Time Flies At Blind Brook High School

Overview: Blind Brook High School is located in Rye Brook, New York. It’s a part of the Blind Brook-Rye Union Free School District, serving students in grades 9-12, as well as being connected to the Blind Brook Middle School. When you walk into the front door, if you turn to the left, you will arrive in the middle school, while if you go to the right, you will end up at the high school. The school is known for its strong academic programs and a variety of extracurricular activities. Blind Brook typically has a relatively small student population compared to larger high schools, which can often provide a more personalized learning environment. Blind Brook High School has achieved recognition for its accomplishments in sports, academics, and the arts. It serves a diverse student population, reflecting the multicultural fabric of the surrounding area. The school values diversity and promotes an inclusive environment where all students feel welcomed and supported. But where did this all come from? Has the high school always been connected to the middle school? Let’s rewind and take a trip back to when it all started.

The Swinging History: Blind Brook High School first opened its doors in the fall of 1973. According to Blind Brook alumnus Hayley Gold, the students in Rye Brook were divided into two schools, Port Chester and Mamaroneck, prior to the opening. After separating from Port Chester and becoming its own town of Rye Brook, the construction of the high school first came from the community’s orders, after they wanted to expand the local school district. Land was purchased on King Street, and construction began in 1972 and ended in late 1973, months into the school year. The high school today stands on the same campus as in 1973. David Schoein, the original principal of the high school, wanted the original building to be considered modern, containing “open classrooms”. This setup contained classrooms that had movable walls and/or book cases separating them. This open plan made for an intriguing and distinct learning environment, since students walking in hallways would also be walking behind classes. The building was designed this way as the district chose to place an emphasis on a humanities-centered curriculum. Since the school officially opened in 1973 with Grades 7–10, Blind Brook’s first graduating class was the Class of 1975, a class made up of only four advanced students, with graduation taking place in the middle of the school year at the conclusion of the first semester. 1997 brought the arrival of Principal Robert Chlebicki, who would hold the position until 2003. During his tenure at Blind Brook, Chlebicki helped Blind Brook move into the 21st century in many areas. In 1999, with the construction of Bellefair, a new housing development, and the influx of younger families to the community, the Blind Brook community started to outgrow the footprint of the original high school building. From 2004 to 2006, Blind Brook added numerous Advanced Placement classes to its class offerings. In addition to new AP classes, Blind Brook, in the 2005–06 school year, also added Latin as an elective. Upon entering the 2000’s, uncertainty grew in the Blind Brook community. This gave school officials no other choice than to expand onto the high school building once again. A bond vote was conducted and passed by a high percentage. With this bond passed, construction returned to the Blind Brook campus for the second time in only five years. Due to slow permit approval and problems with architectural plans, it took the district 3 years to build a new middle school cafeteria, fitness center, science labs, high school and middle school classrooms, and new athletic fields. Mrs. Gold claims that classes were very small compared to today, and even in the early 1990s, almost all of the classrooms were open classrooms, meaning that they were not enclosed like they are currently, and all of the backs were open to a hallway. A testament to this, Mrs. Gold only graduated with just under fifty students in the class of 1993. 

Academics: Blind Brook High School is known for its strong educational program. In 2010, U.S. News & World Report ranked Blind Brook #55 in its list of best high schools in the country, up from ranking #85 in 2009, placing Blind Brook on its Gold Medal List for the second year in a row. BBHS has expanded its Advanced Placement program. In 1999–2000, seven AP courses were offered. As of 2007, BBHS offered fourteen AP courses in addition to high-school-level regents classes. BBHS was the home to a regional BOCES program for hearing impaired students. However, the program concluded at the end of the 2014–2015 school year. 

Extracurriculars: The Blind Brook Mock Trial team has been very successful on all levels of the New York State Mock Trial Competition, sponsored by the New York State Bar Association. The New York competition is the largest in the United States, with over 375 high schools participating each year. The Blind Brook team typically consists of 14-16 determined students. Those wanting to join must go through an interview and question/response tryout. Six students are assigned lawyer positions (three for Prosecution, three for Defense) and six are given witness positions (three for Prosecution, three for defense). The Blind Brook Mock Trial Trojans have won the Westchester County Championship at least twelve times, in 1994, 1995, 1998, from 2004 through 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2023. Each year, between 16 and 36 schools compete for the county title. Along with extracurricular activities such as the Mock Trial, athletics also play a role among the majority of the Blind Brook students and community. For the majority of the year-round sports, Blind Brook is in Class C for athletics with teams in Section 1, which is split up into 4 classes for every sport. Blind Brook has won 4 state championships in its short history of fifty years, with two boys soccer state championships in 1978 and 1980, as well as two boys basketball state championships in 2002 and 2004. Final Thoughts: When it comes to analyzing the vast timeline of this school’s interesting and unique history, especially being a relatively modern high school, Blind Brook truly has it all. When asking Mrs. Gold what made her family move back to this town, she said, “I love the small knit feel of the town and school. Everyone supports each other and the school system is phenomenal. This town is also the perfect distance from NYC and other major hotspots in New York.” Overall, Blind Brook is a small, tight-knit community that comes together to flourish under a plethora of opportunities and produces astonishing accomplishments. The diverse student population mixed with the inclusive environment found in this school allows for endless opportunities to strive and to challenge one’s thinking. Over the smooth course that Blind Brook has taken over the past fifty years of its adventure, Blind Brook will continue to soar and place its students on a clear pathway for success.