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Cranford High School

Coordinates: 40°39′41″N 74°18′44″W / 40.661446°N 74.312258°W / 40.661446; -74.312258
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Cranford High School
201 West End Place

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°39′41″N 74°18′44″W / 40.661446°N 74.312258°W / 40.661446; -74.312258
TypePublic high school
MottoPraeclara video proboque
(I see and acclaim excellence)
School districtCranford Township Public Schools
NCES School ID340357005458[1]
PrincipalMark Cantagallo
Faculty99.3 FTEs[1]
Enrollment1,095 (as of 2022–23)[1]
Student to teacher ratio11.0:1[1]
Color(s)  Royal blue and
Athletics conferenceUnion County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (general)
Big Central Football Conference (football)
Team nameCougars[2]
RivalWestfield High School
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[3]
NewspaperSpotlight News
YearbookGolden C[4]

Cranford High School is a four-year public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades, located in Cranford, in Union County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey, 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 Elementary and Secondary Schools since 1929.[3]


It was founded in 1902

Student body[edit]

As of the 2022–23 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,095 students and 99.3 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.0:1. There were 12 students (1.1% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 4 (0.4% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]


CHS offers over 25 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.[5] 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).[6] The magazine ranked the school 29th in the magazine's September 2008 issue and 39th in the magazine's September 2006 issue.[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]

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]

Extracurricular activities[edit]


Cranford's DECA delegation also comes home from their conference(s) with numerous awards as well. In 2019, forty-six students advanced during the regional competition to participate in the state competition.[14]

The online school newspaper is called "Dialogue".[15]

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.[16]


The Cranford High School Cougars[2] compete in the Union County Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which comprises public and private high schools in Union County and was established following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[17] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2009 realignment, the school participated in the Mountain Valley Conference.[18] With 942 students in grades 10–12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2019–20 school year as Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 761 to 1,058 students in that grade range.[19] The football team competes in Division 4 of the Big Central Football Conference, which includes 60 public and private high schools in Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Warren counties, which are broken down into 10 divisions by size and location.[20] The school was classified by the NJSIAA as Group III North for football for 2022–2024, which included schools with 680 to 884 students.[21]

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.[22]

The boys track team won the spring / outdoor track state championship in Group III in 1932, won the Group II title in 1934–1936, 1946 and 1953.[23]

The boys basketball team won the Group II state championship in 1936 (defeating runner-up Merchantville High School in the tournament final) and won the Group III title in 2002 (vs. Penns Grove High School).[24] Down by six points at the half, the 1936 team rallied to win the Group II state title with a 36–33 win against Merchantville in the championship game played at Rutgers University.[25]

Cranford's football team was undefeated in 1957, won the North 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 High School of East Orange in 1952. In the playoff era, the team won the North II Group III state sectional championship in 2011 and 2015.[26] Cranford won the North II Group III state sectional championship in 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.[27][28] The 2015 team won the program's second North II Group III playoff title with a 50–23 win against Chatham High School in the tournament final, finishing the season with 12–0 record.[29] Cranford High School football has been led by coach Erik Rosenmeier since 2004.

Cranford High School's baseball won the Group IV state championship in 1971 (defeating Ewing High School in the tournament final), and has won Group III in 1997 (vs. Sayreville War Memorial High School), 2010 (vs. Ocean City High School), 2012 (vs. Freehold Borough High School) and 2013 (vs. Burlington Township High School); the five state championships places the program tied for eighth-most in the state.[30] The team won the Union County Championship in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2019; the team ranks second with a total of nine county tournament championships.[31] The baseball team won the 2003 North II, Group III sectional championship, edging Millburn High School in the tournament final.[32] The 2007 team won the North II, Group III state sectional championship, edging West Morris Central High School, by a score of 5–4.[33] 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.[34] In 2012, the team outscored Freehold High School by a score of 4–1 in the Group III championship game.[35] The 2013 team finished the season with a 25–1 record, winning the Group III title with a 4–2 win against Burlington Township High School.[36]

The boys cross country team won the Group IV state championship in 1975, the Group III title in 2000 and won in Group II in 2004.[37]

The boys bowling team won the overall state championship in 1982.[38]

The field hockey team won the North II Group III state sectional championship in 1985 and 1986.[39]

The wrestling team won the North II Group III state sectional title in 1985, 1986 and 2017.[40]

The ice hockey team won the Handchen Cup in 1996, the Union County Cup in 2016 and the Monsignor Kelly Cup in 2020.[41] After losing in the final game of the tournament in the previous two seasons, The team won the Kelly Cup in 2020, defeating the Glen Ridge / Verona co-op team by a score of 3–2 in the tournament final.[42]

The girls soccer team was Group III co-champion in 2000 with Middletown High School South.[43]

The girls volleyball team won the Group II state championship in 2008, defeating Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest in the final match of the playoff tournament.[44] In the 2008 season, the team was equally successful and after losing the county tournament 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.[45]

In popular culture[edit]

The high school was featured as the high school on Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete[46]


The school's principal is Mark Cantagallo. His core administration team includes the assistant principal and the athletic director.[47]

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e School data for Cranford High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 1, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Cranford High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Cranford High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 30, 2012. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  4. ^ Clubs, Cranford High School. Accessed March 15, 2022.
  5. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 6, 2014.
  6. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  7. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  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. [dead link]
  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. [dead link]
  13. ^ 2004 National Schools of Character Winners & Finalists, Character Education Partnership. Accessed December 8, 2016. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Cranford High School | Special Announcements | 2018 - 2019".
  15. ^ "Dialogue".
  16. ^ N. J. High School Team Champions 1956 – Present, New Jersey State Chess Federation. Accessed August 13, 2013.
  17. ^ League & Conference Officers/Affiliated Schools 2020-2021, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  18. ^ Home Page, Mountain Valley Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2014.
  19. ^ NJSIAA General Public School Classifications 2019–2020, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  20. ^ Kinney, Mike. "Big Central revises 2020 football schedule for its shortened inaugural season", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, August 12, 2020. Accessed April 18, 2021. "The newly formed Big Central Football Conference has released a revised 2020 schedule for its inaugural season.... the BCFC is comprised of schools from Middlesex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties."
  21. ^ Football Public School Classifications 2022–2024New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 1, 2023.
  22. ^ 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."
  23. ^ NJSIAA Boys Spring Track Summary of Group Titles, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 1, 2023.
  24. ^ NJSIAA Boys Basketball Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "Millville, Merchants Lose In Tourney Finals; Elderman Give Up Early lead to Drop Group 2 Tilt to Cranford, 36-23", Courier-Post, March 23, 1936. Accessed February 28, 2021. "Inability to check a determined rally by Cranford cost Bob Elder's Merchantville High basketeers the New Jersey Group 2 championship. On the short end of a 20-to-14 tally at the halftime. Cranford stepped out in high, wide and handsome fashion in the third chukker to forge ahead and pave the way to a 36-33 decision over the South Jersey titleholders last Saturday at Rutgers University."
  26. ^ NJSIAA Football History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 1, 2022.
  27. ^ 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."
  28. ^ 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. "Buoyed 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."
  29. ^ Ryan, Chris. "Cranford finishes the job, capping perfect season with North 2, Group 3 football crown", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, December 4, 2015, updated August 24, 2019. Accessed September 29, 2020. "One season after Cranford saw its hopes for a state title and a perfect season dashed by a loss to Parsippany Hills in the North 2, Group 3 final, Cranford focused on getting back to that point and completing its mission. On Friday night at Kean University, Cranford put a bow on a 12-0 season. Cranford left no doubt in a 50-23 win over Chatham to claim the North 2, Group 3 title, finishing a perfect run that wasn't a given even a couple months ago."
  30. ^ NJSIAA Baseball Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 1, 2023.
  31. ^ "Baseball: The history of the Union County Tournament", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 15, 2016, updated August 23, 2019. Accessed August 31, 2020.
  32. ^ 2003 Baseball Tournament - North II, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 29, 2007.
  33. ^ 2007 Baseball - North II, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 12, 2007.
  34. ^ 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."
  35. ^ Christopher, Chris. "Cranford denies Freehold first state championship", Asbury Park Press, June 9, 2012. Accessed November 16, 2020. "Freehold hoped to make history Saturday. The Colonials hoped to win their first state group championship since the NJSIAA began playing out to overall group baseball champions in 1971.... Williamson tossed a two-hitter and Folinusz slugged two solo homers, leading Cranford to a 4-1 victory in the Group III state championship game at Toms River High School South."
  36. ^ "Baseball Wrap: Cranford ends Burlington Township's run in state final", The Trentonian, June 9, 2013. Accessed November 16, 2020. "After rallying to take a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Burlington Township saw its hope of capturing its first NJSIAA Group III state baseball title fade when Cranford responded by scoring three times in the top of the fifth at Toms River East High yesterday. The 25-1 Cougars went on to win, 4-2, to claim the state title behind winning pitcher Ryan Williamson, who went the distance and scattered five hits, while striking out eight."
  37. ^ NJSIAA Boys Cross Country State Group Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 1, 2022.
  38. ^ History of NJSIAA Boys Bowling Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed August 1, 2022.
  39. ^ History of NJSIAA Field Hockey Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 1, 2023.
  40. ^ NJSIAA Wrestling Team Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  41. ^ NJSIAA Ice Hockey State Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  42. ^ Bobal, Brian. "Ice Hockey: At long last Cranford’s seniors get their title (PHOTOS)", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, February 22, 2020. Accessed August 31, 2020. "This group had punched tickets to the Kelly Cup final in each of the past two seasons only to suffer a pair of brutal losses, including one on a goal in the final minute of regulation against Millburn in 2019.... He backed up his words to the tune of 19 saves and second-seeded Cranford held on for a 3-2 win against top-seeded Verona-Glen Ridge to win the program’s first Kelly Cup title at Codey Arena in West Orange on Friday night."
  43. ^ NJSIAA History of Girls Soccer, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 1, 2022.
  44. ^ NJSIAA Girls Volleyball Group Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 1, 2023.
  45. ^ 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."
  46. ^ Antonelli, Toniann. " Lights...Camera...Joanie's Cafe! Television crews visited a Cranford eatery on Aug. 29 to film a commercial.", Cranford, NJ Patch, 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."
  47. ^ Faculty by Department, Cranford High School. Accessed February 18, 2024.
  48. ^ Valentino Ambrosio, Tulane Green Wave football. Accessed March 19, 2024. "Hometown Cranford, NJ; High school: Cranford... High School: Lettered at Cranford High School his junior and senior years after playing first two years for Roselle Park High School"
  49. ^ "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."
  50. ^ CHS 1957 yearbook http://www.digifind-it.com/cranford/DATA/yearbooks/1957.pdf; 2/23/1984 Cranford Chronicle. Cranford Remembered Fondly in a Novel by Robert Ferro.
  51. ^ Gould, Brandon. "Will Fries of Cranford signs to play football at Penn State University of National Signing Day", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, February 3, 2016, updated August 24, 2019. Accessed May 4, 2021. "After a storybook ending to his high school career, offensive tackle Will Fries signed his National Letter of Intent today with Penn State University at Cranford High School."
  52. ^ Karl Kaimer, Pro-Football-Reference.com. Accessed February 18, 2024. "Born: November 12, 1938 in Elizabeth, NJ (Age: 85-098d)... High School: Cranford (NJ)"
  53. ^ Bernstein, Michele W. "Gary Kott Injects Cranford Memories into Cosby Show". Cranford Chronicle, June 4, 1987. Accessed September 28, 2022. "No wonder the Cougars won. Kott grew up in Cranford. He is the son of Marguerite Kott and the late Dr. Bernard Kott, and has enjoyed an almost storybook career since his graduation from Cranford High in 1965."
  54. ^ McHenry, Eric. "Little wonder", B.U. Bridge, November 21, 1997. Accessed February 5, 2022. "If Askold Melnyczuk (GRS'78) had known, in 1971, that the underground newspaper he and his Cranford, N.J., high school buddies were founding would over the next quarter-century metamorphose into one of the nation's premier literary journals, he might have second-guessed the method of selection that led to its being named after a Vedic deity."
  55. ^ Parlato, Frank. "Some stray thoughts on Nancy Salzman" Archived February 6, 2022, at the Wayback Machine, ArtVoice, December 14, 2018. Accessed February 5, 2022. "What year did Nancy Salzman graduate high school? Online, the year is reported as 1974. She apparently went to Cranford High School in Cranford, NJ."
  56. ^ Major General Henry Simon, United States Air Force. Accessed December 23, 2020. "He graduated from Cranford High School, Cranford, N.J., in 1939; received a bachelor of science degree in industrial management from Rutgers University, N.J., in 1948; a master's degree in personnel management in 1962, and a master of business administration in 1964, both from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C."
  57. ^ Bernie Wagenblast, LinkedIn. Accessed February 5, 2022. "Education: Cranford High School College Prep 1972 - 1974"
  58. ^ Deborah Partridge Wolfe's contributions to social education, p. 15. George A. Smathers Libraries. Accessed May 15, 2020. "Wolfe attended local schools for her K-12 education: Sherman Grammar School (K-8) and Cranford High School (9-12)."
  59. ^ Wojnarowski, Adrian. Hubie's style was dynamite, The Record, 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."
  60. ^ Cranford High School Hall of Fame, Cranford High School. Accessed April 16, 2017.

External links[edit]