What's New at RPJSHS

Students with Northstar Helicopter
Northstar Crew Visits RP
Mr. Steffen's Aviation class had the opportunity for a visit from the Northstar crew from the New Jersey State Police. Students were able to witness the landing on the field in Veterans Park. The pilots and flight crew explained the role of Northstar in various operations, from medical transport to assisting with search-and-rescue missions. It was incredible to get up and close with the aircraft and experience rotor downwash!
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Award Ceremony
Unsung Hero Award Winner
On Tuesday, March 5th, senior Rylie Nagle was awarded the Bergen County School Board's Association Unsung Hero award for Ridgefield Park High School recognizing her contributions to the school and community, her selflessness, and her ability to persevere despite obstacles.
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RP Students at the UN
RP at the Model UN
Recently Model UNers attended the Global Citizen Model UN conference in New York City. Over 3000 students were in attendance from all over the world. Opening ceremonies were held in the United Nations General Assembly and our students were in awe at being allowed in the room where ambassadors and dignitaries go while in session. The students did very well in their respective committees, so much so that four of the six were recognized for their efforts as outstanding delegates. These are the only individual awards given out so needless to say it was awesome for the students to be honored. Jalen Lacy and Zamin Mirza were recognized in UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space). Giuliana Gonzalez was recognized in WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and Marina Giakamozis was recognized in IMO (International Maritime Organization). Jalen, Giulian and Zamin were each asked by the chairs of their committees to speak at closing ceremonies in front of EVERYONE. All three did it with ease, although I'm sure their nerves were trying to get the best of them. During closing ceremonies, Martin Luther King III spoke about humanitarian efforts and continuing his father's legacy. He was a wonderful speaker and the whole experience was amazing for everyone.
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AP Bio Students Visit Regeneron
AP Bio Students Visit Regeneron
Ridgefield Park AP Biology Students recently visited the Regeneron DNA Learning Center where they performed a restrictive enzyme experiment. Student scientists broke down viral DNA with enzymes and used Gel electrophoresis to analyze the size of fragments the enzymes produce.
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Student Hosts
Elective Fair a Great Success
On Friday, January 19th the School Counseling department held an Electives Fair for students in grades 8-11. Students had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the many options offered at RPJSHS. Students did an excellent job of showcasing the courses just in time for scheduling. Students are currently meeting with their counselor to schedule next year's classes.
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Instant Decision Day
Instant Decision Day 2023
The School Counseling Department organized and hosted the annual Instant Decision Day! Thirty seniors and 9 colleges took part in the day. Those present were Berkeley College, Caldwell University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician University, Mercy University, Montclair State University, Monmouth University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College, and Stockton University. There were a total of 118 applications processed, all of which were accepted! The overall savings in fee waivers was $5,695 and $1,049,000 in scholarships were awarded to our students!
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Tennis Tournament Team  Champion
Scarlet Tennis News
Sophomore Britney Lee had another spectacular fall Tennis season. She returns to the First Team All-North Jersey and won the Bergen County Women's Coaches Association Invitational championship at first singles. This qualified Britney for the NJSIAA singles event, where she advanced to the state quarterfinals. Up against the number one seed, Britney finished her season with an amazing 18-1 record. Congratulations to Britney and Coach Iannacone!
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Student Donating Blood
Blood Drive at RPJSHS
The Future Health Professionals Club sponsored the first blood drive with Vitalant on October 11th in the Auxiliary Gym. Over 85 students and staff signed up to donate. Of those, 65 individuals were registered and 39 pints of whole blood were collected as well as 3 power red donations. “Whole blood can help many types of patients, especially those undergoing surgery and trauma patients. Power Red donations pack double the impact because the automated procedure collects a concentrated donation of red cells that can help twice as many patients. Power Reds are especially helpful to trauma victims, newborn babies and sickle cell patients.” The Future Health Professionals hope to run a second blood drive in the spring.
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US News and World Reports Rankings
RPJSHS Ranks Among the Best
Washington, D.C. – August 29, 2023 – Ridgefield Park Jr Sr High School has been ranked No. 6,902 in the nation among the 2023-2024 Best High Schools by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings evaluate more than 17,600 schools at the national, state and local level. The school was also ranked No. 232 in New Jersey and No. 554 in the New York metropolitan area, as shown at the US. News Best High Schools page. “We are thrilled that Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School earned this recognition. We are very proud of the work that we do here, but it’s just the beginning for us - we are ready to show the world what we can do,” said principal Melissa Cavins. The methodology focuses on six indicators of school quality: college readiness; breadth of curriculum; scores on state proficiency tests; performance in reading, math, and science; underserved student performance; and graduation rates. “Having access to a strong high school program is paramount for students as they face an ever-changing world,” says Liana Loewus, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “Making data on our high schools available helps parents ensure their child is in the educational environment that best sets them up to thrive.” About U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives and communities. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News, Real Estate, Careers and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
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Student with Flag Painted on Face
“No Borders” Multicultural Event a huge success!
For the first time in many years, on May 31st, students at the JSHS held a formal celebration of our great diversity with an assembly called “No Borders”. This was a joint collaboration between several senior members of the National Honor Society (Eric Ocampo, Isabela Gonzalez, Aamna Irfan, Gauri Bhandari, and Maya Craft) and junior Shirley Peralta-Ortega. These student leaders developed a plan and followed through on advertising, auditions, rehearsals, and planning the details of actual assembly. The day included face-painting flags from around the world and students wearing clothing to represent their cultures. Students performed solos as well as group numbers with vocal and dance performances in front of an enthusiastic crowd. We can’t wait to do it again next year and establish this tradition for our students. All photos by Aamna Irfan
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Guest Speaker Robb Holladay
Guest Speaker Robb Holladay
On Tuesday, April 4th, the JSHS hosted speaker Robb Holladay. Mr. Holladay is a dynamic mental health speaker for junior high and high school students that travels the USA to share his important messages in a way that is entertaining and informative. He spoke to our high school students about the hazards of vaping, as well as the marketing techniques employed by the tobacco companies to gain teens as customers for life. He shared personal experiences as well as a close look at the risks associated with vaping devices. For our junior high students, Mr. Holladay spoke about the various social media “land mines” that students face today, including technology addiction; bullying and hateful posting, oversharing information, and the future ramifications of a social media digital footprint on college and career. The mantra was “Say it…forget it. Post it…regret it.” We hope that all our students enjoyed having Mr. Holladay and that his important messages met their intended audience.
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Cast of High School Musical
High School Musical Success!
High School Musical On Stage had a successful three-night run and delivered a flawless performance to a nearly packed house each night! Almost 60 students were involved in the production of this successful musical. RPHS graduate Mr. Michael Lingle made his directorial debut, accompanied by the musical direction of Mr. Leo Leuci.
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NJ Snake Man Pays a Visit
NJ Snake Man Visits 7th Grade
On a recent Wednesday, the NJ Snake Man came to visit the 7th graders at the JSHS. The team brought a variety of animals: snakes, exotic birds, including a young macaw, a bearded dragon, gecko, tortoise, frog, and toad. The students learned about each animal’s origin, eating habits, lifestyle, life expectancy and personality. The best part was when everyone had a change to pet, hold or wear one of the animals!
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Students at Drawing
“Earn Your Feathers” Program Debut
January 2023 was the official launch of the new “Earn Your Feathers” program for our 7th and 8th grade students. The “Earn Your Feathers” program is a part of a Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS). PBIS is a framework used in junior high schools to promote positive behavior and create a safe and supportive learning environment. The framework focuses on using positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors and improve school culture. The importance of positive reinforcement in school culture cannot be overstated. When students are regularly recognized for positive behavior, they are more likely to continue to engage in those behaviors. Students will feel seen, valued, and respected, which can lead to improved self-esteem and overall well-being. Furthermore, positive reinforcement can reduce unwanted behaviors and create a more positive and productive learning environment for all students. The “Earn Your Feathers” program is of course a play on our beloved mascot, the Scarlet Bird. All staff members were given a set of red paper feathers (handmade!) to present to students for positive behavior. We want to recognize the students who help others without being asked, participate in taking care of our building, and engage in proactive behaviors with their peers. In just one week, the buzz is around the building for earning feathers…students are asking for a feather instead of extra credit! We had our first drawing on Friday, January 13th during 7th and 8th lunch. With lots of fanfare, we rolled out “the birdcage” and drew 4 lucky feathers! Those students had the opportunity to choose from a variety of gift cards as their prize - all of them chose Dunkin Donuts! The positive energy and excitement was palpable as students cheered on their winning peers, and no doubt hoped that their feathers would be pulled next! We are so very grateful for the generous donations from businesses around Ridgefield Park and JSHS parents who have donated to this worthy endeavor. If you would like to donate rewards for this program, please reach out to Mrs. Cavins, Principal or Mrs. Pucciarelli, Dean of 7th & 8th Programs.
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Girls 6-8 Basketball Team
Jr. High School Girls Basketball Tournament Champions
Congratulations to our 6-8 Girls Basketball team and Coach Calocino for winning the Little Ferry Tournament! The future is bright for the Scarlet Nation!
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Students Preparing for BCC Visit
Students Visit BCC
In November, our 11th and 12th grade students in the English as a Second Language program had the opportunity to visit Bergen Community College. Along with a tour of campus, students learned about the various programs offered at BCC and opportunities for English Language Learners.
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Homecoming Dance
RPJSHS Homecoming Dance
On Saturday, October 22nd, our students enjoyed a long-awaited revival of the Homecoming Dance! Held at the Elks Club in Ridgefield Park, students dressed in their finest packed the dance floor for three hours straight! Leon Entertainment provided the musical backdrop for the evening, as well as a photobooth for capturing memories of the special night. The event was catered by Luka's Italian Cuisine in Bogota. Special thanks to Mr. Quintanilla, Mrs. Pucciarelli and the Student Government leadership team for making this event a success!
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Decorated Rocks
Kindness Rocks for the Scarlets!
Mr. Maggio's History of Intolerance and Prejudice classes once again took on the "Kindness Rocks!" project. Students painted small rocks with inspirational or supportive messages on them, and placed them in various locations around the school campus and beyond to be found! It is their hope that these "happy surprises" will find their way to the right person at the right time.
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Honor Society Inductees
Honor Societies Induction
On the evening of Wednesday, April 13, the High School celebrated the induction ceremony of the Multi-Disciplinary Honor Societies. New members were inducted into their respective ceremonies by their advisers. New members received a membership certificate and recited the pledge to their organization in front of a proud audience. The societies who inducted new members include: Business Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Italian Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, English Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, and English Language Learners Honor Society.
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A scene from the play, Newsies
Newsies - a Spring Smash Hit!
From Thursday, March 31 through April 2, 2002, student actors and crew presented Disney’s “Newsies” musical. Directed by Mrs. Linda Gerdes, with the musical direction of Mr. Leo Leuci, the musical was a spectacular success. Students in grades 7-12 had the opportunity to shine, whether on stage or behind the scenes as part of the crew. This performance was a special final high school moment on stage for seniors Fifi Latinwo, Gedalias Liriano, Lesly Meyers-Gelin, Oliver Pashman, Taylor Parris and Elaine Tosado. It was also the final show to be directed by Mrs. Gerdes, after 17 years of successful productions. The audience was blown away by the incredible talent of our student actors. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for these Scarlets.
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Dr. Fowlin Standing with Students
Dr. Mykee Fowlin presents...
On March 29, RPHS students had the opportunity to participate in an assembly given by Dr. Mykee Fowlin - actor, psychologist, and poet. His one-man presentation took us on a journey to our core beliefs and perceptions through the lens of different characters. In humor and serious moments alike, our students experienced a range of emotions but walked away knowing that they were not alone in their experiences. The building was abuzz after the assembly, as many students continued the conversation in their classes. They discussed the performance and their interpretations of the characters presented along with the important messages delivered. It was a special moment shared by our school community. We are thankful to have had this opportunity!
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Fashion Show Participants
Fashion Forward at RPJSHS
The Project Graduation Parent Committee hosted a successful Tricky Tray and Fashion Show event on March 23, 2022 to raise funds for the Class of 2022’s graduation night event. A long-standing tradition at RPHS, the attendees enjoyed taking their chances at winning over 200 baskets or prizes, including grand prizes of a MacBook and AirPods! The highlight of the evening was the runway show, where models from the Class of 2022 showed off their finest prom attire and spring looks! It was a special evening, and thank you to the RPHS Project Graduation Committee members for making this event a success. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Project Grad!
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Black History Month Display
Black History Month at RPJSHS
The celebration of Black History Month at RPJSHS was indeed a memorable and meaningful one! Starting with a collaboration between the Lives4Change Club and Fashion Club, a beautiful display of black fashion icons, influencers, designers and models was created in the Commons for all to admire and learn. Members of the Lives4Change Club also collaborated with elementary teachers in the district to highlight African American authors in a virtual reading event. Ms. Quinn, our media specialist, assisted in the selection of children’s books and this opportunity connected our high school and elementary students through the magic of storytelling. The Valentine’s Day fundraiser sponsored by the Lives4Change Club not only brought the love to our school on February 14th, but helped the organization raise some funds to acquire some great merch! In the words of Mrs. Brako Bismarck, “this doesn’t just end with February, and that we will all strive to acknowledge that Black History is your history, it’s my history, and it’s our history.”
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Wrestler Shown in Match
Junior Wrestler makes it to the State Finals!
Junior Theresa Zeppetelli made Scarlet Buc history when she placed 2nd in the State in her weight class at the 2022 NJ Girls Wrestling Championships held on February 20, 2022. Already a county champion and regional finalist, Theresa breezed through the quarterfinals with a pin in 1:09, and claimed a victory in the semifinal as well. Reflecting on this wrestling season, Theresa says “Looking back, I can honestly say I am so proud of myself and how much I accomplished. I became a county champ, regional finalist and even became 2nd in the state of New Jersey. For the future, my goals are to keep my county champ title, become regional champion and possibly state champion. I can’t wait for next season!”
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DECA Success!
The RP DECA Club Scores Again! ​ DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) describes its mission as preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. The RP DECA club is currently in its 9th year, and we are proud to proclaim that it has been another record-setting year for our students! Special congratulations are in order for the following students for placing in the top 16 for their competitive event and qualifying for the DECA State competition. Kevin McAleer - Food Marketing Gianna Terrarosa - Hotel and Lodging Management Emily O'Neill - Hotel and Lodging Management Emma Lee - Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Oliver Pashman - Principles of Marketing George Ye - Restaurant and Food Service Management Tyler Jacobs - Sports and Entertainment Marketing Jonathan Colon & Vincent Chen - Marketing Management Team *1st Place overall! A number of our future leaders also qualified for the International competition (ICDC) through the stock market game competition. This is the first time Ridgefield Park students have qualified for this event! Congratulations to Jesus Mancera, Alyssa Ortiz, and Daniel Coleman, who placed 18th in the North Atlantic Region and 5th in New Jersey! We are incredibly proud of their success and all of students who are an active part of the Ridgefield Park DECA Club. Congratulations to Mr. Quackenbush and the whole DECA team!
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Clubs and Activities are BACK and booming!
Clubs and Activities are BACK and booming!
Returning to in-person learning brought many positive changes for all of us. One of the best has been the “renaissance” of our many club offerings! It’s easier than ever before to join a club - students can visit our Clubs/Activities bulletin board in the Commons and join the Google Classroom or find out the next meeting dates. The 2021-22 school year has brought some clubs to our roster, including the Fashion Club, Comedy Club, eSports, and Stitch for a Cause; in addition to the existing clubs we have offered in the past. We are proud to support students with new club ideas and make it happen, thanks to our volunteer advisors! Please visit our Clubs 21-22 website and see what we have to offer!
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College Kick-Off Week Success!
College Kick-Off Week Success!
During the week of October 18-22, our Guidance Department sponsored information sessions for our Class of 2021 students. Over the course of 5 days, representatives from over 35 colleges, universities, technical schools and the military met with our students. During these sessions, students were able to gain more insight and information about the possibilities that lie ahead! We culminated this week with Alumni Day, where the RPJSHS faculty and staff wore their college gear with pride. Next up, Instant Decision Day!
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Hispanic Heritage Month at RPJSHS
Hispanic Heritage Month at RPJSHS
The Spanish teachers at RPJSHS, along with their students, created a beautiful recognition and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in the halls of our school! The interactive “Musica en Español” displays shared songs from the various Spanish-speaking countries, using a direct link to Spotify! The gallery “Orgullo Hispano” featured biographies of famous celebrities, artists, authors, actors, athletes, politicians and activists. The personal stories of our Hispanic students and their families were shared in a very moving presentation entitled “Estoy aquí para contar la historia…” It’s safe to say that our school community looks forward to this tradition of pride and culture being celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month! Many thanks to the teachers and students for all their hard work and sharing the pride with all!
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RP Students Perform Radio Suspense Theatre
RP Students Perform: Radio Suspense Theatre
The Theatrical Arts have returned to Ridgefield Park Jr. Sr. High School! Now is your chance to travel back to the 1940s and attend a real radio show. Watch and hear our student performers as they prepare to perform two tales of suspense - “Fear Between Floors” and “Lost and Found” complete with commercials and musical interludes! This show within a show follows the lives of a group of radio actors both backstage and onstage as they get together to perform their weekly radio show, Radio Suspense Theatre. We even have 2 sound technicians who will be performing sound effects on stage!
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Early College Program Graduates
Seniors Earn Associate Degrees
On Thursday, May 13th, 8 of JSHS seniors became the first cohort of students graduating from the Early College Program. This was the first group of students to participate in the program that allows students to earn their associate's degree while earning their high school diploma at the same time. The program, which starts in the students' junior year, has the students taking high school courses in the morning and then attending Bergen Community College in the afternoon. Students completing the program have the ability to enroll in a 4 year college program as a junior straight out of high school both shortening the duration they are in school to complete an advanced degree and, since the district currently covers 1/2 the tuition, making college more affordable for students.
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Rachel Ray Foundation Logo
RPHS Lands ProStart Grow Grant
Ridgefield Park JSHS will receive $5,000 in special funding to update and expand their ProStart program thanks to The Rachael Ray Foundation (RRF). ProStart, a two-year career and technical education program focused on culinary arts and restaurant management, is offered in 1,700 schools across the country and currently enrolls 130,000 students. RPJSHS was selected as one of the 27 schools to receive $5,000 in funding for the initiative
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Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Logo
Larissa Flores Named Jack Kent Cooke Scholar
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently announced their 2021 Cooke College Scholars and our own Larissa Flores has been selected as one of the 61 winners! This year’s recipients, who represent 26 states, were chosen from a pool of more than 5,800 applicants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Marianas, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Cooke College Scholars receive up to $40,000 annually for up to four years to attend the college or university of their choice, along with ongoing educational advising from Foundation staff and access to a network of over 2,800 active Scholars and Alumni. Scholars will also receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and access to graduate school funding.
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Rocket League Car
JSHS Looks to Start Esports Team
ESports is a rapidly growing global trend that allows "gamers" to represent their schools on an organized team and allows for competition at the local, regional, state and even national levels. ESports have grown so much that colleges are even offering scholarships to epsort players.
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Read Across America
Read Across America Week
This week is Read Across America week and to celebrate virtually, our Media Specialist, Ms. Quinn, recorded a video reading of an excerpt from a school library book for students to watch and listen to. The theme for the week supports a 2020-21 district wide initiative to promote social justice and to celebrate our diversity. This is also in concert with the elementary schools who are following a similar theme creating continuity through all district schools. Students are being challenged to keep the reading going throughout the month of March. The videos can be accessed by clicking the link below.
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new website homepage
RP Website Relaunch
We are pleased to announce that the Ridgefield Park district website has a new look and feel. We've added a megamenu which will put most important resources only one click away as well as a qucklinks bar for our most accessed resources. Then there will be more text to test the overflow feature.
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