Watchung Hills Regional High School

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Watchung Hills Regional High School District
108 Stirling Road
Warren, NJ 07059
District information
Grades 9-12
Superintendent Elizabeth C. Jewett
Business administrator Timothy Stys
Schools 1
Students and staff
Enrollment 2,200 (as of 2015-16)[1]
Faculty 169.3 FTEs
Student-teacher ratio 12.69:1
Other information
District Factor Group I
Ind. Per Pupil District
 %± vs.
1A Total Spending $19,637 15 $18,891 3.9%
1 Budgetary Cost 14,517 14 15,592 -6.9%
2 Classroom Instruction 8,291 16 8,807 -5.9%
6 Support Services 1,780 8 2,294 -22.4%
8 Administrative Cost 1,823 35 1,592 14.5%
10 Operations & Maintenance 1,874 20 1,954 -4.1%
13 Extracurricular Activities 725 15 873 -17.0%
16 Median Teacher Salary 67,840 25 71,726
Data from NJDoE 2014 Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending.[2]
*Of 9-12 districts with any number of students. Lowest spending=1; Highest=47
Watchung Hills Regional High School
Type Public high school
Established 1957
Principal George P. Alexis
Vice Principals Terrence P. MacConnell
Steven Searfoss
Nicholas Serritella
Patricia Toubin
Grades 9 - 12
Campus 85 acres (340,000 m2)
Color(s)      Brown
Athletics 29 varsity sports
Athletics conference Skyland Conference
Team name Warriors

Watchung Hills Regional High School is a regional comprehensive public high school and school district serving students in portions of Somerset and Morris Counties in New Jersey, United States. Students from Warren Township and from the neighboring communities of Watchung, [[Gillete}} and Green Brook in Somerset County and Long Hill Township in Morris County attend the school.[3] The high school is located in Warren Township, next to Woodland School.

As of the 2015-16 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,200 students and 169.3 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.69:1. There were 48 students (2.2% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 19 (0.9% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

The district is classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as being in District Factor Group "I", the second-highest of eight groupings. District Factor Groups organize districts statewide to allow comparison by common socioeconomic characteristics of the local districts. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J.[4]

Watchung Hills also offers an adult school that operates at night in the facilities. The school colors were brown and yellow, but at about the turn of the millennium, gold took the place of yellow. Through recent years, the brown color has been phased out for black on many pieces of merchandise and signage.

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

Watchung Hills Regional High School received the Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education in 1994-95, the highest honor that an American school can achieve.[5][6]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 514th in the nation among participating public high schools and 42nd among schools in New Jersey.[7]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 34th in New Jersey and 1,160th nationwide.[8] In 2008, Newsweek ranked the school as 919th in the nation.[9] In Newsweek's May 22, 2007 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Watchung Hills High School was listed in 999th place, the 31st-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[10] In the magazine's 2006 survey, the school was ranked as 745th nationwide.[11] In their 2004 survey, Newsweek ranked WHRHS as the 583rd best high school in the nation.[12]

The school was the 50th-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.[13] The school had been ranked 44th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 48th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[14] The magazine ranked the school 49th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[15] The school was ranked 38th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.[16] ranked the school 96th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 276 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (86.0%) and language arts literacy (97.6%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[17]


WHRHS underwent a renovation project. Extensive additions to the school have been constructed and all classrooms have been renovated. The addition included many new classrooms, as well as a four-tier band room. Additionally, a brand new theatre with a rising orchestra pit and catwalk were built. This state-of-the-art theater includes a programmable lighting system, movable sound shell and a balcony. Additionally, all classrooms have been renovated. There is also a new "FieldTurf" football field, along with numerous baseball/softball fields.

TV Studio[edit]

At the beginning of the 2009 school year, classes were moved from the old TV Studio class room into the new one. The new studio has much more room and includes a control room, class room/studio and an office. There is currently new equipment being installed which will allow for three camera switching for live broadcasts. The system will utilize three Canon XL2's, a Datavideo switcher, Mackie Onyx 1620 with firewire card and four Shure SLX wireless microphones There are currently four edit bays with Dell Precision desktops and dual monitors. When the installation is complete, there will be a Verizon FiOS channel installed for local broadcasts. Although not currently possible due to wiring problems, internal broadcasts will eventually be possible. Rocco Iacovone, the video production teacher at Watchung Hills and a graduate of New York University, runs the TV studio and conducts his broadcast journalism classes there.


The brand new, state-of-the-art theatre includes two catwalks with a spotlight booth. The lighting system, which has 301 dimmers is housed in the dimmer room located on the stage left side of the catwalks. The dimmer room contains three dimmer racks and an emergency power transfer switch. The lighting console is an ETC Ion and is located in the lighting booth located under the balcony. On stage, there is a movable orchestra pit, movable sound shell and 36 linesets including six electrics, a scrim and cyc as well as three ceiling panels for the sound shell. The sound shell is moved using a cart with a lift system on it. When not in use, the shell is stored stage right, 2 to 3 deep.

As of June 2009 the theatre now contains a full sound system. The new sound system includes two QSC WideLine-8 Line Arrays (eight Boxes per Array), two Ground Subwoofers a Yamaha M7CL 48 channel digital audio console, 16 wireless microphones and 8 active DB technologies on stage monitors and a Sennheiser mic package. There is also a SymNet system which allows the entire system to be powered on with a single button. It also allows for four inputs to be used without turning on the console, for simple presentations. In addition to the sound system, a ClearCom wired and HME wireless headset system were installed. There are four wired beltpacks as well as the base station and four wireless beltpacks.


WHRHS has approximately 20 Dell servers that provide students and staff with various services. Among these are a web server, two file servers, a Web Filter server, SQL database server and a student database server which manages student information as well as gradebooks via a web interface. There are approximately 24 laptop carts (each with about 24 laptops) that are designated to different areAs of the school. All teachers have either Dell or Apple laptops. There are also plans to deploy laptop carts with Apple MacBooks in the near future. There are eight computer labs with Dell Optiplex desktops.


The Watchung Hills Regional High School Warriors compete in the Skyland Conference, which operates under the auspices of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[18] With 1,615 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North II, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,087 to 3,896 students in that grade range.[19]

Some of WHRHS's sports teams are Baseball, Women's Soccer, Women's Tennis, Ice hockey, Men's and Women's Cross Country, Men's and Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Track and Field, Men's and Women's Bowling, Men's and Women's Fencing, Swimming, Wrestling, Women's and Men's Volleyball, Marching band, Women's Softball, Women's Gymnastics and Women's Cheerleading.

The school has a rivalry with Ridge High School in neighboring Basking Ridge. Traditionally, their two football teams had played a game on the day before Thanksgiving, known as Turkey Bowl, because of their being in different divisions of the Skyland Conference. However, as Ridge entered the same division as WHRHS in 2008, they no longer play Turkey Bowl, but play each other yearly as part of their regular schedule of games.

In basketball, WHRHS has many rivals including Immaculata High School (New Jersey) Somerville High School (New Jersey) and Ridge High School. The most heated rivalry though would be against neighboring Bridgewater-Raritan High School, which has heated up since 2008, when Coach Gene McAteer left WHRHS to coach Bridgewater.

The Men's Cross Country Team won the 1974 Group IV State Championship.[20] This is the only WHRHS Team to have won a State Championship.

The baseball team won the 2005 North II, Group IV state sectional championship with an 11-0 win over Hunterdon Central Regional High School.[21]

In wrestling, the school has had four state champions: Michael Gatti (2003), Alex Caruso (2006), Brendan Ard (2008 and 2009) and Michael Magaldo (2012) have won state titles.[22][23]

The ice hockey team made it to the NJSIAA Public A State Finals vs. local rival Ridge High School in 2008, falling by a score of 5-0; the most successful season for the six-year-old program.[24]

Throughout the years, the school's Ultimate Frisbee teams have been consistently grabbing top ranks in State's competitions and other prestigious tournaments like the Amherst Invite and the Paideia Invite. The 2010-11 girls team, captained by Annie Yang and Laura Park, ranked first place in the state and 5th in the country.[25] The guys were ranked second in the state and 45th in the country. The WHRHS Ultimate team has a rivalry with the Columbia High School ultimate team.

Since established, the school's Marching Band has performed at many of the school events. When the football team is home, the Band performs a field show during half-time. At away games, the Band travels with the Football team and performs during the pre-game ceremony. During all Football games, the Band plays pep band music, to bring excitement to the crowd. The school's marching band competes at about 3 competitions a year, around the Tri-State area. They have won several awards and recognition, which are proudly displayed in the school's "Band Room." The Band also performs at many parades, such as the "Memorial Day Parade" in Long Hill Township, New Jersey and Warren Township, New Jersey, and also the "Santa-Walk" in Warren Township. Every other year, the school's Marching Band goes on a trip, usually to another state, where they compete against other bands from all over the country. They have gone to places such as Williamsburg, Virginia, and to Disney World.[26]


Watchung Hills offers students many extracurricular activities. These clubs and organizations are directed towards community service, academics, and special interests. A few of the more popular ones are a FIRST Robotics Team, Environmental Club, Asian Culture club, Stop Genocide, Habitat for Humanity, AWARE, JSA Debate Club, Liberation in North Korea Club, Mock trial, Academic Team, Script and Cue, Students Against Destructive Decisions, NIKE club, Model United Nations, Lenape Yearbook, Gay-Straight Alliance, Geocaching Club, Diversity Club, Video Game Club, History Club, and Sewing Club.

Robotics Team[edit]

Watchung Hills has competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 1997 as Team 41, the Robo Warriors. In previous years, the robotics team has been highly successful. In 2007, the Robo Warriors received the Judges' Award in the 2007 FIRST New Jersey Regional. In 2008, they won the 2008 FIRST New York Regional, one of the toughest competitions in the country. This victory sent them to the 2008 Atlanta World Championship. In 2009, they continued their success, making their way into the quarterfinals.


Core members of the district's / school's administration are:[27][28][29]

  • Elizabeth C. Jewett, Superintendent
  • Timothy Stys, Business Administrator / Board Secretary
  • George P. Alexis - Principal
  • Terrence P. MacConnell - Vice Principal
  • Steven Searfoss - Vice Principal
  • Nicholas Serritella - Vice Principal / Director of Athletics
  • Patricia Toubin - Vice Principal

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b School Data for Watchung Hills Regional High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending April 2013, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed April 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Somerset County School Districts-Sending/Receiving/Regional, Somerset County Superintendent of Schools. Accessed June 10, 2011.
  4. ^ NJ Department of Education District Factor Groups (DFG) for School Districts, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Cheslow, Jerry. "If You're Thinking. of Living In/ Watchung, N.J.; Stunning Vistas, but Entry Is Not Cheap And there is the matter of dealing with 80 deer per acre.", The New York Times, March 11, 2001. Accessed April 11, 2012.
  6. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed March 28, 2011.
  7. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013.
  8. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Watchung Hills Regional High School", The Washington Post. Accessed August 15, 2011.
  9. ^ The Complete List of the 1,000 Top U.S. Schools (2008), Newsweek, June 23, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools", Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  11. ^ The Complete List: 1,200 Top U.S. Schools, Newsweek, May 23, 2006.
  12. ^ The Complete List of the 1,000 Top U.S. Schools (2004), Newsweek, May 16, 2004.
  13. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  14. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 27, 2012.
  15. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 8, 2011.
  16. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  17. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Accessed March 2, 2012.
  18. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  19. ^ 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed November 25, 2014.
  20. ^ State Group Team Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed August 16, 2011.
  21. ^ 2005 Baseball - North II, Group IV, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 4, 2007.
  22. ^ Staff. "Blair's Boyle and Ruth reach NHSCA finals (High school Wrestling news)", The Star-Ledger, April 4, 2009. Accessed August 16, 2011. "Brendan Ard of Watchung Hills, who won his second straight 171-pound state title in March and is headed to Wisconsin, lost, 8-6, in the round of 16 to Maryland's Shane Milam."
  23. ^ Frezza, Harry. "CN Wrestler of the Year Mike Magaldo", Courier-News, March 17, 2012. Accessed April 11, 2012.
  24. ^ 2008 Ice Hockey Tournament - Public A, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 26, 2008.
  25. ^ Girls Ultimate Frisbee Team Tops State Finals Nemesis Columbia. Accessed February 2, 2013.
  26. ^ 2011-2012 Watchung Hills Marching Band. Accessed January 7, 2012.
  27. ^ Board of Education, Watchung Hills Regional High School. Accessed March 23, 2015.
  28. ^ New Jersey School Directory for Somerset County, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed March 23, 2015.
  29. ^ 2013-2014 Somerset County Public School Directory, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed February 3, 2015.
  30. ^ "FLASHBACK Finishing kick:Ard enjoyed Packer days", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Rob Reischel, September 16, 2004. "Ard hasn't totally gotten football out of his system, though. He coaches the freshman team at Watchung Hills Regional High School, his alma mater."
  31. ^ Tom Glassic player profile, Accessed June 30, 2007.
  32. ^ Mathews, Eleanor. "Watchung Hills High School names its 2013 Hall of Fame honorees", Independent Press, April 13, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013. "The Watchung Hills Hall of Fame committee has announced its 2013 honorees, persons who have served or brought honor to the high school through their efforts or achievements.... Chris Kratt and Martin Kratt, brothers whose educational television programs and films about wildlife and animals are aired on National Geographic Channel and PBS."
  33. ^ Macur, Juliet. "Three Siblings Carry Two Different Flags", The New York Times, February 19, 2010. Accessed March 28, 2011. "Within a week, Allison Reed left Watchung Hills Regional High School to train with Japaridze. Now, she is home-schooled."
  34. ^ Johnson, Brent. "Somerset teen brings home gold from Winter Paralympics", The Star-Ledger, March 24, 2010. Accessed March 28, 2011. "Josh Pauls didn’t dress like the rest of his classmates at Watchung Hills Regional High School today. He was decked in a U.S.A. hockey jersey — the same one the 17-year-old wore on the ice last week at the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. And as he rolled his wheelchair around the high school’s hallways, a glistening, new gold medal hung from his neck."
  35. ^ Josh Pauls, US Paralympics. Accessed September 7, 2010.
  36. ^ Bishop, Chris. "The Myddle Class", GarageHangover, July 14, 2005. Accessed October 14, 2015. "In any case, the King Bees had started by 1964: Dave Palmer was a student at Watchung Hills Regional High School along with Rick Philp, and he became their singer."
  37. ^ Guthrie, Marisa. "'That '70s' gal grows up on 'October Road'", Daily News (New York), March 13, 2007. Accessed January 7, 2012. "Prepon, who is the youngest of five children, went to Watchung Hills High in New Jersey. Her mother still lives there (her father died when she was 14)."
  38. ^ Spivey, Mark. "Watchung Hills graduate shares Nobel Prize in physics", Daily Record (Morristown), October 4, 2011. Accessed October 5, 2011. "Riess, who grew up in Warren, gave a shout-out to retired teacher Jeff Charney, saying his interest in science first was piqued at Watchung Hills."
  39. ^ English, Bella. "Alison Wright: Her `Faces of Hope' shows the spirit of children facing huge obstacles", The Boston Globe, September 29, 2003. Accessed July 21, 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°39′07″N 74°28′40″W / 40.651839°N 74.477891°W / 40.651839; -74.477891