Hopewell Valley Central High School

Hopewell Valley Central High School is an American four-year comprehensive regional public high school, serving students from three communities in Mercer County, New Jersey, as part of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. The municipalities that are part of this district are Hopewell Borough, Hopewell Township and Pennington Borough. 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 2005-06 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,152 students and 83.3 classroom teachers (on a FTE basis, for a student-teacher ratio of 13.8.


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.

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.

The Class of 2004’s average SAT scores of Verbal 560 and Math 578 were significantly higher than state and national averages. The Class of 2004 SAT participation rate of 89% reflects an inclusive approach to testing. In 2002, SAT II subject area tests were taken in 8 subjects. Students performed exceptionally well in Physics (694 mean score) and Math IIC (682 mean score). On Advanced Placement Program (AP) exams, 121 students took 218 exams, with 89% of the exams receiving 3 or better (out of 5).

The Class of 2004 had three National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists, twelve commended scholars, and one National Achievement Scholarship Qualifier. Our high-performing, high-achieving students are well-rounded. The breadth and diversity of courses prepare HVCHS students for the future, providing a broad background in technology, visual, performing and practical arts, and a solid academic grounding.

Academic Highlights

• 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 & 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". Despite these recognitions, the Board of Education, in 2005, eliminated 1½ music teacher positions from the elementary and middle schools to alleviate a budget shortfall. This cut happened with little fanfare or protest from the community although it is expected to negatively impact the quality of the music program for some time to come. The board and administration in 2006 cut another 1 full-time equivalent music teacher position from the elementary schools; this cut eliminates elementary school string instrument instruction, and, as such, is expected to negatively impact the quality of the string orchestra program.

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

There is a three-year, sequential, curricular program in theater arts offered at the high school.

Graduates of Hopewell's Performing Arts programs have gone on to major in the various performing arts fields at St. Olaf College, New York University's Steinhardt Conservatory of Music and Tisch School of the Arts, Oberlin College, Indiana University, Berklee College of Music, Westminster Choir College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, McGill University's Schulich School of Music, Rutgers University and Mason Gross School of the Arts.

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.

Extracurricular activities


The Hopewell Valley Central High School Bulldogs compete in the Colonial Valley Conference, which consists of public and private high schools located in Mercer County, Monmouth County and Middlesex County, New Jersey, under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).

HVCHS students participate in an extensive range of extracurricular programs. Over 60% of students participate in Athletics. The athletic program offers 22 sports.

In 2003-2004 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 and lost 3-2 in overtime to Ocean City High School in the State Semi-Finals. They were ranked 13th in the state at the end of the year. Matt Lanouette and Andrew Juiliano received Second Team All-State recognition.

But perhaps arguably the best Varsity Soccer Team in school history, aside from the 1985 State Champion Team led by Mark Gola, was the 2001 State Runner-up Team which went 21-2-1. The team was led by an array of players who gave equal and consistent contribution throughout the season. Steve Berei, Donald Giovacchinni, and Emeka Ogbonna received All-State honors.

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 3 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 South, Group II state sectional championship with a 15-7 win over Camden Catholic High School.


For 70 years, Hopewell Valley had no high school football team. A ballot referendum to begin a football program was voted down by a 2-1 margin in the 2001 school elections. The following year, a parent organization raised funds and privately funded the program. The school board gradually assumed full financial responsibility. The issue was a hot button among local voters.

However, the Bulldogs were able to successfully start their season after 70 years without football. Their 2004 season ended with an 0-10 record. The next year they improved to 1-9. The 2006 season was 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 the most successful for a Hopewell Varsity football team, going 5-4, and again tying for the Patriot Division title.

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.

Awards and recognition

In Newsweek's May 22, 2007 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Hopewell Valley Central High School was listed in 1239th place, the 42nd-highest ranked school in New Jersey.

The school was the 39th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 314 schools statewide, in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2008 cover story on the state's Top Public High Schools. The school was ranked 59th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.


Core members of the school's administration include:

  • Michael Daher - Principal
  • Lyndell Davis - Vice Principal
  • Dr. Ida Chiaradia - Vice Principal

Notable alumni


External links

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