Harriton High School

Harriton High School is a public secondary school serving portions of Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia's Main Line suburbs.

Harriton High School
600 North Ithan Avenue


United States
Coordinates40°02′28″N 75°19′01″W
TypeHigh School
Motto"Carpe Diem"[1]
CEEB code394290
PrincipalScott Weinstein
Faculty111.75 (FTE)[2]
Enrollment1,204 (2017–18)[2]
Student to teacher ratio10.77[2]
Campus50 acres (200,000 m2)
Color(s)             Red, White, and Black
PublicationThe Banner

Harriton is one of two high schools in the Lower Merion School District; the other is Lower Merion High School.


In 1957, a new "campus-style" school was designed by architect Vincent Kling. It was situated on a portion of the plantation grounds belonging to Charles Thomson, son-in-law of Richard and Hannah Harrison, giving Harriton High School its name. Harriton High School opened in 1958.[3]

As of the 2009 school year, a new three-story building has been completed and the "campus-style" school largely demolished to make room for sports fields. The old Harriton High School consisted of five buildings connected by covered walkways otherwise open to the elements, a style unusual for the region that it shared with Welsh Valley Middle School, built at the same time; its buildings surrounded a mostly concrete courtyard nicknamed "the Tombs". The new school's design departs from this style greatly—a modern design that encompasses a simple and effective layout with a focus on natural light and an airy environment.[4]

Clubs and activities

Science Olympiad

Harriton hosts a successful Science Olympiad chapter. The Team has placed among the top 10 at the Science Olympiad National Tournament for 21 consecutive years, winning three national championships and 16 consecutive state championships in that span.[5][6]

Harriton competes in the Southeastern Region for Regionals and Pennsylvania for States.[7] Although they have not run any invitationals in the past, Harriton participates in multiple of invitationals, including Conestoga, Twin Tiers (Athens), Solon, Wright State, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cornell, Upenn and Princeton.[7] In the states competition, Harriton held the longest winning streak out of any Pennsylvanian team, athletic or not—placing first place at States for sixteen consecutive years (1997 to 2013). At the National competition, the team won the national title in 1995, 2001 and 2005. Additionally, the team has competed in the national competition from 1994 to present, 22 years.

Team Placements Regionals States Nationals
2018 1 1 3
2017 1 1 2
2016 2 1 2
2015 1 1 8
2014 2 2 3
2013 1 1 2
2012 1 1 6
2011 1 1 8
2010 2 1 8

Academic Decathlon

Harriton High School features a chapter of the United States Academic Decathlon. The chapter participates in the Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Competition.[8]

Music at Harriton

Harriton features a full concert band and orchestra. Harriton also features a performance jazz band. Every fall and spring, Harriton stages a music concert featuring all the ensembles, as well as an occasional string quartet or percussion ensemble. Though it lacks a marching band, Harriton does have its own "RAM Band", which plays at home and away football games.

Every year Harriton musicians audition for positions in the PMEA district band and/or orchestra.

In addition to these directed groups, Harriton is home to Pitch Please, a student-run a cappella group.

Harriton Banner

The school newspaper had been called the Harriton Forum or the Harriton Free Forum since the opening of Harriton High School in 1957. In October 2006, it was renamed the Harriton Banner.[9]

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

Harriton High School features a chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America. The chapter has been highly successful in the last few years. Members who advance past the PA Region 20 competition are eligible to compete in the annual State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Members of FBLA chapters from across the State of Pennsylvania compete at the SLC for the right to compete in the National Leadership Conference (NLC).

Technology Student Association (TSA)

Harriton TSA has had successes at regional, state, and national competitions, including a TSA national championship in Prepared Presentation in 2010. Harriton TSA members held five of the eight Pennsylvania TSA state officer positions. The four Lower Merion School District TSA chapters, including Harriton's TSA, consistently win more awards than any other school district in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As TSA itself deals within the realm of STEM learning, it is often compared to the successful Science Olympiad team.

Harriton Student Council (HSC)

This is the main body of representation for the Harriton student body. HSC holds meetings that are open to any Harriton student. HSC recruits members, who vote on issues at the meetings. Members are divided into six committees: Students' Rights, Events, Communication, Finance, Planning, and Technology. There is a sub-committee under Students' Rights that was established after the district initiated the 1:1 laptop-to-student initiative (the Students' Rights Technology Sub-Committee). Council is the organizing and executing body of the annual "Mr. Harriton" competition, one of the flagship productions at Harriton High School. Mr harriton is a competition between male students engaging in a "beauty pageant" style competition. It is generally a comedic event and it raises money for charity. The Student Council collects revenue from the show through ticket sales and catalog advertising. In 2014, the Student Council raised a record $17,000, all of which went to charity.[10] In December 2018, the name of the event was changed to "Dr. Harriton" to reflect the fact that anyone may participate.[11]


Harriton High School competes the Central League in District 1 of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA).[12]


Harriton's girls tennis team held the PIAA State Class AA Team Tennis Title for seven consecutive years from 2004 to 2010.[13] After moving up to Class AAA in 2012, girls tennis won the PIAA State Class AAA Team Tennis Title in 2016.[14]


Harriton's girls lacrosse won the PIAA State Championship in 2013.[15]


Since 2013, Ram Golf has reached the PIAA District Team Championship competition in two of three years, as well as individuals reaching the district competition each year.

Cross Country/Track

Harriton has a cross country team in the fall, as well as a track team for the winter and the spring.

Ice Hockey

Harriton features a Boys' Ice Hockey Team. It separated from the joint Lower Merion/Harriton team after the 2009-2010 season.[16]


Harriton's rowing team has sent several boats to the National regatta. In the Spring of 2013, the Women's Varsity 4+ boat won the Scholastic National Championships, as well as made it to the final round of the Women's Henley Regatta in Henley-on-Thames, England. Both its girls' and boys' teams have won races in the all-city regatta.


Harriton's football team is ranked 486th in the state,[17] and includes a varsity roster of 56 students.


They offer both Girls and Boys Varsity Soccer during the fall season.


The Harriton High School swim includes a girls and boys Varsity and Junior Varsity teams.[9] As of 2016, the boys teams have won 3 out of the last 5 state championships and the girls have won 2 out of the last 4.[9] The team practices at Lower Merion High School.

Laptop privacy lawsuit

In the 2010 WebcamGate case, plaintiffs charged Harriton High School and Lower Merion High School with secretly spying on students by remotely activating webcams embedded in school-issued laptops the students were using at home, and therefore infringed on their privacy rights. The schools admitted to secretly snapping over 66,000 webshots and screenshots, including webcam shots of students in their bedrooms.[18][19] In October 2010, the school district agreed to pay $610,000 to settle the Robbins and parallel Hasan lawsuits against it.[20]

On February 11, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs were a Harriton High School student and his parents. Plaintiffs said the student had been confronted by an assistant principal regarding behavior that had occurred in the student's bedroom, based upon an image allegedly taken by the student's webcam. The school district said that a software tracking and security feature it had installed on the students' laptops was only intended to recover stolen laptops, and potentially certain loaner laptops. After the suit was brought, the school district revealed that it had secretly snapped more than 66,000 images.

On February 19, 2010, the School District acknowledged that there had been "no explicit notification [to parents or students] that the laptop[s] contained the security software", and that "[t]his notice should have been given and we regret that was not done."

As the result of emergency proceedings commenced by the plaintiffs seeking a temporary restraining order, on February 20, 2010, District Judge Jan E. DuBois ordered that the School District was prohibited from activating the webcams during the litigation, and further ordered the District to preserve all webcam images, data, files, and storage media related to the allegations. The judge also ordered the district to pay plaintiffs' attorney fees for bringing the action.

The complaint alleged violations by the School District of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, the Computer Fraud Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, and Pennsylvania common law.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), U.S. Attorney's Office, and Montgomery County District Attorney all initiated criminal investigations of the matter, which they combined and then closed because they did not find evidence "that would establish beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had criminal intent". In addition, a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee held hearings on the issues raised by the schools' secret surveillance, and Senator Arlen Specter introduced draft legislation in the Senate to protect against it in the future. Parents, media, and academicians criticized the schools, and the matter was cited as a cautionary example of how modern technology can be used to infringe on personal privacy.

The district was put on notice in June 2010 of a third parallel suit that a third student intends to bring against the district, for—following "interrogation" of the student—"improper surveillance of the student on his school issued laptop", which included taking over 700 webcam shots.

Notable alumni


  1. "About Harriton".
  2. "Harriton SHS". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  3. Harriton High School History Archived February 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Home - Lower Merion School District".
  5. "HHS | History". LMSD. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  6. "Pennsylvania - Science Olympiad Student Center Wiki". scioly.org.
  7. "Harriton High School - Science Olympiad Student Center Wiki". scioly.org. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
  8. http://demidecscores.gilslotd.com/wiki/Regionals/Pennsylvania/Southeastern/2015ASL
  9. "The Harriton Banner".
  10. "Mr. Harriton 2014".
  11. rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com, Richard Ilgenfritz. "Update: Lower Merion officials agree to a second name change of Mr. Harrition event". Main Line Media News. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  12. "Member Schools: H". Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  13. "Girls Team Tennis Past Champions" (PDF). Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  14. "Remote Desktop Redirected Printer Doc" (PDF).
  15. "Historical list of PIAA boys', girls' lacrosse champions - Updated - PhillyLacrosse.com". 11 June 2016.
  16. "Lower Merion Ice Hockey Club".
  17. "MaxPreps: Harriton High School Football".
  18. Doug Stanglin (February 18, 2010). "School district accused of spying on kids via laptop webcams". USA Today. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  19. "Initial LANrev System Findings" Archived 2010-06-15 at the Wayback Machine, LMSD Redacted Forensic Analysis, L-3 Services – prepared for Ballard Spahr (LMSD's counsel), May 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  20. "Lower Merion district's laptop saga ends with $610,000 settlement | Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/12/2010". Philly.com. October 12, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
  21. "doc" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  22. "Interview with Graduate Josh Cooke". LMSD. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
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