Niskayuna High School

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Niskayuna High School
Niskayuna Logo
1626 Balltown Road

, ,

United States
Coordinates42°49′6″N 73°53′22″W / 42.81833°N 73.88944°W / 42.81833; -73.88944Coordinates: 42°49′6″N 73°53′22″W / 42.81833°N 73.88944°W / 42.81833; -73.88944
PrincipalJohn "JR" Rickert
Enrollment1,392 (2015-16)[1]
Student to teacher ratio13:1
Color(s)Red and silver
PublicationFlare (Literary Magazine)
NewspaperThe Warrior
Team NameSilver Warriors

Niskayuna High School is a public high school in Niskayuna, New York, United States, and is the only high school operated by the Niskayuna Central School District.


Niskayuna High School first opened in 1957, after the Board of Education recommended in 1954 that the new district build its own high school. Until then, students attended an area high school of their choice.[2] The first graduating class was 1959 with 138 students. Since then, over 18,000 students have graduated from Niskayuna High School. A large expansion was completed in April 2011 to accommodate the increasing student population and facility needs


There have been 6 principals in the history of Niskayuna High School:

Omer Renfrow (1957 - 1958)

Aaron Fink (1958 - 1960)

Joseph Oakey (1960 - 1968)

Francis R. Taormina (1968 - 1982)

Edward A. Carangelo (1982 - 2001)

John W. Rickert (2001 – Present)


Niskayuna High School is widely considered to be one of the premier academic learning centers in the country. The school offers 49 courses at the Honors level and 20 at the Advanced Placement Level. Historically, over 90% of the students who take AP exams score a "3" or higher. In addition, the school offers college credit courses in English, Social Studies, World Languages, Business Education, Family and Consumer Sciences and Engineering Technology.

Niskayuna High School was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 1983. In 1999, the Wall Street Journal named Niskayuna High School one of the top performing high schools in the country. In 2003, the Washington Post cited Niskayuna High School as one of the best high schools in the nation. In 2006, Niskayuna High School was rated as one of "America's Best High Schools" by Newsweek magazine, with an index (total Advanced Placement Exams taken in 2005 divided by total number of graduating seniors) of 1.340.[3] In 2014, Niskayuna High School was rated the #26 best school in the country by Newsweek, and in 2015, it was once again named the top high school in the Capital District by Newsweek. The school was also listed in its 2015 and 2016 ranking of the top high schools in the nation.

The Albany Business Review rated Niskayuna High School the top ranked high school in the entire Capital District in both its 2016 and 2014 Annual Schools Report. In 2012, US News and World Report listed Niskayuna High School as the top rated public high school in upstate New York.

There have over 500 graduates who have been named National Merit Semifinalists. In the 2015 - 2016 school year, 9 students were named Semifinalists, with 6 earning National Merit Scholarships. The Buffalo Business Review reported in 2016 that Niskayuna High School students had the highest SAT scores in the Capital Region.

The New York State Education Department has named Niskayuna High School a "Reward School" for 4 consecutive years: 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 for overall performance on state assessments.

For the Class of 2005, 94% of all graduating seniors attended college.[4]

Niskayuna currently has a 96% graduation rate, which is the best in the entire Capital Region area of upstate New York.

For the Class of 2015, 95% of the graduating class attended college with 80% attending a 4-year college or university. Over 10% of the graduating class attended Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Yale and Penn or most competitive schools as rated by Barrons including Stanford, Duke and Georgetown.

The Class of 2016 students continued this trend of college admission with academic scholarships to some of the most prestigious schools in the country. This includes Yale, Cornell, Brown, Columbia, Penn, North Carolina, Texas, Georgetown, and the United States Naval Academy.

Overall, over 800 graduates from Niskayuna High School have gone on to earn degrees at Ivy League schools, with Cornell and Harvard being the two most frequently attended.


Since 1959, Niskayuna High School has had over 400 of its graduates go on to participate in NCAA Division I, IAA, or II interscholastic athletics. This includes 20 students from the class of 2017. In addition, 5 graduates have gone on to represent the United States in the Olympic Games. Jeff Blatnick (Class of 1975) won the Gold Medal in the 1984 Olympic Games for Greco-Roman wrestling. Andy Seras (Class of 1980) was a member of the 1988 US Olympic Wrestling team. David Koplovitz (Class of 1982) was a member of the 1988 and 1992 US Olympic Wrestling teams. Marin Gjaja (Class of 1987) was a member of the 1992 US Olympic Men's Volleyball team. Andy Bloom (Class of 1991) was a member of the 2000 US Olympic team in Track and Field. There have also been 5 graduates to reach the US Olympic Trials: Summer Pierson (Class of 1996) narrowly missed the Olympics for Track and Field in 4 trial appearances; Hannah Moore (Class of 1997) won a Bronze Medal in the 2008 World Championships nearly qualifying in Women's Rowing; Louis Serafini (Class of 2009) qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in distance running; also Kina Zhou (Class of 2013) and Katie Rowe (Class of 2012) qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials in swimming.

The following 11 graduates have competed for the US National Teams: Carrie Hanks (Class of 2014) in Women's Field Hockey; Kayla Treanor (Class of 2012) in Women's Lacrosse, member of the 2017 US National Team; Gillian Litynski (Class of 2011) member of the 2016 US National Fencing Team; Lisa D'Aniello (Class of 2004) member of the 2008 US National Rowing Team Michael Woodmansee (Class of 1999) in Men's Rowing; Hannah Moore (Class of 1998) in Women's Rowing, Bronze Medalist in the 2008 World Championships; Jeff Lindy (Class of 1997) in Men's Rowing, Silver Medalist in the Croatia World Games; Summer Pierson (Class of 1996) in Women's Track and Field; Scott Proper (Class of 1997) in Men's Rowing; Linda Perry (Class of 1994) in Women's Rowing; and Paul Lupi (Class of 1991) in Men's Track and Field.

14 Niskayuna High School graduates have also participated professionally for the following teams:

Garrett Whitley (Class of 2015) Tampa Bay Rays - Drafted in the 1st Round / 13th overall pick in 2015

Luke Goldstock (Class of 2013) Boston Cannons (Lacrosse) - Drafted in the 5th Round / 41st overall pick in 2017

Kayla Treanor (Class of 2012) Boston Storm (Lacrosse) - Signed professionally in 2016

Brooke Knowlton (Class of 2007) New England Aztecs (Soccer)- Signed professionally in 2013

Jeff Bryan (Class of 2000) Boston Cannons (Lacrosse) - Drafted in the 3rd Round / 15th overall pick in 2004

Kate Fagan (Class of 1999) Professional Basketball Team in Ireland - Signed professionally in 2004

André Davis (Class of 1997) Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns - Drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2002 NFL Draft

Mike Lephart (Class of 1994) Philadelphia Flyers - Signed professionally in 2001

Dan Terwilliger (Class of 1978) New York Knicks - Drafted in the 8th Round of the 1982 NBA Draft

John Leonard (Class of 1978) New York Knicks - Drafted in the 10th Round of the 1982 NBA Draft

Michael Morrissey (Class of 1974) Boston Red Sox - Drafted in the 5th Round of the 1975 MLB Draft

Murray Cunningham (Class of 1972) Seattle Seahawks - Signed professionally in 1977

Bill Winchester (Class of 1971) Cincinnati Reds - Signed professionally in 1971

Dick Sims (Class of 1960) New York Yankees - Signed professionally in 1960

From 1960 to 1974, Niskayuna Football won 5 Suburban Council Championships with 3 of those teams going undefeated under Coach Don Boothe. From 1995 to 2016, Coach John Furey has led Niskayuna Football to 1 Super Bowl appearance (1996), 5 Final Four appearances, and 4 Suburban Council Championships.

Niskayuna Girls Soccer has won 4 State Championships with the first coming in 1993 under Coach Brian Speck, and then 1994, 1995 and 1998 under Coach Bryce Colby.

Niskayuna Boys Basketball won the State Championship in 1978 under Coach Tom Howley, with standouts John Leonard and Dan Terwilliger.

Niskayuna Wrestling was a historic program under Coach Joe Bena, who had the all-time most wins in New York State high school wrestling as a coach until being surpassed by John Grillo of Holley. The program has produced 3 Olympians and 7 New York State Champions.

In Boys Lacrosse, Mike Vorgang has been the only coach that the program has ever had since 1994. The program has produced over 70 Division I, IAA, or II college players. Coach Vorgang led Niskayuna to the State Championship in 2005, only to lose to West Genesee. In 2015, The Niskayuna Lacrosse team won its first ever State title, defeating fifteen time state champions West Genesee 13-10 in the Class A final.

In Rowing, the Niskayuna Girls Junior 8+ won the 2014 and 2016 Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championships. The Boys Junior 4x won Nationals in 2015. In spring of 2018, the boys freshman 4x placed 2nd in the state and 8th overall at the worlds largest scholastic regatta, the Stotesbury Cup.

The Rowing program has also developed over 50 rowers who have gone on to compete at the collegiate level.

Military Service[edit]

Niskayuna High School has a strong tradition of graduates who enter military service. Over 300 graduates have served in the various branches of the military, including 27 who attended the Naval Academy, West Point, or the Air Force Academy. Each year, the high school recognizes all of the graduates who entered military service on both Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. This includes 21 veterans from World War II and Korea who received Niskayuna High School Diplomas as part of "Operation Recognition". A television monitor is permanently housed in the school which continuously displays the names of all graduates and their branch of service throughout each school day.

Each year on the Friday before Memorial Day, the high school holds a special ceremony for its 3 graduates who were killed in action during the Vietnam Conflict:

Robert Cragin - Class of 1962 Born: June 21, 1944 Died: February 26, 1968 Killed in action in Gian Dinh, South Vietnam; Name is listed on Panel 41 E - Row 36 of the Vietnam Memorial; Inducted into the Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame in 1990

Vernon Hovey - Class of 1964 Born: June 16, 1946 Died: June 5, 1970 1st Lieutenant of the 101 Airborne, US Army Shot Down over Thua Thien, South Vietnam; Name is listed on Panel 9 W - Row 14 of the Vietnam Memorial; Inducted into the Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame in 1990

Richard Starkey - Class of 1965 Born: August 31, 1947 Died: September 17, 1969 Private 1st Class, United States Marine Corps 3rd Marine Regiment, Lima Company Died in ground combat in Quang Tri, South Vietnam; Name is list on Panel 18 W - Row 106 of the Vietnam Memorial; Inducted into the Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame in 1990

Making National News[edit]

2016 - Noah Chaskin (Class of 2016) is featured in Sports Illustrated

2016 - Dominic Fallacaro (Class of 2004) wins a Grammy Award

2015 - Garrett Whitley (Class of 2015) is drafted in the 1st Round of the Major League Baseball Draft

2015 - Dr. John F. Hartwig (Class of 1982) is awarded the Willard Gibbs Medal for achievements in Chemistry

2014 - Niskayuna High School is ranked the 26th best high school in the nation by Newsweek

2014 - Seth Wyngowski (Class of 2008) represents the State Department in process of normalizing relations with Cuba

2013 - Gilbert King (Class of 1980) wins the Pulitzer Prize Award for non-fiction

2013 - Brian Chesky (Class of 1999) is on the cover of Forbes Magazine

2012 - Principal John Rickert appears live on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" to discuss concussions

2011 - Ben Coccio (Class of 1993) begins filming for the motion picture "Place Beyond the Pines"

2006 - David Holl (Class of 1982) is named the CEO of Mary Kay Cosmetics

2005 - Colin Angle (Class of 1985) is featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal

2003 - Niskayuna High School is listed in the Washington Post as a top high school in the country

1999 - Andre' Davis (Class of 1997) is on the cover of Sports Illustrated

1999 - Niskayuna High School is listed on Wall Street Journal's Top 10 High Schools in the Country

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "NISKAYUNA HIGH SCHOOL". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  2. ^>
  3. ^ Kantrowitz, Barbara (2002-05-16). "The Complete List of the 1,000 Top U.S. Schools". Newsweek. p. 8. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
  4. ^ "Niskayuna High School 2005-2006 Profile" (PDF). Niskayuna High School. Retrieved 2007-05-05.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Jeff Blatnick". National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
  6. ^ "Andy Bloom". Archived from the original on 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2007-07-07.
  7. ^