Half Hollow Hills is unique in that it possesses two high schools rather than the
usual one high school. Commack, East Northport, and Lindenhurst, are examples of the
many districts on Long Island that have one high school in their district instead of two.
Transportation, population in the school, population in the district’s area, extracurricular
activities, relationships, employment, school spirit and competition are some of the
factors affected by the number of high schools in a particular district.
Many people in our district believe that having two high schools brings about
definite assets. Competition is present between High School East and West; both
schools are constantly clashing to be better than the other. Daniel Rudin, a freshman,
commented, “Competition is of great value to Half Hollow Hills because it causes the
community of each individual high school to strive to become better than the other. This
results in the district becoming more successful, as each high school works harder in
order to be dominant over the other.” He also believes that a huge benefit of having two
high schools is that there are more extracurricular activities, and a student has a higher
chance of making a certain sports team/club because there are less people in the school.
Also on the topic of sports, co-school sports (badminton, boys’ volleyball, etc.) can prove
to be quite beneficial in a few ways. A primary advantage is that less money will be spent
on equipment associated with each sport and limited items for the sport are required. For
example, less fields/courts are utilized and only one coach is needed. Athletes may also
become friends with people of the other school.
According to Mrs. De Stefano, an English teacher at High School West, a benefit
of having two districts is that there is more efficient transportation. Since there are two
high schools people live closer to the particular school they attend in Half Hollow Hills,
while in other districts they could live further away from the high school because there
is only one. Sabrina Kim, the freshman class president, stated, “A benefit of having two
schools is that the school has a comfortable population, and the schools don’t have to
worry about having too many students.” She believes that having two high schools is
very beneficial to our district in terms of population and employment for faculty.
However, people can certainly counter these positive ideas in various ways.
For example, Sabrina Kim also believes that having two schools can potentially impair
relationships among students. Mrs. De Stefano agreed commenting, “A negative of
having two school districts is that the population within a certain area in a district could
be much greater than another area because one of the two schools could be considered
superior to the other.” The whole concept of competition can also been seen through an
opposite perspective. For instance, Ms. Finley, a mathematics teacher at High School
West, stated, “Competition between High School West and East is not beneficial to our
district because it eliminates mutual spirit feelings.” Co-school sports can also be looked
at with a negative outlook. It could be harder to coordinate practices/games between
the two schools, and students may not like transporting to another school every day for
practice. Mr. Toles, a High School West guidance counselor, explained
that it is not a matter of how beneficial it is to have two schools, but the fact that two are
required as a result of population. In other words, one could say there are not really any
major benefits or negative impacts of two schools; it is simply a necessity.
So, is it beneficial to have two high schools in our district? Many think that it is
beneficial because of a smaller population, more jobs, more extracurricular activities,
easier transportation, and because we have competition which increases our success
rates. However, many also think it is not beneficial because relationships are made
more difficult, people are constantly comparing our schools, a certain school could be
considered superior, the population near that school will increase dramatically, and
competition eliminates unified feelings of school spirit. Some are indifferent to the matter
of benefits and disadvantages, and think that it is truly just a matter of controlling the
competition. Is it worth having two districts to control the population, or is it too risky
and unfair? Either way, Half Hollow Hills unique large district and two high schools
definitely adds to the high school experience.