Cliffside Park High School
Cliffside Pk HS fall jeh.JPG
538 Palisade Avenue

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°49′16″N 73°59′13″W / 40.821°N 73.987°W / 40.821; -73.987Coordinates: 40°49′16″N 73°59′13″W / 40.821°N 73.987°W / 40.821; -73.987
TypePublic high school
School districtCliffside Park School District
NCES School ID340327000304[1]
PrincipalLawrence Pinto
Faculty87.9 FTEs[1]
Enrollment1,181 (as of 2020–21)[1]
Student to teacher ratio13.4:1[1]
Color(s)  Red and
Athletics conferenceBig North Conference (general)
North Jersey Super Football Conference (football)
Team nameRed Raiders[2]
RivalRidgefield Park High School
PublicationThe Cliffside Courier

Cliffside Park High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school that serves students in ninth through twelfth grade from Cliffside Park, in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the Cliffside Park School District.[3]

Students from Fairview attend the school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Fairview Public Schools.[3][4]

As of the 2020–21 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,181 students and 87.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.4:1. There were 485 students (41.1% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 80 (6.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1] In the 2011-12 school year, 36.1% of students at the high school spoke English as their first language at home, while 44.4% spoke Spanish, 4.4% speak Arabic, 3.8% speak Portuguese, 1.9% speak Korean, 1.9% speak Turkish and 7.6% speak other languages. Among the graduates of the Class of 2010, 51.2% planned to attend four-year colleges, while 38.5% planned on attending two-year colleges.[5]

Awards, recognition and rankings

The school was the 297th-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.[6] The school had been ranked 256th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 235th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[7] The magazine ranked the school 220th in 2008 out of 316 schools.[8] The school was ranked 195th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state.[9]


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The Cliffside Park High School Red Raiders[2] compete in the Big North Conference, which is comprised of public and private high schools in Bergen and Passaic counties, and was established following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[10] The school had previously competed in the Bergen County Scholastic League (BCSL) American Conference, which included public and private high schools located in Bergen and Hudson counties.[11] With 940 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2019–20 school year as Group III for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 761 to 1,058 students in that grade range.[12] The football team competes in the Ivy Red division of the North Jersey Super Football Conference, which includes 112 schools competing in 20 divisions, making it the nation's biggest football-only high school sports league.[13][14] The football team is one of the 12 programs assigned to the two Ivy divisions starting in 2020, which are intended to allow weaker programs ineligible for playoff participation to compete primarily against each other.[15] The school was classified by the NJSIAA as Group IV North for football for 2018–2020.[16]

The boys' basketball team won the Group III state championships in 1941 vs. Bound Brook High School, 1943 vs. Merchantville High School, 1946 vs. Woodrow Wilson High School, 1948 vs. Thomas Edison High School of Elizabeth, 1954 vs. Linden High School and 1955 vs. Springfield High School (since renamed as Jonathan Dayton High School), and won the Group II title in 1971 vs. Haddon Heights High School.[17] Down by six points after the first quarter, the 1941 team pulled ahead by outscoring Bound Brook 12-4 in the second quarter and 11-2 in the third to win the Group III title by a score of 38-31 in the championship game played at the Elizabeth Armory.[18] Led by Gerald Calabrese, the 1943 team defeated Merchantville by a score of 42-26 in the Group III final; a proposal was made to have Cliffside Park play Group II champion Weehawken High School in a fundraiser for the American Red Cross.[19] The 1948 team held off a furious late effort by Thomas Edison of Elizabeth to win the Group III title by a score of 49-47 in the championship game played at the Elizabeth Armory before a crowd of 4,000.[20]

With five touchdowns from their fullback, the 1977 football team won the NJSIAA North I Group III state sectional title with a 37-6 win in the championship game against Indian Hills High School in front of 32,000 fans at Giants Stadium.[21][22][23] The school has maintained a rivalry with Ridgefield Park High School since the two schools first played each other, which was listed by The Record as one of the best in Bergen and Passaic counties; though the first game between the two schools was earlier, from 1950 through the 2017 season, Ridgefield Park is ahead with a 38-20-2 record in games between the two schools.[24]

The boys soccer team won the Group II state championship in 2008 (as co-champion with Delran High School) and 2010 (defeating Haddon Heights High School in the final game of the tournament).[25] The 2007 boys soccer team won the North II, Group II state sectional championship with a 1-0 win over Hackettstown High School in the tournament final for the team's second sectional title, the program's only other win coming in 1992 when it won the North I, Group III sectional title.[26][27] The 2008 team shared the Group II state championship with Delran High School, after a 2-2 tie in which Cliffside Park took a 2-1 lead with a goal with 74 seconds left in regulation but Delran tied the score with a goal nine seconds later.[28][29] In 2010, the team won its fourth consecutive state sectional title with a 3-1 win against Bernards High School.[30] The 2010 boys soccer team was recognized by The Record as the North Jersey Boys Soccer Team of the Year after winning the Group II state championship with a 1-0 win over Haddon Heights High School, the first sole possession of the state title in the program's history after sharing the Group II title in 2008.[31][32]

The Class of COVID-19

Students at the high school published three memoir collections about the COVID-19 pandemic collectively entitled The Class of COVID-19. The first edition, The Class of COVID-19: Insights from the Inside, published in June 2020, contains pieces by forty-six students and was edited by Cliffside Park High School English teacher Shawn Adler. The collection was brought together, according to Adler, so that "people have this as a primary document for as long as they are learning about what we're going through in history."[33]

The book has attracted national press coverage in the United States from CNN,[34] the Wall Street Journal,[35] NBC Nightly News,[36] People, Yahoo,[37] Al Día, and other outlets. It has also garnered praise from a range of New Jersey politicians, including Governor Phil Murphy,[38] U.S. Senator Cory Booker,[39] and Representative Bill Pascrell.[40] A second volume, The Class of COVID-19: Second Wave, with twenty-four new pieces of writing by different student authors, appeared in January 2021.[34]


The school's principal is Lawrence Pinto. His administration team includes two vice principals and the athletic director.[41]

Notable alumni

See also: Category:Cliffside Park High School alumni


  1. ^ a b c d e School data for Cliffside Park High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Cliffside Park High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Parents Handbook, Cliffside Park High School. Accessed November 15, 2020. "Cliffside Park is a receiving district for high school students from Fairview. "
  4. ^ Cliffside Park High School 2015 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 25, 2016. "Cliffside Park High School services approximately 1135 students of Cliffside Park and the neighboring community of Fairview."
  5. ^ Cliffside Park High School 2011-2012 School Report Card, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  7. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed December 1, 2012.
  8. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 21, 2011.
  9. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  10. ^ League & Conference Officers/Affiliated Schools 2020-2021, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  11. ^ League Memberships – 2009-2010, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 24, 2011. Accessed November 19, 2014.
  12. ^ NJSIAA General Public School Classifications 2019–2020, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Cooper, Darren. "Here's what we know about the new Super Football Conference 2020 schedule", The Record, July 23, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2021. "The Super Football Conference (SFC) is a 112-team group, the largest high school football-only conference in America, and is comprised of teams from five different counties."
  14. ^ Cooper, Darren. "NJ football: Super Football Conference revised schedules for 2020 regular season", The Record, July 23, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2021. "The Super Football Conference has 112 teams that will play across 20 divisions."
  15. ^ Cooper, Darren. "Super Football Conference creating 'Ivy Division' for struggling programs", The Record, May 1, 2019. Accessed March 24, 2021. "Seeking to restore participation and enthusiasm to high school football programs that have struggled to compete consistently, the Super Football Conference announced plans to start a 12-team 'Ivy Division' in the 2020 season. Teams that compete in the 'Ivy Division' will play exclusively against each other and won't participate in the NJISAA football playoffs.... Twelve schools from Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Morris counties have applied to compete in the Ivy Division: Bergen Tech, Cliffside Park, Dickinson, Fair Lawn, Ferris, Memorial, Dover, Dwight-Morrow, Fort Lee, Glen Ridge, Marist and Tenafly."
  16. ^ NJSIAA Football Public School Classifications 2018–2020, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, finalized August 2019. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  17. ^ NJSIAA Boys Basketball Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  18. ^ via Associated Press. "Cliffside Park Wins Group 3 Title by 38-31; Cliffs Defeat Bound Brook With Smashing Third-Period Drive in State Tournament", Asbury Park Press, March 23, 1941. Accessed March 1, 2021, via "smashing third-period drive carried Cliffside Park to a 38-31 triumph over Bound Brook and the Group 3 title in the annual New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic association's basketball championships at the Elizabeth armory last night. Behind the sharpshooting of Ted Berlinski, six-foot-four-inch center. Bound Brook picked up an early 12-6 lead in the first night title game."
  19. ^ "Cliffside, Weehawken Champs May Meet For Red Cross; Calabrese-Schwob Duel A Big Lure; Both Of These Star Players Led Teams To State Titles Saturday At Seton Hall; Cliffside Scores 42-26 To Beat Merchantville For Group 3 Title", The Record, March 22, 1943. Accessed March 7, 2021, via "Cliffside High School's basketball team, which snagged its second Group 3 New Jersey State basketball title on Saturday night at the Seton Hall gymnasium in South Orange by beating Merchantville 42 to 26, may play Weehawken, Group 2 New Jersey champs, in a Red Cross benefit game this month.... Jerry Calabrese led the way for the Cliffside crew, as he has been doing all year."
  20. ^ De La Ree, Gerry. "Cliffside Park Defeats Edison 49-47 For Group Three State Title; La Marca, Colao Led Bergen Five", The Record, March 22, 1948. Accessed January 28, 2021, via "Cliffside Park High School defeated a stubborn Thomas Edison High quintet from Elizabeth 49 to 47 Saturday night before 4,000 fans at Elizabeth Armory to round out a decade of Bergen County dominance over the Group Three N. J. S. I. A. A. basketball title. In chalking up their fourth State title since 1941, the Cliffside Park Firemen were forced to stave off a late Edison rally that produced nine points in the last minute of play."
  21. ^ NJSIAA Football History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  22. ^ "32,000 Watch Westfield Fulfill No. 1 Role, 33-12", The New York Times, December 4, 1977. Accessed November 15, 2020. "A estimated crowd of 32,000, the second-largest in New Jersey schoolboy history, was on hand at Giants Stadium for the battle between the state's top-rated teams. They also saw North Bergen defeat Snyder, 6-0, and Cliffside Park rout Indian Hills, 37-6, in title games."
  23. ^ Farber, Michael. "Cliffside Group 3 champ; Indian Hills beaten, 37-6", The Record, December 4, 1977. Accessed December 13, 2020, via "Sophomore fullback Tom Chakonis scored five touchdowns last night to finish what Cliffside Park started early this season, the quest for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group 3 North Jersey Section 1 football championship. The Red Raiders routed previously unbeaten Indian Hills, 37-6, dominating the playing field more noticeably than the scoreboard."
  24. ^ Cooper, Darren; Farrell, Sean; and Mattura, Greg. "North Jersey football: Best public school rivalries; Read up on the top rivalries in Bergen and Passaic counties, and vote for the one you think is best in the poll at the bottom of this page", The Record, July 17, 2018. Accessed May 13, 2021. "Cliffside Park vs. Ridgefield Park... First meeting: Unknown; Series history: Since 1950, Ridgefield Park leads series 38-20 with two ties."
  25. ^ NJSIAA History of Boys Soccer, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 20, 2020.
  26. ^ 2007 Boys Soccer - North II, Group II, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 13, 2007.
  27. ^ Staff. "Cliffside captures first title since '92", The Record, November 10, 2007. Accessed May 26, 2016. "Jaafar scored on a header in the 57th minute Friday to give the top-seeded Red Raiders a 1-0 victory over No. 3 Hackettstown in the North 2, Group 2 final at Cliffside Park. This marked Cliffside Park's second sectional title and first since it won the North 1, Group 3 crown in 1992, coach Jim Fucci said."
  28. ^ Staff. "Late goal gives Delran share of title", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 23, 2008. Accessed July 25, 2011. "The Delran boys' soccer team admittedly was deflated after Cliffside Park took a 2-1 lead yesterday with 74 seconds remaining in regulation of their Group 2 state title game at Hillsborough High. What looked like a grim situation turned into an improbable comeback, which is why the Bears didn't mind sharing the championship after playing to a 2-2 tie with Cliffside Park through regulation and two overtime periods."
  29. ^ Lewis, John. "Delran's Allibone fulfills role of captain to the end", Burlington County Times, November 24, 2008. Accessed July 25, 2011. "Beyond his defensive contributions, Bob Allibone took it upon himself to be the one who rallied the Delran High School boys soccer team after it fell behind with just 1:14 remaining in Saturday's state Group 2 championship game.Dominic Nocito, who re-tied the game nine seconds later, said it was Allibone, a senior captain, who rallied the team at that point and got them ready for one more run ..."
  30. ^ Staff. "Cliffside Park rallies to capture North 2, Group 2 title", The Record, November 12, 2010. Accessed July 25, 2011. "Cliffside Park's seniors completed their sweep Thursday, coming back with three goals in the second half to beat Bernards, 3-1, and win their fourth consecutive North 2, Group 2 boys soccer championship."
  31. ^ Giuffra, Brian A. "Boys soccer Team of the Year: Cliffside Park", The Record, December 14, 2010. Accessed July 25, 2011. "It won three straight State sectional titles, three straight league titles, been to two straight Group 2 championships and shared a Group 2 title. But even with that success, the Red Raiders never were content, even when it seemed things couldn't get any better. This year, they did. Cliffside Park put together the best season in school history and earned the North Jersey Boys Soccer Team of the Year honor after duplicating its success from the last three years and finishing the season with its first Group 2 championship in school history."
  32. ^ Staff. "Haddon Heights falls to Cliffside Park in Group 2 boys' soccer championship", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 22, 2010. Accessed July 25, 2011. "A Cliffside Park team that played picturesque possession soccer used a first-half goal from Exau Paz and defeated Haddon Heights, 1-0, in Sunday's state Group 2 championship at the College of New Jersey."
  33. ^ "N.J. High School Students Pen Powerful Memoir About Living Through COVID-19: 'We Are Resilient'". Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  34. ^ a b Khadean Coombs. "These high schoolers turned their tough experiences during the pandemic into powerful memoirs". CNN. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  35. ^ Brody, Leslie (January 7, 2021). "High School Students' Personal Essays Turn Into a Memoir: 'The Class of Covid-19'". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  36. ^ "High school students write memoir about life during pandemic". NBC News. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  37. ^ "Students from the class of 2020 talk quarantine, virtual college and dealing with unknowns: 'We're going to make the most of it'". Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  38. ^ Phil Murphy [@govmurphy] (September 2, 2020). "Last week, I spoke with Shawn Adler, who teaches English at Cliffside Park High School. Shawn worked with his students to put their stories to paper, creating the memoir collection, "The Class of COVID-19: Insights from the Inside." Thank you, Shawn, for being a model educator!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  39. ^ Cory Booker [@SenBooker] (July 31, 2020). "Inspired by these New Jersey students and their incredible teacher Mr. Adler for their resilience during these challenging times. I encourage people to read their profound stories:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^ Bill Pascrell [@PascrellforNJ] (January 14, 2021). "I'm so very proud of the #CliffsidePark students who made this important book possible. Years from now people will use works like this to understand the struggles and triumphs of this difficult era. These students have made our entire community proud" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  41. ^ High School Faculty, Cliffside Park High School. Accessed March 14, 2022.
  42. ^ Nick Borelli, Pro Football Archives. Accessed September 10, 2017.
  43. ^ Tribute To Gerald Calabrese -- Hon. Robert G. Torricelli, United States House of Representatives, March 13, 1991. Accessed June 2, 2007. "I have known Gerry Calabrese for many years. He has been a leader in Cliffside Park, NJ since he led Cliffside Park High School to a State basketball championship."
  44. ^ Bruce Elia Stats, Accessed March 14, 2018.
  45. ^ Levin, Jay. "Alan 'Bucky' Kempton, former HS football coach, dies at 78",, March 10, 2009. Accessed October 4, 2011. "Alan 'Bucky' Kempton, who coached Cliffside Park High School football for 14 years and led the squad to a state title in 1977, died Friday. He was 78 and lived in Gettysburg, Pa.... One of Mr. Kempton's players from 1969-71, Bruce Elia, had a pro career with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers."
  46. ^ "Cliffside", The Record, May 5, 1949. Accessed March 1, 2021, via "Frederick C. Galda, son of Mrs. Frederick Galda of North Bergen, formerly of Cliffside Park, has been admitted to the New Jersey Bar.... Mr. Galda, an alumnus of Cliffside Park High School and Michigan State College, served for 5 years with the Navy, part of the time on Guam."
  47. ^ Luke Higgins Stats, Accessed March 14, 2018.
  48. ^ Ed Mioduszewski Stats, Accessed March 14, 2018.
  49. ^ Smith, Ray. "'Hoboken was a very wild community' Actor Joe Pantoliano inspires; honored at the Boys and Girls Club" Archived September 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The Hudson Reporter, December 12, 2010. Accessed September 10, 2017. "Pantoliano and his lifelong friend Rich Pepe have teamed up to create their own pasta sauce (or gravy, depending on your ethnicity) called 'Pepe and Pants Pasta Sauce,' of which 100 percent of the net proceeds are donated to 'No Kidding, Me Too!' The two men graduated from Cliffside Park High School together after their families moved from Hoboken."
  50. ^ Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, Volume 206, p. 271. J.A. Fitzgerald., 1994. Accessed August 27, 2018. "Assemblyman Roma was born in New York City July 20, 1949. He attended Cliffside Park High School and Seton Hall University. He received his law degree at Samford University, Birmingham, Ala., and a post-graduate law degree at NYU."
  51. ^ Ted Rzempoluch Stats, Accessed March 14, 2018.
  52. ^ Staff. "Prep Finds He Has Broken Leg--4 Games Later", Chicago Tribune, November 20, 1958. Accessed October 4, 2011. "Ted Rzempoluch, Cliffside Park High school football player, was hurt four games ago, but no matter. In three games since, Rzempoluch, who plays fullback, has become his team's leading scorer, with 42 points."
  53. ^ Villanova, Patrick. "Marist High School's Manny Suarez verbally commits to Fordham University", The Jersey Journal, October 24, 2012, updated January 18, 2019. Accessed December 26, 2021. "Suarez, who played in 14 games last season after transferring to the Bayonne Catholic school from Cliffside Park, averaged 16 points and 12.7 rebounds per game."
  54. ^ Hawthorne, Fran. "Calabrese denies influence charge",The Record, March 16, 1976. Accessed November 1, 2020."County Prosecutor Joseph C. Woodcock Jr. said both officials may give grand jury testimony as soon as Thursday or Friday.... The prosecutor graduated from Cliffside Park High School with Calabrese, and political sources say Woodcock helped get Madden appointed to the district court bench in 1967."