Middletown High School serves 9th through 12th grade students in the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, which covers that city as well as adjacent portions of the towns of Wallkill and Wawayanda in Orange County, New York, United States. It is located on Gardner Avenue in a small outlying area of the city, near the county fairgrounds on a small rise south of NY 211.
The school, formerly Anthony Veraldi Junior High School, built in 1959, replaced the building now known as Twin Towers Middle School as the district's high school in 1976 after a major expansion. It has been expanded at least four times since then.
The school has been at the center of a number of controversies in the last several years. When former district superintendent Robert Sigler was investigated and convicted in 2003 for sexually abusing a male student, then-principal Bernard Cohen was suspended by the school board (with pay) and barred from school-related events for allegedly not doing enough to prevent it, and other allegations against him. These included under reporting violence and complaints at the school (involving students, teachers and him), falsifying records in a corrupt manner, putting students who dropped out or got expelled under the "transferred schools" category, and last but not least, unethically accepting money and/or other bribes and favors in return for getting students diplomas who didn't meet NY state requirements. He claimed it was retaliation for his testimony before the county grand jury investigating the abuse and that he was being scapegoated. Students claiming to be sympathetic to him organized a protest walkout, spoke in his behalf at board meetings and then helped campaign during the ensuing elections, in which two incumbents were defeated, Cohen denied having anything to do with this. Four years later, the school district settled with Cohen for $425,000.
The 2005 school year began chaotically when many students received incorrect class schedules or none at all due to problems implementing a new computer program, (some called it Cohen's revenge as he still had influence at the school) and continued as ongoing construction did not run smoothly and disrupted the school. Students again staged a walkout over a number of their concerns that they believed were not being taken seriously by the district administration, such as overcrowding and safety issues. Cohen's replacement, Larry Ashley, resigned three months into the school year, citing health problems.
Later that month, the district sought to fire tenured art teacher Peter Panse, who had offered his senior students a nude figure drawing class taught off-campus as a way to improve their portfolios and chances for scholarships at art schools. Very few of his students supported him, but many claimed they had felt pressured into taking the class. The district argued Panse had a conflict of interest, since he personally profited from the students taking the class. After lengthy litigation, in January 2007 a state administrative law judge ruled that he should have been suspended for only 15 days and ordered him reinstated. The beginning of the 2007-08 school year also saw some more scheduling problems, with new textbooks ordered only the week before school opened and many teachers not knowing their own schedules.
The 2007-2008 school year also started off rough. However, the MHS community came together to overcome the obstacles of the past and had the largest graduating class in 10 years. In 2008 the school opened state of the art athletic facilities, Faller Field, and opened the brand new stadium with the Erie Bell game in which Middletown was victorious over Port Jervis. The turf field is Class One FIFA approved and IAAF-certified.
Current enrollment at Middletown High School is 2,146 students (as of 2012), though this number is expected to increase in the coming years. The student body is made up of 946 Hispanic students, 650 black students, 489 white students, 52 Asian students, and 9 students of two or more races. The school is classified as an inner city district and high poverty district, with 63.6% of students registered for free or reduced lunch. Middletown has 142 full-time teachers, with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. Average class size at Middletown is roughly 24.
The Middletown Middies football team shares a historic rivalry with the Port Jervis High School Red Raiders, named the Erie Bell game after the trophy, which is an old railroad bell from the Port Jervis-Middletown line. The game is an alternating home-and-away series and started in 1897. Middletown leads the series 72-58-7 as of 2015, and has won three of the last four games. Beginning in 2014, the game is on the list of U.S. Marines Great American Rivalry games.
Middletown's boys basketball team is highly regarded in the state, and during the 2011-2012 school year the team went to the final four of the state playoffs. The Middies returned to the playoffs in 2015-2016, making the state finals and losing to Aquinas Institute. The team has a rivalry with the NFA Goldbacks from nearby Newburgh.
Middletown's track and field team is nationally recognized and has produced a number of successful college athletes and state and national qualifiers. The boys 4x400 meter relay team won a national championship in 2011.
However, there is no greater sport in the high school than the Middletown Softball Team. Home to aces Jazmyn Martinez and Allison Marcano, as well as homerun hitter Elivia Perez, the underdog team went from a 1 and 19 season in 2011 to a section appearance in 2012 , making the section tourney every consecutive year since then. Since 2012 they have managed to have a winning record each year, and won the Section 9 Championship in 2016. They host the championship in 2017.Aaron Tveit – actor
Mike Avilés – baseball player
Benjamin A. Gilman – former U.S. Congressman and Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Joseph J. Romm – scientist