The news is out, and once again my alma matter, Millburn High School is ranked NUMBER ONE HIGH SCHOOL (out of 322 schools) in the state of NJ for 2010. So why am I so proud of this news after having graduated over thirty years ago in 1978?
Being a graduate of the Number One Public High School has little to do with my personal achievements, but many of us appreciate having our school listed as New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s top school in the August issue. This list drives many buyers to move to the community and many stores and restaurants will open in our downtown and the Mall at Short Hills. As a Realtor in town for almost three decades with over 700 sales in the area, I calculated that I sold over 75 homes to friends, parents and siblings from my high school.
For 26 years I have worked just two blocks from my former high school and I still pass the building almost every day. I know many of the teachers, parents and students who are there today (not to mention thousands of graduates over the last six decades) and I remember watching the Principal William (aka Billy) Miron, on the wrestling team back when he was a senior there in 1974. I helped organize my 10th, 20th, and 30th high school reunions and my class raised recently $2,000 to donate to the school for one of their expansion projects.
I created a website for my class to stay in touch at http://www.Millburn78.com and the old yearbook photos and slideshow pics were a big hit with my classmates. The memories of eating Millburn Deli sloppy joes (or a roll with russian or butter for those on a budget) on the back lawn, smoking on the patio (which has long been banned, thankfully), sitting on senior bench outside the old library and cooking and sewing classes, (none of which exist today) bring back wonderful stories. I posted hundreds of images from our reunions on my facebook page so friends around the world could see those they had missed at our reunion party in 2008.
It so happens that I drive by the school several times a day and return for The Paul Finn Memorial Wrestling Tournament each January, and the Thanksgiving day Football game each year, so it means a lot to me to know that the tradition for excellence continues. There is a lot of passion for sports, community and all kinds of activities for students in Millburn and Short Hills and it starts at a young age. Is it perfect at Millburn High? No one is making that claim for sure, but being Number One in anything, puts you on notice that you need to work even harder to stay on top. Somehow this news hits and people walk with their heads held higher and feel like they have a new responsibility to live up to what has been written about them. They have their own big shoes to fill and the news alone can motivate and stimulate students in a way that nothing else will.
It is not easy to maintain the position and after being named number one in 2008, the rank fell off the top of the chart to number 3 the following year.
It is with great pride and confidence that I am able to assure buyers that their children will get a good education in our public schools. One of the best selling points of this community is the strength of our school system and the overall emphasis on learning and higher education. Even people who do not have children in the school system (and many families send their kids to private schools), appreciate the how important a good district is for resale property values.
One of the best things about being a part of a top school is the pride and enthusiasm that comes from this achievement. When a student body understands the value of being at a top school and the teachers recognize the opportunity of working in a environment of so much focus, commitment and talent, it raises the bar and gives everyone a sense of great accomplishment.
For me, all these years later, as I hit my mid-century milestone, I value the lasting friendships I’ve made. Our class advisor, Eugene Kopacz, who has long since retired, called me in 2006 to say he read about my success in the local newspaper and he wanted to congratulate me. I was touched that he would pick up the phone to call me after so many years to tell me that when I was a teenager he expected great things from me. I’m still close to many of my high schools friends and we share a bond that is full of great memories from our days at Millburn High School. We all knew we were at a top high school and it shaped our lives in many ways, giving us the sense that we were all part of a great club by having gone through the public schools of Millburn Township.
To see the entire article from NJ Monthly Magazine go to: http://www.northjersey.com/news/100884969_Millburn_High_tops_NJ_Monthly_list_again.html
Attached are School reports for the entire state of New Jersey: http://www.trghome.com/nj-school-reports.asp