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Hopewell Valley Central High School

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Title: Hopewell Valley Central High School  
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Subject: Colonial Valley Conference, Hopewell Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, Steinert High School, Lawrence High School (New Jersey), Princeton High School (New Jersey)
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Hopewell Valley Central High School

Hopewell Valley Central High School
259 Pennington-Titusville Road
Pennington, New Jersey 08534
Type Public
Established 1907
School district Hopewell Valley Regional School District
Principal Michael Daher
Vice Principals Scott Brettell
Richard Lang (interim)
Faculty 100.4 (on FTE basis)[1]
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 1,243[1] (as of 2013-14)
Student to teacher ratio 12.4:1[1]
Campus Rural
Color(s)      Black
     Vegas Gold[2]
Athletics conference Colonial Valley Conference
Team name Bulldogs[2]
Rivals Pennington School, Montgomery HS, Steinert HS, Nottingham HS
Yearbook Centralogue
Feeder schools Timberlane Middle School

Hopewell Valley Central High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades from Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough, three communities in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States, operating as part of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Although the high school has a Pennington mailing address, it is located within the political boundaries of Hopewell Township, just outside Pennington Borough.

As of the 2013-14 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,243 students and 100.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.4:1. There were 23 students (1.9% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 8 (0.6% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]


  • Profile 1
  • Awards, recognition and rankings 2
  • History 3
  • Academics 4
  • Visual and performing arts 5
    • Performing arts 5.1
    • Visual arts 5.2
  • Athletics 6
  • Clubs and organizations 7
  • Administration 8
  • Notable alumni 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The Hopewell Valley Central High School credo is that the school is a “high-performing, high-achieving school with a soul.” HVCHS encourages and fosters partnerships between teachers, students, parents, and the community. The Municipal Alliance and Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth play a key role in the “Culture of Respect.” Students are involved in service organizations with community outreach programs.[3]

Hopewell Valley Central High School provides a curriculum that is broad, diversified and comprehensive, allowing students to structure their own challenges. HVCHS encourages high expectations and achievement.[4]

Awards, recognition and rankings

The school was the 41st-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 31st in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 38th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[6] The magazine ranked the school 39th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[7] ranked the school 101st out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 31 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (87.8%) and language arts literacy (95.4%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[8]

In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 57th in New Jersey and 1,666th nationwide.[9]

In Newsweek's May 20, 2012 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Hopewell Valley Central High School was listed in 427th place, the 39th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[10] In the magazine's 2007 rankings, Hopewell Valley Central High School was listed in 1239th place, the 42nd-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[11]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 638th in the nation among participating public high schools and 50th among schools in New Jersey.[12]


Hopewell Valley Central High School was first established in 1907 as a two-room addition to the Lincoln High School in Hopewell Borough. in 1912, the first building constructed to serve as a high school was built. It is now Hopewell Borough Hall.

In 1929, a new High School was built in Pennington Borough due to growing enrollment in the district. The building, designed by J. Osborne Hunt, now serves as the administrative offices for the Board of Education.[13] The architect, J. Osborne Hunt, also designed the original elementary school buildings in Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough. They are still in use today, and are well-preserved, historic buildings from another era.

The current High School was built along Pennington-Titusville road in 1958. There have been several additions since then to the building, including new classrooms, athletic fields, and a new science/technology wing built in 1997. In 2003, work was completed on a new 865-seat Performing Arts Center, a new gymnasium, as well as some classroom renovations as part of a referendum approved by voters in 2000.

The high school building, especially the wings with the classrooms, is over 50 years old, and is around capacity. The school was built for a small town, but as the student population steadily increases, there will be need to add new classrooms and other important facilities. Improvements to the school, such as a new front entrance, an addition to the cafeteria, and more science classrooms were put on hold by the school board in 2008, citing the weak economy.


• Science: The HVCHS Envirothon Team placed first in the 11th Annual New Jersey Envirothon Competition at the School of Conservation in Stokes State Forest. The team then represented the state of New Jersey and placed third in the National Envirothon held at West Virginia Wesleyan College. In addition, two Chemagination teams placed first in two different categories in the regional competition and are competing in the national competition.

• Language Arts: Several HVCHS students have won prestigious awards this year such as the Brown Book Award, the Bryn Mawr Book Award, the Williams Book Award, and one of two awards at the McCarter YouthInk! playwriting competition.

Visual and performing arts

Performing arts

The high school music program is on an upward trend. It has been twice named a finalist in the Grammy Foundation's Grammy Signature Schools program. In 2004, the program was named to the American Music Conference's list of the "Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America".[14] The NAMM organization has recognized the school's music program on multiple occasions, including both 2009 and 2010.[15]

In regional and national competitions, the band, choir, and orchestra have been recognized for excellence. The choir program has received top ratings at festivals since 2002 and was selected for the 2006 National Choral Invitational Festival of Gold in New York City.[16] The choirs were treated to a one-week workshop with choral composer Stephen Hatfield.[15]

The recently established marching band, The Marching Black and Gold, has achieved top ratings in many area competitions.[15] This includes placing 3rd in 2011 at the USSBA New Jersey State Championships in group 2A competition.[17] The band performs at varsity football games, participates in memorial day parades and other celebrations in Hopewell, and has traveled to participate at Festival Disney in Florida and other locations across the eastern United States to perform.[15]

Musicians and bands, such as the Dallas Brass and composer Micheal Story, have worked with students at the high school in 2010.[15]

There is a four-year, sequential, curricular program in theater arts offered at the high school. An 865-seat Performing Arts Center opened at the High School in 2003, and is now widely used by the community and music programs in the district.[18] Graduates of Hopewell's Performing Arts programs have gone on to major in various performing arts fields in college.

Visual arts

The Visual Arts Department is comprehensive and sequential and its curriculum culminates in the various AP art courses. Student artists have received accolades for works in various local, state, and national art shows as they successfully placed first, second, and third in these juried art show competitions.


The Hopewell Valley Central High School Bulldogs[2] compete in the Colonial Valley Conference, which consists of public and private high schools located in Mercer County, Middlesex County and Monmouth County, operating under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[19] With 915 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as Central Jersey, Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 776 to 1,073 students in that grade range.[20] Hopewell's athletic program offers 22 sports. Over half of the students at HVCHS compete in sports or clubs.

In 2003-04 Hopewell Valley Central High School teams won six Patriot Division Championships, two Mercer County Championships, and the Group II Winter Track Relay State Championship. Championship teams included Boys Cross Country, Girls Soccer, Girls Tennis, Girls Basketball and Girls Track and Field. In addition, the CHS 4X4 relay team won the championship at the 2003 Penn Relays. The 2006 Girls' softball team won the Mercer County Tournament.

The 2005 varsity soccer team went were co-champions of Mercer County, went undefeated in the CVC, won their division, won the Group III Sectional Title with a 2-1 win over Monroe Township High School[21] and lost 3-2 in overtime to Ocean City High School in the State Semi-Finals.[22] They were ranked 13th in the state at the end of the year.

The men's cross country team went undefeated in Mercer County, won the Mercer County Championship, won the Central Jersey state championship, and placed second at the Group III State Meet. The women's cross country team also went undefeated in the county, placed second in the Mercer County Championship, and was first at the Central Jersey state championship.

The 2007 girls lacrosse team won the South, Group II state sectional championship with a 15-7 victory over Camden Catholic High School.[23]

In 1997 the golf team won the Group II state title, and defeated rival West Windsor in a one hole playoff for the Tournament of Champions over all State Championship. Along with the team honors, senior David Schmutz won the individual State Title by three shots. David Schmutz received First Team All-County, First Team All-State Group II, First Team, All-State, and State Player of the Year honors.

The recently re-established football program's first victory, since 1932, came on October 17, 2005, against West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North. The final score was 28-6. For over 70 years Hopewell had no football team, however the Bulldogs were able to successfully start their first season in 2004. later, the 2006 season had the Bulldogs going 3-6, and tying for the Colonial Valley Conference Patriot Division title with Ewing High School and West Windsor Plainsboro North. The 2007 season was even more successful for the Hopewell Varsity football team, going 5-4, and again tying for the Patriot Division title. in 2008, the bulldogs had another winning season, at 6-4. At Homecoming, the crowds number in the thousands. Plans are underway for a turf field stadium for the team in the upcoming years.

During the 2009 season, on November 21, 2009, the varsity girls soccer team played against Northern Highlands Regional High School in the state finals in The College of New Jersey. The game ended with a tie of 0-0 and it was the first time Hopewell girls varsity soccer team has claimed a state title since 1983.[24]

In 2010, the winter track team set a state record by winning the state relays for its ninth consecutive year, a streak that ended in 2011.[25]

In 2010, the baseball team finished the season 21-10 and won the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III state sectional championship over West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North by a score of 12-2.[26]

In 2011, the girls spring track team won the NJSIAA Group III state title for the seventh consecutive time.[27]

In 2013, the football team finished the season with a 10-1 record, the best season in the ten years since the re-introduction of football, and defeated Lawrence High School by a score of 31-14 before 7,500 fans at The College of New Jersey to win the program's first Central Jersey Group III state sectional championship. It was the first time that two Mercer County teams had reached the finals in the same season and Hopewell Valley became the sixth team from the county to win a football sectional title.[28]

There is a rivalry with the Pennington School.

Clubs and organizations

Students at HVCHS are able to become involved in school clubs and organizations. Clubs and activities are focused on artistic, athletic, academic, and special interest areas. Over 60% of the 1,200 students compete in one of the 22 athletic programs or an extracurricular activity.


Core members of the school's administration include:[29]

  • Michael Daher - Principal
  • Scott Brettell - Vice Principal
  • Richard Lang - Interim Vice Principal

Notable alumni


  1. ^ a b c d School Data for Hopewell Valley Central High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Hopewell Valley Central High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 1, 2015.
  3. ^ Municipal Alliance, Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Accessed January 21, 2012.
  4. ^ Student Handbook, Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Accessed January 21, 2012.
  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 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2011.
  8. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Accessed March 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Hopewell Valley Central High School", The Washington Post. Accessed September 10, 2011.
  10. ^ "Americas Best High Schools", Newsweek, May 20, 2012. Accessed Sept 20, 2012.
  11. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools", Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  12. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013.
  13. ^ History, Hopewell Valley Regional School District. accessed January 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "Best 100 Communities for Music Education in America", American Music Conference.
  15. ^ a b c d e Staff. "Hopewell Valley named to Best Communities for Music Education", Pennington Post, May 29, 2010. Accessed October 24, 2013. "In 2008, Hopewell Valley students performed on a professionally recorded CD with internationally known conductor Stephen Hatfield, in large part because of a successful week-long workshop he taught the year before in Hopewell Valley. Last year, Houston-based band composer Michael Story led a workshop and directed in concert student musicians of Timberlane and CHS. This year, middle and high school students participated in a clinic and public performance with the internationally acclaimed Dallas Brass."
  16. ^ Harvey, Margo. "Hopewell Valley Central High School", South Jersey Magazine. Accessed October 24, 2013. "The high school orchestra has since been invited to perform with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the National Invitational Festival of Gold."
  17. ^ RECAP USSBA - NJ STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 1ST HALF AT UNION, NJ, United States Scholastic Band Association. Accessed October 24, 2013.
  18. ^ Performing Arts Center at Hopewell Valley, Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Accessed January 21, 2012.
  19. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 19, 2014.
  20. ^ 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for Central Jersey, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 19, 2014.
  21. ^ 2005 Boys Soccer - Central, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  22. ^ 2005 Boys Soccer - Public Semis/Finals, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  23. ^ 2007 Girls Lacrosse - South, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed July 22, 2007.
  24. ^ Hopewell Valley 0, Northern Highlands 0 (High school Girls Soccer scores and results), accessed November 27, 2009
  25. ^ Staff. "TRACK: Hopewell Valley’s state relay streak ends at nine", Pennington Post, January 20, 2011. Accessed September 10, 2011 ."Hopewell Valley’s streak of NJSIAA Relays state championships is finally over. It ended at the Bennett Indoor Center last Saturday morning when coach Aaron Oldfield’s girls had to settle for third place in the Group III Indoor Relays with 19 points, finishing behind Winslow (30) and West Windsor South (24). HoVal had won a state-record nine straight state titles."
  26. ^ Narducci, Marc. "NJSIAA baseball tourney builds to finale", The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 30, 2010. Accessed December 2, 2014. "Hopewell Valley defeated West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 12-2, in five innings to capture the Central Jersey title."
  27. ^ Borders, Andrew. "Hopewell Valley girls' track and field capture seventh straight NJSIAA Group crown", The Times (Trenton), May 29, 2011. Accessed September 10, 2011. "Two weeks after seeing one impressive streak come to an end, the Hopewell Valley girls’ track and field team kept another alive. For the seventh straight year, the Bulldogs won the NJSIAA Group III Central title, edging out Neptune 74-70."
  28. ^ Zedalis, Joe. "Hopewell Valley dominates Lawrence to claim CJ III football title", The Times (Trenton), December 7, 2013. Accessed December 15, 2013. "The Hopewell Valley High School coaching staff made critical adjustments on both sides of the ball tonight and the Bulldogs dominated the final three quarters for a 31-14 victory over Lawrence in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III final before 7,500 at the College of New Jersey.... The victory gave Hopewell Valley (10-1) its first sectional title in just its 10th year of varsity football."
  29. ^ Our Administrators, Hopewell Valley Central High School. Accessed November 1, 2015.
  30. ^ "Leading the Way in Women's Sports", U.S. 1 Newspaper, October 26, 2005. Accessed August 26, 2007. "Today this 1977 graduate of Pennington's Hopewell Valley Central High School is the president of USA Basketball - the national federation responsible for the selection, training, and fielding of U.S. teams that compete in international basketball competitions, including the Olympics, and for some national competitions."
  31. ^ Franklin, Paul. "Thunder coach has a Feller feel", Asbury Park Press, May 16, 1999. Accessed February 10, 2011. "Braun, who graduated from Hopewell Valley High School, just turned 51 last week."
  32. ^ Ollison, Rashod D. "Rock's emerging `black chick'", The Baltimore Sun, December 15, 2005. Accessed February 10, 2011. "Growing up the artist, who doesn't divulge her age, was the only black girl in her neighborhood and one of only seven blacks in Hopewell Valley High School."
  33. ^ Biography, Congressman Jim Himes. Accessed February 10, 2011. "Jim graduated from Hopewell Valley Central High School and then attended Harvard University."

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