Needham High School

Needham High School
609 Webster Street, Needham, Massachusetts
United States
Coordinates 42°17′14″N 71°13′51″W / 42.28722°N 71.23083°W / 42.28722; -71.23083Coordinates: 42°17′14″N 71°13′51″W / 42.28722°N 71.23083°W / 42.28722; -71.23083
Type Public secondary
Established 1898
Principal Aaron Sicotte
Faculty 201
Grades 9–12
Number of students 1,664 (2016–17) [1]
Color(s) Navy Blue and Gold          
Nickname Rockets
Rivals Wellesley High School (Wellesley, MA)
Average SAT scores 574 reading
582 math
571 writing
1727 total (2015-2016)[2]
Newspaper The Hilltopper
Yearbook The Advocate
Website Needham High School

Needham High School is a public high school in Needham, Massachusetts, educating grades 9 through 12. Mr. Aaron Sicotte is the principal of Needham High School. Its three assistant principals are Ms. Alison Coubrough-Argentieri, Mr. Johnny Cole, and Mr. Keith Ford. As of 2016, the school had 1,644 students and over 201 part-time and full-time instructional staff members, plus support staff employees. Needham High School was awarded a gold medal by U.S. News & World Report for its academic excellence. The school is ranked as the 11th best for Massachusetts and 307th best nationally on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best high schools in 2016.[3]


Needham High School is situated on a hill overlooking Memorial Park, and is located at approximately the geographical center of town. The original building was dedicated in 1930. As a result of the town's rapid growth following World War II, additions were opened in 1955 and in 1967. These newer additions were demolished in 2008 due to renovation of the school. The school underwent a $62-million renovation consisting of a new wing which was opened in the fall of 2006 and another smaller wing opened in the fall of 2007. The renovated high school offers laboratory facilities, computer equipment, and Smart Boards throughout the school.

Needham High School is an accredited member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The reaccreditation report issued in 1998 states, "Needham High School is an excellent school. Through student achievements and a positive environment for learning, Needham High School has consistently demonstrated outstanding and rigorous achievement. The dedicated highly able, and talented faculty and staff ensure that the needs of students are met in ways that exceed the expectations of the community. Needham High School is a source of pride to the community largely due to its rich history of accomplishment from previous and current students and to its large record of achievement."[4]

Governing bodies

Each year the four classes hold elections to determine class president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and three class representatives. The collective term for these positions is Student Council, and each class's Student Council is responsible for community and fundraising activities for the class, including bake sales, semi formal dances, and charity donations. Other governing bodies:

Extracurricular activities


Students in Needham participate in athletic activities throughout the school year. Needham High School is a member of the Bay State Conference of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and Needham competes with other towns in the state. The schools colors are gold, navy blue and white.[5] The Needham High School mascot is a rocket, chosen in the 1950s based on Cold War tensions.[6] Prior to that, the school's mascot was a pansy, based on the town flower.

Fall sports

(Girls' Varsity won the 2015 Division 1 State Championship) (Boys' Varsity won 2012 and 2014 division 1 state championship)

Winter sports

Spring Sports

Club Sports

The Ultimate Team was founded in 2001. It was ranked 9th in the country in 2004, 7th in 2007, and again 7th in 2010. The team beat Amherst Regional High School March 24, 2007, ending ARHS' 4 year long win streak dating back to April 2003. The State Finals of Needham vs. ARHS in 2007 was named by the Ultimate Players Association as the best State Finals ever played because of an epic collapse by The Rockets. Needham took an early lead and held it throughout the game until reaching 11–8, but preceded to fold to a strong Amherst side which stormed back with a 6–1 run to win 14–12. The team reached the UPA High School Eastern Championships in 2007(T-3), 2009(T-7), 2010 (2nd), and 2011 (T-7). In both 2012 and 2013, the team came in second place at the USAU Northeasterns Championship losing to Amherst 13–2 and then Lexington 8–6. In 2013, the team beat ARHS in the semi-finals of the MA State Championship but lost again to Lexington, 11–9 in a rematch of the USAU Northeasterns Championship. The team is coached by alumni from the 2004 team, Dan Hourigan and Jimmy Foster, but throughout the fall and pre-spring seasons it is largely student run and directed. There is also a B-team which plays locally and Girls' Team formed in the spring of 2009.

The Needham Rugby team was established in 2007 by a group of male and female students interested in forming a rugby club at the high school. For the first year of the program, the club was only able to field a partial girls side, however since then, the program has grown and includes over 40 active members on the boys' roster. The boys' rugby team will be entering their third year as a Varsity sport, competing in the Massachusetts Youth Based Rugby Organization (MYRO). The boys' rugby club participates in the Division 1 Conference against BC High, St. Johns Prep, Bishop Hendricken, Xaverian, and Belmont High School. The girls' team that once folded is now trying to rebuild and establish themselves in the 2015 spring season as a club team. The head coach of the boys' team is Wellness teacher, Diana Parkhurst.

Football and Thanksgiving Rivalry

The football team is known as the Rockets. The school continues to participate in the oldest public high school rivalry in the nation, between Needham, Massachusetts and Wellesley. The game is played every Thanksgiving and began its tradition in 1882 when Wellesley player Arthur Judson Oldman challenged the Needham team. The game was played at Wellesley's Morton Field and had little in common with modern football. The rivalry has continued uninterrupted since the event, with Wellesley maintaining the slight edge, 59–57–9. The Thanksgiving game of 2015, played at Fenway Park, resulted in the Rockets winning against the Raiders. The final score was 12–7.[7]

Performing arts

The Needham High School's Performing Arts department was run by director J. Scott Brumit until his retirement after the 2007 musical. In 2006 the musical West Side Story was sold out in the week before the show.

Another performing arts group at Needham High School is the Dance Team. The Dance Team is in its sixth year, and was only recently recognized as a Varsity Sport as opposed to a Club team. The team performs at football and basketball home games during halftime. In 2003 they came in first place at a National Competition in Orlando, Florida, and got to perform their routine before the Outback Bowl in front of 17,000 people. In 2009, the Dance Team won the state title, beating out fellow Bay State Conference rival Braintree.[8] The Dance Team recently took home 1st place in both the 2011 Bay State conference as well as the 2011 State competition, once again beating out fellow rival Braintree.

Other clubs and teams

The school has over thirty extracurricular clubs and activities including a Speech and Debate Team a Mock Trial Team, Four Square Club and a Dodgeball club. The Four Square Club is the current world record-holder for the longest continuous four square game,[9] while the Dodgeball team has produced winners at local and national tournaments and competition . Needham High School has a robotics club with two FIRST Tech Challenge teams, the HackHers and T-10, which frequently reach state competitions. T-10 also attended the Australian invitational competition in 2014, and advanced to super-regional competition in the 2015-2016 season. The school has a math team which participates in GBML(Greater Boston Mathematics League)[10] and other competitions. Needham High School's extracurricular organizations are coordinated by faculty advisors although they have student-elected officials and are largely run by students.

Curricular offerings

Foreign languages

Classes are offered in French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin.[11] The foreign language program offers beginning courses in all the languages as well as logical continuation sequences from the middle school language programs. French, Spanish, and Mandarin courses extend from introductory levels to Advanced Placement courses. A program called INDEX, short for independent exploration, allows high-ability and highly motivated students to pursue languages or levels which are not offered.


The science department offers a laboratory-based science curriculum. The departmental sequence in science consists of biology in ninth grade, physics in tenth grade, chemistry in eleventh grade, and Advanced Placement and elective courses in the twelfth grade. AP courses are offered in chemistry, biology, and physics. Science elective courses offered at Needham High School include Environmental Science, 20th Century Physics, Marine Biology, Introduction to Astronomy, and Anatomy and Physiology.[11]

Social studies

The social studies department requires students to complete a three-year sequence including World History (9th grade), World and American History (10th grade), and an American History course (11th grade). The social studies department also offers a several elective majors, available for junior and senior students. These include Psychology and Sociology, Economics, the World Since 1945, American Legal System, and Chinese Traditions. The department offers three advanced placement courses: AP United States History, AP United States Government, and AP Psychology.[11]


The mathematics department requires students to complete a three-year sequence including Algebra II (9th grade), Geometry (10th grade), and an pre-calculus (11th grade). AP level courses include AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. In addition, Computer Science courses are offered at the introductory and AP levels. In 2013 an introductory robotics class was added as well.[11]

Fine and performing arts

Along with elective fine arts courses in architectural design, graphic design, ceramics, photography, production printing, the school offers a four-year art sequence. Additionally, the school offers several courses in the performing arts, such as Orchestra and Chorus. Certain music courses at Needham High Schools, such as Concert Chorale and Jazz Ensemble require an audition and have practices and rehearsals after school; additionally, there is an after-school chorus course for students who are not able to take chorus during the day. The Fine and Performing Arts department offers two Advanced Placement courses: AP Music Theory and AP Studio Art. Certain courses (particularly the second, third, and fourth-year courses) in the art sequence, as well as the AP Music Theory course, are weighted into a student's GPA. As a graduation requirement, Needham High School requires that students complete the equivalent of two full year art courses.[11]

Community classroom

As a graduation requirement, students must earn two community classroom credits. Students may earn one credit by either completing thirty hours of community service or alternatively by at least twelve hours of work per week for one semester during the school year. Community service opportunities include volunteer service as well as internships. Only one credit may be earned through work experience.

Associated Programs

METCO Program

Needham is a member of the METCO Program, which allows Boston students to attend the school.

Notable alumni and teachers

Distinguished Career Award[13]

The George A. Dennett Distinguished Career Award has been established to recognize former Needham High School students who have gone on to distinguished careers in their chosen fields. By making a significant contribution to society, these alumni bring honor to their school and community, and serve as inspirations and role models to the students of Needham. The Distinguished Career Awards were first presented in 1990, and the ceremony has become a revered fall tradition for the junior class and members of the Needham community. Each October, Needham High School celebrates graduates who have made a difference in the world.


  1. "Member Details – NEASC: Commission on Public Secondary Schools". New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  2. "2015–16 SAT Performance Statewide Report".
  3. "Needham High School: Best High Schools". U.S. News & World Report, L.P. 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  4. "Our School". Needham Public Schools. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  5. "Pay to Play – Globe West Updates". The New York Times Company. July 14, 2006. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
  6. "Needham High School has a new mascot – Wicked Local Needham". November 10, 2010.
  7. Pearson, Keith (26 November 2015). "Needham 12, Wellesley 7: Raiders stood up by Rockets at Fenway". The MetroWest Daily News. Gatehouse Media, Inc. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  8. "Needham High School Dance Team wins state title – Needham, Massachusetts – Needham Times". Wicked Local. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  9. "Four Square Club raises fund for charity".
  10. "GBML".
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 "Needham High School Program of Studies". Needham Public Schools. 2007. Archived from the original on April 2, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2007.
  12. Hazlett, Alexandra (July 6, 2010). "Jessica Simpson dating former San Francisco 49ers tight end Eric Johnson". Daily News. New York.
  13. . Needham High School Distinguished Career Award Missing or empty |title= (help)
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