Half Hollow Hills Central School District

Half Hollow Hills Central School District (#5) is located in Dix Hills and primarily serves the hamlets of Dix Hills and Melville, while also serving parts of East Farmingdale, Deer Park, West Hills, and Wheatley Heights. Nine schools (five elementary, two middle, and two high schools) comprise the school district.

Half Hollow Hills
Central School District
525 Half Hollow Road
, New York, 11746
United States
Coordinates40°47′46.33″N 73°21′25.43″W
District information
MottoPerfectly blending academics,
athletics, and the arts
SuperintendentPatrick Harrigan
Asst. Superintendent(s)Jeffery Woodberry, Diana Ketcham, Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo, John O'Farrell, Gwyneth Seelinger, Mia Barkan, Elizabeth Biyoukaghai
Accreditation(s)New York State Education Department
Schoolstwo high schools, two middle schools, five elementary schools
Budget$222 million (2012–3)[1]
NCES District ID3613290[2]
Students and staff
Students9,882 (2010–1)[2]
Teachers755 (2010–1)[2]
Staff850 (2010–1)[2]
Student-teacher ratio13.08 (2010–1)[2]
Other information


The district has two high schools (East and West), two middle schools (Candlewood and West Hollow), and five elementary schools (Otsego, Paumanok, Signal Hill, Sunquam and Vanderbilt).[3]

High schools

Half Hollow Hills East

High School East is located at 50 Vanderbilt Parkway in Dix Hills, New York,[4] across the street from the Half Hollow Hills Community Library - Dix Hills building. Hills East is fed from West Hollow Middle School and is the larger of the two high schools in the district. The current principal is Milton Strong. The building was once expanded in the 1960s and used as both a junior high and a high school, which were located side-by-side and connected to one another, making the building a sprawling structure divided into two wings. For this reason, Hills East has redundant facilities: two main offices, two nurses' offices, two gymnasiums (and two pairs of men's and women's locker rooms), two auditoriums (a main theater and a lecture hall), and three cafeterias (one has since been converted to a weight room). The class of 1978 was the last class where East was the exclusive high school in the district; commencing in 1979 there were graduating classes from both high schools. In 2013, Half Hollow Hills High School East ranked #314 on Newsweek's list of Best High Schools in America.[5] The Hills East school mascot is the Thunderbird, which wears the school colors of red, black, and white.

High School East uniquely features a domed planetarium, located one floor above the principal's office in the newer west wing. It houses a Spitz A3P planetarium projector, and is generally used to host class trips from the middle and elementary schools. It is also the home of the Hills East Astronomy Club, where students are taught about the night sky, astronomy and mythology by fellow students and teachers.[6]

High School East's other main attraction and centerpiece is the Eugene Orloff Auditorium, a two-level theater boasting a seating capacity of 2200, making it the second largest not-for-profit auditorium on Long Island. It hosts a variety of school events throughout the year, such as student concerts, musicals, awards ceremonies and graduations. The space is also rented out to local arts/cultural organizations and companies for concerts, meetings and other events throughout the year. The stage is a full Broadway-sized stage (88 feet wide, 49 feet deep, three stories tall for fly space (hanging scenery). The stage has an orchestra pit containing two pistons (although only one functions) that are capable of raising and lowering the pit. The Eugene Orloff Auditorium is infamous for its low-quality acoustics, as it was constructed of concrete and never completed. The music wing of the school is located in the hallway running behind the stagehouse.

The school also has a lecture hall, located in the older east wing. Recently renovated, It is usually the host of small gatherings and meetings, as well as Advanced Placement exams.

Half Hollow Hills West

High School West, also known as Hills West, is located at 375 Wolf Hill Road in Dix Hills, New York.[7] In 2013, Newsweek ranked West #248 on its Best High Schools in America list.[5] In the 2011–2012 school year, it had 1,480 students and 101 teachers, for a student/teacher ratio of 14.68. The school's demographics are 63% white, 16% black, 6% Hispanic, 14% Asian/Pacific Islander, and less than 1% American Indian, Alaskan, or two or more races. Its male–female ratio is 53–47. The school receives Title I funding and 11% of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.[7]

The school was built in 1975 and in its first year was 10th grade only, for class of '78. After its first year of classes, the district was split and the two high schools became typical 10, 11, 12 grade each. It includes a track, turf field, and natatorium. The Half Hollow Hills Natatorium is adjacent to Ms. B's Trap Garden and the "North Cafeteria" and is primarily used for swim meets, community events, gym classes, and occasional school trips from the other schools within the district. The school grounds of High School West are adjacent to those of Signal Hill Elementary School, which is located at the intersection of Wolf Hill Road and Caledonia Road. West students generally attend Candlewood Middle School from 6th to 8th grade. As of 2019, Michael Catapano serves as the principal of Hills West.[8]

Hills West has been successful in a variety of sports including Cross Country, Track, Football, Basketball, Soccer, Swim, Dance, and Volleyball. In 2009, the Cross Country team won the Suffolk County A Championship. In 2010, they once again won the Suffolk County A Championship, however a disqualification of one of the runners led them to take second place. The winter track team won 7 straight county titles (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011) and in the spring of 2007, 2008 and 2009 the spring track team has won the league by going undefeated. In addition, the Colts have fielded strong baseball teams over the years, winning multiple league titles, two county championships, and a state championship in 2003. The Varsity Boys Basketball team has won 4 Suffolk County AA championships (2008, 2010, 2011, and 2016) And won back to back Long Island Championships (2010 and 2011). The first time that has been accomplished in school history. In 2009, the Football team also won its first Long Island Championship in school history. The Boys Basketball team has made the class AA playoffs every year since 2006. Former Head Coach Bill Mitaritonna was named Newsday's HS Basketball Coach of the Year (2010). The Varsity Soccer team made the state semi-finals in 2007. The Hills Swim team has gone undefeated and won league and county champs. The Varsity Football Team has made the playoffs the past 5 of 8 years and were the 2009 Long Island Champions. In 2014, The Hills West Girls Softball team won its first ever Suffolk County Championship with a 22-4 record. Hills West Dance team, the Wranglerettes, are the 2007 champions in the Long Island Kickline Association competition, winning in the jazz category for the 14th year, and in the newly created hip hop category. The official school mascot is the Colt. The school's colors are red and gold.

Middle schools

West Hollow Middle School, located at 250 Old East Neck Road in Melville, is the largest middle school in the district. Opened in 1970, the building's architects, Geo. B. Post and Sons, included unique features and upscale amenities that made the school a design showplace. These included an "open-concept" floor plan (originally, most classrooms had no doors, and hallways and rooms had wall-to-wall carpeting for sound absorption), a "galleria-style" atrium featuring tropical and exotic plant species (donated by Planting Fields Arboretum of Oyster Bay), a small interior greenhouse, a multi-purpose auditorium that could be divided into three sections (a main theater and two smaller lecture halls), and a central air-conditioning system (making it useful for hosting the district's summer school sessions). On the north side of building (where the annex wing was later built) were once three tennis courts. The current principal is Steven Hauk. The school's athletic teams are collectively known by the nickname "Wolverines", and the current school colors are a passionate red, white, black, purple, and occasionally blue. Approximately 1,900 students attend the school.

Candlewood, located at 1200 Carll's Straight Path in Dix Hills, is the second middle school that underwent renovations in 2003. The current principal is Pamela Higgins. The mascot is the Cougar and the current school colors are red and gold. A track has been completed. Roughly 1,200 students attend the school.

Elementary schools

In the district's history, there were as many as 11 operating elementary schools. The first to close was Sweet Hollow in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, Taukomas, The Hills School and Manasquan closed due to declining enrollment. Manasquan became the district's central office building (later renamed as Fran Greenspan Administration Center) and fed to Burr's Lane Junior High School (also closed, eventually becoming part of the Five Towns College campus in the early 1990s). Vanderbilt, Otsego, and Forest Park used to all feed to Candlewood, which feeds to High School West. Signal Hill, Chestnut Hill, Paumonok, and Sunquam used to all feed to West Hollow, which feeds to High School East. Sunquam re-opened in 1999 after being closed since 1991. It underwent extensive renovations and an expansion, and is located across the street from the Melville branch of Half Hollow Hills Community Library. Chestnut Hill and Forest Park closed in 2014 (eliminating one school from each high school's tracks). In November 2018, Half Hollow Hills Community Library - Dix Hills moved its operations into leased space at Chestnut Hill, temporarily relocating for a three-year term, while its main library building undergoes demolition and a complete rebuild.

District programs

Half Hollow Hills is known for its district-wide theater programs that extends to all schools in the district. This opportunity begins in 5th grade with the "Hills On Stage" program.

Both High School East and High School West are known for their research departments, which have produced a number of Intel Science Talent Search, Intel ISEF, and Siemens Westinghouse Competition finalists over the years.


The Fran Greenspan Administration Center (formerly known as the Manasquan building) houses the central offices of the Half Hollow Hills School District. It is located at 525 Half Hollow Road, directly adjacent to the southern end of the High School East campus. In addition to housing the offices of the Superintendent and other administrators, Central Office serves as the location for a small mock-astronautics program for children and certain community events, as well as child care services. Reach CYA is also housed in the Central Office Location.

Notable alumni


  1. Issler, Mackenzie (February 13, 2013). "Half Hollow district to keep all schools open". Newsday. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  2. "Search for Public School Districts – District Detail for Half Hollow Hills Central School District". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  3. Half Hollow Hills: OUR SCHOOLS
  4. Half Hollow Hills: HIGH SCHOOL EAST
  5. "2013 America's Best High Schools". www.newsweek.com. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  6. Half Hollow Hills: CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES
  7. "School Detail for Half Hollow Hills High School West". National Center for Education Statistics. Archived from the original on June 28, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  8. "High School West Home". Half Hollow Hills Central School District. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  9. https://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/islanders/nhl-commissioner-gary-bettman-says-not-fair-to-give-islanders-fans-any-hope-of-return-to-long-island-1.10327716
  10. Molinet, Jason (February 5, 2002). "Bowen Takes a Break to Sign With Hofstra". Newsday. Cablevision. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  11. "Stephen Bowen, DE for the Washington Redskins at NFL.com". NFL. 2013. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
  12. Sleter, Greg (March 5, 2012). "Harris Gets First Start Vs. Orlando". Patch Media. AOL. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  13. Mallozzi, Vincent M. (November 12, 2011). "Still Waiting for That N.B.A. Moment". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  14. Cacciola, Scott (February 10, 2011). "A Paint-by-the-Numbers Star". The Wall Street Journal. News Corporation. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  15. "Boyz to men". Sunday Mail. Kuala Lampur. October 22, 2000. p. 74 via ProQuest. Buh Buh graduated from the Half Hollow Hills High School East in the early 1990's. (Subscription required.)
  16. Gay, Verne (March 21, 2011). "ON TV: Macchio mambo?". Newsday. Cablevision. p. A14 via ProQuest. Ralph Macchio, the original "Karate Kid," ... was born in Huntington, raised in Dix Hills, and attended Half Hollow Hills West High, graduating in 1979. (Subscription required.)
  17. Kaufman, Bill (April 26, 1983). "Roughening the edges to become an 'Outsider'". Newsday. Cablevision. p. A21 via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Newsday (1940-1985). Macchio, the son of Ralph and Rosalie Macchio and a 1979 graduate of Half Hollow Hills High School West ... (Subscription required.)
  18. Pawel, Miriam (May 14, 1981). "SHOWBIZ: Promoted to star, ex-student comes home". Newsday. Cablevision. p. 11 via ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Newsday (1940-1985). ... Macchio ... graduated two years ago from Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills. (Subscription required.)
  19. "New York Boys' Track Athlete of the Year". ESPN. August 18, 2008. Archived from the original on February 17, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  20. Halley, Jim (February 3, 2008). "After Millrose win, Merber right back to work for school". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 17, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  21. Vaccaro, Chris R. (March 10, 2012). "Hills Alum James Metzger Starts Lacrosse Endowment". Patch Media. AOL. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  22. Parks, Steve (March 13, 1997). "THE DAY TRIP THAT NEVER WAS / With $60,000 and lots of imagination, a Dix Hills filmmaker takes his first feature along the LIE to Soho". Newsday. Cablevision. p. B4 via ProQuest: Newsday (1985–present). [Mottola] never dreamed of making movies while going through Candlewood Elementary School or even after graduating from Half Hollow Hills High School East. (Subscription required.)
  23. Guzmán, Rafer (March 26, 2009). "Dix Hills' Greg Mottola relives 'Adventureland'". Newsday. Cablevision. Archived from the original on December 29, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013 via ProQuest: Newsday (1985–present). ... Greg Mottola, a Dix Hills native whose 1984 summer job there inspired his new film, "Adventureland," may have an explanation. ... His 1996 debut, the satirical drama "The Daytrippers" (featuring Hope Davis, Liev Schreiber and Parker Posey), followed a dysfunctional Long Island family on an eventful drive into Manhattan. His second, more famous film, "Superbad," was a super-crude comedy starring then-unknowns Jonah Hill and Michael Cera.
  24. Stark, Ian J. (July 19, 2013). "Checking in with Hesta Prynn". Newsday. Cablevision. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  25. Lipson, Karin (April 23, 2003). "A Rookie Savors His Baptism by Fire Island / LI filmmaker shoots 'Mickey Stern' at his parents' beach house". Newsday. Cablevision. p. B2 via ProQuest: Newsday (1985–present). He was inspired, Prywes said, by the burgeoning Long Island indie scene, especially the work of two fellow alumni of Half Hollow Hills High School East ... (Subscription required.)
  26. Palmer, J. Jioni (April 1, 2005). "TERRI SCHIAVO 1963-2005, LI roots, divergent views". Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk ed.). Long Island. p. A44 via ProQuest. ... Wasserman Schultz, a 1984 graduate of Half Hollow Hills East High School ... hasn't lived on Long Island since leaving to attend college ... but she returns frequently. 'My best friend still lives on Long Island,' she said.
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