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Pascack Hills High School (PHHS) is a four-year comprehensive public high school, one of two high schools that are part of the Pascack Valley Regional High School Districtmarker in Bergen Countymarker, New Jerseymarker. PHHS serves the residents of both Montvalemarker, where the campus is located, and the neighboring community of Woodcliff Lakemarker, The other high school in the district is Pascack Valley High Schoolmarker, which services the communities of Hillsdalemarker and River Valemarker.

As of the 2007-08 school year, the school had an enrollment of 782 students and 56.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.0.


Pascack Hills came into being in the fall of 1965 because of growth of population in northern Bergen County in the early 1960s. The school spent its first five decades relatively unchanged in terms of architecture. In 2006, an extra gym was added. Most recently, the new science wing was opened as well as a new entrance building. This school is one of the first to provide every student with a laptop, which can be taken home, and be used in school everyday. Every classroom is fitted with a wireless router, which provides the students with internet. For the 2007-2008 school year, the school upgraded all the laptop computers to Apple MacBook.

Awards and recognition

The school was the 12th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 316 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2008 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools. The school was ranked 8th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.

In Newsweek's May 22, 2007 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Pascack Hills High School was listed in 1194th place, the 40th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.


Pascack Hills High School's athletic facilities include a regulation size track, a turf football field named for long-time principal Bart DiPaola, four tennis courts, a combination softball and baseball field that can be utilized for soccer, and 2 gymnasiums, which houses basketball and volleyball.


The Pascack Hills High School Cowboys compete in Division 2 of the North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League (NBIL), which includes public high schools, all but one (Wayne Hills High Schoolmarker) in Bergen County.

Sports offered include cheerleading, dance, cross-country, football, boys' and girls' soccer, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, bowling, ice hockey, swimming, wrestling, Winter Track, baseball, softball, and lacrosse.

In 1973, the Sprint Medley relay team captured the Indoor State Group 3 Championship with a state record time of 3:42.8 that broke the existing state record by 3.4 seconds.

In 1979, the football completed an undefeated season and won the Group 3 state championship with a victory over Hoboken High Schoolmarker in the championship game, played at Giants Stadium. Ironically, that Hoboken team was coached by Ed Stinson, who would eventually become the Cowboys head coach during the 1980s. The 1979 team was led by all-state center Jim Gravalis, and the all-county backfield of Tony Durkin and Dave D'Amore.

Pascack Hills was also the number one ranked wrestling team in the United States in 1977, and coach Bucky Rehain received numerous awards during his long successful career.

In 1999 the Pascack Hills girls Volleyball team achieved their first all-state victory and was also ranked number one in the league.

In the 2001-02 season, the Pascack Hills boys' basketball team accumulated their highest win total in school history and posted a 33-5 record. Nolan Leonard became the fourth Hills player to surpass 1,500 career points in a second half comeback victory at home versus Westwood Regional High Schoolmarker. The Cowboys posted an undefeated home record and suffered three losses on neutral courts. The season climaxed with a Group II State Sectional Championship over a much physically larger Manchester Regional High Schoolmarker squad at the Northern Highlands gym. The Cowboys' season ended with a 94-78 loss to Roselle Park in the opening round of the State Tournament.

Citing lower enrollment, and the loss of Hillsdale and portions of River Vale to Pascack Valley in re-districting efforts, Pascack Hills left the North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League (NBIL) for football only and played an independent schedule for two seasons. This was because PHHS was a Group 1 school (the smallest of 4 classifications) and all of the other schools in the league were Group 2 or Group 3 schools.

In 2004, the football team joined the Bergen-Passaic Scholastic League (B-PSL), to play against other schools of similar enrollment size. PHHS continues to play as an NBIL member in all other sports.

In 2005, under the leadership of Head Coach Brooks Alexander the football team reached the playoffs for the first time in 13 seasons. In his six-year tenure, Alexander has become one of the winningest football coaches in school history and only the second football coach in school history to lead the Cowboys to the playoffs on two separate occasions, the first being Bill Lally in 1978 and 1979.

In 2006, the football team again reached the playoffs for the second year in a row, this time being beaten 9-3 in a close defensive battle against the #4 seeded Hasbrouck Heights High Schoolmarker Aviators. The Cowboys finished 2006 with a 7-3 record. Senior defensive leaders Dan Avento (Monmouth) and Evan Lampert (Rutgers Universitymarker) were recruited to numerous small Division I schools. Cowboys safety Matt Marini, voted Tri-State Defensive Player of the Week after a four-interception game, led all of North Jersey with nine interceptions.

The tennis team won the 2006 Group I State Championship, defeating Florence Township Memorial High Schoolmarker 3-2 in the semifinals and Pennsville Memorial High Schoolmarker 4-1 in the finals.

The 2006 baseball team took the North I, Group I sectional title, edging Emerson High Schoolmarker 3-2 in the tournament final.

Also in 2006, the boys varsity basketball team reached the Final Four of the Bergen County Jamboree, which is the annual county tournament. It was only the second time in school history that the team reached the semifinals of this tournament which goes back 60 years.

On March 5, 2007, the boys' basketball team won the North I, Group II state championship, edging Westwood Regional High Schoolmarker by 66-65 in overtime, in a game played at River Dell High Schoolmarker. Senior forward Evan Lampert was voted First Team All-County and finished his career with 1,000 points, the 1,000th point was scored in the Group II state championship.

The softball team won the 2007 North I, Group II state sectional championship with a shutout victory over Pascack Valley High Schoolmarker (1-0) in the tournament final.

In 2007, the girls soccer team, seeded 11th, won the North I, Group II state sectional championship with a 2-1 overtime win (4-2 on penalty kicks) over top-seeded River Dell Regional High Schoolmarker in the tournament final. The win was the team's first sectional title.

The Boys Tennis Team won the North I, Group II state sectional championship with a 4-1 win in the tournament final over Dwight Morrow High Schoolmarker.


Core members of the school's administration are:
  • Sarah Van Gunten - Principal
  • Glenn deMarrais - Assistant Principal
  • Phil Paspalas - Assistant Principal/Athletic Director

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of Pascack Hills High School include:


External links

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