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Westfield Senior High School, or simply, Westfield High School (abbreviated as WHS) is the only public high school located in Westfieldmarker, in Union Countymarker, New Jerseymarker and is part of the Westfield Public Schools. It was established in the early 1900s at its original location on Elm Street until 1953 when it was moved to its current location on Dorian Road. The new wing designated for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and other sciences was completed in 2003. Westfield High School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and the New Jersey Department of Education. This high school publishes New Jersey's only weekly uncensored student newspaper, one of the few uncensored school publications in the entire country.

History

The history of Westfield High School is a long and varied record of academic excellence, one that spans two centuries under the leadership of four principals. The oldest school on record was the old brick academy on Mountain Avenue opposite the Presbyterian Church, a town landmark. The minister of the church was the supervisor of it and all the schools in Westfieldmarker.

The history of the high school actually begins in 1869 with the opening of the old Prospect School which, at that time, had a staff of five teachers. For the few students who were preparing for college, the school principal taught Latin, Greek, higher mathematics and science. The other teachers taught the elementary subjects. On March 2, 1880, the Board of Education, in its formal minutes, made the first direct reference to a high school in Westfield. When the Lincoln School on Academy Place was erected in 1890, classes of high school level were transferred to it.

In 1900, the high school department was transferred to the newly opened Washington School on Elm Street. Shortly afterward, a regular full four-year high school program, which received state approval, was organized. The high school became an independent unit in January 1916, when it moved to the Elm Street building. The program, chiefly college preparatory, was offered to 306 students by 11 teachers. That year there were 39 students in the graduating class.

In 1923 when the present Roosevelt Intermediate School was opened, Westfield adopted the 6-3-3 plan and designated the Elm Street building, now containing grades 10, 11 and 12, as Westfield High School. Frank N. Neubauer was designated principal, and he remained in that office until his death in 1947.

During this time an excellent library was established, a rich program in athletics and physical education was developed, and opportunities for outstanding experiences in art, industrial arts, music, speech, and dramatics were expanded. It was in this period that guidance services became an integral part of the program, and pupil activities grew to include publications, clubs, social events and student government. In 1947 Robert L. Foose became the second principal of the high school.

By the late 1940s the Elm Street building had become much too small for the ever-growing student body. Students were being housed in the Elm Street building, the old Washington School as an annex, and two temporary structures on Walnut Street. To maintain and expand Westfield's high educational standards and experiences, a new high school building became imperative.

The present building on Dorian Road was opened on February 4, 1952. The staff, consisting of 42 teachers, taught 725 students in three curricula: business education, college preparatory, and general. In the first commencement from the new building, 203 students were graduated.

Rapid growth in student enrollment necessitated further expansion. In September 1960, the high school gained an addition consisting of 17 new classrooms, two gymnasiums and a cafeteria. In the 1970s, four additional classrooms were added by the acquisition of the two portable buildings on Trinity Place. In 1962 Westfield instituted its first summer school program which was approved by the State Department of Education.

With the retirement of Dr. Foose in 1969, Albert R. Bobal became the school's third principal. During the 1970s each academic department opened its resource center where students could work independently or seek tutorial assistance from teachers. The Department of Special Services opened resource rooms at the high school so that specially trained teachers could help special needs youngsters to succeed. In 1979 Project 79, an alternative school-within-a-school, was created for at-risk students of average or above average ability.

In 1980 Dr. Robert G. Petix was named the fourth principal of Westfield High School, a position which he maintained until his retirement in June 2006, making him Westfield High School’s longest-serving principal. During 1980’s and 1990’s, several new additions to the facility and grounds were made, including renovated playing fields outdoors, updated science labs, a new and expanded library/media center, several state-of-the-art computer labs, and a technological infrastructure of approximately 300 networked computers with Internet access. With the opening of the 1989-1990 academic year, Westfield High School welcomed ninth graders to its halls for the first time.

The last decade of the century was marked by substantial increases in enrollment in the elementary schools that necessitated the construction of additions to all but one of the district’s six elementary school buildings. During the first year of the new millennium Westfield taxpayers approved a $22 million dollar referendum bond to accommodate the arrival of these enrollment increases at Westfield High School.

Construction at the high school began during the summer of 2001 with the replacement of all windows and the conversion of two former shop classrooms into four large classrooms for use during the 2001-02 school year. By the spring of 2002 the “portable” classrooms on Trinity Place had been razed in preparation for the construction of a three-story Science wing which began following a ground breaking ceremony in April 2002. At the same time, construction also began inside the existing building. By the end of the summer a new Student Center and an Art studio classroom had been created by extending the building into the main courtyard, and a renovated Foods Lab was ready to greet students. Work on the expansion of athletic storage facilities and the creation of new teacher work and preparation areas was also finished.

With construction of the new Science wing completed in the spring of 2003, classes in the existing Science classrooms and labs in the main building were moved to their new location in the new wing. During the summer of 2003, work was completed on the renovation and air-conditioning of the former Science classrooms for use as general purpose classrooms, as well as on other aspects of the referendum construction project, including the creation of a Counseling Suite for the departments of Guidance and Special Education, the expansion of administrative offices, and the renovation of the varsity gymnasium floor and replacement of bleachers.In July 2008, Westfield High School welcomed its fifth principal, Peter Renwick.

Awards and recognition

In 1928 Westfield High School was accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the first group of high schools to be accredited by this association. It was also, at this time, established as a center for the College Entrance Examination Board . Westfield High School is one of the enviable schools in the nation to hold over 80 consecutive years of accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

For the 1994-95 school year, Westfield High School was named as a "Star School" by the New Jersey Department of Education, the highest honor that a New Jersey school can achieve.

The school was the 27th-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 22nd in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.

Westfield was listed in 691st place nationwide in Newsweek's May 8, 2006, issue, listing the Top 1,200 High Schools in The United States.

Courses

Westfield High School offers a comprehensive program of some 165 different courses and 17 Advanced Placement Programs (AP) classes. Teachers teach the classes. Some of these classes include business, fine arts, music, and practical arts. Advanced Placement classes are available in AP English Literature and Composition, AP English Language and Composition, AP Spanish Literature, AP French Language, AP Latin Literature, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science AB, AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Physics C: Mechanics, AP United States History, AP United States Government and Politics, AP European History, and AP Psychology. 86% of the AP Exams taken in 2004 yielded a grade of "3" or higher. More than 75% of the students study one or more of the five languages available. In 2005, eight students were National Merit Scholarship Program Semi-Finalists and 18 students received Letters of Commendation.

Student body

As of the 2006-07 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,776 students and 141 classroom teachers (on a FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.6.

The ethnic breakdown of the school is 86.3% Caucasian, 4.9% Black, 3.3% Hispanic, and 5.4% Asian or Pacific Islanders. 80% of the students participate in co-curricular activities, including 60 different co-curricular activities and 27 varsity athletic teams. The average SAT scores are a 560 on the Verbal/Critical Reading section and a 577 on the Math section. 11 students received a perfect score. 93.7% of the graduating class of 2004 went on to receive a more advanced education, with 83.7% at four-year colleges and 8.3% at two-year colleges.

Teachers and classes

Classes can be small, with class sizes averaging at 15-20 students, but as one moves to honors and Advanced Placement courses, class size increases, sometimes with up to 30 students. Teachers offer online help such as activities, notes and PowerPoint presentations, all organized by the Technology Department. Some teachers' websites have received more than 800,000 pageviews.

Student publications

The Westfield High School students produce a number of different publications, including the weekly Hi's Eye student newspaper (and monthly Iris Entertainment section), which has gained national recognition for more than thirty years. It is the only non-censored, self-funded high school newspaper in New Jersey. Hi's Eye is run by three tri-editors and an editor for the Iris Entertainment section. The newspaper maintains its independence through subscriptions, community sponsors, independent fundraising and advertising. The Iris Section is a monthly insert. Since 1983, Westfield High School students have operated a local access cable television station producing award-winning live and single-camera productions. In addition, the literary magazine Folio, the Weather Vane yearbook, and original theatre scripts are also produced by the students.

Varsity sports

Westfield High School has 27 varsity athletic teams, including baseball, boys and girls' basketball, boys and girls' cross-countrymarker, field hockey, football, gymnastics, golf, ice hockey, boys and girls' lacrosse, boy's and girls' soccer, boys and girls' swimming, boys and girls' tennis, softball, spring track & field, volleyball, wrestling, and winter track, among others. Their main rival in sports are the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders.

Westfield High School participates in the Watchung Conference, a high school sports association under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). The conference consists of eleven public high schools covering Essex Countymarker, Hudson Countymarker and Union Countymarker.

The boys tennis team won the North II, Group IV state sectional championship with three successive 5-0 wins over Phillipsburg High Schoolmarker, J.marker P.marker Stevens High Schoolmarker and ultimately Bridgewater-Raritan High Schoolmarker in the tournament final. The team won the 2007 NJSIAA Group IV State Championship, defeating West Windsor-Plainsboro High School Southmarker 3-2 in the final match. The team moved on to win the Tournament of Champions, defeating Tenafly High Schoolmarker and Newark Academymarker 4-1 each in the semifinals and finals, respectively. The win gave the team its fifth Tournament of Champions (or equivalent) victory, with previous wins in 1957, 1978, 1986 and 1987.

The Girls Swimming Team won the 2007 NJSIAA Group IV State Championship, conquering West Windsor-Plainsboro High School Southmarker. They were beaten by the South Pirates 90-80 in 2009, a crippling defeat for the no-longer champions that Westfield became. The girls' team lost many top swimmers including Alexi Kuska, allowing WWP South to sweep the victory out from under their vulnerable feet.The boys swimming team won the 2007 North II - A state sectional championship, topping Bridgewater-Raritan High Schoolmarker 93-77 in the tournament final. The girls swim team duplicated the feat with a 113-57 win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood High Schoolmarker. In 2008, for the first time in school history, both teams won the NJSIAA Public A State Championships in the same year, with the boys defeating Cherry Hill West High School 91-79 and the girls defeating West Windsor-Plainsboro High School Southmarker for the second year in a row, 106-64.Westfield is a traditional power house in boys and girls swimming. The girls have won 10 state championships and 17 Union County Titles, and the boys have won 22 State Championships and 52 Union County Titles.

The boys swim team won the 2009 Public A State Championship and were ranked number 1 in the state by the Star Ledger.

The 2004 softball team won the North II, Group IV state sectional championship with a 1-0 victory over J.marker P.marker Stevens High Schoolmarker in the tournament final.

Clubs and organizations

The school has numerous clubs and organizations, including: Project 79, Academic Challenge Team, Anime Club, Art Club, Asian Awareness Club, Astronomy Club, Awareness Club, Chess Club, Christian Awareness Club, Cooking Club, Community Service Club, Crafty Creations, Creative Writing Group, Debate Club, Drama Club, Euterpe, Fed Challenge Team, French Club, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA), German Club, Girls Learn International, Habitat for Humanity, Health and Fitness Club, Historical Miniature Gaming Club, Homeless Pet Advocacy Club, Iraq Survey Group, Italian Club, Junior Optimist Club, Key Club, Knitting Club, Knowledge Master Team, Latin Club, Latino Heat Dance Team, Living Poets Society, Math League, Mock Trial Team, Model UN, Music Service Club, Objectivist Club, Photography Club, Physics Club, Psychology Club, RadioWHS, Roller Hockey Club, Rotary Interact Club, Science Olympiad Team, Spanish Club, Stage Design Club, Student Council, Video Club, Tolkien Order, Transition Project, Triathlon Club, Ultimate Club, Variety Show Club, Weather Club, Young Democrats, Young Independents, Young Republicans, Troupe, Marching Band, Jazz Band and Youth and Government Club.

Blue Devil Television

Blue Devil Television broadcasts 3 1/2 days a week on Channel 36. Blue Devil TV operates out of Room 135 at the high school and provides Westfield school-related programming including: Board of Education meetings and informational programs, high school sports and concerts, original student projects from Westfield High's TV Production classes, as well as other programs from the school district. Blue Devil TV televises more than thirty sporting events each year including every home football game and live home basketball games. Kevin Russell and Brett Johnson are the voices of the Blue Devils. The principal of WHS exercises prior review of students' newscasts.

Notable alumni



References

External links




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