Morris Hills Memories Through the Generations

Michelle Mendez, Contributing Writer

About 1,326 Students attend Hills every day. That’s 2,278 feet that roam the same hallways that you do five days a week, eight hours a day. Can you imagine the history and stories that could be told if the walls of Hills could talk? Although that’s impossible, this article is a close second option.

Morris Hills opened its doors 63 years ago on September 9, 1953. At the time Morris Hills offered activities and clubs like the Library Squad, Rifle Club, Future Homemakers Club and an organization called Nightingales, which gave prospective nurses a glimpse into the medical field. There was also a club called Family Living Services that gave students insight into what their lives might be like after leaving high school, teaching them about bills, taxes, and how to handle a bank account and buy a home.

Mr. Rosenberg, a history teacher who graduated from Morris Hills, commented on the changes he has noticed since he was a student here. “Unfortunately we have less electives now; we have seen the disappearance of certain hands-on types of classes and have seen more of an increase in Advanced Placement courses and other programs,” he said. Mr. Rosenberg would like to see more “life skill” classes find a way back to our curriculum. Maybe reestablishing the Family Living Services club would help fill that need.

Popular fundraisers today at Morris Hills include the Mr. Morris Hills pageant. Decades ago, donkeys roamed around in the main gym to raise money. In the Sixties Morris Hills held an annual donkey basketball game where students had the chance to make teams with classmates and compete in a games of basketball while riding donkeys!

Today, Morris Hills shows its school spirit through the Morris Hills Gang Movement, in which the student body gathers around decked in red, white, and black to support the players and show their pride in being Scarlet Knights. In the Seventies, students showed their spirit by having annual bonfires to generate enthusiasm for games against rival schools like Mountain High School, which is now called West Orange High School.

The some of the students who attended Morris Hills during these different times have made their mark in the world. Famous alumni have walked these very halls and attended the very classes that we attend now. Alumnus Bruce Patrick Bannon left Morris Hills in 1969. Bannon later went on to play football for Penn State University and then was drafted by the New York Jets. He played for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and won Super Bowl Vlll. Another notable alumnus is 1972 graduate General Raymond T. Odiemo, a retired United States army general who served as the 38th Chief of Staff for the army and was commander of the platoon that captured Saddam Hussein.

Morris Hills’ history surrounds us every day, but remember that our future has not been written. It’s our turn to leave a mark at Morris Hills for future generations to look back upon.