Highland Park High School (New Jersey)

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Highland Park High School
Hphs hp nj.jpg
Highland Park High School is located in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Highland Park High School
Highland Park High School
Highland Park High School is located in New Jersey
Highland Park High School
Highland Park High School
Highland Park High School is located in the US
Highland Park High School
Highland Park High School
102 North Fifth Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904

United States
Type Public
Established September 1926
School district Highland Park Public Schools
Principal Michael Lassiter
Asst. principal Caitlin Brady
Faculty 35.8 FTEs[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 474 (as of 2014-15)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 13.2:1[1]
Color(s)      Cardinal and
Athletics conference Greater Middlesex Conference
Team name Owls[2]
Newspaper The Highland Fling
Yearbook The Albadome

Highland Park High School (HPHS) is a four-year comprehensive public high school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grades from the borough of Highland Park, in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States, as the lone secondary school of the Highland Park Public Schools system. The school was established in 1926 as a junior high school, serving up to grade 10. Until HPHS became a senior high school in 1937, students from Highland Park finished their education at either New Brunswick High School or Metuchen High School. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1940.[3]

As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 474 students and 35.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.2:1. There were 119 students (25.1% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 39 (8.2% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

The original school building was designed by architect Alexander Merchant and built in the 1920s. Later additions include the Science and Math wing in 1958; the English wing in 1968; the library and arts wing in the 1980s; and the cafeteria and a connected middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8) in 1996. Student population peaked in the 1960s, with a population in the 900s.

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

The school was the 74th-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 67th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 37th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[5] The magazine ranked the school 50th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[6] The school was ranked 31st in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.[7] Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 184th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 54 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the two components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), mathematics (79.0%) and language arts literacy (93.3%).[8]

In 2008, two students were National Merit Finalists, twelve were National Merit Commended Scholars, and eleven were Bloustein Distinguished Scholars.[9]

In 2007, six students were National Merit Finalists, eleven students were National Merit Commended Scholars, eleven students were Bloustein Distinguished Scholars. Almost ten percent of the graduating class went on to Ivy League schools.

In 2006, HPHS students were recognized for Advanced Placement Awards. One student qualified for the National AP Scholar Award. 16 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. 13 students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award. 15 students qualified for the AP Scholar Award.

In 2005, a team of three HPHS students were recognized as First Place National Finalists in the 13th Annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards science competition for their innovative design of a satellite-based earthquake and tsunami detection/prediction system.[10][11]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Extracurricular programs at HPHS include multiple instrumental music programs, drama club and tech crew, SAGA (the Straight and Gay Alliance), The Highland Fling (school newspaper), a Model United Nations and Model Congress Program, which participates at the Rutgers University Model UN and Congress conferences, as well as Philadelphia Model Congress, Dead Center (literary magazine), and the Albadome (yearbook). The school also has a DECA chapter, which competes in New Jerseys Blue Division. The HPHS academic teams compete in many all-state competitions such as Science League, Math League, and the News 12-sponsored NJ Challenge. These teams excel, having won top-10 plaques in past years.

The Community Teen Center also contributes to the school's extracurricular list, recently initiating many successful and interesting clubs and groups such as sport clubs such as volleyball and ping-pong as the academic robotics and philosophy clubs. The Philosophy Club is in close contact with Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey, which offers one of the highest ranked philosophy majors in the country. The Philosophy Club is visited by guest speakers and aims at providing a thought provoking, challenging, and analytical environment for students at Highland Park High School to advance their perspectives on a myriad of philosophical topics and controversies essential to their day-to-day lives.


Beginning in 1971, the high school had a ten-watt FM radio station, WVHP, the voice of Highland Park, that broadcast from 6AM to 8AM and 5PM to 10:30PM Monday through Friday. Several radio personalities got their start there, among them Ken Friedman (WFMU-FM General Manager), Soterios Johnson was the local host for NPR's Morning Edition on WNYC -New York and Bob Sommer (KALW-FM in San Francisco & BMIR-FM - Burning Man Information Radio). Jim Axelrod (CBS News) was also on the air at WVHP at one point. Willie Paszamant (actor Willie Garson of Sex and The City) had a morning show at WVHP.


Highland Park High School Owls[2] compete in the Greater Middlesex Conference, which operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[12] With 381 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as Central Jersey, Group I for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 12 to 467 students in that grade range.[13] The school's mascot is the Owl. The colors of HPHS and their various sports teams are maroon and white.[2]

HPHS is known for its long-time success in track and field and baseball, with more recent successes in boys' and girls' soccer, girls' basketball and girls' tennis. There is also a cheer leading and dance team that performs at football and basketball games. HPHS is also home to an Ultimate Frisbee team, the Enforcers, although the team is not affiliated with the school's varsity sports program.

The boys' basketball team won the Group I state championship in 1948, defeating Weehawken High School in the tournament's championship game.[14]

The boys' track team won the Group I/II state indoor relay championship in 1966 (co-champion with Clearview Regional High School), and won the Group I title in 1980, 1981 and 1984.[15]

HPHS is well known for the performance of its football team, under the leadership of only four coaches during the program's entire history. Starting with Bus Lepine, then Jay Dakelman, the football team was led by its former all-state quarterback Joe Policastro (class of 1959), the team is now led by head coach Richard McGlynn. L.J. Smith, of the Baltimore Ravens, was a star of both the HPHS football and basketball teams in the 1990s. The football team won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I state sectional championship in 1974, 1977, 1978, 1986, 1989 and 1990.[16] The Highland Park football team was four-time Gold Division champions (2006–2009).

The baseball team won the Group III state championship in 1975 against Ridgefield Park High School in the finals.[17]

The field hockey team won the Central Jersey Group I state sectional title in 1977.[18]

The girls' basketball team won the 2007 Central, Group I championship, topping Dunellen High School, 50-35 in the final.[19][20]

The girls' tennis team went undefeated in the 2010 spring season.[citation needed]

In 2011, the boys' tennis team won the New Jersey Group I championship for the first time, defeating Leonia High School in the final round of the tournament.[21]


Core members of the school's administration are:[22]

  • Michael Lassiter, Principal
  • Caitlin Brady, Assistant Principal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Highland Park High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Highland Park High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Highland Park High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools. Accessed January 14, 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 7, 2012.
  6. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed January 14, 2012.
  7. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  8. ^ School Overview; Click on "Rankings" for 2003-11 HSPA results, Schooldigger.com. Accessed March 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Highland Park High School Home Page
  10. ^ ExploraVision 2005 National Winners
  11. ^ Earthquake Detection : 7400 Leagues Above the Sea
  12. ^ League Memberships – 2016-2017, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed April 3, 2017.
  13. ^ General Public School Classifications 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 25, 2014.
  14. ^ Public Past State Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 16, 2016.
  15. ^ History of the NJSIAA Indoor Relay Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 17, 2016.
  16. ^ Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  17. ^ History of the NJSIAA Baseball Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 16, 2016.
  18. ^ 2015 Field Hockey Tournament of Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of December 15, 2015. Accessed December 16, 2016.
  19. ^ 2007 Girls' Basketball - Central, Group I, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 10, 2007.
  20. ^ Lerner, Gregg. "Highland Pk. prevails, 50-35", The Star-Ledger, March 6, 2007. Accessed August 2, 2007. "Last night, Wallace was indeed a factor, collecting 13 points and nine rebounds while Boyd and Zakiya Sailor netted 14 apiece to send Highland Park to a 50-35 victory over Dunellen in the NJSIAA/ShopRite Central Jersey, Group 1 final at West Windsor-Plainsboro North in Plainsboro."
  21. ^ History of Boys' Team Tennis Championship Tournament, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 16, 2016.
  22. ^ School Contacts, Highland Park High School. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  23. ^ Makin, Bob. "Levinson Axelrod celebrates 70 years of service", Home News Tribune, November 12, 2009. Accessed August 17, 2012. "His son is with CBS News as their Washington reporter. He's writing a book that is out soon about his relationship with his father. His name is Jim Axelrod. He's well known. They're Highland Park people. Jim went to Highland Park High School."
  24. ^ Foster, Gwendolyn Audrey "Community, Loss, and Regeneration: An Interview with Wheeler Winston Dixon", Senses of Cinema. Accessed June 24, 2012.
  25. ^ a b "B", Home News Tribune, May 13, 2005. Accessed August 8, 2007. "Highland Park high school graduates who have gone on to careers in the media and the performing arts will be the featured speakers at the Highland Park Educational Foundation's spring fundraiser tomorrow. The speakers are WNYC news anchor Soterios Johnson, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod and Willie (Paszamant) Garson, the actor from Sex in the City, NYPD Blue, Groundhog Day, and Something About Mary."
  26. ^ Willie Garson Biography, Biography Channel. Accessed November 19, 2015. "Garson attended Highland Park High School, and after graduating in 1982 he continued on to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut—the alma mater of such fellow actors as Dana Delany, Frank Wood and Jordan Belfi."
  27. ^ Lemley, Brad. "Guth's Grand Guess: Most people really want to know where we came from. We have evidence. We no longer have to rely on stories we were told when we were young'", Discover (magazine), April 2002. Accessed January 14, 2012. "And here comes Guth, apologizing for his lateness, hand extended. He is shortish at 5 feet 7 inches and energetic, sort of bouncy. It's easy to believe he was once the champion long jumper at his high school in Highland Park, New Jersey."
  28. ^ L.J. Smith profile, Philadelphia Eagles. Accessed June 9, 2007. "Growing up in the small town of Highland Park, NJ (2 square miles, population 14,500), Smith graduated from the local high school as part of a 115-person class.... Attended Highland Park (NJ) HS where he caught 10 TDs and had 143 tackles, 11 sacks and 5 INTs at LB as a senior.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°30′06″N 74°25′28″W / 40.501676°N 74.424563°W / 40.501676; -74.424563