The Trailblazer

The School News section is edited by Simmie Brisman and Daniel Albert.

Three Hills seniors walk to school on their first in-person day of the 2020-21 school year.

Entering senior year during the Covid-19 pandemic

September 14, 2020

The Hills Class of 2021 is entering their senior year in a hybrid model, attending school yet forgoing all aspects of senior year that were once dreamed about. Though they understand the precautions, Hills seniors find themselves saddened by the idea that their high school experience has, essentially, been cut short.

Paspalas in 2018. He has been with the district for over 13 years.

Phil Paspalas, Hills assistant principal and athletic director, to retire in 2021

August 31, 2020

"Mr. Paspalas is a unique and special individual, a real huge part of what makes Pascack Hills so special," Superintendent Erik Gundersen said at the Board meeting where his retirement was approved.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pascack Hills and every school in New Jersey were closed from March 13 through the end of the 2019-20 school year.

‘No 100% guarantees’: Board approves plan to reopen schools

August 17, 2020

Students and teachers who choose to will attend school in-person for the first time since March under a rotating hybrid schedule.

The July 23 Board meeting addressed pressing issues facing the district, including the reopening of Hills, the mascot removal, and racial equity efforts.

School reopening, mascot removal, Black Lives Matter discussed at July 23 Board meeting

July 23, 2020

Hills is preparing for a new school year unlike any other, but the community remains divided on recent decisions made by the Board and district administration.

Over 200 protesters for racial equity from around the region marched from the Woodcliff Lake borough hall to the Woodcliff Lake train station.

Police reform, mascot removal underscored at racial equity rally in Woodcliff Lake

June 27, 2020

On Saturday, protesters for racial equity from around the Pascack Valley region marched from Woodcliff Lake borough hall to the Woodcliff Lake train station.

A protester holds a sign at the racial equity rally in Woodcliff Lake.

Media: Racial equity march held in Woodcliff Lake on Saturday

June 27, 2020

On Saturday, protesters for racial equity from around the Pascack Valley region marched from Woodcliff Lake borough hall to the Woodcliff Lake train station.  Speakers from the area, including members...

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pascack Hills and every school in New Jersey were closed from March 13 through the end of the 2019-20 school year.

What New Jersey’s school reopening guidelines may mean for Hills

June 26, 2020

After a spring of Zoom lessons and virtual test-taking, many have asked: Will students be back at Pascack Hills this fall? According to Governor Phil Murphy, the answer is yes –– with precautions.

The Pascack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education, which held a meeting Thursday on Zoom focusing on the removal of the Cowboy and Indian mascots at Hills and Valley.

Amid vocal praise and criticism, Board says Cowboy and Indian mascot removal is final

June 25, 2020

At their meeting on June 25, the majority of the Board of Education stood by their decision to remove the Cowboy nickname at Hills and the Indian mascot at Valley despite backlash from students, parents, and alumni.

Pascack Hills students attend a protest in the school’s parking lot to speak out against changing the Cowboy mascot.

Protests, petitions, and public outcry after Cowboy mascot removed

June 25, 2020

The Board's vote was unanimous, but some students have voiced their opposing opinions on social media –– and through protesting.

Roughly one third of responses so far were among rising juniors, while nearly one fifth were among rising seniors. Roughly 13% of those who responded were rising sophomores; around 5% were among this year’s graduating class. The remaining responses were alumni, community members, or anonymous.

Community responds to Trailblazer form on Cowboy removal

June 24, 2020

On Tuesday, June 23, the Trailblazer published a Google form inviting community members to share their thoughts on the Board's decision to remove the Cowboy nickname at Hills and the Indian mascot at Valley.

Protests against the removal of the Cowboy as Pascack Hills' mascot.

Media: Community members protest against removal of Cowboy as Hills’ mascot

June 23, 2020

Meeting in Hills' parking lot, participants held signs calling for defunding the Board of Education and unfurled a banner in support of President Trump patched to say "Make Hills great again."

Pascack Hills' athletic field, with

Board of Education votes to remove Cowboy and Indian mascots at Hills and Valley

June 22, 2020

The Board approved the removal of the nickname of Pascack Hills, the Cowboy, and the mascot of Pascack Valley, the Indian. They said they would assign new names at a later date in a "thoughtful and expeditious manner."