History / Social Studies

Boys State Interviews will take place in March or April. Announcements will be made in all Social Studies classes.
"We cannot escape history and neither can we escape a desire to understand it" - Anonymous
-Mrs. Anita Falvo, Supervisor
908-647-4800 ext. 4816
See "Opportunities for Students" page.
News from the Department-

Mock Trial: Mr. Biniukow
   The 2013-14 Mock Trial team did an excellent job - making it to the County finals this year.
Civil War Community Night: Mr. New
   Dr. Masur and Dr. Carrigan gave an excellent debate on whether Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant or savior. Civil War re-enactors and memorabilia was on display at the January 13 night. The Lincoln panels will continue to be on display in our Media Center through February 17.
Conference on American  Exceptionalism: Ms. Yuknis
   Ms. Yuknis recently attended a conference on American Exceptionalism in Louisiana.
Retirement: Mr. Kostibos
   We wish the best of luck to Mr. Kostibos after 40 years in education as he moves on to his next path in life. Mr. Kostibos has been a vital part of the Watchung Hills Social Studies Department for many years, teaching US History and Human Relations. He will be missed here at WH.
Kean Diversity Council Leadership: Mrs. Lott-Jones and Ms. Sok
   Mrs. Lott-Jones was sworn in as the President of Kean University's Diversity Council. Ms. Sok has been elected the 2nd Vice President. Both are long standing members of the committee who also co-advise the Diversity Club at WH.
Coach of the Year: Andrew Apel
   Mr. Andrew Apel has been selected as Assistant Lacrosse Coach of the Year for the entire state of New Jersey. He is currently an assistant coach at Ridge High School.
AP Reader: Mrs. Lettington
   Mrs. Lettington has been selected for the second time to serve as a reader for the 2013 AP European History exam. She will be spending close to a week in Kentucky scoring this year's AP exam.

Boys and Girls State Candidates selected for the summer of 2013 are the following:
   Matt Celeste, Greg Rizzo, JP Gavin, Jack Ciraulo, Josh Voorhees, Akshay Katakam, David Mupo, Justin Strnatko, Seneca Velling, NIck Malinowksy, Jacob Wasserman, David Wasserstein, Ross Sylvesti, Andrew Negri, and Max Kabot
   Cody Chen-Shao, Engy Gadelmawla, Shelly Loung, Alyssa Puccio, and Jules Sofo
-The men and women from the American Legion and Lions Club, along with an anonymous donor, sponsor our 11th graders at this week-long summer program in June, held at Rider University and Monmouth University. Students participate in running a city, where they run for office and plan party platforms.
On line courses in Asian History: Mrs. Koppel
   Mrs. Koppel completed courses in Asian History this year to continue her lifelong learning process.
Graduate Work
   Greg Krueger, Ryan Murray, and Rustin Finelle are all working on their Master's Degree.
Holocaust Education Panel Member: Mr. Ryan Murray
   Mr. Murray served on a panel with distinguished guests Governor Tom Kean and Director of Holocaust Education in New Jersey, Paul Winkler, at Kean University to discuss the mandate in New Jersey to teach the Holocaust. In addition, his talk at the Warren Library has led to future speaking engagements for Mr. Murray.

One Million Bones Project: Mr. Murray
   Mr. Murray and Mrs. Truskowski (Ceramics Teacher) worked together to participate in One Millions Bones. They traveled with their classes to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, taught lessons in each other's classes, and created ceramic bones to add to the display in front of the Capitol Building in DC as part of the national project being compiled to help stop genocides.
AP Tests 
   Mrs. Lettington, Mr. Biniukow, Mr. Apel, Mr. Hache, Dr. DiGiovanna, Mr. Carden, and Mr. Krueger, Mr, O'Reilly, and Mr. Oftedal did an excellent job preparing our students for the AP exams in European History, United States History, Psychology, Human Geography, and Government and Politics.
Family Histories: Mr. Carden
   Mr. Carden and his US 2 classes completed their videos of family members; for many families, this is an invaluable commemoration of grandparents and others that are so special to their lives.
 Anti-bullying Initiatives: Mrs. Lott-Jones, Ms. Sok, Miss Krupsky, Miss Yuknis 
   Mrs. Lott-Jones, Ms. Sok, Miss Yuknis, and Miss Krupsky organized Watchung Hills Anti-Bullying Week and White Out Day during the week of March 4. Numerous speakers including police officers, Ryan's Story, Assemblyman Bramnick, Senator Tom Kean, Assemblyman Green, and others spoke to Watchung Hills students. White Out Day saw students wearing white to unite together against bullying, including issues of cyber-bullying. A volleyball game in the evening uniting our school and community helped to promote the concept of being an upstander. Miss Yuknis also organized the 'R' campaign.
Young Democrats: Dr. DiGiovanna
   The Young Democrats Club hosted a presentation of Senator Green. They also helped Jefferson School in Plainfield with their Community Day.
No Name Calling Week: Dr. DiGiovanna
   Dr. DiGiovanna and the Gay Straight Alliance Club led the "No Name Calling Week" to promote issues of tolerance. Students and faculty signed a banner making a commitment to issues of tolerance and acceptance.
 Mock Trial Team: Mr. Biniukow
   Congratulations to Mr. Biniukow and the 2012-13 Mock Trial team. They won both of their first round of trials on both the prosecution and defense side! On to the semi-finals!!!
 Model United Nations: Mr. Krueger
   Mr. and Mrs. Krueger led teh Model United Nations Club to their second win as Best Small School, bringing home the trophy.
Man with the REd Bandanna
   Ms. Lott-Jones and Ms. Sok brought Mrs. Alison Crowther, mother of the Man in the Red Bandanna, who single handedly rescued 12 people from the World Trade Center on September 11, and who lost his own life in the process, to speak to some of our World Cultures classes on January 10, 2013.
Facing History and Ourselves: Miss Krupsky
   Miss Krupsky and her Facing History and Ourselves class presented assemblies to our middle schools on tolerance, and lessons in anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying.
 Our Mission:

History/Social Studies teachers are committed to providing their students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to be responsible, civic-minded citizens. Through the study of history and social sciences, we aim to develop the following: promoting interest in learning about the past and present, encourage creative and ethical decision-making, practice communication through writing and speech, engage in conflict resolution skills, and become motivated to take part in society in a positive manner.


  • Develop a strong content knowledge base of information.
  • Build skills in areas such as reading comprehension, writing, and debate/speaking.
  • Critically think about topics and express thoughts/interpretations of information.
  • Actively engage in classroom activities.
  • Promote authentic assessment.
  • Encourage all students to challenge themselves and to reach their potential.