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Friday, December 15, 2017

A Brief History

A Brief History of Fair Lawn High School

Our Colors: Red and Gray  |  Our Teams: The Cutters

Fair Lawn High School opened on September 13, 1943, with a student body of nearly 900 and a staff of over 40 teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators.  Housing grades 7 through 11 (grade 12 was added the following year), ours was the only high school to be built in the country during World War II.

The first class to graduate was the class of 1945, consisting of over 60 residents of
Fair Lawn who had transferred in from the high schools in Ridgewood, Paterson, and Hawthorne
they had previously attended.  Rapid population growth in Fair Lawn led to overcrowded conditions; by 1948 the high school was on double sessions.  Grades 7, 8, and 9 attended in the afternoon and grades 10, 11, and 12 attended in the morning.  The situation eased when Thomas Jefferson Junior High School was built on Morlot Avenue and opened in the mid 1950s.

In 1955, the B-Wing, an addition which more than doubled the size of the high school building, was opened.  It included a gym, an auditorium, and two cafeterias, as well as specialized rooms for industrial arts, home economics, science, and art.  The B-Wing was built at a right angle to the A-Wing; the front faces Berdan Avenue. 

Alumni who graduated before the B-Wing was built would see many, many changes in the school. The former cafeteria area now houses the administrative main offices. The former main office suite now serves as the faculty room. Although the library remained in the same location, an adjacent classroom long ago became part of the library itself. The main entrance to the high school was relocated to the center of the B-Wing.

Perhaps the biggest change is that a Student Lounge area was created on the first floor where the A- and B-Wings meet. It was placed in the very center of the school, and nearly every member of the school community passed through it at least once each day.

In the 1980s and 1990s, rooms in the B-Wing were adapted for use as computer labs and interactive television.  Industrial arts and home economics rooms were updated to accommodate technology and industrial foods education.

In 1961, overcrowding again was eased by a new addition, the C-Wing, which included science and language labs. Consisting of classrooms only, the C-Wing branches out from the A-Wing near the end of the corridor farthest from the B-Wing.

In the early 1970s, two computer terminals were installed in room B224, prompting the formation of the Computer Club, and making FLHS an early player in the field of computer education.   Our Computer League has often taken top honors in national competitions.

In 1992, FLHS was recognized for its rich diversity, including programs in the sciences, arts, and humanities; in sports and extracurricular activities and in student-faculty cooperation and achievement.  We were designated one of the nation's "Blue Ribbon" schools.  This honor was bestowed upon FLHS again in 1998.

The D-Wing opened in January, 2007. It contains a large cafeteria ("the D-Caf"), which also serves as a student common area, replacing the original B-Wing lounge. There is entry from the D-Caf corridor to an outdoor courtyard, where there are tables for students to use during lunchtime in good weather. The D-Wing also has a new room for the band, a new library, and several classrooms. The renovation that took place in the building as the D-Wing was being constructed gave us new art rooms, a new foods lab, and a new child car classroom, as well as much-needed office space. The Guidance Office was relocated to the old library space (upstairs from the Main Office), and the nurse's office was expanded.