Kearny High School (New Jersey)

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Kearny High School
Kearny High School is located in Hudson County, New Jersey
Kearny High School
Kearny High School
Kearny High School is located in New Jersey
Kearny High School
Kearny High School
Kearny High School is located in the US
Kearny High School
Kearny High School
336 Devon Street
Kearny, NJ 07032
Type Public high school
Established 1923
School district Kearny School District
Principal Jacalyn Richardson
Asst. principals William Gaydos
Paul Measso
John Millar
Faculty 132.5 FTEs[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,731 (as of 2014-15)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 13.1:1[1]
Color(s)      Red and
Athletics conference Hudson County Interscholastic League
Team name Kardinals[2]

Kearny High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from Kearny in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States, and operating as the lone secondary school of the Kearny School District.

As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,731 students and 132.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.1:1. There were 715 students (41.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 153 (8.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]


Construction began on the present school facility began in 1921. Kearny High School opened for the fall semester in September 1923. The school's stadium was completed in 1925. In 1940, an addition costing $400,000 was added. In 1974, another addition was added that cost $5 million, providing a new Music and Art Department, new gymnasium, locker rooms, classrooms and parking. The school is divided into two different buildings that are connected to each other.

The Kearny Museum includes a full collection of Kearny High School yearbooks.[3]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

The school was the 244th-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 224th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 230th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[5] The magazine ranked the school 235th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[6] The school was ranked 200th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[7] ranked the school 246th out of 367 public high schools statewide in its 2009-10 rankings which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the language arts literacy and mathematics components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[8]

Extracurricular activities[edit]


The Kearny High School Kardinals[2] compete in the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association, which is made up of high schools in Hudson County, operating under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[9] With 1,324 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as North I, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,090 to 2,568 students in that grade range.[10] Prior to the 2010 reorganization, the school had competed in the Watchung Conference, which consisted of public and private high schools in Essex County, Hudson County and Union County in northern New Jersey.[11]

In 1948, the Kearny High School varsity football team won the New Jersey High School state championship.[12]

In 1973, coach Tom Krulik led the track team to win both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Relays. The two-mile relay team set the New Jersey state record at 7:52 at the Highland Park Relays, earning an invitation to compete in the Nationals at the Penn Relays weeks later.[citation needed]

The boys' soccer team has won 16 NJSIAA group IV championships in 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1954–56, 1958, 1975 (co-champions with Hamilton High School), 1981, 1982 (co-champions with Freehold Township High School), 1984, 1987, 1999, 2002 and 2004 (co-champion with Rancocas Valley Regional High School). The team's nine state championships are tied for fourth-most among public high schools in the playoff era[13] In 2002, the boys' soccer team earned the North I, Group IV sectional title, edging Clifton High School 3-2 in the tournament final.[14]

The baseball team won the North I, Group IV state sectional championship in 2003 with a 5-3 win vs. Ridgewood High School in the tournament final.[15]

In 2007, the girls' soccer team, seeded #2, won the North I, Group IV state sectional championship with a 3-0 win over fourth-seeded Montclair High School in the tournament final, the team's second consecutive title.[16][17]

The girls' soccer team won the first-ever Hudson County Tournament, defeating Bayonne High School 6-0.[18]

In 2009, the boys' indoor track and field team won the county championship as the team continues its return to its previous status when many nationally ranked relays and individuals competed for the school. In cross country the school has produced many county, conference and state champions.

The girls' cross country team won consecutive county championships in 2007 and 2008, in addition to four consecutive state sectional titles and a Meet of Champions title in 1986, when Liz Duarte took the Group IV title.[19]

The Kardinals wrestling team has won three consecutive Conference championships from 2001-2004 again in 2006, and then again in 2008 in the Watchung Conference. Dave Cordoba won the 1999 state championship at 130 lbs, and holds the school record for career victories.[20]

In May 2016, the Kearny girls' crew Lightweight Four placed 3rd out of 15 boats at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America's National Championship Regatta, taking home the bronze medal.[21]

Marching Unit[edit]

The Kearny High School Marching Unit has enjoyed several years of great success in the past. Most notably, they were Tournament of Bands Class III Atlantic Coast champions in 1985, and their percussion section won High Percussion honors for three years straight, from '83 to '85. In addition the Kearny High School Marching Unit under the direction of Patrick Ragnoni was group 3A USSBA Champions two years in a row in 1999 and 2000.[22]

International Festival[edit]

Kearny High School is noted for its International Festival. Every year in May or June the students comes together to show off their heritage. The festival includes an assembly, in which many fellow students perform songs or dances from a specific country. The school's 13th annual International Festival in 2010 featured more than 85 tables of food, music and information from the broad range of cultures and ethnicities represented in Kearny's student body.[23]

Legal cases and controversy[edit]

Religion in classroom controversy[edit]

In the autumn of 2006, a controversy was generated by the discovery that David Paszkiewicz, a history teacher at Kearny High of 14 years, taught Christian doctrine to his students during an American history class. When confronted by Kearny High School junior Matthew LaClair in a meeting with Paszkiewicz and the administration, Paszkiewicz denied the charge. After this, LaClair produced recorded tapes in which Paszkiewicz was recorded saying that God "did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he's saying, 'Please, accept me, believe.' If you reject that, you belong in hell."[24]

The teacher is said to have also taught that there were dinosaurs aboard Noah's Ark and that there is no scientific basis for evolution or the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.[24]

The controversy raised questions over the legal right of students to record what teachers tell them during class, with some advocating the practice to ensure teacher accountability, and others arguing that it infringes on the teacher's personal liberty.[24]

LaClair's supporters reported that "he has been the target of harassment and a death threat from fellow students and 'retaliation' by school officials who have treated him, not the teacher, as the problem. The retaliation, they say, includes the district's policy banning students from recording what is said in class without a teacher's permission and officials' refusal to punish students who have harassed Matthew."[25]

Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) said Kearny High School had "violated the spirit and the letter of freedom of religion and the First Amendment", and that the ACLU would support the LaClairs if they were to file suit. The People for the American Way Foundation expressed similar support.[25]

On November 16, 2006, The Jersey Journal reported that the School District had taken "corrective action" against Paszkiewicz, the precise nature of which was not specified. The administrators stated that further action might be warranted, based on Paszkiewicz's continuing conduct.[26]

This matter is the subject of an hour-long documentary film In God We Teach, which includes statements from a variety of people involved (in particular both the teacher and student) as well as others outside the school.[27][28]

Sexual conduct allegation[edit]

During the 2006-07 school year Celeste Adamski, a 27-year-old English teacher was suspended with pay on suspicion of sexual activity with one or more of her students.[29] In mid-October she pleaded guilty to an allegation concerning her behavior with a male student as part of a plea agreement in which she gave up her teaching certificate and was barred from teaching or holding a public job.[30]


Core members of the school's administration are:[31]

  • Jacalyn Richardson - Principal
  • William Gaydos - Assistant Principal Grades 10 & 12
  • Paul Measso - Assistant Principal Grades 9 & 11
  • John Millar - Assistant Principal Athletics and Student Activities

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Kearny High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Kearny High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Kearny Museum, Kearny Public Library. Accessed July 5, 2011. "A staff of volunteers organizes the local displays, which includes a collection of photographs, articles of clothing, war memorabilia, and a collection of Kearny High School yearbooks."
  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 August 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank". New Jersey Monthly. September 2008. posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  8. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2009-2010, Accessed December 29, 2011.
  9. ^ League Memberships – 2016-2017, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 10, 2017.
  10. ^ General Public School Classifications 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2014.
  11. ^ Home Page, Watchung Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 7, 2011. Accessed December 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "Kearny High School Football Team: 1948". Kearny High School Alumni. Accessed January 1, 2013.
  13. ^ 2015 NJSIAA Soccer Championships Program, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. December 6, 2015.
  14. ^ 2002 Boys' Soccer - North I, Group IV. New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Accessed July 16, 2007.
  15. ^ "2003 Baseball Tournament - North I, Group IV". New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 16, 2007.
  16. ^ 2007 Girls' Soccer - North I, Group IV. New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 15, 2007.
  17. ^ Bernstein, Jason. "Back-2-back: straight sectional title". The Jersey Journal. November 9, 2007. Accessed November 15, 2007. "In her final game on Kearny's home field, Pace tallied two goals and an assist in the Kardinals' 3-0 victory over Montclair in the final of the NJSIAA North I, Group IV girls' soccer tournament. With the victory, Kearny High (19-3-1) repeated as sectional champion."
  18. ^ Bernstein, Jason. "Kardinals cruise to Hudson title". Hudson County Varsity. November 1, 2009. Accessed July 5, 2011. "Yesterday was no exception as four different players found the net as Kearny stormed past Bayonne 6-0 to win the Hudson County Tournament in a performance that head coach Vine Almeida said was their best of the season."
  19. ^ Cross Country Group Championship Program-Website_0.pdf 2016 NJSIAA Group Cross Country Championships Program, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 19, 2017.
  20. ^ Hague, Jim. "Wrestling: Dugan's comeback remarkable; St. Peter's Dudziak made his mark". The Star-Ledger. March 27, 2004. Accessed September 29, 2008.
  21. ^ Hague, Jim. "Kearny girls' crew: Keeping a winning tradition", The Observer Online, June 7, 2016. Accessed December 7, 2016. "Veteran Kearny High School girls' crew coach Dave Paszkiewicz knew that his lightweight four boat was good enough to qualify for the Scholastic Rowing Association of America's National Championship Regatta.... The third place finish at the SRAA's National Championships was the highest placing for a Kearny boat since finishing second in 2009. Kearny last won a national title in 2004."
  22. ^ Staff. "HIGH SCHOOL BANDS COMPETE IN CITY AFTER WINNING, ONE STUDENT SAID THE SACRIFICES WERE WORTH IT.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. November 6, 2000. Accessed July 5, 2011. "The Kearny High School Kards Marching Band of Kearny, NJ, won the Group 3-A Open competition yesterday."
  23. ^ Duger, Rose. "Kearny High School holds international festival". Kearny Weekly. June 17, 2010. Accessed July 5, 2011.
  24. ^ a b c Kelley, Tina. "Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Public Debate on Rights". The New York Times. December 18, 2006.
  25. ^ a b McGeehan, Patrick. "Student, 16, Finds Allies in His Fight Over Religion". The New York Times, February 20, 2007. Accessed August 22, 2012.
  26. ^ Thorbourne, Ken (November 16, 2006). "Kearny school says action was taken against teacher who preached religion". Jews on First!
  27. ^ Ashley Strain (April 9, 2011). "'In God We Teach' documentary revisits Kearny student and teacher clash over separation of church and state". Retrieved May 25, 2012. The story is told from the perspectives of both Paszkiewicz and LaClair 
  28. ^ In God We Teach. Accessed May 25, 2012.
  29. ^ Appezzato, John. "Kearny teacher suspended after sex allegations". June 15, 2007.
  30. ^ Fink, Jason. "Kearny sex teach gets 2 years probation", The Jersey Journal, November 30, 2007. Accessed May 1, 2013. "The former Kearny High School teacher who pled guilty to having sex with one of her 17-year-old students was sentenced to two years probation today. Celeste Adamski, 27, will also have to perform 50 hours of community service and pay $155 in fines, said Hudson County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Debra Simon. Adamski's teaching license will be revoked and she will be ineligible for public employment, Simon added."
  31. ^ 2-15-2016 KHS Student Handbook, Kearny High School. Accessed May 21, 2016.
  32. ^ Cappetta, Gary Michael. Bodyslams!: Memoirs of a Wrestling Pitchman, p. xvii. ECW Press, 2006. ISBN 9781550227093. Accessed October 2, 2015. "As a child, my family lived every summer in the shore community of Seaside Park. The month I graduated from Kearny High School in Northern New Jersey, my family moved to Ocean County, where my father established a lucrative amusement business on the local boardwalk."
  33. ^ Sam Dente, The Baseball Cube. Accessed December 30, 2007.
  34. ^ Jennifer Dore, Sports Reference. Accessed December 8, 2016.
  35. ^ Ed Halicki profile, The Baseball Cube. Accessed June 18, 2007.
  36. ^ Yannis, Alex. "Cosmos Spirit Infuses 2 At Tournament Debut". The New York Times. June 2, 1989. Accessed August 22, 2012. "Harkes, who went to Kearny High School, has been the most industrious player for the Americans in their three World Cup qualifying games (1-1-1) thus far."
  37. ^ Di Ionno, Mark. "The saddest stroke of all", The Star-Ledger, July 23, 2008. Accessed January 20, 2015. "'We're not abandoning the program,' said Klepacki, who like Jen Dore, took up crew on the Passaic River while at Kearny High School."
  38. ^ Curry, Jack. "The Goalie With No Nerves; Meola's Calm Helps Keep U.S. in World Cup Play". The New York Times. January 3, 1990. Accessed August 22, 2012. "Just 18 months removed from Kearny High School, Meola has startling confidence to go with his considerable talent."
  39. ^ Walker, Ian. "Football: Town that built US soccer from immigrant legacy", The Independent, July 31, 2003. Accessed May 20, 2007. "Many of these immigrants, particularly the Scots, settled in the New Jersey town of Kearny. Starting with the Glaswegian immigrant Archie Stark, who is the highest-scoring player in the history of American soccer, through to John Harkes, Tab Ramos and Tony Meola, key players in the national team of the Nineties, this small town (population 35,000) has been home to many of the America's best players. It was also, until recently, home to Tim Howard, United's new keeper."
  40. ^ Bob Stanley player profile, The Baseball Cube. Accessed May 20, 2007.
  41. ^ Macadam, Harry. "Geeks become No1 emo stars". The Sun. October 23, 2006. Accessed January 30, 2011. "The other picture is of another Jersey kid, now MCR lead guitarist Ray Toro. The 29-year-old hails from Kearny, two miles from Belleville, where he attended Kearny High School."
  42. ^ Alex Webster profile, Accessed July 12, 2007.
  43. ^ Ray Yagiello, Accessed July 5, 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′43″N 74°08′53″W / 40.761818°N 74.148097°W / 40.761818; -74.148097