'CHS for a Day' Invites Public to Sample Life of High School Student

Classes will be in session at Columbia High School on Saturday -- for members of the public who want to sample the high school's curriculum. (Photo: Caitlin Carroll)

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Once students graduate from high school, few ever think that they’ll go back.

But at Columbia High School, the Achieve Foundation is hoping parents and community members will be interested in just that: Going to high school.

On Saturday the school, which serves Maplewood and South Orange, will host “CHS for a Day,” a program that allows parents and adult community members to take up to four classes offered by the school and taught by the teachers, as well as to have lunch in the Cougar Café, the school’s cafeteria.

Sign Up for E-News

The idea for the program came from the parent of a high school student who found the student’s course choices to be very interesting, said Deborah Trinz, executive director of the Achieve Foundation.

“Having had three kids go through Columbia High School, we have some really outstanding teachers there and I’m really excited about this because it’s going to give us a chance to let people know firsthand the caliber of educators who work at our high school and the breadth of courses that we offer there,” Trinz said, adding that it was an unusual event for a high school, as such programs were usually reserved for colleges and universities.

Trinz added that the variety of courses offered by the school was remarkable, “especially in this day and age with the budget cuts, our district has been able to maintain a pretty broad and high-quality course offerings for the high school students.”

The courses offered through the event include science, writing, art, photography and technology.

Some of the classes offered are high school standards: Creative Writing, Physics in Everyday Life and Art History. Others are, in a word, practical, such as Essential Study Skills and Computer Applications for Business. Some are more unusual, such as Drawing and the Right Side of the Brain, Genetics and You!, Who is Patient Zero? and Interactive Shakespeare.

The first session is set to begin at 9:45 a.m. and the last session begins at 2 p.m., with sessions at 10:55 a.m. and 12:55 p.m. Lunch will be served at noon.

Participants can register for as many classes as they want. Each class is $10, and participants can choose one class per session. For $40, participants can register for a class in each of the four sessions and they will also get lunch in the Cougar Café.

To register, interested community members can visit to see the full course list and call 973-378-2055. Registration will be possible at the door, although all the classes may not be open. Trinz advises people who want to register upon arrival to get there early, around 9 a.m., so that they have the largest selection of classes.

Trinz said that the Foundation would pay the teachers for their time.

“Right from the start, we were planning to pay them for this,” Trinz said. “(The teachers are) professionals; their time is valuable…They get asked to do a lot of things on a volunteer basis, and especially since we’d never tried it before, we wanted to make it worthwhile for them.”

While the event is not primarily a fundraiser, any leftover money raised will go toward restoring the school’s auditorium, Trinz said.

Caitlin Carroll is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts designed to give students real-world experience.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Columbia High School Principal's Removal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

The last Twitter post from Columbia High School principal Elizabeth Aaron is very telling. 

The four-year CHS schools chief, who was recently, surprisingly, reassigned to a vague “Principal on Special Assignment” post by the school district, was a Twitter regular on her @CougarPrincipal account. There she would often promote the school’s successes and notable staff and ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Robberies Reported on July 5

July 15, 2018

July 2 - Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime over the previous two days, a U-Haul truck was stolen from a business on Newark Way.

July 4 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd was entered and keys were stolen from it.

July 5 - Robberies; At approximately 1:30 a.m., a male was assaulted by two males ridding bicycles while he was walking on ...

Free 'Movies in the Park' on July 18 and August 23 in Maplewood

July 16, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Free "Movies in the Park" are planned for Wednesday, July 18, and Thursday, August 23, a program hosted by the Maplewood Police Department in conjunction with the Maplewood Recreation Department, the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, SOMA Film Festival and SOMA Municipal Alliance.

The movie on July 18 will be The Incredibles, shown in Dehart Park, ...

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory Through 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 17

NEW YORK, NY, - The National Weather Service issued a 'Heat Advisory' this morning for Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union and Hudson Counties in New Jersey. The heat advisory will remain in effect from noon Monday July 16, until 6 p.m. Tuesday July 17.

Extreme heat can cause illness and death among at- risk population who cannot stay cool. The heat and humidity may cause heat stress during ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair in Paterson



Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, July 20, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Sat, July 21, 7:30 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, SHORT HILLS

Solid Gold with Bobby Valli at Par 440

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Statement From Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron

July 10, 2018


We created a movement. We leveraged our collective 1,600 voices and forced the District leadership to sit with us today [Monday] and discuss the poorly communicated, weekend announcement that CHS Principal Elizabeth Aaron was being reassigned.

Our meeting was a first step in both accountability and transparency as Dr. Ficarra revealed Principal ...

Coalition on Race Responds to Changes in School District Administrators

The Board of Trustees of the Community Coalition on Race seeks racial equity, integration, and excellence in education for all students in our schools. While the pace of change has been frustratingly slow, we have seen some progress. Yet, candidly, there are too many students of color who are not well served in SOMA, who still experience segregated classrooms and who still suffer from racial ...

Lawmakers Denounce SCOTUS Nomination at Essex County Courthouse

July 17, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - State Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin said it was important to support local women’s health organizations at a state level should President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court justice nominee be approved.

The assemblywoman joined state Sen. Teresa Ruiz, congressional leaders and women's rights groups yesterday at the steps of the Essex County Courthouse ...

3rd Annual Newark International Film Festival Accepting Submissions

NEWARK, NJ - Three days filled with celebrity guests and showcases from both local and international filmmakers are coming to the city in September.

The third annual Newark International Film Festival will return Sept. 6 and run through Sept. 9, 2018. The festival has grown each year since it was first created, with the city last year hosting 10,000 attendees seeing films across ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Union Police Pursuit Ends in Crash in Irvington

NEWARK, NJ – Union police were involved in an early morning vehicle pursuit that ended in a crash and serious injuries to two juveniles in Irvington on Monday.

According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is in the early stages of investigating the police pursuit that has resulted in two juveniles sustaining serious ...

New Plumber Joins the Woolley Home Solutions Team

July 16, 2018

We are excited to announce a new addition to the Woolley team! Our new plumber, Oscar Buonafina, is an expert plumber with nearly a decade of industry experience serving New Jersey homeowners. He is also a NJ Master Plumber Since 2007. As a military veteran, Oscar truly understands hard work and commitment, and we’re so happy to bring him on board!

"I believe in service to people ...

Maplewood Brings Local Youth to the Governing Table With the Youth Advisory Committee

The Maplewood Township Committee cordially invites diverse student residents of Maplewood who are enrolled in private or public school in grades 8 through 12 to apply to serve on its new Youth Advisory Committee.  In order to continue empowering local youth whose recent advocacy on - gun safety, safe schools, voting rights, immigration, greater institutional equity and inclusion, to name a ...

Repairs to Boyden Avenue Between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue

On Monday, July 16, road repairs to the south side of Boyden Avenue between Elmwood Avenue and Springfield Avenue will take place for approximately one week pending weather conditions. There will be access to the pool parking lot for pool members and NJ Transit employees. Signage and police officers will be present to direct traffic.