If you ask any parent why they moved to Millburn in New Jersey, whether they have lived there for two years or ten, there is always one three-word answer: “The high school”. What is so special about this high school in a somewhat small town forty-five minutes outside the city?
It is a notoriously intense high school.
So intense, in fact, that, according to a student who moved to Millburn junior year, “the regular level classes are the equivalent of AP classes at my old high school” when asked about how he felt about Millburn. I don’t blame him…in order to take an AP class (the most intense & advanced classes the school offers, and are open to students in grades 10 and above), you have to take a qualifying exam about the topic the class covers, even if it is something that you have never studied before. When I told my friend, who lives in North Carolina, she gave the biggest “wtf” face I had ever seen her make. Her response?
“Why?!?!? All we do at my school is just sign up for the APs we want”.
Along with a variety of class levels, the school offers a multitude of classes on different topics for each subject, elective and required courses. In the Grade 12 English curriculum alone, seniors can pick from 14 classes in the course catalog to fulfill their five credit requirement in that area for the year. The number of options for classes only increases by department the further into the catalog you go.
What else does the thirteenth best public high school in America offer?
There are 27 sports teams and over 30 clubs and activities to pick from, all (or most) under one roof.
How does all this affect the surrounding town that is Millburn?
Think of it like this: No matter how terribly a sports team is doing, businesses in town will still post photos and schedules of the team’s games in order to support of them & encourage others to attend the games to support that team as well, even if that team was never high-performing in the first place.
Shows put on by the music & art department manage to always fill up the auditorium to maximum capacity, even if that show runs late into the night in the middle of the week. The biggest fundraisers in town are almost always for the Board of Education, who in turn divide the money between the eight Millburn schools, typically giving the larger amounts to the high school.
No matter how much people grumble about the change to block scheduling, the fact that the freshmen are the only grade provided with Chromebooks, or the overall effects of the school’s intensity on students & their families, it still manages to get tremendous amounts of unwavering support from parents and students alike, whether it be in the form of money or rooting for Millburn in a sports game or other competition.
No matter where in town you go, the blue and white “M” of the Millburn Millers can always be found. Big or small, during the day or at night. Whole families (including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc) move in & raise their kids together. Parents who grew up in Millburn and left after they graduated move back so that their kids get the same quality of education that they did.
Millburn High School has created a town that is dedicated in every aspect of not only making sure the kids are happy, but making sure that they have every tool possible to be prepared to succeed once they graduate. I am glad to have called this place my home.