Somerville High School (New Jersey)

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Somerville High School
222 Davenport Street

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°34′41″N 74°36′47″W / 40.577989°N 74.613026°W / 40.577989; -74.613026Coordinates: 40°34′41″N 74°36′47″W / 40.577989°N 74.613026°W / 40.577989; -74.613026
TypePublic high school
Establishedc. 1909
NCES School ID3415090[1]
PrincipalGerard T. Foley
Asst. principalScott E. Hade
Faculty93.8 FTEs[1]
Enrollment1,159 (as of 2019–20)[1]
Student to teacher ratio12.4:1[1]
Color(s)  Orange and
Athletics conferenceSkyland Conference (general)
Big Central Football Conference (football)
Team namePioneers[2]

Somerville High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from Somerville and Branchburg Township in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the secondary school for Somerville Public Schools. Students from Branchburg Township attend Somerville High School as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Branchburg Township School District.[3][4]

As of the 2019–20 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,159 students and 93.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.4:1. There were 160 students (13.8% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 46 (4.0% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

Advanced Placement (AP) courses (such as AP United States Government and Politics) and the Senior Options Program at Raritan Valley Community College allow students the opportunity to earn college credits while attending high school. AP offerings include AP Biology, AP Calculus (AB/BC), AP Chemistry, AP English Literature and Composition, AP French Language, AP United States Government and Politics, AP Comparative Government and Politics, AP Music Theory, AP Physics, AP Spanish Language and AP United States History.

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 54th in New Jersey and 1,635th nationwide.[5]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 911th in the nation among participating public high schools and 68th among schools in New Jersey.[6]

The school was the 110th-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.[7] The school had been ranked 76th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 77th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[8] The magazine ranked the school 73rd in 2008 out of 316 schools.[9] ranked the school tied for 122nd out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 13 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (85.0%) and language arts literacy (95.5%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[10]


The Somerville High School Pioneers[2] have historically competed in the Skyland Conference, which is comprised of public and private high schools located in Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties in west Central Jersey and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.[11] With 881 students in grades 10–12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2019–20 school year as Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 761 to 1,058 students in that grade range.[12] The football team competes in Division 3 of the Big Central Football Conference, which includes 60 public and private high schools in Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Warren counties, which are broken down into 10 divisions by size and location.[13] The school was classified by the NJSIAA as Group III South for football for 2018–2020.[14]

The school participates together with Middlesex High School in a joint ice hockey team with Bernards High School as the host school / lead agency. The co-op program operates under agreements scheduled to expire at the end of the 2023–24 school year.[15]

The Pioneers football team has won eight Central Jersey Group II sectional championships: 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1994 and 2017, and won the Central Jersey Group III title in 1979.[16] The team won the program's first playoff-era title in 1976, defeating Red Bank Regional High School by a score of 27–6 in the Central Jersey Group II sectional championship game.[17] The 1977 team finished the season with a 10–1 record after winning the Central Jersey Group III state sectional title with a 28–6 win in the playoff finals against Hightstown High School, becoming the first team to win consecutive titles in different groups in the playoff era.[18] With a 27–14 win against Manasquan High School, the 1979 team won the Central Jersey Group III title and finished the season 11–0.[19] The 1983 team finished the season 11-0 and extended its unbeaten streak to 14 after winning the Central Jersey Group II sectional title with a 30–6 win against West Windsor-Plainsboro High School in the championship game.[20] The 1994 team finished the season with a 8–3 record after winning the Central Jersey Group II state sectional title with a 21–14 win against Manasquan High School in the championship game at Giants Stadium, a turnaround from an 0–9 season in 1993.[21] Pioneer football teams reached the Central Jersey Group II sectional playoffs in 1994, 1999–2001, 2004, 2005, 2016 and 2017, winning seven Skyland Conference championships over that time period.[22] In January 2015, former Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek was named head football coach.[23] On October 2, 2015, Somerville won its first home game in nearly three years.[24] In the following 2016 season, Vanderbeek led the Pioneers to an undefeated regular season, the fourth in the program's history.[25] The 2017 team won Somerville's eighth sectional championship, its first in 23 years, against Rumson-Fair Haven High School in the playoff final of the Central Jersey Group III state sectional tournament, in a game played at High Point Solutions Stadium on the campus of Rutgers University. Rumson-Fair Haven had defeated Somerville in the 2016 sectional final.[26][27]

The boys' basketball team reached the Central Jersey Group sectional finals in 1992 and 2007 and won the Somerset County Tournament in 1999.

The Pioneers' baseball team has won Central Jersey Group sectional titles in 1963, 1973 and 2018. The Pioneers won the program's first Group III state title in 2018, defeating Roxbury High School 1–0 in the semifinal and Allentown High School by a score of 3–2 in the final.[28][29] The team has won the Somerset County Tournament in 1974, 1987, 1992 and 1995; the program's four titles (through 2018) are the fifth-most in the tournament's history since it was established in 1973.[30]

The boys swimming team won the Division B state championship in 1971.[31]

The wrestling team won the Central Jersey Group II sectional championship in 1991, 1992 and 2003.[32]

The gymnastics team won the overall state championship in 1993.[33]

The boys' soccer team won the 2006 Central Jersey Group II sectional championship with a 3–1 win over Raritan High School.[34] In 2007, the boys soccer team repeated as sectional champion with a 2–0 win over Shore Regional High School.[35]

The girls' soccer team defeated Shore Regional High School 3–1 to win the 2006 Central Jersey Group II sectional title.[36]

The boys' outdoor track and field team won the Group III title in 1942 and roup II titles in 1973, 2001, 2003–2005 and 2007.[37] The team won 72 consecutive dual meets and was Central Jersey Group II sectional champion for eight straight seasons (2001–2008).[38]

The boys' cross country team won the Group II state championship in 1984.[39]

The boys' lacrosse team, founded in 2004, won Central Jersey Group II sectional championships in 2013 and 2014, compiling a 35-game home winning streak dating back to 2011.[40]


Somerville's FIRST Robotics Competition team is Team 102, The Gearheads. Team102 participates in the New Jersey and Connecticut FIRST Regionals.[41]


Core members of the school's administration are:[42]

  • Gerard T. Foley, Principal
  • Scott E. Hade, Assistant Principal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e School data for Somerville High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed April 1, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Somerville High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  3. ^ Somerville High School 2016 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 5, 2017. "Somerville High School is a community that endorses the concept of facilitating a learner-centered environment with an emphasis on preparing students for success in a 21st century global society. We proudly serve a diverse population of approximately 1,200 students from the communities of Somerville and Branchburg."
  4. ^ Somerset County School Districts-Sending/Receiving/Regional, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed June 2, 2016. "Branchburg K-8; Grades 9-12 Sent To Somerville"
  5. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Somerville High School", The Washington Post. Accessed September 9, 2011.
  6. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013.
  7. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  8. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed April 4, 2011.
  10. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011[permanent dead link], Accessed March 4, 2012.
  11. ^ League & Conference Officers/Affiliated Schools 2020-2021, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  12. ^ NJSIAA General Public School Classifications 2019–2020, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Kinney, Mike. "Big Central revises 2020 football schedule for its shortened inaugural season", NJ Advance Media for, August 12, 2020. Accessed April 18, 2021. "The newly formed Big Central Football Conference has released a revised 2020 schedule for its inaugural season.... the BCFC is comprised of schools from Middlesex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties."
  14. ^ NJSIAA Football Public School Classifications 2018–2020, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, finalized August 2019. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  15. ^ NJSIAA Winter Cooperative Sports Programs, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 1, 2020.
  16. ^ NJSIAA Football History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Schoolboy Halfback Breaks New Jersey Scoring Record", The New York Times, December 5, 1976. Accessed December 5, 2020. "Somerville, with Jim Walker and Vic Holloway chewing up yardage and each scoring twice, defeated Red Bank, 27-6, for Central Jersey's Group 2 crown."
  18. ^ Conover, Allan. "Central Jersey Group 3; Somerville's runners burn Hightstown", Courier News, December 5, 1977. Accessed February 11, 2021, via "Hightstown, much to its chagrin, had plenty of opportunities to watch Williams run Saturday. Somerville's swift sophomore totaled 93 yards on just 10 carries, scored a pair of touchdowns and tossed his fifth TD pass of the year in sparking the Pioneers to a 28-6 triumph in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 championship battle at Brooks Field.... Senior James Walker, a stickout in both the offensive and defensive backfields for the Pioneers (10-1), and defensive end George Johnson also questioned Hightstown's willingness to fight back from adversity.... Somerville coach Jerry Moore, who established an NJSIAA playoff first by guiding his team to back-to-back titles in different groups (2 and 3), was slightly amused by the game-delay strategy."
  19. ^ "Williams No. 1 as Somerville Rolls", New York Daily News, December 2, 1979. Accessed January 16, 2021, via "Jon Williams took over the state scoring lead, lifting his season total to 178 points on two touchdowns and three placements yesterday as Somerville beat Manasquan, 27-14, for the Central Jersey, Group 3 championship in Bridgewater. Somerville, which closed at 11-0, took a 20-0 halftime lead on a 14-yard scoring pass for Todd Otto to Wallaco Gantt in the first period and Williams' 16-yard run and Reggie Hayes' 8 yard run in the second."
  20. ^ "Passaic (11-0) Tops North Bergen, 24-13", The New York Times, December 4, 1983. Accessed December 24, 2020. "Somerville (11-0) handed West Windsor (8-3) a 30-6 drubbing in the Central Jersey, Group 2 final in Somerville. Somerville, which won its first six regular-season games by shutouts, used a balanced offense to win its fourth state title in nine years and gain its 14th straight victory."
  21. ^ "Somerville completes return from the dead", Asbury Park Press, December 5, 1994. Accessed December 29, 2020. "Capping an incredible turnaround from a 0-9 season last year, Somerville captured the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Central Jersey Group II title with a 21-14 win over defending champion Manasquan yesterday at Giants Stadium.... Somerville (8-3) found a way to win despite being outgained by Manasquan."
  22. ^ Coach Kevin Carty Sr., Somerville Football. Accessed February 26, 2018. "At SHS from 1994 to 2006 he guided The Ville to a 92-42 record. In his first season as head coach he took a team that was previously 0-9 to 8-3 winning the 1994 Central Jersey Group II State Championship versus Manasquan in Giants Stadium. He won seven Skyland Conference Championships and was in the sectional playoffs in 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2005."
  23. ^ Frezza, Harry; and Deak, Mike. "Vanderbeek hired as co-head football coach at Somerville H.S.", Courier News, January 22, 2015. "By an 8-1 vote on Tuesday night, the board of education appointed Vanderbeek as co-head football coach for $1 a year. Vanderbeek will serve on the sidelines with Chris Casamento, whose team will begin the 2015 season determined to snap the state's second longest losing streak of 22 games."
  24. ^ LoGiudice, Daniel. "Somerville football wins first game since 2012", Courier News, October 2, 2015. Accessed October 6, 2015. "The Somerville High School football team did something Friday evening that it hasn't done since 2012. The Pioneers won a game. Somerville defeated North Plainfield 26-20 in overtime on a cold and rainy night. It was the first victory since October 27, 2012, when the Pioneers defeated Roselle 31-20."
  25. ^ "Somerville goes Undefeated in Regular Season", Somerville Football, November 4, 2016. Accessed November 5, 2017. "On the final day of the regular season, the Somerville Pioneers defeat the Summit Hilltoppers in a showdown between two of the Mid-State 38's best teams. With Friday night's 42-7 win, the Pioneers secured their first undefeated season in over a decade and for only the fourth time in the history of the program."
  26. ^ Deakyne, Brian. "Football: Late TD drive lifts Somerville to first sectional crown since 1994", NJ Advance Media for, December 2, 2017. Accessed December 5, 2017. "Trailing by a point, Somerville marched down the field and seized the lead – and state championship – back as Jalahn Dabney punched in his second touchdown from 1 yard out with just 53 seconds left. Somerville's defense did the rest, carrying Somerville to a 20-15 win over four-time defending champion Rumson-Fair Haven at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway on Saturday night."
  27. ^ "Football - 2017 NJSIAA Central, Group 3 Playoffs", Accessed December 5, 2017.
  28. ^ Staff. "Somerville baseball claims first state title in school history in dramatic fashion", Courier News, June 10, 2018. Accessed November 9, 2019. "Hamilton – Somerville High School’s baseball program had to wait only 114 years to capture its first ever state title. The dramatic end of Sunday’s 3-2 win over Allentown in the NJSIAA Group III final reflected just how difficult it is to earn one.... Relaxation is something Miceli has been able to do for Somerville in very big spots. Miceli’s sacrifice fly to right field in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday was the only run of the game in the 1-0 win over Roxbury in the state semifinal, where Babalis threw a complete game shutout."
  29. ^ NJSIAA Baseball Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  30. ^ "The history of the Somerset County Baseball Tournament (THROWBACK PHOTOS)", NJ Advance Media for, May 8, 2019, updated August 24, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2020.
  31. ^ History of NJSIAA Team Swimming, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  32. ^ NJSIAA Wrestling Team Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  33. ^ History of NJSIAA Girls Gymnastics, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 1, 2020.
  34. ^ 2006 Boys Soccer Tournament - Central, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 4, 2007.
  35. ^ 2007 Boys Soccer - Central, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 14, 2007.
  36. ^ 2006 Girls Soccer Tournament - Central, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 4, 2007.
  37. ^ NJSIAA Spring Track Summary of Group Titles Boys, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 1, 2020.
  38. ^ Moretti, Mike; and Lambert, Jim. "Somerville's sectional streak ends at 8; Tasco ties for 800 title (High school Boys Outdoor Track news)" Archived May 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, The Star-Ledger, May 23, 2009. Accessed May 26, 2015. "For the first time since 2000, Somerville failed to come home with a sectional trophy. Loaded with superstars the last eight years, Somerville boasts no such athletes this spring and finally had to settle for less than gold after butting heads with Matawan.``We met our match today," said Somerville coach Carl Weigner after his squad bowed to Matawan, 125-60, in the NJSIAA/Star-Ledger Central Jersey, Group 2 meet yesterday at Monmouth Regional in Tinton Falls."
  39. ^ NJSIAA Boys Cross Country State Group Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  40. ^ Somerville Pioneers, LAX Power. Accessed May 30, 2014.
  41. ^ About Us, FRC Team 102 Gearheads. Accessed November 29, 2015.
  42. ^ Staff Directory, Somerville High School. Accessed May 14, 2020.
  43. ^ "Interview with Raymond Bateman" Archived May 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Rutgers University Eagleton Institute of Politics Center on the American Governor. Accessed September 10, 2013. "A lifelong resident of Somerset County, Raymond Bateman was born in Somerville on October 29, 1927, and graduated from Somerville High School in 1945."
  44. ^ Frezza Jr., Harry. "Raritan man attends Final Four for 57th time", Courier News, April 1, 2001. Accessed August 2, 2007. "Ben Carnevale, who turns 86 on Oct. 30, has had the kind of life some people might call legendary. In fact, when you look at his life, which began in a house just off the last trolley stop on Gaston Avenue in Raritan Borough, you might agree. The 1934 Somerville High School graduate is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also the winningest coach in United States Naval Academy history, a survivor of a ship that was torpedoed during World War II, and somebody who had a lot to do with building the NCAA basketball tournament."
  45. ^ Joe Lis, Society for American Baseball Research. Accessed June 4, 2020. "When Joe turned 11, the family moved to Hillsborough Township, where he played in the local American Legion and Tri-State Leagues.... Hillsborough did not have its own high school, so township students went to Somerville High School."
  46. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy. "Meet Brendan and Cory, the absurdist comedy heroes behind the This is Branchburg podcast", NJ Advance Media for, July 10, 2019. Accessed December 3, 2020. "That’s just the way it goes when it comes to the comedy stylings of Brendan O’Hare and Cory Snearowski. Their often darkly absurd take on the trivial aspects of life is on display this summer in their first podcast, This is Branchburg, which is part parody and part homage to the suburban routine and greenery of their shared hometown in Somerset County.... Snearowski and O’Hare grew up in Branchburg playing on the same Little League team and went to Somerville High School together."
  47. ^ "Princeton's Top Football Award Shared by Perantoni and West", Courier News, December 2, 1947. Accessed April 1, 2021, via "A resident of Raritan, where he now makes his home with his wife, the former Madeline Harcarik, Frank prepared for Princeton at Blair Academy after having been graduated from Somerville High School."
  48. ^ Paul Robeson - High School Archived May 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Rutgers University. Accessed April 15, 2007. "Paul attended school in Somerville and graduated from Somerville High School in 1915."
  49. ^ Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, 1984, p. 189. Accessed February 20, 2018. "Elliott F. Smith, Rep., Hillsborough - Mr. Smith was born in New York City Feb. 11, 1931. He attended Hillsborough Township elementary schools, Somerville High School, and Rutgers University, where he studied agriculture and was graduated in 1953."
  50. ^ Hatala, Greg. "Glimpse of History: 'Being born with a pair of beady eyes was the best thing that ever happened to me' - Lee Van Cleef", The Star-Ledger, August 26, 2013. Accessed November 4, 2017. "Looking at this photo of Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr. from the 1943 Somerville High School yearbook, it's hard to imagine him acquiring the sobriquet 'ugly.' Yet he was tagged just that 23 years later when he starred with Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach in Sergio Leone's classic western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."
  51. ^ Fred Wenz, Baseball Almanac. Accessed July 5, 2020. "High School: Somerville High School (Somerville, NJ)"
  52. ^ Jon Williams, Accessed November 25, 2018.

External links[edit]