John Jay High School (Cross River, New York)

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John Jay High School
Cross River, NY
United States
Coordinates 41°16′24″N 73°36′39″W / 41.2733°N 73.6107°W / 41.2733; -73.6107Coordinates: 41°16′24″N 73°36′39″W / 41.2733°N 73.6107°W / 41.2733; -73.6107
Type Public high school
Principal Steven T. Siciliano
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1,270
Color(s) Purple, white
Mascot Indians

John Jay High School is a public high school located in Cross River, New York.[1] It is the only high school in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.[2] The school, which opened in 1956,[3] is named after John Jay, a Founding Father of the United States, and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who lived nearby. Over the years, the school has been heavily criticized for its mascot, the Indians.


This school opened in 1956, having moved from its location in Katonah, which is now Katonah Elementary School, still part of the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

Vagina Monologues censorship controversy[edit]

John Jay briefly made national and international[4] news in March 2007 when three students, Hannah Levinson, Megan Reback, and Elan Stahl, faced punishment after reading a poem from the play The Vagina Monologues at an Open Mic Night, an event open to the community. The extract included the word "vagina", and the girls had been asked to edit the word out because of the expected crowd which would include many young children. They said they would follow this order but then disobeyed (they underlined the word by saying it in unison). The school gave them a one-day suspension - not for what was said, but for their insubordination. The girls decided not to appeal their suspension. They agreed they had been insubordinate, but the incident was widely reported and the original order criticized as an act of censorship. Many students protested the punishment to no avail. However, many students also protested the media's portrayal of the situation, believing that the school had acted correctly and that the girls deserved to be punished for their insubordination, for they had previously agreed not to say the word. The play's author Eve Ensler gave the students her support[5] and was invited by parents for a school visit. The suspension was put on hold while policies were reviewed and eventually rescinded.[6]


Cross Country[edit]

John Jay has a Cross Country team, coached by Tom Nohilly. In 2013 the girls' section of the team were the State of New York Cross Country Federation Champions. These athletes gathered the school's first ever federation athletic title.

In 2017, the boys team enjoyed their most successful season in history. The team won numerous prestigious invitationals, including the Warwick Wave Invitational, the Wilton Invitational, the Section 1 League 2B Championships, and the Westchester County Championships. The team also picked up dozens of other accolades, including third place at the Crusader XC Classic, second place at the Bobcat Run, second place at the Section 1 Coaches Invitational, and second place at the Section 1 Championships. Jack Buckley, a member of the team, qualified to run at the NYSPHAA State Championships, and John Jay sent their fist ever boys team to the New York Federation Championships.[7]


John Jay's Varsity bowling team was accepted into county-wide sectionals in the 2008 season. The 2009-2010 boys' team won the league title. In 2015, Alex Melnychuk set a school record score.


Over the last seven years, John Jay wrestling became Section 1 dual meet champions and #2 in the section. In the 2007-2008 season John Jay wrestling had a record of 27-1. They also won every tournament except the section 1 tournament where they came in 2nd. However, in 2016 JJW became both #1 in the Section 1 Dual Meets and at the Section 1 open tournament. Led by Coach Bill Swertfager, JJW plans on taking home a State Title in the impending 2017 season.


The last few years John Jay has been struggling with soccer. This season the Has been coached by Gerard Jones, aka lord and savor. Gerard is a soccer genius from England The has revolutionized the John Jay soccer program


The football team has reached the section finals for the three of the previous five years.


John Jay High School's lacrosse team is nationally recognized and has been ranked in the top 25 in the country in multiple polls for the majority of the past 6 years. They have been NYS Section 1 Champions 7 times since 1997, including a streak of 4 years in a row from 2005-2008. In 2007 John Jay was the New York State runner up in Class B to Jamesville-Dewitt High School after ending Huntington High School's 63-game winning streak in the State semifinals.

Ultimate Frisbee[edit]

John Jay High School's Ultimate Frisbee team, Air Raid, was re-formed in 2007 by students who, in that same year, coached themselves to a 2nd-place finish losing 15-10 against Beacon High School in the inaugural New York State Championships tournament.Since that time they have earned multiple first place titles starting with a return in 2008 to defeat the raining champions Beacon High School. Their second came when Air Raid in the 2011-2012 season, the team won their 3rd state championship and tied for 5th at the Northeastern Regional championships. During the 2012-2013 season, the team began including female students on the roster of both their A & B teams.[citation needed]

Student life[edit]

Science Research[edit]

Beginning in sophomore year, students in John Jay High School can choose to enroll in the science research program, which guides the student in conducting meaningful scientific research. The program is coordinated by AnnMarie Lipinsky, who, along with other science faculty, advises each student and guides each student through the challenges of conducting research for their first time. Planet 25511 Annlipinsky was named in honor for mentoring a finalist in the 2009 Intel Science Talent Search[8]. Students are tasked with finding a mentor in a field of their choice and collaborate with their mentor to conduct a research project. Students have participated and shared their projects with success in the Regeneron Science Talent Search[9], the county and national[10] Intel Science and Engineering Fair, and the Junior Sciences and Humanities Symposium[11]. Alumni from the research program have gone on to successful careers in research, medicine, and engineering.

School dances[edit]

By 2010, due to declining attendance of school dances, the school reduced the number of dances, now only holding prom.[12]


John Jay has a sublime Architecture program. The program is spearheaded by architectural genius and Frank Lloyd Wright devotee, Steven "Stevie Z" Zoeller. His assistant, Joseph Rocchio, also helps to inspire the program's budding young architects.

Vocal Jazz[edit]

John Jay High School's Vocal Jazz ensemble, directed by Steven Morse, has competed at Berklee College of Music's High School Jazz Festival ever year but one since 2003. The group, ranging from 15-35 students and accompanied by a rhythm section, placed 2nd in the nation in the 2013 competition (their best finish to date,) by only one point out of all Division 1 schools.[13] In the 2012 competition, three of John Jay's students were recognized for Outstanding Musicianship. The group finished in 3rd place at that competition.[14]

A Cappella groups[edit]

John Jay High School has three a cappella groups, one all-female (The Noteables), one all-male (The Rolling Tones), and a newly formed co-ed (The Treble Makers), founded in 2008. All three a cappella groups perform at various local venues throughout the school year, including school concerts, community service performances, and seasonal events.

Mock Trial[edit]

Since the early 1990s, John Jay has reached the quarter-finals of the Westchester County Tournament. In 2005, John Jay set the record for winning a match by the largest margin of victory in New York State Mock Trial history (John Jay:55, Hackley:12). In 2007 and 2018, JJHS Mock Trial Team advanced to the semi-final round of the Westchester County Championships.

Model United Nations[edit]

The John Jay Model United Nations Club, has been gaining popularity in recent years. In 2014, the club hosted their first conference, called JJMUNC, that had over 200 delegates. The President and Secretary-General of JJMUNC I was Jeffrey Steckler, and the President of the club, as well as the Secretary-General for JJMUNC II in 2015 is Daniel Gordon. For the Model United Nations Club, the President also serves as the Head Delegate, and brings in several awards per year.

Junior Statesmen of America[edit]

In 2005, a chapter of the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) was founded at John Jay High School.[15]

JJTV Club / MSG Varsity / Excellent Fun[edit]

JJTV produces video content relevant to the student body and recently has partnered with Cablevision's MSG Varsity to provide sports-related content for their channel. Excellent Fun is a separate filmmaking club that focuses on online comedy videos and music. The studio that houses these clubs was built during the summer of 2007, and utilizes industry standard editing and camera equipment.

Science Olympiad[edit]

John Jay High School has attended the New York State Science Olympiad final - usually held at West Point - every year but one since its founding. In 2010, a new event called "Protein Modeling" was created, and John Jay finished first in the state for an "extraordinary construction of [influenza] surface proteins."[16]

New York State Envirothon[edit]

Led by Linda Burke, PhD, John Jay High School attended the state tournament in 2011, achieving 5th Overall and 1st in the Forestry category.


John Jay High School's theater program typically produces two major performances per school year: a drama in the fall, and a musical in the spring. In the 2013-2014 school year, JJHS put on Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound and Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano in the Fall[17] and Jonathan Larson's Rent in the Spring.[18]

Wind Ensemble[edit]

The Wind Ensemble traveled to Williamsburg, VA, to compete at Heritage Festivals on April 23–26, 2009, where it won a total of four awards.[19]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-10. Retrieved 2006-07-23.  School homepage
  2. ^ Katonah-Lewisboro School District, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2006-07-23. 
  3. ^ Duncombe, Francis Katonah: The History of a New York Village p. 357
  4. ^ Article about the "censorship" incident on Spiegel Online, major German magazine Der Spiegel's internet section (in German)
  5. ^ Appearance on the Today Show by the students, the author and the president of the school district's education board
  6. ^ Story Archived 2007-03-14 at the Wayback Machine. on WCBS-TV after the suspension was lifted.
  7. ^ Haggerty, Nancy. "Cross Country: John Jay-CR Sweeps Westchester Team Titles, Nutall, Somers' Fusco Wins". Lohud. Lohud. Retrieved 12/7/17.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "MIT Lincoln Laboratory: 2009 Award Honorees". Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  9. ^ "JJHS Student Named SemiFinalist in Prestigious Science Competition - Katonah - Lewisboro School District". Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  10. ^ "2011 WESEF FINALISTS WIN TOP AWARDS AT INTEL ISEF IN LOS ANGELES, CA - WESEF". WESEF. 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  11. ^ "Students advance in science competition | Lewisboro Ledger". Lewisboro Ledger. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  12. ^ Moss, Caroline. "My high school no longer holds dances." CNN. March 17, 2014. Retrieved on April 9, 2014.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^
  15. ^ Archived 2007-03-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2010-04-19. 
  17. ^ "John Jay performs fall drama this weekend". The Lewisboro Ledger. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Running Lines: John Jay's 'Rent'". The Journal News. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "Wayback Machine" (PDF). 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2018-05-12. 
  20. ^ Chaplin's profile
  21. ^ "Andy is no idiot, Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), - Sep 9, 2005
  22. ^
  23. ^ Roger Stone#cite note-24
  24. ^ Turco, Al. "Democrat Robert Reich says he’s prepared to make a difference in Mass.", Stoneham Independent, March 20, 2002. Accessed April 21, 2008. "Reich started out as a graduate of John Jay High School, a regional public high school in small-town Cross River, New York."
  25. ^ a b "GLUTTONS FOR PUNISHMENT: Actors take over the kitchen to whip up the cinematic souffle `Big Night'", The Dallas Morning News, September 28, 1996. "...the pair - Mr. Tucci is 35, Mr. Scott 34 - have been friends since John Jay High School in Cross River, NY..."
  26. ^ Stanley Tucci profile Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine.,, accessed April 8, 2007. "He studied at John Jay High School Cross River, New York. "

External links[edit]