The History of SRHS...
Excerpt From The Southern Yearbook
"When Southern was first opened, it was called a "students'
paradise", and we soon came to realize what this meant. Not
only were we enjoying the atmosphere of an ultra-modern school, we were
also given the opportunity to choose our respective curricula according
to our own needs and interests. A wide variety of electives was offered
Moreover an experiment in "general education" was being conducted during
our senior year. Under this system, students had the same teacher for
English, history and home room. By teaching in this manner, the
administration hoped to show the inter-relation between all school
As soon as we became adjusted to our new surroundings, the Sophomore
class sponsored its first and most important activity--A skating party.
Held at Bill's Skating Rink in Manahawkin, it was a great success
largely due to the support of the entire student body."
From Humble Beginnings...
It is hard to believe that at one time there were only two small high
schools in Southern Ocean County. One of the schools was Barnegat High,
which served students from Barnegat, Waretown, and all of Long Beach
Island. The other school was Tuckerton High School. This was where
students from New Gretna all the way to Manahawkin went. Once people
started to realize that these small campuses were not offering enough
programs and extracurricular activities, a dream began to grow.
Districts Come Together...
Residents of Long Beach Island noticed their elementary schools were
beginning to grow rapidly. From this an idea for a new high school began
to grow. The six communities on Long Beach Island, along with Stafford
Township, decided to form a new regional school district. The other
mainland communities, Barnegat, Waretown and those south of Manahawkin,
decided not to become members of the district. These other towns would
be sending districts and pay tuition for their students to attend the
After a great deal of searching for exactly the right spot for the new
school, one was finally found. The site was in Manahawkin on Route 9,
about one mile north of Route 72. This would be the home for the high
school that would serve the area into the next century.
The Doors Are Opened...
After all the years of dreaming and hard work, Southern Regional High
School opened its doors to students for the first time in September
1957. All of the students in southern Ocean County in grades seven
through twelve were now attending a new school.
The school faced many challenges during its first year. New facilities
and grounds took time to get used to. In that first year only two sports
managed to make their appearance. They were baseball and basketball.
However, both were boys' sports. As the years went by more sports were
added. Football began in 1958, and wrestling was an immediate success
when it started in 1960. Girls' had "Sports Nights" instead of
competitive teams. It would not be until the 1960's when women's sports
would first appear at Southern.
The Birth Of The Middle School...
A little over a decade later, with a huge population growth, the new
school began to burst at the seams. Renovations had to be made to the
school and in 1966 a new wing of classrooms and an extension to the
gymnasium were added. But even this addition was not enough. Once again
the classrooms were over-crowded. The solution was to build a new
school. Construction once again began on a new middle school. This new
school would be built just south of the existing high school on Cedar
Bridge Road. In 1970 this school opened its doors to seventh and eighth
Hello Pinelands High School...
This solved their problem for a few years. But eventually the high
school had to go into split sessions due to over-crowding again. That
problem was finally solved in 1979 with the opening of Pinelands
Regional High School in Tuckerton. All mainland students south of
Manahawkin would no longer be attending Southern Regional. A small
addition was added to the middle school, and the ninth graders were
shifted to that building with the seventh and eighth graders.
The school has since made many changes to the Southern Regional School
District. In 1996 the district added more classrooms to the high school,
and then in 1998, juniors and seniors walked through the doors of a new
high school. This new school is known as the 11/12 house. The old high
school is the housing for ninth and tenth graders, which is the 9/10
house, and the middle school is back to holding the seventh and eighth
graders. June 2007 marked the last graduating class with students from Barnegat. Barnegat High School became a full 9-12 high school in September 2007.
Just as it was in 1957, Southern Regional High School has been a leader
in education. Technology has been an integral part of the programs
offered to its students over the past decades. As a new century dawns,
Southern Regional graduates have proven themselves to be numbered among
our country's leaders in all walks of life.