ORGANIZATION OF THE HIGH SCHOOL. Up to 1911, those desiring high school education had to walk to Atlantic Highlands, Red Bank, or Keyport. In that year the beginnings of a Township high school were made when a few classes were held in Andrews' Hotel, oldest hotel in the region, which stood on the highest point in Hillsdale until it was burned down in 1929.|
THE HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING. In 1911 M. A. Rice, President of the Board of Education at that time, really founded the present school when he gave to the Township the site of the building and one thousand dollars toward its construction. Lewis S. Thompson, also a member of the Board, donated the land down the road from the school formerly used as playground and athletic field, and John H. Cook, until his death editor of the Red Bank Register, gave playground equipment. Another member of the Board, Robert Hartshorne, gave the frieze representing soldiers of Alexander the Great, replica of the one now in the British Museum, and had the chestnut trim for the auditorium cut from his woods.
GREENHOUSE. In 1916, realizing the need in this agricultural community for a truly practical agricultural course, Robert Hartshorne gave the school it's original greenhouse, and M. A. Rice completed it. This was probably the first school greenhouse in the State. When brought to Leonardo it was practically rebuilt. The expense of the greenhouse as it stands today was borne by several residents of the Township. In March, 1931, a second greenhouse was built, giving us the best plant equipment in agriculture in the State.
MANUAL ARTS EXPANSION. For many years the basement room, originally designed as a small gymnasium, has housed a manual arts department. By a full summer of work in 1927 the instructor doubled the floor space for these activities. This, along with new equipment, provided by the Board of Education, paved the way for the introduction of diversified shop work and for still further improvement in work recognized as among the best in the State.
NEW ATHLETIC FIELD. Purchase of the ten-acre field next to the school, in 1928, provided playground and athletic field, eliminated the dangerous crossing of the highway for physical training, and paved the way for necessary expansion.
PRESENT BUILDING PROGRAM. At the time the last addition was made there were over 225 students in the high school alone. Today there are 577, or over two and one-half times as many. There are 133 pupils using a home room intended for 30, more than 40 pupils in some classes, and overflow classes in the halls and basement. The school lacks a gymnasium that can be used for physical training, showers for girls, and adequate facilities for science. Under conditions such as these, maintenance of our acknowledged high standard requires unusually expert teachers and an exceedingly co-operative student body. The next school year, new elementary schools will permit the already exisiting Leonardo building to be used exclusively for high school. A gymnasium just completed and rooms in the main building for science laboratories will give us more than we have been accustomed to for the last several years.
IMPROVEMENT IN OTHER RESPECTS. Meanwhile the school has progressed in ways less material. The course of study has gradually been made more liberal and more practical. Extra academic activities have prospered. In athletic contests our teams have won widespread praise for their sportsmanship. Partly through the influence of the Student Councel, the student body realizes more clearly every year the real purpose of these and other activities in education. Most important, there has grown up a Leonardo tradition, intangible but very real, a tradition of friendship and co-operation and good feeling, which influences teachers and students alike and makes them realize that Leonardo offers something more than courses and activities---the sense of fellowship in a wonderful community.