Open House welcomes prospective students from the class of 2024

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Townsend Harris held its 2019 Open House for prospective students from all over New York City. With a renewed social media push to publicize the event, this Open House gave insight as to what really happens within the walls of the #1 high school in New York State.

Though there were few changes from prior years, Assistant Principal of Humanities Rafal Olechowski shared, “[There were] more student interactions than we have had in the past.” Upon entering the building, there was a photo backdrop available to all students and families to build the “hype” for Townsend. Students were encouraged to share pictures using the hashtag #THHSOpenHouse. 

Following a presentation, Harrisites took prospective students and their families on tours around the building. But before this event, many had foundational knowledge about the school. “I heard about Townsend through friends who are looking to apply to high schools, and I did my own research on it and found that it was a good school too,” said prospective student Brianna Nebet.

“It has a rigorous academic standard. Academics are really top notch,” added prospective student Victoria Borg. “Colleges the students go to are really, really good. It’s a well-rounded school.” 

Despite the information readily available through websites and books, many attendees were excited to go beyond the statistics. “I just want to see the school’s atmosphere—that’s the most important thing to me when going to an open house… just to see what a school feels like,” said Brianna.

Victoria said, “[I want to learn about] who Townsend really is as a community, not just a school—as classes and classmates. [I want] to see students and how they truly feel about it… see and hear what they have to say about the school.”

“It seems like [Townsend Harris] has a nice surrounding neighborhood, and I’m really looking forward to using that track outside,” said prospective student Tristan Borlongan. “I like running but I’ve never really been on a track team.” Tristan hopes to expand his interests with a school environment like Townsend Harris. 

Many attendees shared that they’ve recently looked at other high schools, ranging from specialized high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science to private high schools like Archbishop Molloy and Saint Francis Preparatory School. From these visits, some prospective students have determined the characteristics of their ideal high schools. Prospective student Evann Martorella expressed an interest in a school where “there’s always stuff to do” and he’s “always interested.”

Victoria described her ideal high school as one with “good academics, a lot of clubs, extracurricular activities, balance between humanities and science, good teachers, good classmates, and a nice community and environment.”

The high school application opened October 2 and closes December 2; students expect to receive their decisions early next year. 

“There are many talented people like you applying to Townsend Harris. If you don’t get in, don’t let this sit on your shoulders like you aren’t good enough or aren’t smart enough,” said Mr. Olechowski. “Thank you for visiting our school. I hope to see you here in September.”