won the North II Group III state sectional championship on December 3, 2011 defeating Parsippany Hills High School by a score of 27-0, finishing the season with a 10-1 record, its only loss coming to Summit High School.[22][23]

The girls volleyball team in 2006 shared the Mountain Valley Conference title with Union Catholic High School and made it to the semi-finals of the Union County Tournament. The 2007 team had a record of 25-3, the girls won the conference title, and defeated Westfield High School for the first time ever in the Union County Tournament finals. They made their best state tournament appearance, losing to Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in three games.[citation needed] In the 2008 season, the team was equally successful and after losing the county to Union Catholic at Union Catholic in a three games and also losing the Mountain Valley Conference to Union Catholic, the team came back to be seeded 1st in the Group II state championships and went on to capture the Group II state title over Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in the tournament final and advancing to the Tournament of Champions with a record of 24-4, becoming the first public school from Union County to capture a volleyball state title.[24]

Cranford maintains a spirited rivalry with Westfield High School in sports where the two compete. Some notable games looking back a to 2010 which kept the rivalry sparked were soccer and baseball county championships. After beating Westfield earlier in the year during the regular season, Cranford defeated Westfield by a score of 1-0 in the county championship. During the spring, the baseball team was able to knock off Westfield by a score of 6-5 in the county championship. Cranford trailed by as much as five runs during the game and were able to rally back to defeat their tough rivals.

Music and drama[edit]

The Cougar Marching Band in October 2005 received new band uniforms after 30 years. The marching band performs at all of the varsity football team's games. In the fall of 2006, the Cougar Marching Band placed first at the Bloomfield Band Festival and second at a USSBA show in Plainfield. In 2008, the band attended the USSBA NJ State Band Championships for the first time. For the 2009 school year they performed "The Music of the Night" as their field show, taking first in a competition. During their 2010 Cirque De Soleil field show the band earned top honors throughout the state: 1st place and best music, visual, and overall effect at a NJ competition, 2nd place and best music at another NJ Competition, and at the state championships took 3rd best band in the state and best music of the entire state. In November 2012, the Marching Band took eighth place at the US Bands National Competition at MetLife Stadium.

The music department hosts the renowned Madrigal Choir (14-16 students) as well as the Concert Choir (40-50 students), both of which are auditioned. Also included in the music department are the open men's and women's choirs, two pop a cappella vocal groups called Noteworthy Gentlemen and Women's Ensemble, and an orchestra. Choir is an especially strong tradition at CHS and music department culture is often competitive. All music classes are given as classes and several concerts are held during the year. The winter and spring concerts are held with all choirs performing, along with the band and orchestra. A jazz band consists of several marching band performers. The Madrigals and Jazz Band perform in a variety of community settings during the course of the year.

The Concert Choir and Band travel to annual competitions around the country. The two groups, along with the Madrigals and Jazz Band, have won many national awards for their work. The choir and band trips are well known activities and fundraising for them is an annual event.

The school productions occur twice a year. The spring musical has become renowned in the past several years. The school's production of Jekyll and Hyde in 2005 won, among other categories, "Best Overall Production of a Musical" at the statewide Rising Star Award Ceremony at the Paper Mill Playhouse. The 2006 production of The Scarlet Pimpernel also won several awards. The school also received several Rising Star Award nominations in 2007 in Titanic. The annual fall production is often a comedy (i.e., The Man Who Came to Dinner, Noises Off!) with the spring being a musical production. More recent productions include Grease, Fiddler on the Roof, Sweet Charity, Oklahoma!, Bye Bye Birdie, and Into the Woods.

In the movies[edit]

Appearances include:


Core members of the school's administration are:[26]

  • Mark Cantagallo, Principal
  • Barbara Carroll, Assistant Principal for Academic Affairs
  • Gary Sorrentino, Assistant Principal for Student Affairs

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Cranford High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Cranford High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 11, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Member Directory, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. Accessed September 20, 2012.
  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 11, 2012.
  6. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  7. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Accessed February 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Staff. "America's Best High Schools 2016", Newsweek. Accessed November 11, 2016.
  9. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2013.
  10. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Cranford High School", The Washington Post. Accessed July 24, 2011.
  11. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,623 top U.S. schools" Archived May 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Newsweek, June 13, 2010.
  12. ^ Star School Award recipient detail 2002-03 school year, Cranford High School, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed July 13, 2006.
  13. ^ 2004 National Schools of Character Winners & Finalists, Character Education Partnership. Accessed December 8, 2016.
  14. ^ N. J. High School Team Champions 1956 – Present, New Jersey State Chess Federation. Accessed August 13, 2013.
  15. ^ League & Conference Affiliations 2016-2017, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 10, 2017.
  16. ^ General Public School Classifications 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of December 15, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  17. ^ Home Page, Mountain Valley Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2014.
  18. ^ Echan, Michael. "Runners continue to inch closer to rival A.L. Johnson", Cranford Chronicle, November 8, 2008. Accessed September 11, 2012. "When Cranford High School left the Watchung Conference after the 2006 school year to join the Mountain Valley Conference (MVC), it tipped the balance of power in Union County, a fact that was reinforced when the UCIAC championship meet was held last Thursday at Warinaco Park."
  19. ^ 2003 Baseball Tournament - North II, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 29, 2007.
  20. ^ 2007 Baseball - North II, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 12, 2007.
  21. ^ Lazarus, David. "As season begins, Cranford baseball returns veteran lineup", Cranford Chronicle, March 25, 2011. Accessed July 24, 2011. "Last year Rutmayer and Williamson teamed up to shut down offensive powers Westfield and Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the Union County Tournament They were dominant in a 15-3 victory over Ocean City in the championship game of the NJSIAA Group 3 Tournament and a 7-1 victory over Lakeland in the Semi Finals. The state group crown was the third overall for the Cougars, who finished 26-5, and the first since Cranford captured the Group 3 title in 1997."
  22. ^ Lazarus, David. "Cranford football team wins its first state title", Cranford Chronicle, December 4, 2011. Accessed December 4, 2011. "Parsippany Hills quarterback Ryan Simms was not as fortunate escaping the Cranford pass rush yesterday, which was relentless with seven sacks and countless pressures as the Cougars completed a 10-1 season on Saturday, Dec. 3, with a 27-0 whitewashing of Parsippany Hills before a near-capacity crowd Saturday morning at Kean University in Union."
  23. ^ Davidove, Gerry. "Parsippany Hills (0) at Cranford (27), NJSIAA Tournament, Final Round, North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 - Football", The Star-Ledger, December 3, 2011. Accessed December 4, 2011. "uoyed by two touchdowns during a 31-second span early in the first quarter, Cranford's defense went into lock-down mode and secured the school's first state championship with a 27-0 victory over Parsippany Hills in the NJSIAA/Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 final before 5,000 yesterday at Kean University in Union."
  24. ^ Moretti, Mike. "Girls volleyball T of C preview: No. 5 Cranford has come a long way", The Star-Ledger, November 20, 2008. Accessed July 24, 2011. "One of its few disappointments this season was failing to successfully defend its first Union County Tournament crown. It lost to Union Catholic in the final.But that was far outweighed by the accomplishments, most notably victories in its last two state matches over Bergen County opponents Mahwah, 25-14, 25-17 in the group semifinals, and Demarest, 30-28, 25-21 in Saturday's final."
  25. ^ Antonelli, Toniann. " Lights...Camera...Joanie's Cafe! Television crews visited a Cranford eatery on Aug. 29 to film a commercial.", CranfordPatch, August 29, 2012. Accessed September 20, 2012. "In addition, several episodes in the third season of the popular 1990's television show, The Adventures of Pete & Pete were filmed in Cranford. One episode was shot at Cranford's Orange Avenue Pool and another at Cranford High School and Brookside Place School."
  26. ^ School Info, Cranford High School. Accessed April 16, 2017.
  27. ^ "Spotlight: Carol Blazejowski", SI for Women, May 28, 1999. Accessed May 4, 2007. "In 1974, while a student at Cranford High (NJ), Blazejowski told the school's athletic director (who was also the coach of the boys' basketball team) that she would play on boys' basketball team if no girls team was created. It wasn't long before Cranford had a girls' basketball team."
  28. ^ CHS 1957 yearbook; 2/23/1984 Cranford Chronicle. Cranford Remembered Fondly in a Novel by Robert Ferro.
  29. ^ Wojnarowski, Adrian. Hubie's style was dynamite, The Record (Bergen County), April 5, 2005. "Cranford High School had hired Hubie Brown out of those championship seasons on the All-Army basketball team in Cranford, assigning him to coach football and baseball."
  30. ^ Cranford High School Hall of Fame, Cranford High School. Accessed April 16, 2017.

External links[edit]