Accolades abound!

Weehawken High is on a roll

Weehawken High School
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Weehawken High School

By Bianca Thakur

In the past few years, Weehawken High School has had many successes. Founded in 1940, WHS is a comprehensive and diverse public school serving students from the 7th to 12th grade with a 98 percent graduation rate. As a Weehawken resident, I am proud of this town’s numerous achievements.

WHS is right up there

For the second consecutive year, WHS has been ranked #50 in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. “This is a superlative and a very excellent achievement and I am very glad that WHS continues to advance!” a sophomore said. Administration and faculty have worked to keep the school in the top 100 high schools in New Jersey for the past decade.

WHS was also ranked in the top 10 percent of all public high schools nationally. To achieve these awards, Weehawken has implemented new programs. Advanced Placement classes have increased, with 70 percent of students taking at least one AP exam. With 353 students, the teacher-to-student ratio is 10:1, providing students with individual attention.

AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award

In March, WHS was honored with the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award. Out of more than 18,000 high schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Weehawken was among 684 schools that received this award. The award recognizes schools that engage female students in computer science coursework in AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and AP Computer Science A (AP CSA). The College Board honors schools that have reached 50 percent or higher female representation in either of these AP courses.

“We’re honored by this recognition and are proud of our female students studying computer science for their achievements,” said Principal Robert Ferullo. “We’re committed to continuing to provide our female students with access to AP Computer Science courses to help prepare a more diverse workforce in critical STEM jobs.”

Weehawken exceeded the 50 percent mark. Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP program, said that WHS had taken a “significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities.”

A. Harry Moore: student exchange

In the past, WHS has organized student exchange programs with other public high schools like Pompton Lakes High School. In January, WHS tried something unique. It sent a select group of students to A. Harry Moore High School, a private Jersey City school for the physically disabled. Weehawken students had the opportunity to engage with hundreds of students worldwide with disabilities, such as spina bifida. “I heard from many other students that this was a wonderful and notable experience” said a WHS junior. In March, A. Harry Moore students visited WHS. They were paired with an escort and participated in activities relating to arts, theater, and robotics.

‘Grease’

On Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6, students performed in the spring musical, “Grease,” for hundreds of students, staff, and family members. Students had rehearsed since January. Cast and crew dedicated countless after-school hours working on preproduction, set and costume design, lighting, and sound. Staff included Tammy Jacobs, director; Joseph Stratton, assistant director; Rebecca Andrews, music manager; and art teacher Elizabeth McParland. But the play was predominantly student run. I can personally attest that “Grease” was a great success. Agreed one audience member, “I am not even shocked the least bit. The production as always was marvelous and outstanding.”

Girls’ basketball

During the 2018-2019 season, the Lady Indians basketball team played in its first State Championship Finals. The girls got there by triumphing over Newark and Belvedere. The most crucial game of the season, against Jonathan Dayton of Springfield, put Weehawken on top after breaking a tie in the last couple of seconds. The crowd stormed onto the court in celebration. The championship game, on March 5, was packed with more than 1,000 students, teachers, and family members all cheering in the WHS gym. Sadly, the Lady Indians didn’t win, but it was a season to remember.

Marching band

The marching band, known as the most award-winning program in Weehawken High School, won its fifth state championship. For the second consecutive year, the marching band has been crowned the State USBands Champions for Group 1A Open Class. It earned a score of 90.375, thanks to the efforts of instructors, Ryan Gorman and Rebecca Andrews. They also won for Best Visual Performance, Best Overall Effect, Best Color Guard, and Best Percussion. WHS is one of the premier Group 1 programs in the country. I asked a 2018 graduate now attending Boston College what he thought WHS was known for. His response? “I think the answer is quite obvious, the marching band.”

Open house… with a twist?

In February, WHS hosted its annual open house for new students and their families. This year it provided guests with a slideshow featuring new WHS advances, including, the new girls’ swim team, boys and girls lacrosse teams, the return of the robotics club, and new AP courses such as, AP Capstone. Students and parents offered varied perspectives, answering audience questions and offering a message of community, pride, and diversity. Guests took lessons run by faculty members, Mr. Fischer, Ms. Jacobs, Ms. Parkinson, and Mrs. Eberhard. The guests were impressed with what Weehawken High School has to offer.