Principal's Corner

6 September 2023

Good Morning, Po!
Welcome back to the classes of 2026, 2025, and 2024!  It is great to see all of you and so exciting to have our halls buzzing with activity again.  I’d also like to extend a warm welcome to the class of 2027–you have chosen an awesome experience for your high school, and we are excited to welcome you into our community.
Ramapo is a special place because of all of you!  We have incredible talent in the arts, athletics, and academics, and amazing student leaders in our clubs and activities.  The most amazing thing about Ramapo is that there is something for everyone here.
High School can seem overwhelming to those who have recently arrived, but trust us, you are well prepared for success here, and you’re in great hands with our returning students and wonderful faculty.  
The most important thing you can do (and this is true of our returning students if you have not already done so), is to get involved.  The more connections you have to the school, the more you’ll want to be here, and the better you’ll do in your pursuits.
Lastly, I wish you all a happy, healthy, and successful school year!
Let’s Go, Po!

September 2021

Good Afternoon, Po!

I hope everyone is enjoying being back in the building.  It is great having the building full again, and I really appreciate your compliance with the governor's indoor mask mandate.  We recognize that there may be times you need a mask break, and if so, please make sure you are properly socially distanced from others and have the permission of your teacher.   We are very fortunate that the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Department of Education updated their guidance on close contacts and those who are properly masked and maintaining at least three feet of space from others will not be considered close contacts and asked to again, thank you for doing your part!
As we settle into a new school year, I do want to mention a few things that will help for a smooth and safe return:

  • If you are getting dropped off in the morning, please ask your ride to pull as far forward in the traffic circle as possible to expedite the drop-off procedure
  • Please practice safe driving and observe all traffic laws on school grounds
  • Please remember that guests are only permitted to access the building by appointment and as such, lunch, equipment, and book/supply drop-offs are not permitted
  • Please note that as per the district's dress code regulation:  Hats, bandanas, visors, hoods, and all other head coverings are prohibited in the school building (except for religious and medical reasons as approved by the administration)
  • Please remember that the Student Discipline/Code of Conduct applies to all school events

Thank you, Ramapo, and let's have a great year!


T. Smith

8 January 2021

Good Evening, Po.  I hope this finds you well.  To say that the last twelve months have been difficult, or unprecedented, is still an understatement.  I don’t have the right words to describe them, and to say this is the New Normal, well, I am not ready for that, yet, either, so I reject it.  

What I do know is that this is a difficult time, and we are all struggling with uncertainty, fear, loss, anger, and a host of other things, but I also know that we will get through this, and we will change and improve because of it.  This will not become our New Normal.

I know there is a lot of anger and frustration about recent quarantines from contact tracing, and even more frustration with today’s transition to virtual learning for two weeks because of recent COVID-19 activity.  It doesn’t seem fair.  

So, I want to take a few minutes to describe contact tracing.  We have all read the CDC guidelines, and I understand why people cannot fathom how the school would determine that a handful of people in a classroom, with masks and barriers, would be close contacts, let alone in the gym, media center, or cafeteria. But we have learned that they are.  

The Bergen County Department of Health Services has explained that the risk for community spread and transmission is greater in a school setting than for a private individual, and therefore, must have more stringent standards than the CDC’s recommendation of being within six feet of an infected individual for fifteen minutes or more over a twenty-four hour period.  They have been consistent each time we have called them, even when we explain room dimensions and dwindling numbers of students, but they maintain that we are in a high risk zone, and that schools pose a high risk of widespread transmission if the infected individual and all known contacts of that individual who have spent the duration of a class period together are not quarantined.  

The Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District Board of Education Policies on our Restart and Recovery Plan and Communicable Diseases require the district to notify and work with the Bergen County Department of Health Services. Additionally, the Franklin Lakes, Oakland, and Wyckoff Boards of Health contract with The Bergen County Department of Health Services for the state-mandated Health Officer who provides professional health office services to the Boroughs and Township.  So, when all known information is collected and presented to the Bergen County Department of Health Services, they provide us with their recommendation.  Today, the recommendation was to shut down all in-person instruction and activities.

I know that we may not always agree, or want to accept their recommendation, but please know that the Bergen County Department of Health Services is working tirelessly to serve the residents of Bergen County, and to keep them safe especially as COVID-19 pandemic activity continues to increase in the area.  The health and safety of the community continues to be their highest priority.

Your feelings of frustration, loss, and anger are all valid, and normal, and it’s ok to resent the environment we’re in because it doesn’t seem fair.  You are not alone.  In fact, we have all shared those feelings to varying degrees throughout the last twelve months.  

And, those feelings get magnified in the pandemic.  The loss of control, and the anger and frustration that results from it searches for an outlet.  And that outlet can be destructive.  Please don’t let it be.

Over the last twelve months, we have witnessed incredible and unconscionable acts of aggression, hostility, hate, and violence.  We have observed unimaginable horrors and tragedies in so many different arenas that it is hard to remember what pre-pandemic life looked like, let alone imagine a future without it.  So, we say, this is the New Normal.  

But, we cannot let those images define us, or set the course for our future.  

We cannot forget the images of gratitude, kindness, compassion, courage, and empathy we have seen over the last twelve months.  The selfless acts of frontline workers, the neighbors who check in on each other, the random acts of kindness that have become an ember that lights a smile, these are a small sampling of the images of hope, and these are the images that must guide our New Normal.  

I know it won’t be easy, but I am going to ask you to focus on the images that offer hope and comfort.  I’m going to ask that you approach each other with compassion and empathy.  

Too often we fail to understand why someone might be motivated to disrupt, criticize, or lash out, and in so doing, we either respond in kind, or become dismissive, and it is destructive.

We must try to come from a place of understanding.  We must listen to one another rather than thinking about what we’re going to say next.  

As we grapple with our current responses to the extended virtual period, and the uncertainty of a pandemic, and more pointedly, the disheartening events at the Capitol, please know that each person is experiencing all of this from their own unique perspective and experiences, and the ordinary anxieties, insecurities, and frustrations we all feel are magnified because of this environment.  Please, be patient.  

And, please, know that we are here for you.  

Earlier today, I had intended to share some thoughts about the events at the Capitol with you, and the upcoming schedule.  As I sit here now, I simply hope that you remain hopeful for what lies ahead, and you focus on images of hope and comfort from the last twelve months rather than images of anger, fear, and destruction.  Below was the intended schedule notification set to begin on January 19th.  We won’t be returning to hybrid instruction now until January 25th.  Please know that if there are any changes between now and then, I will let you know.

As you may be aware, the district plans to transition to a two cohort model:  A hybrid (in-person) and virtual cohort model, so there will only be two cohorts beginning on Tuesday, January 19th.  What this means is that students who are scheduled for hybrid instruction in either cohort 1 or cohort 2 will be merged into a single, hybrid cohort.  All students who are scheduled for virtual instruction will remain on virtual instruction.  

Any student who wishes to return to the Hybrid Cohort must have a parent or guardian submit a request to me seven days in advance of the re-entry date as noted in the district’s Return to Learning Plan.  The dates are as follows:

Time Period

Notification Due to Principal By

First Day for Students to Return

Interim of Marking Period 2



End of Marking Period 2



Interim of Marking Period 3



End of Marking Period 3



Interim of Marking Period 4



Next Tuesday, I will be meeting with the student council after school to discuss the new schedule/rotation cycle.  If you have any specific questions or concerns, please send a message to the Student Government on Schoology by noon on Tuesday.  

Thank you, and I wish you all a healthy, and hopeful 2021.

23 December 2020

Good Afternoon, Po!

It is official, your last school day of 2020 is now in your rearview mirror and 2021 is on the horizon! 

A year ago, we looked to 2020 with hope and excitement for the New Year, never imagining that we would be tried, challenged, pushed, pulled, and overrun by something so large and outside of our control.  

This has been a difficult year (a paltry understatement to say the least), but I want you to know how incredibly encouraged I am by your efforts to participate authentically in your learning experiences whether you are virtual or in-person.  

With so many distractions, challenges, and hurdles to overcome, committing a genuine effort to listen, focus, and respond in the classroom can feel disingenuous, especially when the outside distractions loom as large as a global pandemic.  It’s easy to fall into a pattern of what ifs, and why bother, and does it matter, but you resist those invitations, and you show up and participate because it does matter.  You recognize that this is our current circumstance and not our future, and that your preparation today is in your control, and that will drive our future.

This year, I certainly have hope and excitement for the New Year, but it is different.  It is different because we have all been tried, challenged, pushed, pulled, and overrun, by something far beyond our control.   We have grappled with things we couldn’t conceive of a year ago, in addition to the obstacles we’d normally face, only magnified, and yet, we’ve made it through 2020.  We have made it through so many uncertainties by forging ahead together, and supporting one another along the way.  

Just as we were inspired by the selfless sacrifice of frontline workers to be better versions of ourselves, we now look to 2021 with hope and excitement because we have learned things about ourselves and our abilities that we had not known before:  our ability to change, adapt, and reinvent the way we approach nearly everything in our lives because circumstances dictated we must.  

Today, you have an optimism that can only be fueled by the adversity you’ve endured.  It is the same type of optimism that has fueled earlier generations.  The adversity of the Great Depression forged a bond and fueled an optimism that propelled The Greatest Generation to victory in WWII.  And now you, too, have the gift of optimism that was born of adversity and rooted in resilience.  

My very best wishes to you, Ramapo, for a happy and healthy 2021!

June 2020

Dear Ramapo Community:

It’s hard to believe the last day of school is right around the corner.  Please make sure to communicate with your teachers and finish the year strong.  You have done an amazing job in the virtual environment, and though it wasn’t anything any of us ever expected when we began the year, it really is incredible to see how you have met the challenges.

I want to take a few minutes to discuss the death of George Floyd, an inexcusable tragedy that saddens each of us to the core.  To begin to understand it, we should not retreat to our political comfort zones for ready-made rhetoric.  We should reflect on our own attitudes, and ask what we can do differently to have a positive impact on the world today.  

We should examine long held beliefs and implicit biases with the intent to challenge them, and we must acknowledge that people are too often negatively perceived by the color of their skin.  We must recognize that unarmed black men are 1.3 times more likely to die as a result of police harm than white men.  Why is the question that needs to be asked by all of us if we are to begin to understand it.  Why is the question that needs to be answered by each of us if we're going to change it.   Where is a question we must explore if we’re to identify how negative stereotypes began, and why they persist today.  How is the question we must ask if we’re going to begin to dismantle the negative stereotypes.  The pernicious root of racism cannot be eradicated by fear or hate, rather, it demands love, compassion, and understanding if we are going to begin to end it.  

Please consider the reading and reflecting on the following excerpts and discuss them with your teachers, your family members, and those whom you regularly interact:

Query XIV, pp. 162-166 from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.  As you read, consider the implications that lay the foundation for the stereotyping of Black Americans that still persist today.  Consider how Jefferson (who wrote, All men are created equal…) could lay these claims, and what his economic reasons may have been at the time.  Reflect on the long term effects of Jefferson’s pseudoscientific claims, and think about how we can overcome them.

Next, please read Chapter 1 of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois.  As you read, consider the questions Du Bois poses, and what the writing indicates about race relations, self awareness, and the idea of being American.

What happened in Minneapolis is far beyond politics.  An unarmed black man was tragically killed by those who were entrusted to protect and serve the community. Please, do not reverse generalize.  The terrible acts of the officers in Minneapolis are not reflective of the overwhelming majority of our police officers across the nation.  But what happened in Minneapolis does shine a light on the desperate need for change.

I know that many of you are looking ahead to the summer and fall with hope and some uncertainty. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of information to share with you at this time, but we are hopeful for a regular school opening on September 8th, and we’ve scheduled Ramapo’s Back to School Night for Thursday, September 10th.   We will share information with you as it becomes available, and if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, your grade level administrator, or other appropriate staff member.

Thank you, and Go, Po!

With warmest regards and wishes for good health,

Travis Smith

April 2020

Dear Ramapo Community:

I would like to take a minute to thank you for your incredible support and understanding during these challenging times.  Many of you have shared positive stories and experiences your students have had during the virtual learning period, and for that, I cannot thank you enough.  

The students have been amazing.  They have adapted quickly to a new environment, and demonstrated patience and understanding when things don’t go as planned.  The teachers are impressed with their work ethic and resiliency, and I am really encouraged by their efforts.

The teachers and educational specialists are providing instruction, feedback, and online technology support in an unfamiliar arena, often having to adapt and adjust to different platforms in real time depending on what’s working, or what’s not.  The stability of what they are providing, though, is much more than an education: It’s reassurance and comfort in a time of uncertainty, and it’s familiarity and normalcy in an extra-ordinary time. Yes, it’s continuity of instruction, but it's also the continuity of their daily lives in an extremely disruptive period.  And many of you have recognized that the teachers are doing this while tending to and balancing the needs of their own families...thank you!

As we close out the third marking period, and our fourth week of virtual learning, thank you, for all you are doing to support the Ramapo Community, and thank you to your students, who have done an exceptional job of transitioning to this new environment.  

I wish you all a peaceful, and relaxing wellness break.

With warmest regards and wishes for good health,

Travis Smith

March 2020


Dear Ramapo Community:


As you are aware, schools were directed to close for the following two weeks in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  The county will continue to monitor the situation and reassess the directive to close for two weeks in the time ahead. As such, we have transitioned to a Virtual Learning Environment.  The days of virtual Learning are considered approved home instruction days by the Department of Education and will count toward the required 180 days of attendance.  


Please remember that this is a new experience for everyone and we will have to maintain flexibility and understanding as we navigate through our present circumstance. We may have to make decisions in a compressed amount of time, sometimes with incomplete information, and often, in a fluid and dynamic setting.  Please know that our BOE Policies and the District Mission, Vision, and Belief Statements will guide our decisions, and we will base our responses on the information we obtain from the NJDOE, BCDHS, NJDOH, CDC, and WHO among other appropriate and relevant sources that are regularly updated.  


We know that this is going to present some unseen challenges and that everyone will be trying their best given the circumstances, so please be patient and understanding as we navigate this unchartered territory.  


Thank you for your support during this challenging time.  


Warmest regards,


Travis Smith

September 2019


Dear Parents and Students:


The opening of school is an exciting and important time for everyone!  As we enter the new school year, I urge you to set individual goals and to make a commitment to doing your best. 


Ramapo is an exceptional school and I encourage you to take full advantage of its resources. As you engage in rigorous study, and strive for academic achievement,  reach out to the talented and dedicated staff at Ramapo; we will always do our best to support you. 


While your academic work is most important, leave time in your schedule for co-curricular activities; they offer great opportunities for exploration, individual achievement, and teamwork.  The lessons learned and friends made in these activities often last a lifetime.


I know you will all do your part to maintain a positive and respectful tone in our school.  Ramapo is a “second home” to over 1,270 people. Demand the best from yourself and demonstrate kindness and consideration toward others.  Look for service opportunities that are meaningful to you; research consistently shows us that those who engage in meaningful service activities, consistently report higher levels of long-term happiness and personal satisfaction.  Listen and learn from others—including people who may seem different from you. You will be amazed at what you have in common, as well as what you will discover. 


We stress the regular use of the Student/Parent Handbook which is available for download from our website.  Please take time to read the handbook and to ask questions in the beginning of the school year about anything on which you may need clarification.  You are also encouraged to review the District Policy and Regulation 5600, Student Discipline/Code of Conduct.


On behalf of all of us at Ramapo High School, I wish you much happiness and success this school year.  Remember that our “back-to-school” night will be held on Thursday, September 19th at 7:00 PM.


Warmest regards,


Travis Smith

April 2019


Dear Ramapo Community,

Happy Spring!  With Winter finally behind us, and trees in full bloom, it’s hard not to feel the rejuvenating effect of the Season; however, even during the grey months and Winter doldrums, Ramapo had plenty to be excited about.

We a had terrific Winter athletic and activity season with a number of teams competing in state tournament play, including the boys and girls’ basketball teams, boys and girls’ fencing, bowling, and track teams, and girls swimming.  We also had many outstanding individual achievements that were cause for celebration; however, the most historic collective achievement belonged to the Boys’ Basketball Team who won the North 1, Group 3 sectional Championship and earned Ramapo’s first ever trip to the Group 3 Finals in Boys’ Basketball.  They may have run out of time during the final game of the season, but they certainly gave us a lot of memorable performances and causes to cheer!

Our music department hosted some terrific evenings including Cabaret Night and Jazz Night that featured The Paul Miller Orchestra.  Ramapo’s Jazz Band also had the honor of opening for The Dalton Gang at Trumpets in Montclair on April 16th.

The diversity commission held their first multicultural dance event that drew amazing food donations from local restaurants, and a spirited turnout by our students who were able to experience dance instruction in a number of styes as varied as Bollywood and Irish Step Dancing to Hip Hop and beyond, all over a cup of Chinese Bubble Tea!  Thank you to the Diversity Commission for such a great night!

The Spring season brings many things to look forward including lazy afternoons in the sun watching a ballgame of one of our many competitive teams, or a day court side for tennis or volleyball, or even an afternoon at the course or track where our golf and track teams are also having competitive seasons.  We look forward to a good showing from all of our teams in County and State tournament play and wish them a healthy, and winning finish in the month ahead.

We also look forward to the Spring Musical, Young Frankenstein.  The Gold Masque Players have been working really hard in preparation for a great show that will run three consecutive nights opening on Thursday, May 2.  All shows begin at 7:00, and trust me, it’s going to be a lot of fun, so don’t miss it!

And, if you didn’t get a chance to see any of the musical performances earlier in the year, come out on Tuesday, May 21st for the Spring Concert at 7:30 in the auditorium.  I am confident you will be treated to an entertaining show and amazed by the musicianship of our students.

We hope to see you around Ramapo at some of these amazing events as it’s always fun watching the students perform in areas of their greatest interest!  

Warmest regards,

Travis Smith

January 2019


Dear Rampao Community,

As the first semester draws to a close with 2018 firmly behind us, I want to call your attention to some of the amazing and wonderful things that happened during the first semester because, with so many accomplishments, it’s easy to be enthusiastic about Ramapo.

We have an amazingly talented and driven student body who is kind and compassionate, and more likely to lift each other up in times of difficulty than put each other down.  When Gold Masque lost two performances to a November snowstorm, the players and the student body were undeterred, and our community was treated to amazing performances on Saturday afternoon and evening.  We had an awesome Winter Concert with an amazing community and alumni turnout. We had five teams in state-tournament play, and our Girls’ soccer team beat the Number 1 team in the nation. Our football team became the first in New Jersey history to earn a 13-0 record when they became Bowl Champions and they finished the season ranked Third overall in the State.  Through it all, our student body tirelessly participated in the promotion of and attendance at so many of these events.

At the beginning of the school I challenged you to keep hope and optimism clearly in focus, and the enthusiasm for the school year strong.  With a start like we’ve had, it would seem counterintuitive for anything else; however, Winter can be challenging. It’s cold, the days are shorter, and the newness of the schedule and seeing your classes has faded.  Don’t lose your focus, and more importantly, don’t lose your optimism.

The Winter season is full of excitement:  Preparations for the Spring Musical are underway, Winter Sports are in full swing, and, it’s time to begin building your schedule for next year!  As you look ahead, explore what interests you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Please visit the Academics Page for information regarding our programming, and our Program of Studies as you plan for next year.   

Good luck in 2019, and remember that your circumstances are not nearly as important as how you respond to them, and having control over your responses is the most powerful tool you possess.

Kindest regards,

T. Smith

September 2018 

Dear Ramapo Community, 

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am for the building to be full again! Though I had a wonderful summer and I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with family and friends, I always look forward to the start of the school year because it’s a time of hope and optimism for everyone in the building, and that collective excitement is a powerful force.  

And though occasional nostalgia for funnel cakes and saltwater taffy can be a happy distraction, it’s important to understand what drives the enthusiasm we experience in September if we’re to maintain it through the year.  

At the beginning of the school year we often feel as if we will have control over most of the outcomes and say to ourselves: It’s a new year; I’m in control of my year; my choices and effort determine my success; I’m going to better manage my time so I can fit in the things I enjoy and get my work done...hope and optimism flourish. In the middle of the school year, that sense of control may diminish because an unlucky break or two, or some of the outcomes of our decisions didn’t propel us in the direction we had hoped...and the seeds of doubt are sowed.  By the close of the school year, we often long for the funnel cakes and saltwater taffy, and tell ourselves that the difficulties we experienced were out of our control, but we responded to them the best we could.

There may be a lot that happens in a year that is out of our control, but we can always control how we respond to any given event or situation, and that is powerful.  And if we remember that we can always harness that power, to choose how we respond, we can sustain that sense of optimism and hope throughout the year, and use that collective excitement to propel us forward.  

So as we begin the 2018-2019 school year, with hope and optimism clearly in focus, I want to ask for your help in sustaining that September Enthusiasm, and offer some of author Jon Gordon’s wisdom for support:  Be purpose driven rather than results driven, and achievement will follow; learn to talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself; and finally, instead of considering what you have todo, acknowledge what you get todo.

Good luck everyone, and let's have a great year!  Go Po!

Warmest regards,

Travis Smith

May 2018

Hello Ramapo Community!

With the arrival of May, we hope for April’s promised flowers and a comfortable and temperate Spring!  There are a lot of exciting things happening in the school community from athletic events to awards ceremonies.  This month also brings the conclusion of PARCC testing, AP administration, and NJSLA-S Science Exam, so it’s a pretty busy month as well.

May is also the National Mental Health Awareness Month, and below, are a few resources that I hope you find informative.  The resources discuss the importance of eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health issues, raise awareness about mental health concerns, and discuss the importance of getting assistance for those in need, and the appropriate supports for success:

The Spring Season is well underway.  The Boys’ Lacrosse team is in the county tournament finals Saturday, May 5th at Mahwah as is the Girls’ softball team.  The Boys Baseball team takes on Pascack Hills in the second round of the country tournament at Pascack, Saturday, May 5.  The Boys’ and Girls’ Track Teams had a great turnout at Penn Relays and Boys’ Golf and Tennis Teams are both having competitive seasons.  Girls’ Golf, in its second year, is having an outstanding season, as is the Boys’ Volleyball team who advanced to the second round of the county tournament. The State Tournaments begin in the third week of May so you can expect an exciting month!  You can follow their schedules and updates from the following link: 

Gold Masque’s presentation of Sister Act was amazing!  The cast and crew worked incredibly hard to deliver a lively and engaging performance!  I hope that you had an opportunity to see the show, and congratulations to all the seniors on an amazingly fun show for all of us to see!  You can follow Gold Masque on their Twitter page:

From April 20-25, our largest group of contestants ever competed at the DECA Nationals in Atlanta, and Ramapo sophomores Jonathan Grossman and Jack Gifford finished as Top 20 Finalists in the Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making event.  Congratulations Jonathan and Jack, and to all of our DECA competitors!

The RHS Raider Genius Bar is planning their second visit to Tice’s Corner Apple Store where they’ll work with and learn from Apple Geniuses on supporting our students in areas of Tech Support and Creative Project development.  It’s a great opportunity for these students to learn from some of the best, and in turn, be able to help our students at the RGB.  Don’t forget tech help is available at The RHS Genius Raider Bar in the media center after school on Wednesdays, Fridays during all lunches, and by appointment:

I wish all of you a wonderful Spring!  

Warmest regards,

Travis Smith

March 2018

Hello Ramapo Community,

After a few Nor’easters, a couple of feet of snow, and some unexpected days off, it seems Spring has finally arrived.  I’m looking forward to the snowmelt, warmer weather, and longer days! 

We had a great winter athletic season as well, and in indoor track in particular, with two sixth-place finishes at The New Balance Indoor Nationals:  Grace O’Shea in the 60M hurdles, and the Boys’ 4x400 Relay Team of Alex Miras, Timmy Suchora, Patrick Jackson, and Michael Petrazzuolo. 

The Spring Season is underway, and thankfully, the track and fields are free of snow (though we still need some warmer weather and wind to dry them).  We look forward to seeing you out in the nicer weather cheering on our teams.  Take a look at the Athletics page for current schedules:

On March 15th, the World Languages National Honor Society inducted 76 new members in a wonderful ceremony organized and emceed by Ms. Rodriguez, with contributions from Ms. Liu, Ms. Lions, Ms. McCartan, and Mr. Castano. 

The Music Department hosted their Annual Cabaret Night on March 16th, featuring a number of student performances to a packed cafeteria, and Mr. Albanese’s Force of Habit and MC^2 closed the show with a Wild Cherry favorite that featured Mr. Hogan on Keys, Mr. Hudak on bass and vocals, Ms. Angerson on Vocals, Mr. Russell on woodwinds, and guest performances by Ms. Sarraco and Mr. Friedman on alto saxophone, and Mr. Petherbridge and several students on brass.  It was a great night!  Jazz Night is April 4th at 7:30 in the Ramapo Auditorium.  You can follow the Ramapo band on Twitter:

On Sunday, March 25th, Ramapo Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its tenth class.  The ceremony included team inductions for the 1969 Cross Country Team, 1977 Girls’ Tennis Team, and 1985 Girls’ Soccer team.  Individual inductees included Greg Joachim (’79) Soccer; Becky Dalton (’94) Soccer; Tom Grohs (’02) Football and Baseball; Bill Verigan (‘02) Fencing; Kyle Roeder (’04) Football and Basketball; Kesley Ramsey (’07) Cross Country, Winter and Spring Track; Brittney Steinbruch (’07) Soccer; Sam Depken (’07) Soccer, Basketball, Softball; Brittany Baiunco (’08) Basketball and Softball; and our very own Leslie Stephen (’78) Coach—Soccer, Volleyball , Basketball, Golf, and Softball.  Congratulations, and thank you to all the inductees for your contributions to the Ramapo High School Community. 

Rehearsals for Sister Act are in full swing and we look forward to the April 26-28 production.  You can follow Gold Masque on their Twitter page: 

From April 20-25, our largest group of contestants ever will be competing at the DECA Nationals in Atlanta—Congratulations to the following Ramapo Students:  Jonathan Grossman, Jack Gifford, Mitchell Tesser, Grant Reed, Alex Webb, Stephanie Goodrich, Jamie Murtha, Aisha Ali, Emma Kinney, Isabelle Boomhower, Rhea Tandon, Omer Abedel-Wahab, and Vanessa Even-Chen!

Also, don’t forget tech help is available at The RHS Raider Bar in the media center after school on Wednesdays, Fridays during all lunches, and by appointment:

I wish all of you a wonderful Spring!  

Warmest regards, 

Travis Smith

January 2018

Dear Ramapo Community, 

The last several months have been busy with a spectacular performance by two Gold Masque casts in the play Sylvia, the Holiday Festival with a wonderful visit from the students and staff of Roberto Clemente School, and an amazing Holiday Concert that concluded with the Alumni Band performing “Sleigh Ride” under the guest-direction of Mr. Tom Basili.  

We also had great fall athletic season with the Boys’ Soccer Team earning their fourth straight Bergen County Championship and the Girls’ Tennis Team earning the NJSIAA Group 2, Section 1 Champions.  

The winter season is well underway and there is always an exciting game or match happening at Ramapo.  Take a look at what’s happening on the Athletics page:

Rehearsals for Sister Act have begun and we look forward to the April production.  You can follow Gold Masque on their Twitter page: 

I am also excited to share the Raider Genius Bar Twitter Page, as students will be able to get Tech Help during their lunch periods after quarterlies: 

In January, Mr. Michael Marder visited our school for the second year in a row.  His story is one of faith, hope, humanity, and inspiration as he detailed his experiences growing up in Poland with a family whose humor and love for each other, laid the foundation for a profound faith that enabled a gentle and kind man to survive nine different stays in seven different concentration camps during the Holocaust. 

The simple tales of his childhood had an endearing familiarity, but as he grew older, and Europe changed, the endearing familiarity became a series of unimaginable horrors.  He had a simple explanation for why he was compelled to tell his story, and a simple message to the students:  We cannot forget—we cannot forget because we cannot let this happen again.

But his story was striking for another reason.  His stories of selection and escape were riveting, but when he recalled looking over the ledge of a mine, the temptation, after surviving several stays in a number of different work camps, was strong—how one step could bring a quick end to it all.  And then he felt faith.  His faith, and how his belief in the future prevented him from taking that step. 

How he pressed on in the face of unimaginable odds and horrors are beyond my comprehension.  But, it is here that his story inspires.  It is here where he unflinchingly, and without judgment, reminds us to be strong, even in our darkest and most vulnerable moments.  

So, thank you, Mr. Marder, for sharing your story with us.  We cannot, and will not forget the horrors and atrocities of the past, and we shall not remain silent in the face of a mass atrocity in the future.    Your faith reminds us how to be strong.

I wish everyone a great close to the first semester, and looking ahead, enough strength to move you beyond times of doubt. 

Warmest regards,

Travis Smith

November 2017

Dear Ramapo Community:

I can’t believe we’re at the end of the first marking period, and there are no signs of slowing down.  Most of the clubs are meeting regularly, the Holiday Festival is actively planning for this year’s event, the marching band, cheerleaders, and athletics have had a great Fall.  Rehearsals for Sylvia, are well underway, and I can’t wait to see the two casts perform! (There will be four performances over November 16, 17, 18.)

It’s an exciting time of year in education.  We’ve all settled into the rhythm of school, but had some great events to get as going such as Back to School Night where parents were able to get a glimpse of their child’s day, a spirited pep rally led by our passionate student council who introduced the fall athletic teams, cheerleaders and marching band (whose Guillotine Squad is terrifyingly engaging), and a dynamic speaker named Gian Paul Gonzalez, who addressed our ninth and tenth grade students about being All In.  (If you’d like to know more about him, click on the above link for more information about his inspirational message, or talk to one of our students who saw him!)  The juniors and seniors had a chance to hear from accomplished photojournalist Jay Blakesberg who spoke about taking advantage of opportunity, pushing boundaries, and pursuing interests with passion.

The Guidance Department has hosted a number of informative events such as the District College Night and College Fair, and the Community Service Fair among others, and if you click on the above link, you’ll find a brief summary of past and future events. 

The APTS is actively meeting and as a school community, we are so thankful for all of their support!  Please check out the link to their Website for some great information about upcoming events and meetings.  Their next meeting is on November 16 at 9:00 A.M. in the Little Theater, and I hope to see you there!

As we move into the second marking period, I want to encourage you to deepen your connection to the school through clubs, athletics, events, activities or school-based organizations.  Ramapo is an amazing place to grow and learn because of your commitment to the school community.

September 2017

Dear Parents and Students:

I write this letter with profound appreciation and enthusiasm: appreciation for the opportunity to serve the Ramapo High School learning community, and enthusiasm for becoming a part of the great tradition here. I eagerly look forward to working with all of you.

Ramapo’s rich tradition of excellence in co-curricular clubs, arts, athletics, and academics stands as a testament to the talented student body in attendance. To create the best possible learning environment for its students Ramapo has a dedicated staff, supportive community, and committed board who work in concert to make Ramapo a great place to learn new skills, explore new subjects and activities, and develop interests and strengths that will serve as the foundation for future growth. When students graduate, they thrive in all areas, and pursue the most competitive colleges and careers.

As we begin the 2017-2018 school year, I want to share some key points from an article in The Washington Post on April 18, titled “Here Are the Five Critical Skills Every New College Graduate Should Have”:

  • Be digitally aware. A passive relationship with technology is no longer sufficient. Students need an elementary understanding of the programming language behind the apps they use.
  • Be able to navigate life without a syllabus. The future belongs to those who act with purpose and determination.
  • Learn voraciously. Students need the ability to create answers for problems not yet imagined.
  • Understand how to use what you have learned. Students need to be able to generalize core principles and apply them in novel ways.
  • Be humble. Be patient and realistic.

(Selingo 2016)

It is with the above article in mind that I encourage students to embrace the opportunities afforded to them here, ask the community for open dialogue and feedback on our progress, and look forward to the year ahead.

Very kind regards,

Travis Smith


Article Cited:
Selingo, Jeffrey J. “Here Are the Five Critical Skills Every New College Graduate Should Have.” The Washington Post, N.p., 18 Apr. 2016. Web. 25 Aug. 2016.