By: Eden Placer, Editorial Staff ‘24
Students currently enrolled at Indian Hills High School was faced with a choice during their 8th grade year as to which school, Hills or Ramapo, they wanted to attend come freshman year. However, such a choice was not granted – to regulate as close to equal as possible for the student body population.
This relatively new freedom has, of course, offered benefits to students, but some negatives have resulted in the change as well. Students may have noticed certain classes or extracurricular activities through the school may no longer be offered, and there has been talk about Indian Hills dropping a league in athletics due to the population decline. There is some truth to these claims, but not everything you hear is completely accurate.
The Guidance Department within the school has clear intell to the workings and further effects of said outcomes, offering that enrollment fluctuations are to be considered ‘typical’ to a degree. Students should also be made aware of the still possibility to take courses not offered year-to-year at IHHS due to interest in numbers somewhat lacking. The educators within the district make the effort to offer courses through Ramapo that cannot sustain themselves here, and students, if already discussed with the counselor, have the opportunity to potentially travel over or virtually participate.
Mrs. Fezza-Carangelo in the Guidance Department at Hills has given words of encouragement meant to ease students, saying, “[IHHS] has always prided ourselves on having the best school spirit. We truly look to adapt to situations like low enrollment by focusing on school spirit. We do not let it hinder our school pride here at Hills.” To ease students to even more of a degree, the point was made that, with more opportunities to fill, unique and newly formed clubs have made their way to after school hours. Just as well, Wellness Wednesdays have been put in place with more activities to connect with a wider range of students.
As for the future of athletics at Indian Hills, Mr. Duncan, the new athletic director, has been doing his best to really bring spirit back to Hills and unify the student body. With talk of the school dropping a league, he hopes to clarify that the situation has been incorrectly portrayed. In truth, the school has not dropped a league but instead has been reclassified in a group that plays schools of similar enrollment numbers as deemed by the NJSIAA – the governing body of high school athletics in New Jersey.
As a somewhat indirect result of this change, Mr. Duncan wants to make it known that the league schedule will be different, facing us off in more competitive athletic competitions that give Indian Hills more chances to come out on top. When asked his thoughts on the news, he admitted that, “The change is bittersweet. I am excited because it should allow for more competitive games across the board. The downside is, we are in this position because the enrollment numbers for the high school have decreased. The challenge is there and we know it. We need to find ways to increase enrollment and show everyone just how great Indian Hills is and what we have to offer!”
His addition to the Indian Hills community has brought a newfound sense of community, especially in the context of sporting events. He gave closing remarks that, “[He] looks forward to working with the staff and students to come up with ideas and ways to make Indian Hills the premier destination for the children in the FLOW communities!”