A Tradition of Excellence since 1956
In September of 1956, across from the peach orchards on Chapel Avenue, a new school opened its doors to seventh, eighth and ninth graders. Its students were drawn from across Delaware Township. The founding of Delaware Township High School marked the emergence of the township as a burgeoning South Jersey community. Fittingly, its alma mater began with the lines "High upon old Chapel Hill, stands a school I call my own." The first graduating class was the Class of 1960.
In these early years, the school consisted of four partially completed wings, A to D. A and C Wings were not completed until 1958. E-Wing was completed in 1960. Student-athletes were served by one gymnasium (Walsh) and no athletic fields. The football team played all of its games away, and the baseball team played at the Hinchman School. Despite these limitations, the school quickly developed a reputation as a first-rate institution under the leadership of Dr. Robert Hansen, the school’s first principal, and a cohort of dedicated and professional staff members.
In these early years, off of Chapel Avenue, a farmhouse stood on a hill with its lengthy driveway flanked by a gauntlet of cherry trees. In time, that cherry-lined hill would become the symbol of Delaware Township’s evolution from agricultural farms to suburban tracts. In 1963, the high school, which now included F-Wing and G-Wing, was renamed Cherry Hill High School to reflect the township’s newly developed identity.
Because of increasing enrollment, a new high school, Cherry Hill H.S. East, was constructed in 1966. Our school was renamed Cherry Hill H.S. West. Our enrollment continued to climb, and at its height in 1969, student enrollment at West reached 3,000. In the Class of 1969 alone, there were 986 students.
Presently, the high school serves over 1,500 students divided among four grade levels. Today’s students enjoy the "luxury" of uncrowded halls, six state-of-the-art dedicated and Internet connected computer labs, with additional computer equipment available in every content area and throughout the media center, each classroom is wired to the Internet, a new Guidance Suite (1993) and Science Wing (1995), and a state-of-the-art Media Center complete with electronic databases, full-text retrieval services, and Internet access. A 1,000 seat auditorium addition and renovation of six science labs done in September, 2000. Students also enjoy a wealth of curricular and co-curricular offerings. Over the years, the face of West has changed considerably. Students and staff have come and gone. Remarkably, the spirit of the West community has been passed from one generation of West sojourner to the next.
Cherry Hill High School West has been helping students recognize and initiate answers to the questions of Aristotle, Socrates and Plato since its opening day in 1957. The world and our high school have changed in many ways since those distant days when America first began the post World War II suburban culture which was destined to change the nation.
However, our mission at West has never changed. We continue our vocation of preparing students to discover self, prepare for life, and participate in one of the most stable republics of the world community. We have an extraordinary meeting at West of deeply committed professionals and incredibly talented students. It is an obligation to lead and in so doing, to teach a community by example. That is our common mission.
Welcome to our school and our story.
Portions adapted from "The School on Chapel Hill," by William Sleeth