Morris Hills High School

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Morris Hills High School
Morris Hills High School is located in Morris County, New Jersey
Morris Hills High School
Morris Hills High School
Morris Hills High School is located in New Jersey
Morris Hills High School
Morris Hills High School
Morris Hills High School is located in the US
Morris Hills High School
Morris Hills High School
520 West Main Street
Rockaway, NJ 07866
Type Public high school
Motto Changing the world, one student at a time
Established 1953
Principal Todd Toriello
Asst. principals Emily Barkocy
Eugene Melvin
Robert Merle Jr.
Faculty 108.0 FTEs[1]
Enrollment 1,202 (as of 2014-15)[1]
Student to teacher ratio 11.1:1[1]
Campus 39 acres (160,000 m2)
Color(s)      Scarlet and
Athletics conference Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Team name Scarlet Knights[2]
Newspaper Hilltopper
Yearbook Torch

Morris Hills High School is a comprehensive regional four-year public high school located in the borough of Rockaway, in Morris County, New Jersey, United States, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades as one of the two secondary schools of the Morris Hills Regional High School District.[3] The school is located on the 39-acre (160,000 m2) former Gunther Estate and opened to students on September 9, 1953.[4] The high school serves students from Wharton, Rockaway Borough and parts of Rockaway Township.[4][5] Students come to Morris Hills from Copeland Middle School, Alfred C. MacKinnon Middle School, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, as well as local private schools.

As of the 2014-15 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,202 students and 108.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.1:1. There were 220 students (18.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 60 (5.0% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

The campus of Morris Hills houses The Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering a science-oriented magnet school operated as a joint effort with the Morris County Vocational School District and open by competitive application to all students from Morris County.[6]

The other high school in the district is Morris Knolls High School, which serves students from Denville and portions of Rockaway Borough and Rockaway Township.[7] As of the 2014-15 school year, Morris Knolls had an enrollment of 1,583 students and 142.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.1:1.[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

For the 1996-97 school year, Morris Hills High School was named a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve.[9]

The school was the 71st-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.[10] The school had been ranked 42nd in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 70th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[11] The magazine ranked the school 106th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[12] The school was ranked 101st in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[13] ranked the school tied for 64th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (an increase of 35 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (89.6%) and language arts literacy (97.8%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[14]

School media[edit]

The Morris Hills Hilltopper, the school's official newspaper, is published four times a year in color. Students write all articles and take the majority of the photos, as well as set up the design and comics.

SEED Magazine is the school's annual literary magazine. All students are allowed to submit prose or poetry, or visual works of art (though not all are put into the actual magazine).

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Morris Hills houses a large variety of extracurricular activities for its students, ranging from bible club (Velocity) to its very own DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) Club. Many have gained recognition or awards for their duties in the community or their overall excellence in their field, including the Morris Hills Stage Crew (part of drama club), which placed third in the ITS Statewide festival in the 2005-2006 year. Any student is permitted to join any club. A partial list of clubs include:


The Morris Hills High School Scarlet Knights[2] compete in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[15] With 940 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as North I, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 786 to 1,074 students in that grade range.[16] The school had previously participated in the Iron Hills Conference.[17]

Interscholastic sports offered at Morris Hills include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, fencing, field hockey, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling.[2]

The football team won the NJSIAA North II Group III state sectional championship in 1975.[18] In 2016, the team won the North II Group III state sectional title, the program's second title and its first in 41 years, with a 27-14 win in the tournament final against Parsippany Hills High School.[19]

The wrestling team won the North II Group III state sectional title in 1987.[20]

The field hockey team won the North I Group IV state sectional championship in 2001.[21]

The boys' track team won the Group II state indoor relay championship in 2006 and 2008.[22]

The boys' basketball team made the state tournament for the first time in 10 years in 2006, though it lost in the first round to 6th-seeded Passaic Valley High School 67-45.[23]

The boys ice hockey team, established in 1958, was one of the first high school teams in New Jersey along with the Morristown School (now Morristown-Beard School), Montclair High School, Livingston High School, and West Orange High School. They won the State Championship for the 1960-1961 Season. They have also won 7 divisional titles including two Charette Division titles (2003, 2017), four Haas Division titles (1991, 1996, 1997, 2004), and one Halverson Division title (2005).

Morris Hills also has a successful baseball program, winning 135 games in a span of six seasons with a Morris County Tournament Championship (2002), a North I Group III state sectional title (2004), and five Iron Hills Conference (Hills Division) championships (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007).

Cross country / track and field[edit]

Perhaps the most successful athletics program at Morris Hills is its men's cross country and track and field teams, both of which have been very successful in the state, due in very large part to the efforts of head cross country coach Sean Robinson, who took the position in 2002.

Since becoming head coach, Robinson has led the Scarlet Knights to 20 of 28 major high school cross country championships (conference, county, state section and state group) in seven years. The team had been undefeated in dual meet competition in the Iron Hills Conference since 2002.

Robinson took the head indoor track and field coaching position in 2006. In that year, the Scarlet Knights won every major championship they entered (conference, county, state group and state group relay), the first time that had happened in county history. The Scarlet Knights repeated the feat in 2008, 2009 and 2011.[24]

Robinson was coach during Morris Hills' county track and field championship victory in 2006, the first time the Scarlet Knights had won since 1977.[25]

Morris Hills has also had over 20 All-American honors distributed to its runners since 2005, largely with the success of the school's 4 x mile relay, 4 x 800 relay and shuttle hurdle relay teams. Keith Lindsley, the 2007 NJSIAA Athletic Assistant Coach of the Year, is the current sprint/hurdles coach. Morris Hills was selected to participate in the inaugural Nike Team National Cross Country Championship in 2005, where they finished 13th.[26]

Marching band[edit]

In 1998, the Morris Hills High School Marching Band, under Director Michael Sopko, was recruited to film an MTV Commercial for the MTV Video Music Awards. The marching band was chosen after being spotted by MTV associates during their annual competition at Giants Stadium. In the commercial, the marching band played clips from nominated songs and ended in a human formation of the MTV symbol. The commercial was aired several times daily leading up to the awards ceremony.

The band was named the 2010 USSBA Group 2 Open New Jersey State Champions.[27]

In 2016, Band Director Michael Sopko retired from his position as the band's leader. Richard Hartsuiker, a former Roxbury music teacher, replaced Mr. Sopko and continued Morris Hills' musical traditions, by directing the Marching Band, directing the Concert/Jazz Bands, and assisting with the Spring Musical.[28]


Core members of the school's administration are:[29]

  • Todd M. Toriello, Principal
  • Emily Barkocy, Assistant Principal
  • Eugene Melvin, Assistant Principal
  • Robert Merle Jr., Assistant Principal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School data for Morris Hills High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Morris Hills High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 30, 2016.
  3. ^ Morris Hills High School 2015 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Transportation. Accessed May 30, 2016. "Morris Hills High School is a comprehensive, four-year public school located in the heart of Morris County. The school is part of a regional school district that includes our sister school, Morris Knolls High School. There are over 1,300 students enrolled in grades 9-12. The school serves the local communities of Wharton, Rockaway Township, and Rockaway Borough where the school resides."
  4. ^ a b Home page, Morris Hills High School. Accessed July 15, 2011. "Morris Hills High School, located in Rockaway, New Jersey, serves the residential communities of Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, and Wharton.... The school was first opened for classes on September 9, 1953. A 39 acre site that was the former Gunther Estate serves as campus for Morris Hills."
  5. ^ Program of Studies 2017-2018 - About Our School District, Morris Hills Regional District. Accessed January 2, 2017. "MORRIS HILLS HIGH SCHOOL receives students from Wharton, the southernmost portion of Rockaway Township, which includes Rockaway Road to East Blackwell Street, north across Route #46, including Rockaway Gardens, both sides of Swede Mine Road to the boundary, Sunnyhill Road, the upper portion of Daniel Street to the intersection of Robert Street, and the White Meadow Lake portion of Rockaway Township; Rockaway Borough north of Route #46 as well as within the area of Rockaway Road, the Trailer Park behind the Boro Plaza (west of the railroad track) south of Route #46. MORRIS KNOLLS HIGH SCHOOL receives students from Denville, all of Rockaway Township with the exception of White Meadow Lake and the area described above in the southern part of Rockaway Township, Rockaway Borough south of Route #46 with the exception of the area of Rockaway Road and the Trailer Park behind the Boro Plaza (west of the railroad track) south of Route #46."
  6. ^ About Us, Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering. Accessed July 15, 2011. "The Academy for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, located at Morris Hills High School, is a rigorous, highly focused four year program for Morris County Students with career interests in mathematics, science, or engineering."
  7. ^ Morris Hills Regional District 2015 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 30, 2016. "Our schools' success is directly attributed to the support we receive from the residents of Denville, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township and Wharton - people who care about their children and who value education."
  8. ^ School data for Morris Knolls High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed December 12, 2016.
  9. ^ Star School Award recipient detail 1996-97 school year, Morris Hills High School, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 29, 2006.
  10. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  11. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 26, 2012.
  12. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2011.
  13. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  14. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Accessed February 27, 2012.
  15. ^ League Memberships – 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 30, 2016.
  16. ^ General Public School Classifications 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of December 15, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2016 20, 2014.
  17. ^ Home Page, Iron Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive, as of April 24, 2006. Accessed November 20, 2014.
  18. ^ Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 3, 2012.
  19. ^ Stypulkoski, Matt. "Morris Hills ends 41-year title drought with win over Parsippany Hills", NJ Advance Media for, December 3, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2016. "The Scarlet Knights started the second half with 20 unanswered points to pick up the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 title in a 27-14 win over Parsippany Hills on Saturday at MetLife Stadium. It's Morris Hills' second title in school history; the first came in 1975."
  20. ^ History of the NJSIAA Team Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 2, 2017.
  21. ^ History of the NJSIAA Field Hockey Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 2, 2017.
  22. ^ History of the NJSIAA Indoor Relay Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 2, 2017.
  23. ^ 2006 Boys Basketball - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 23, 2006.
  24. ^ Lambert, Jim. "Morris Hills Shakes and Bakes its way to Group 2 sectional sweep", The Star-Ledger, February 12, 2011. Accessed August 20, 2011.
  25. ^ Havsy, Jane. "2006 Boys Outdoor Track and Field Team of the Year: No one could catch Morris Hills", Daily Record (Morristown), June 22, 2006. Accessed July 15, 2011. "Crushed the field in the Morris County Championships with 84 points, earning the school's first outdoor title since 1977."
  26. ^ 2005 Boy's Nike Team National Results, Nike Cross Nationals, December 3, 2005. Accessed January 3, 2012.
  27. ^ Goebel, Caryn. "Congratulations to the 2010 USSBA State Champions!, USSBA, October 26, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2011.
  28. ^ "Staff Directory". Morris Hills Regional School District Website. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  29. ^ Administration, Morris Hills High School. Accessed May 30, 2016.
  30. ^ Was part of the 1974 Super Bowl winning team.Bruce Bannon player profile, accessed May 2, 2007.
  31. ^ Staff. "President of HBO, Rockaway's Sue Naegle guest speaker for Morris Chamber.", Daily Record (Morristown), September 19, 2012. Accessed July 2, 2013. "Former Rockaway resident and Morris Hills High School graduate, Sue Naegle, c, now the president of Time Warner's HBO Entertainment was the guest speaker during the Morris County Chamber of Commerce Women in Business, 'Defining Moments on the Journey to Success' event at the Madison Hotel."
  32. ^ Manochio, Matt. "Morris general oversaw capture", Daily Record (Morristown), December 14, 2003. Accessed May 2, 2007. "Raymond T. Odierno, 48, is a 1972 graduate of Morris Hills High School."
  33. ^ Staff. "Rockaway general promotes Rockaway general", Daily Record (Morristown), September 26, 2014. Accessed November 30, 2016. "Like Odierno, Perna attended Thomas Jefferson School and Morris Hills High School."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°53′23″N 74°31′37″W / 40.889606°N 74.527059°W / 40.889606; -74.527059