West Essex High School

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West Essex High School
West Essex Knight.png
"Dedicated to Academic Excellence and Social Responsibility."
West Essex High School is located in Essex County, New Jersey
West Essex High School
West Essex High School
West Essex High School is located in New Jersey
West Essex High School
West Essex High School
West Essex High School is located in USA
West Essex High School
West Essex High School
65 West Greenbrook Road
North Caldwell, NJ 07006
Type Public high school
Established 1960
Principal Caesar Diliberto
Vice principals Juliann Hoebee
Damion Macioci
Faculty 93.0 (on FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment 1,088[1] (as of 2013-14)
Student to teacher ratio 11.7:1[1]
Campus 100 acres (0.40 km2)
Color(s)      Red and
Athletics conference Super Essex Conference
Team name Knights
Newspaper Wessex Wire

West Essex High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school in North Caldwell, New Jersey in the United States. The high school is part of the West Essex Regional School District, which serves students from four municipalities in western Essex County. Communities served by the district's schools are Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland.[2][3] The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1964.[4] Block scheduling was implemented for the 2014-2015 school year, after it was pushed upon by the Class of 2013.

As of the 2013-14 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,088 students and 93.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.7:1. There were 21 students (1.9% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 8 (0.7% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]

Awards, recognition and rankings[edit]

The school was the 25th-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.[5] The school had been ranked 16th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 36th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[6] The magazine ranked the school 48th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[7] The school was ranked 34th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.[8] Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 106th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 23 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (86.8%) and language arts literacy (95.9%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[9]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 944th in the nation among participating public high schools and 70th among schools in New Jersey.[10]

School history[edit]

As of the fall of 1951, students from what was to become the West Essex Regional School District – Caldwell Township (present day Fairfield), Essex Fells, North Caldwell, Roseland – attended James Caldwell High School as part of a sending/receiving relationship. A survey commissioned by the school boards of the four districts and the Caldwell-West Caldwell Public Schools from the Rutgers University Extension Service estimated that the schools would have 1,200 junior-senior high school students by 1961.

A 1956 study had recommended the formation of a consolidated K-12 district for all of the five districts. When that recommendation was not accepted, the Rutgers group suggested the creation of a regional 7–12 school district that would include Caldwell Township, Essex Fells, North Caldwell and Roseland. A committee formed the following year that included individuals from each of the four communities and the Essex County Superintendent of Schools recommended that the four municipalities should form a regional school district, to be approved by voters in a referendum. The New Jersey Department of Education approved the move, and in December 1957 the referendum was passed by the voters.[11]

Shortly thereafter, the first Regional District school board was established, with two members each from Caldwell Township, Essex Fells and North Caldwell and three from Roseland. In February 1958, the Regional Board of Education was elected by the voters, with Wallace S. Jones of Essex Fells as its first president. A Citizens School Curriculum Advisory Committee was formed which recommended that College Preparatory, General Academic, and Commercial programs should be offered to students based on the approach of offering "education for all, excellence of performance though self-discipline, independent thinking, and a sense of 'true values'", with a staff of high quality, adequate guidance, the grouping of students, availability of electives, insistence on effective English, and a broad extracurricular program.

In July 1958 voters authorized $290,000 for a 73-acre (300,000 m2) site, of which 60 acres (240,000 m2) lay in North Caldwell and 13 in Caldwell Township. The site is located between Grandview and Passaic Avenues, directly north of Greenbrook Road, about 25 miles (40 km) outside of New York City.[12]

A December 1958 referendum decided upon by voters in each of the four communities proposed a $4.5 million bond that would be used to pay for construction of the new school facility to be available for use in September 1960, as the Caldwell-West Caldwell District had indicated that it was unwilling to accommodate any students at Grover Cleveland High School from outside the district after that date due to overcrowding.[13] The West Essex district opened in September 1960 for students in grades 9–11 in facilities rented from the Caldwell-West Caldwell district, and the district's new building opened for use in September 1961, at which time grades 7–12 and 1,200 students were served.[14][15]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

West Essex Regional High School provides many opportunities for students, from theater productions to sports teams to service clubs.

The West Essex High School Knights compete in the Super Essex Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[16] With 790 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North II, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 758 to 1,061 students in that grade range.[17] Prior to the NJSIAA's 2010 realignment, the school had competed as part of the Iron Hills Conference, which was made up of public and private high schools in Essex County, Morris County and Union County.[18]

Some of the many athletic teams at West Essex are listed below.

  • Football – Won the North II Group III state championships in 1974 and 1980, were North II Group II state champions in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007, and won the North I Group II title in 2011.[19] The 2007 football team won the North II, Group II title with a 27–6 win over Morris Hills High School.[20][21] The 2011 football team won the North I, Group II title with a 32–14 win over River Dell Regional High School at Metlife Stadium.[22][23]
  • Boys Lacrosse – 2004 appearance in state championship, 2004 Waterman Division Champions, 2004 Essex County Tournament finalists, Ranked number 4 in New Jersey in 2004. Four consecutive New Jersey State Tournament appearances, 2005 state championship appearance, (2nd straight), 2009 Essex County Tournament champions
  • Girls Lacrosse — 2000 and 2003 Group II State Champions and appeared in state championship game, losing to Moorestown High School both times, Ranked 7th in the nation in 2004[citation needed], 2004 ranked 5th in New Jersey, Essex County Champions, 2009 Essex County champions, 2009 Group II state champion with a 12–10 win against Hopewell Valley Central High School.[24][25]
  • Field Hockey — The girls field hockey team was the NJSIAA North champion from 1971 to 1974, and won the North II Group III titles in 1975 (state runner-up), 1976, 1978, 1981 (runner-up), 1987 (state champion), 1989 (state champion), 1990, 1991 (state champion), 1992 (state champion), 1993 (North I/II combined, state champion), 1994 (runner-up), 1995 (runner-up), in North I Group IV in 1983 (runner-up), 1984 (state champion), in North II Group II in 1996 (state champion), 1997 (co-champion), 1998, in North I Group II in 2000, 2002 (state champion), 2004 (runner-up), 2005 (state champion), in North II Group II in 2006 (state champion), in North I Group II in 2007 (state champion), 2008 (state champion) and 2010 (runner-up). The time has won 14 state titles through 2010, tied for second most with Eastern High School[26] 16 Shut-out Victories, Ranked No. 1 in Essex County, Ranked No. 2 in New Jersey, Iron Hills Conference Champions, Essex County Champions, Section I Group II State Champions (2005–2007). The West Essex field hockey team lost the 2006 Tournament of Champions, falling to Eastern High School by a 2–1 score.[27] In 2007, the team won the North I, Group II state sectional championship with a 4–1 win over Newton High School in the tournament final.[28] The team moved on to win the Group II state championship with a 4–0 win over Madison High School in the semis and a 3–1 win against Camden Catholic High School in the finals.[29]
  • Baseball — In 2006, the team was seeded # 15 in the 74th Greater Newark Tournament, the West Essex Knights defeated No. 2 Nutley High School, No. 10 Montclair Kimberley Academy, No. 3, East Side High School, and No. 1 Seton Hall Preparatory School (Championship Game), en route to the school's first ever GNT Championship. In 2009 the Knights won the North II Group II sectional championship, defeating Hackettstown High School. In the most successful season in school history, the 2010 team won the 77th Greater Newark Tournament, Super Essex Conference champions, North II Group II and Group II state champions en route to becoming the No. 1 ranked team in New Jersey as well as 7th on the East Coast according to USA Today.
  • Softball — 2006 Iron Hills Conference Champions, North II Group II State Champions, 2007 Essex County Champions (upset No. 1 Star-Ledger and No. 1 seeded Bloomfield in the semi-final game and beat the No. 2 seed Mount St. Dominic Academy by a score of 2–0 in the championship game), 2009 Iron Hills Conference Champions, 2010 North II Group II sectional champion (winning all four playoff games by shutout, including an 8-0 win over Rutherford High School in the tournament final),[30] Ranked No. 1 in the County, First time in school history ranked in The Star-Ledger top 20, Ranked No. 9 in the state.
  • Fencing − 1994 state champions in foil, third place overall. 1998, District 3 champions in foil.
  • Boys Track has been undefeated in dual meets since 2009 and current record is 51-0 in the Super Essex Conference. The team won the North II Group II state sectional champions in 2015, their first state title since 1979[31] and repeated as sectional champion in 2016.[citation needed] The team was the 2016 Group II state relay champions.[32]
  • Girls Track
  • Boys Cross Country
  • Girls Cross Country
  • Boys Basketball
  • Girls Basketball
  • Wrestling — First Place in Garfield Tournament.
  • Ice Hockey - 2004 NJSIAA Public School State Champions. 2010 League Champs, McInnis Cup Champs,[33] Public School State Champions.
  • Boys Soccer — Group II co-champions in 1964 with Chatham High School, in 1965 vs. Irvington Tech, and were 2000 co-champions with Moorestown High School, and won the Group III state championship in 1970 vs. Howell High School, in 1971 vs. Governor Livingston High School and in 1973 vs. Howell High School.[34]
  • Girls Soccer — 2005 North I Group II state sectional championships, Essex County champion and ranked 20th overall in New Jersey.
  • Boys Tennis — The team has won four state championships, including Group III title in 1974 vs. Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, in Group IV in 1985 vs. Ridgewood High School and back-to-back Group II state champions in 2000 and 2001 vs. Holmdel High School in both years.[35]
  • Girls Tennis
  • Golf — Complied an 88–0 dual match record from 1980 through 1983. 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 2007 Iron Hills Conference Champions, 2007 Group II State Sectional 2nd Place, 1983 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions 6th Place Overall, 2007 NJSIAA Tournament of Champions 8th Place overall.
  • Boys Volleyball
  • Girls Volleyball — 2009 SEC Liberty Division Conference Champions
  • Swimming — Completed 2007–2008 season with new coach Jake Taylor, with an improved record from previous years. Girls team finished 8th in the 2008 Iron Hills Conference 'A' Championship.
  • Marching Band — Since 2003, the West Essex Marching Knights have been ranked by TOB as one of the top 25 Bands on the East coast. In 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2012, they were also the TOB chapter X champions. The 2007 Marching Band placed 9th place in the Atlantic Coast Championships, having never placed before in the top 10 in ACCs. In 2008 the Marching Knights finished 8th at ACC's as well as a 4th place color guard and an award for the best overall woodwind section. The Marching Knights' 2009 show "Into the Unknown" earned the title of Chapter 10 Champions and finished a school high of 5th with a score of 92.90 at the Atlantic Coast Championships. This was the 1st time the Knights had ever finished in the top 5 at ACCs.
  • Wessex Wire school newspaper—Won multiple awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Garden State Scholastic Press Association, and other student journalism organizations.
  • Roundtable literary magazine—Won multiple awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association and other literary organizations.
  • Milestone yearbook

There are many academic-based clubs (i.e. Italian Club, Robotics Team) and service-oriented clubs such as WE CARE (environment), WE HELP (community service), and WE STOP (peer leadership). WE also has a variety of arts-based groups, such as the art club, the Masquers theater group, the jazz choir, the girls a cappella choir (Ladies Knight), and a dance team.

In popular culture[edit]

West Essex is mentioned in the HBO hit series The Sopranos. North Caldwell, the town where Tony Soprano and his family reside in the show is where West Essex is located, and the show was filmed on location all over North Caldwell and the surrounding communities. In the first episode of the show, a character mentions he attended the high school shortly before being murdered by Christopher Moltisanti over a garbage disposal dispute. The town and school are mentioned numerous times in the show.


Core members of the school's administration are:[36]

  • Caesar Diliberto, Principal
  • Juliann Hoebee, Assistant Principal
  • Damion Macioci, Assistant Principal

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d School Data for West Essex High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 30, 2015.
  2. ^ West Essex Regional School District 2015 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed June 4, 2016. "The West Essex Regional School District is a comprehensive high school serving the communities of Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland in northern New Jersey."
  3. ^ School History, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed June 4, 2016.
  4. ^ West Essex Senior High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 30, 2012. Accessed March 30, 2015.
  5. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  6. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed September 24, 2012.
  7. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 2, 2011.
  8. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  9. ^ School Overview; Click on "Rankings" for 2010-11 HSPA results, Schooldigger.com. Accessed March 12, 2012.
  10. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2013.
  11. ^ Staff. "JERSEYANS TO VOTE ON SCHOOL DISTRICT", The New York Times, December 8, 1957. Accessed September 24, 2012.
  12. ^ School History, West Essex Regional School District. Accessed July 24, 2011.
  13. ^ Honig, Milton. "NEW SCHOOL PUT TO JERSEY VOTE; 4 West Essex Towns to Act Tuesday on a $4,495,600 Bond Plan – Taxes Argued", The New York Times, December 7, 1958. Accessed July 24, 2011. "Residents of four West Essex communities – Caldwell Township, Essex Fells, North Caldwell and Roseland – will vote Tuesday on a referendum proposing a $4,495,600 bond issue to finance a regional junior-senior high school."
  14. ^ Staff. "Essex", The New York Times, September 5, 1960. Accessed July 24, 2011.
  15. ^ Honig, Milton. "Essex", The New York Times, September 4, 1961. Accessed July 24, 2011.
  16. ^ League Memberships – 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 4, 2016.
  17. ^ 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 October 12, 2014.
  18. ^ Home Page, Iron Hills Conference, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 2, 2011. Accessed December 3, 2014.
  19. ^ Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 19, 2015.
  20. ^ Reilly, Sean. "Hayek, Agrifolio power West Essex's repeat", The Star-Ledger, December 3, 2007. Accessed December 3, 2007. "And last night, he completed his career in supreme fashion, by rushing for two touchdowns in the first quarter as his team, ranked 15th in The Star-Ledger Top 20, defeated No. 18 Morris Hills, 27–6, for the NJSIAA/Gatorade North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2 championship at Giants Stadium."
  21. ^ 2007 Football – North II, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed December 3, 2007.
  22. ^ Guthrie, Charles. "River Dell (14) at West Essex (32), NJSIAA Tournament, Final Round, North Jersey, Section 1, Group 2 - Football", The Star-Ledger, December 3, 2011. Accessed March 14, 2012. "The unforgiving approach took hold in the second half and the defense finished with four sacks and five turnovers as West Essex claimed its eighth sectional title with a 34-12 victory over River Dell in the NJSIAA/Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 final Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford."
  23. ^ Mattura, Greg. "Football: River Dell not quite Golden, fall to West Essex", The Record (Bergen County), December 4, 2011. Accessed March 14, 2012. "The Golden Hawks were at far less than their best in losing to top-seeded West Essex, 32-14, in the North 1, Group 2 final on Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium."
  24. ^ Staff. "West Essex 12, Hopewell Valley 10 (High school Girls Lacrosse scores and results)", The Star-Ledger, May 29, 2009. Accessed January 16, 2012. "Cassera took matters into her own stick yesterday with a hand in 10 goals, scoring seven and assisting on three, as West Essex, No. 6 in The Star-Ledger Top 20, edged No. 9 Hopewell Valley, 12–10, for the NJSIAA/New Balance Group 2 championship in Robbinsville."
  25. ^ History of the NJSIAA Girls' Lacrosse Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 16, 2012.
  26. ^ History of the NJSIAA Field Hockey Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed March 14, 2012.
  27. ^ 2006 Field Hockey Tournament – Tournament of Champions, accessed November 26, 2006
  28. ^ 2007 Field Hockey – North I, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 12, 2007.
  29. ^ 2007 Field Hockey – Group Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 13, 2007.
  30. ^ 2010 Softball Tournament - North II, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed March 4, 2012.
  31. ^ Freeman, Allison. "Knights Track and Field: Boys Win North 2, Group 2 State Sectional Championship", Tap Into West Essex, May 27, 2015. Accessed June 30, 2016. "The West Essex High School boys’ track and field team won the North 2, Group 2 State Sectional Championship by tying the host team, Bernards High School, and finishing one point ahead of Parsippany High School. This was the second championship in school history, with the last one coming 39 years ago in 1976 with coach Larry Yarish at the helm."
  32. ^ [Kellert, Robert. "Top Finishers | Group 2 Relay Championships", MileSplit NJ, January 16, 2016. Accessed June 30, 2016.
  33. ^ Staff. "Raiders fall in Cup finals, prep for Public B tourney", Nutley Sun, March 3, 2010. Accessed March 4, 2012. "The Nutley boys ice hockey team settled for runner-up in the 2010 McInnis Cup playoffs, as they lost 8-0 in the championship game to West Essex on Saturday at Codey Arena in West Orange."
  34. ^ History of NJSIAA Boys Soccer, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 30, 2015.
  35. ^ History of Boys Team Tennis Championship Tournament, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 30, 2015.
  36. ^ General Information, West Essex Senior High School. Accessed November 30, 2015.
  37. ^ Ed Baker, databaseFootball.com. Accessed February 2, 2011.
  38. ^ An interview with Denise Borino Quinn, who plays the character of Ginny Sack on The Sopranos, Soprano Sue's Sightings. Accessed November 30, 2015. "[Q] Tell us a little about your educational background. [A] I went to West Essex Senior and Junior High School in North Caldwell (same school that David Chase went to)."
  39. ^ Lewis, Michael. "Just one of the guys: to MetroStars coach Bob Bradley, success comes from creating a positive, friendly environment—something his new club sorely needs", Soccer Digest, March 2003, accessed April 28, 2007. "Born in Montclair, NJ., Bradley's interest in the game began when an assistant soccer coach asked him to try out for the varsity team at West Essex High School."
  40. ^ Strauss, Robert. "ON TELEVISION; It's Not a Back Lot, It's Northvale", The New York Times, October 1, 2000. Accessed January 16, 2012. "Ed provides for a sort of homecoming for Mr. Burnett, who grew up in North Caldwell and attended West Essex High School."
  41. ^ Oxfeld, Jesse. "Family Man: Crime boss Tony Soprano is the conflicted suburban dad at the center of HBO's influential hit series The Sopranos. Now meet the real father of the show.", Stanford Magazine, September/October 2002. Accessed July 24, 2011. "CHASE GREW UP in the Essex County suburbs of New Jersey, the same area haunted by Tony Soprano and his family. And, like Tony, he is Italian-American—before the family name became Chase, it was DeCesare. He lived in North Caldwell, as do Tony and his wife, Carmela, and he graduated from West Essex High School, which the Soprano kids, Meadow and Anthony Jr., would attend if they went to public schools."
  42. ^ Palmer, Joanne. "'And then the phone rang…'; Wyckoff man's adventures in politics and public service", The Times of Israel, February 14, 2014. Accessed January 13, 2016. "'Bill Clinton was my Jack Kennedy,' he said. Back in West Essex High School, he had played his idol in a mock debate."
  43. ^ John LoCascio, Villanova Wildcats men's lacrosse. Accessed May 27, 2016. "Hometown: Fairfield, N.J.; High School: West Essex Regional... Born November 25th, 1991 in Paterson, N.J.
  44. ^ Strauss, Robert. "So Jersey, He Deserves His Own Rest Area", The New York Times, August 7, 2005. Accessed March 14, 2011. "Mr. Piscopo's father, also named Joe, was a lawyer and the family mostly lived in Essex County, the younger Joe graduating from West Essex High School in North Caldwell. With his Saturday Night Live fame, he moved to one of the richest corners of New Jersey, Alpine, persuading Mr. Murphy to join him there in that wealthy enclave by the Palisades."
  45. ^ Pace, Eric. "Michelle Thomas, 30, Actress On TV Soap Opera and Sitcoms", The New York Times, December 28, 1998. Accessed January 16, 2012. "She was born in Boston, Mass., grew up in Montclair, N.J., and graduated from West Essex High School in North Caldwell, N.J."
  46. ^ The Century's Best – Field Hockey, The Star-Ledger, October 3, 1999. "In 1991, Vizzuso became only the fifth freshman at West Essex to start on varsity in Alimi's 32 years of coaching."
  47. ^ Kinney, Mike. "Boys lacrosse – COACH OF THE YEAR: W. Essex prospers under Glenn", The Star-Ledger, June 20, 2004. Accessed June 11, 2008.
  48. ^ "Christian Ferrara, DT, Syracuse", USA Today, May 18, 2005. Accessed February 2, 2011. "High school strength coach, Bill Wosilius, played linebacker at Syracuse in 1966 and 1967 and for the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals for three seasons."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°52′10″N 74°16′03″W / 40.869371°N 74.267459°W / 40.869371; -74.267459