Biggest High School Enrollments in the United States
Following the end of World War II, the United States experienced a Baby Boom that saw its traditional larger cities begin to expand and encompass surrounding communities or, in some cases, create communities around those bustling urban centers.
With that boom came the need for more schools — specifically high schools that could serve more students than any of those communities ever thought possible. And to serve those schools, they had to make them big. Really big.
Here's a look at the traditional high schools — including grades 9-12 and not charter or virtual learning schools — with the largest enrollments in the United States, with the rule that only one school per state could make the list.
50. Champlain Valley Union High School — Enrollment 1,300
Location: Hinesburg, Vermont
School opened: 1964
Principal/Dean: Adam Bunting
*All student enrollment numbers courtesy of publicschoolreview.com.
Famous Alumni: Champlain Valley Union High School
Famous alumni: Curtis T. McMullen, Morgan Page
Bottom Line: Champlain Valley Union High School
Champlain Valley Union High opened in 1964 to serve a fairly rural community, and it's with no small sense of pride that we can tell you they maintain that connection to this day. CVUHS opened a goat farm on its campus in 2017.
The largest high school by enrollment in Vermont serves the towns in Chittenden County, which is right outside of the more largely populated town of Burlington.
49. Lewiston High School — Enrollment 1,447
Location: Lewiston, Maine
School opened: 1850
Principal/Dean: Tyler Putnam
Famous Alumni: Lewiston High School
Famous alumni: Tom Caron, James L. Nelson, Isaiah Harris, Susan W. Longley
Bottom Line: Lewiston High School
One of the oldest schools on the list, Lewiston High opened its doors in 1850, but its current building opened in 1973.
Lewiston High serves more in the community than just the high school students that attend there. It's also home to the Lewiston Regional Technical Center, which is the second-largest vocational school in Maine.
48. West Fargo High School — Enrollment 1,458
Location: West Fargo, North Dakota
School opened: 1986
Principal/Dean: Jennifer Fremstad
Famous Alumni: West Fargo High School
Famous alumni: Anthony England, Dane Boedigheimer, Jan Maxwell, Amber Preston, Tyler Roehl, Matt Strahm, Andy Young
Bottom Line: West Fargo High School
West Fargo High goes back and forth with Fargo High as the largest high school in the state, and the school has developed a reputation for its top-notch faculty and elite athletic teams.
West Fargo has won more than its fair share of state championships, but its real gem is its football team, which has won six state titles since 1993, with the latest coming in 2017.
47. Cranston High School East — Enrollment 1,658
Location: Cranston, Rhode Island
School opened: 1925
Principal/Dean: Sean T. Kelly
Famous Alumni: Cranston High School East
Famous alumni: Vinny Pazienza, Tom Mellor, Rudolph Tanzi, Frank Matano, Bill Bennett, Curt Bennett, Harvey Bennett Jr., Jimmy Cooney, Johnny Cooney
Bottom Line: Cranston High School East
Cranston High School East is most commonly referred to as Cranston East and now comprises two buildings, including its original structure.
Cranston East was originally known as Cranston High but changed its name once Cranston West opened in 1958.
46. Kelly Walsh High School — Enrollment 1,817
Location: Casper, Wyoming
School opened: 1965
Principal/Dean: Mike Britt
Famous Alumni: Kelly Walsh High School
Famous alumni: Mike Devereaux, C.J. Box, Kristen Heiss, Ron Franscell
Bottom Line: Kelly Walsh High School
Kelly Walsh High School opened in 1965 and was named after a former Natrona County School District principal. It underwent a major expansion in 1995 that included adding a second gymnasium.
Kelly Walsh High becomes the main focus of sports in the state every spring when Harry Geldien Stadium hosts the state track and field championships.
45. Cabell Midland High School — Enrollment 1,914
Location: Ona, West Virginia
School opened: Lloyd McGuffin
Famous Alumni: Cabell Midland High School
Famous alumni: Katie Lee, Jason Starkey
Bottom Line: Cabell Midland High School
Cabell Midland High takes its name from the two suburbs it draws students from — Cabell and Midland. The school opened in 1994 and received the Honor Award for Architectural Excellence from the West Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1995.
One thing of note is that Cabell Midland High isn't very diverse. Its student population is almost 98 percent white.
44. Tupelo High School — Enrollment 2,012
Location: Tupelo, Mississippi
School opened: 1914
Principal/Dean: Art Dobbs
Famous Alumni: Tupelo High School
Famous alumni: Jarious Jackson, Frank Dowsing, John Dye, Chris Stratton, Mikky Eko, Alex Carrington, Tamika Whitmore, Rae Sremmurd (Aaquil "Slim Jxmmi" Brown and Khalif "Swae Lee" Brown)
Bottom Line: Tupelo High School
Tupelo High is the largest high school in Mississippi and was named a National Blue Ribbon School twice in its history, in 1984 and 2000, honoring its academic excellence.
Two of its graduates — Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee — formed the groundbreaking hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd and had a No. 1 Billboard single in 2016 with "Black Beatles" — one of several platinum singles from the group.
43. Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School — Enrollment 2,031
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
School opened: 1954
Principal/Dean: Ron Brown
Famous Alumni: Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School
Famous alumni: Scott Gomez, Trajan Langdon, Lora Reinbold, Kikkan Randall, Sean Parnell, Mao Tosi, Lora Reinbold
Bottom Line: Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School
East Anchorage High School did a really amazing thing in 2020 when it was renamed Bettye Davis East Anchorage High in honor of the late Bettye Davis, an Alaskan social worker and politician.
Davis was the first African-American to be elected an Alaskan state senator in 2000.
42. William Penn High School — Enrollment 2,070
Location: New Castle, Delaware
School opened: 1921
Principal/Dean: Lisa Brewington
Famous Alumni: William Penn High School
Famous alumni: Jeff Otah, Kyle Carter, Devin Smith, Cliff Brumbaugh, Dave May, Brian Oliver
Bottom Line: William Penn High School
William Penn is one of the oldest schools on this list. It first opened its doors in 1849 and was named after the man who founded the Province of Pennsylvania, which later became the state of Pennsylvania.
Located in New Castle, the largest high school in Delaware also serves the communities of Delaware City, Port Penn, St. Georges, Wilmington and Bear.
41. Bozeman High School — Enrollment 2,157
Location: Bozeman, Montana
School opened: 1877
Principal/Dean: Dan Mills
Famous Alumni: Bozeman High School
Famous alumni: Dane Fletcher, Michael McFaul, Stephanie Quayle, Will Dissly, Steve Daines
Bottom Line: Bozeman High School
Bozeman High School is located right in the middle of Big Sky Country and offers the beautiful, expansive views that go along with that part of Montana.
Bozeman High can actually trace its roots back to 1877 and Gallatin County High School — the first high school in Bozeman.
Since the 1980s, Bozeman High has consistently been ranked among the best high schools in the nation.
40. Madison West High School — Enrollment 2,232
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
School opened: 1930
Principal/Dean: Karen Boran
Famous Alumni: Madison West High School
Famous alumni: Marc Webb, Bob Whitsitt, Reece Gaines, Phil Hellmuth, Eric Heiden, David Maraniss, Sarayu Rao
Bottom Line: Madison West High School
Madison West serves three towns in its area — Madison, Shorewood Hills and Fitchburg.
The thing that jumps off the page and into the air about Madison West is its cutting-edge rocket program.
The Madison Rocket Club started in 2003 and took first place in the Team America Rocketry Challenge in 2009, 2012 and 2019.
39. Lafayette High School — Enrollment 2,293
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
School opened: 1939
Principal/Dean: Bryne Jacobs
Famous Alumni: Lafayette High School
Famous alumni: Tyson Gay, Harry Dean Stanton, Jock Sutherland, Jim Varney, Clark Janell Davis, John Y. Brown Jr., Gay Brewer
Bottom Line: Lafayette High School
Lafayette High School became the first white school in Lexington to be integrated in 1955 and has only had eight principals as it closes in on its 100th anniversary.
Of all Lafayette's graduates, there is no one we love more than the late, great Harry Dean Stanton, perhaps the greatest supporting actor of all time, from "Cool Hand Luke" to "The Godfather Part II" to "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Pretty in Pink."
Stanton was usually the backup man. But perhaps his greatest role was a lead in "Paris, Texas" directed by Wim Wenders.
38. Wichita East High School — Enrollment 2,329
Location: Wichita, Kansas
School opened: 1878
Principal/Dean: Sara Richardson
Famous Alumni: Wichita East High School
Famous alumni: Joe Walsh, Jim Ryun, Darryl Spencer, Robert Gates, Adrian Griffin, Bryce Brown, Arthur Brown, Taryn Southern, Korleone Young
Bottom Line: Wichita East High School
It's a shame there aren't more movie productions that make their way to Wichita, Kansas, because the main front-facing part of Wichita East High School and its classic Gothic architecture seems perfect for some type of horror movie.
Aside from its spooky entrance, East is known for its elite International Baccalaureate Diploma and its rich history of athletic excellence.
37. Dutchtown High School — Enrollment 2,333
Location: Geismar, Louisiana
School opened: 2003
Principal/Dean: Carli Francois
Famous Alumni: Dutchtown High School
Famous alumni: Landon Collins, Eddie Lacy, Eric Reid, Justin Reid
Bottom Line: Dutchtown High School
If you're looking for the best public high school in Louisiana, you've come to the right place. Dutchtown High received an "A" from the state of Louisiana as the top-performing school when it came to standardized tests.
In 2017, Dutchtown was named a World-Leading Learner school and invited to join the Global Learning Network, which is a cutting-edge consortium of high schools trying to push the envelope when it comes to high school education.
36. Lincoln High School — Enrollment 2,350
Location: Des Moine, Iowa
School opened: 1923
Principal/Dean: Paul Williamson
Famous Alumni: Lincoln High School
Famous alumni: Tom Choi, Pete Sterbick, Trevon Young, Robert Johnson, Tanya Warren
Bottom Line: Lincoln High School
Lincoln High has an important place in the history of Des Moines. The school is referred to as "The Pride of the South Side" by people in the city.
Lincoln was built in response to Des Moines' rapidly expanding population in the early 1920s and was the second high school built after East High.
35. Roosevelt High School — Enrollment 2,353
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
School opened: 1991
Principal/Dean: Tim Hazlett
Famous Alumni: Roosevelt High School
Famous alumni: January Jones, Kellen Briggs, Joe Krabbenhoft
Bottom Line: Roosevelt High School
Roosevelt opened in 1991 at a price tag of $17 million, and within a decade, its overcrowding was used as the issue that led to the building of Jefferson High.
Roosevelt didn't take long to establish itself as a powerhouse in girls basketball. They won six state championships from 1997 to 2006.
34. Rocky Mountain High School — Enrollment 2,387
Location: Meridian, Idaho
School opened: 2008
Principal/Dean: Mike Hirano
Famous Alumni: Rocky Mountain High School
Famous alumni: Jonah Williams, Jackson Cluff
Bottom Line: Rocky Mountain High School
Rocky Mountain High is one of the newest schools on this list. It opened in 2008 as part of the Ada School District and has grown to one of the biggest schools in the state in the last 13 years.
Rocky Mountain's enrollment goes back and forth with neighboring Mountain View as the largest enrollment in the state — and for football supremacy. Rocky Mountain has won two state championships since it opened.
33. Blue Springs High School — Enrollment 2,487
Location: Blue Springs, Missouri
School opened: 1971
Principal/Dean: Tom Alderman
Famous Alumni: Blue Springs High School
Famous alumni: Brandon Lloyd, Ladell Betts, Jon Sundvold, David Cook, Elijah Lee, Nick Tepesch, Kris Johnson, Connor Harris, Khalil Davis, Carlos Davis
Bottom Line: Blue Springs High School
Blue Springs High serves several communities in the sprawling Kansas City metropolitan area, a vast swatch that covers two states in both Kansas and Missouri.
Blue Springs serves the city it's in, of course, but also the outskirts of Independence and Lee's Summit.
In all, the Blue Springs School District serves some 14,000 students.
32. Rio Rancho High School — Enrollment 2,572
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
School opened: 1997
Principal/Dean: Sherri Carver
Famous Alumni: Rio Rancho High School
Famous alumni: Chris Williams
Bottom Line: Rio Rancho High School
In 2008, Rio Rancho High's student population split in two when V. Cleveland High School opened to deal with overcrowding issues.
Since then, Rio Rancho has found itself in the middle of pop culture in some pretty cool ways. It was one of the locations for the "Fright Night" remake and served as the fictional J.P. Wynne High School in the television series "Breaking Bad," aka the place that didn't see fit to give Jesse Pinkman a degree.
31. Omaha South High School — Enrollment 2,698
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
School opened: 1887
Principal/Dean: Jodi Pesek
Famous Alumni: Omaha South High School
Famous alumni: Noah Fant, Johnny Goodman, Jim Hartung, Cedric Hunter, Jeff Koterba, Dave Rimington
Bottom Line: Omaha South High School
One of the largest, oldest school buildings in Nebraska is now home to thousands of students walking around with cutting-edge technology. Every student is given laptops and iPads to boost their academic progress.
One other cool thing about Omaha South is their great arts and entertainment programs that have partnerships with Opera Omaha and Omaha Community Playhouse.
Another thing this school does really well? Boys soccer. Omaha South has won four state championships in the last decade, and the 2013 state championship game against Creighton Prep set the state attendance record with a whopping 8,200 fans.
30. Bartlett High School — Enrollment 2,726
Location: Bartlett, Tennessee
School opened: 1917
Principal/Dean: Tim Jones
Famous Alumni: Bartlett High School
Famous alumni: Ron Davis
Bottom Line: Bartlett High School
The largest high school in Tennessee was formerly known as Blackwell High School and underwent a massive renovation in 2021. Exactly how big is Bartlett and the schools that feed into it? Big enough that it separated from the Shelby County School District in 2014 to form its own school district — Bartlett City Schools.
In football-crazy Tennessee, one strange thing about Bartlett High is it has produced only one NFL player: Ron Davis.
29. South Kitsap High School — Enrollment 2,792
Location: Port Orchard, Washington
School opened: 1921
Principal/Dean: Dave Goodwin
Famous Alumni: South Kitsap High School
Famous alumni: Jud Heathcoate, Emily Randall, Jason Hammel, Jamie Ford, Willie Bloomquist
Bottom Line: South Kitsap High School
If you understand one thing about South Kitsap High, let's make sure it's that they have one of the best high school bands in the entire nation — better known as The Marching Machine.
The Marching Machine has more accolades than you can shake a stick at. They were invited to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in 2008. Former Governor Christine Gregoire declared Jan. 26, 2010, South Kitsaph High Marching Band Day, and in 2011, they were selected to perform at the 70th anniversary ceremonies honoring victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
28. Hoover High School — Enrollment 2,891
Location: Hoover, Alabama
School opened: 1994
Principal/Dean: John Montgomery
Famous Alumni: Hoover High School
Famous alumni: Taylor Hicks, Hannah Godwin, John Parker Wilson, Marlon Humphrey, Chad Jackson, Steve Lowery, Sidney Spencer, Heather Whitestone
Bottom Line: Hoover High School
Hoover High is going to be known from here to eternity as the school that was the subject of MTV's ultra-cheesy reality show "Two-a-Days" although it should probably get more credit than that — the show not the school.
You can make a good argument that "Two-a-Days" was the precursor to groundbreaking shows like "Last Chance U" and "QB1" on Netflix.
27. Dakota High School — Enrollment 2,996
Location: Macomb, Michigan
School opened: 1995
Principal/Dean: Kevin Koskos
Famous Alumni: Dakota High School
Famous alumni: Sage Steele, Jake Lloyd, Steve Inskeep, Sarah Litzsigner, Josh McRoberts, Morgan Newton, Carlos Saldanha
Bottom Line: Dakota High School
One of the few high schools on this list to open in the 1990s, Dakota High School sits right outside of Detroit in the Macomb Township — a densely populated area with almost 100,000 residents. Chippewa Valley Schools has two high schools in its district — between Dakota High and Chippewa Valley High there are a combined 5,427 high school students in the 2021-22 school year.
Dakota High, which won back-to-back football state championships in 2006 and 2007, isn't especially diverse, with 83 percent white students.
26. Montgomery Blair High School — Enrollment 3,083
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
School opened: 1925
Principal/Dean: Renay C. Johnson
Famous Alumni: Montgomery Blair High School
Famous alumni: Goldie Hawn, Sylvester Stallone, Carl Bernstein, Connie Chung, Nora Roberts, Ben Stein, Dominique Dawes, Steve Francis, Visanthe Shiancoe, Morgan Wooten
Bottom Line: Montgomery Blair High School
There is no school on this list that can go toe-to-toe with Montgomery Blair High's uber-impressive list of alumni that seems to spread itself across every aspect of American fame and pop culture.
Want Academy Award winners? We've got Goldie Hawn and Sylvester Stallone. Want Pulitzer Prize winners? How about "All the President's Men" co-author Carl Bernstein. Want superstar athletes? Look no further than NBA Rookie of the Year and three-time NBA All-Star Steve Francis or Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes.
25. James Campbell High School — Enrollment 3,110
Location: Ewa Beach, Hawaii
School opened: 1962
Principal/Dean: John Henry Lee
Famous Alumni: James Campbell High School
Famous alumni: Mike Ulufale, Kurt Fevella, Ruthie Alcaide, Bretman Rock
Bottom Line: James Campbell High School
James Campbell High sits just 15 miles outside of downtown Honolulu and serves a large community of families working for the Department of Defense and living in military housing in and around Ewa Beach, one of the most scenic destinations in the entire world.
Going to high school in Hawaii is just as cool as you think it might be, but going to Campbell High might be a bit overwhelming — the school has 10 buildings on its campus along with a football stadium. It's huge.
24. Danbury High School — Enrollment 3,115
Location: Danbury, Connecticut
School opened: 1906
Principal/Dean: Dan Donovan
Famous Alumni: Danbury High School
Famous alumni: Ken Green, George Radachowsky, Christina Ellington
Bottom Line: Danbury High School
Danbury High School is unique in that its the only public high school serving a population of almost 100,000 in the Danbury metropolitan area. Danbury High's student population is also incredibly diverse — a good portion of the students come from homes where English isn't the primary language, and that's reflected in Danbury High's extensive ESL programs.
Danbury High was featured on the TruTV show "The Principal's Office" in 2009 before the show was abruptly canceled — undoubtedly because of its premise, which seemed to skirt the boundaries of legality.
23. Bentonville High School — Enrollment 3,126
Location: Bentonville, Arkansas
School opened: 1910
Principal/Dean: Jack Lloyd
Famous Alumni: Bentonville High School
Famous alumni: Doug McMillon, Malik Monk
Bottom Line: Bentonville High School
If you're looking for a great American success story in the town where Wal-Mart was born, you've come to the right place. Former Bentonville High School point guard Doug McMillon worked summers in high school unloading trucks for Wal-Mart, then went to work for them as a buyer after he received his MBA from the University of Tulsa in 1991.
From there, McMillon climbed the ranks until he was put in charge of Sam's Club, then Walmart International, then finally became the Big Kahuna. He was named CEO of Walmart in 2014.
22. Granger High School — Enrollment 3,129
Location: West Valley City, Utah
School opened: 1958
Principal/Dean: Dr. David Dunn
Famous Alumni: Granger High School
Famous alumni: Naufahu Tahi, Khyiris Tonga, Makol Mawien, Jeff Warburton, Troy Farnsworth
Bottom Line: Granger High School
If you want to know what the 1950s were like in America, please look no further than Granger High School, which opened in 1958 with a King Arthur/Medieval theme.
Here's how it went down at the school that is now the largest in the state. The school's colors were crimson, blue and silver (the same as King Arthur's court), the cafeteria was named Stonehenge, and the school's mascot was designated as the Lancer.
The point of the story is the 1950s weren't the coolest time to be alive.
21. David Douglas High School — Enrollment 3,141
Location: Portland, Oregon
School opened: 1954
Principal/Dean: John Bier
Famous Alumni: David Douglas High School
Famous alumni: Sam Elliott, Kim Peyton-McDonald, Lindsay Wagner, Barbara Niven, Jeff Merkley
Bottom Line: David Douglas High School
Located in the heart of Portland, David Douglas High is an example of an incredibly diverse student population in an area where that's not necessarily easy to come by.
With just 20 percent of its graduates moving on to four-year colleges in the early 1990s, David Douglas High administrators developed the widely lauded Project STARS program that allows students to pick specific routes to graduation that focus on subjects more easily transferable to college. And it works.
Big ups to the David Douglas High student newspaper, The Highlander, as well. The paper won first-place awards from the American Scholastic Press from 1995 to 2008 as well as from the Northwest Scholastic Press from 1994 to 2000, 2002 to 2005, and again in 2008.
20. Ardrey Kell High School — Enrollment 3,178
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
School opened: 2006
Principal/Dean: Jamie Brooks
Famous Alumni: Ardrey Kell High School
Famous alumni: Alex Wood, Tessa Blanchard, Julian Okwara, Romeo Akwara, Mike Senatore
Bottom Line: Ardrey Kell High School
The largest high school in Charlotte is the newest to make this list after it opened its doors for the first time in 2006. Any conversation about Ardrey Kell High in recent years includes the controversy surrounding Principal David Switzer, who was suspended by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in 2020 over accusations of racism.
Switzer was ultimately cleared of the accusations and reassigned within the school district, with Jamie Brooks hired to become the new principal in July 2020 after having served as an assistant principal there in the late 2000s.
19. Pinkerton Academy — Enrollment 3,181
Location: Derry, New Hampshire
School opened: 1814
Headmaster: Timothy Powers
Famous Alumni: Pinkerton Academy
Famous alumni: Alan Shepard, Charles Miller Floyd, Keri Lynn Pratt, Zach Sanford, Andy Seuss, Pamela Smart
Bottom Line: Pinkerton Academy
If you're looking for an old and venerated high school, you've come to the right place with Pinkerton Academy, which opened its doors for the first time in 1814.
Pinkerton is the largest high school in New Hampshire by almost 1,500 students and is incredibly unusual in that it serves as both a private school and a public school for surrounding communities.
Pinkerton, literally, produces out-of-this-world graduates. Class of 1940 graduate Alan Shephard was the first American to travel in outer space in 1961 and walked on the moon in 1971.
18. Wayzata High School — Enrollment 3,342
Location: Plymouth, Minnesota
School opened: 1857
Principal/Dean: Scott Gengler
Famous Alumni: Wayzata High School
Famous alumni: Amy Klobuchar, Marion Barber III, James Laurinaitis, Patrick Weah, Kimberly Elise, Kirsten Gronfield
Bottom Line: Wayzata High School
Wayzata High got the green light to expand and, in turn, become one of the largest high schools in the nation in 2014 when voters approved a $109 million bond project for a massive expansion that was completed in 2017.
Since undergoing that expansion, Wayzata has found its way onto multiple lists declaring it one of the top 500 schools in America, from Newsweek in 2015 to U.S. News and World Report in 2021.
With the expansion came awesome perks. For instance, every student at Wayzata High has been issued an iPad — part of the school's cutting-edge technology push.
17. Coronado High School — Enrollment 3,395
Location: Henderson, Nevada
School opened: 2001
Deans: Sarah Barlow and Robert Kalinowski
Famous Alumni: Coronado High School
Famous alumni: Jaden Hardy, Tysson Poots, Tyler Brown, Andrew Gans
Bottom Line: Coronado High School
Coronado High is another newer school on the list. It didn't open its doors for the first time until 2001.
The Coronado Cougar Marching Band has already made a name for itself and has performed all over the world, including in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland, and at the induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Arguably the most famous alum in Coronado High history comes from the Class of 2021. Basketball player Jaden Hardy was one of the most highly recruited players in the country and decided to forgo college in favor of playing in the NBA G-League. He's considered a lock to be a lottery pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
16. Passaic County Technical Institute — Enrollment 3,481
Location: Wayne, New Jersey
School opened: 1917
Principal/Dean: Antonio Garcia and Joaquim Johnson
Famous Alumni: Passaic County Technical Institute
Famous alumni: Mike Adams, Derrick Etienne, Gerald Hayes, Marche Shipp
Bottom Line: Passaic County Technical Institute
Passaic County Technical Institute's backstory is fascinating, as it spent its first three decades as a trade school beginning in the late 1910s. It took boys as young as 11 years old to learn a trade and kept them for two years or until they were ready to work in a factory — whatever came first.
The school didn't actually become a high school until 1946 and didn't become open to the public until the 1960s, opening at its current location for the first time in 1966. Passaic is located right outside of Paterson, New Jersey, in one of the most densely populated areas of the U.S.
15. William Mason High School — Enrollment 3,544
Location: Mason, Ohio
School opened: 1883
Principal/Dean: Robert Dodd
Famous Alumni: William Mason High School
Famous alumni: Dan Patrick, Josh Kline, Brian Daugherty, Angela Bizzarri
Bottom Line: William Mason High School
William Mason High saw its first graduating class hold commencement in 1886, easily making it one of the oldest schools on this list.
The largest high school in Ohio opened its new campus in 2002 and saw a massive, $30 million expansion in 2009 that added two new wings and 49 new classrooms.
The school serves the city of Mason, which is one of the more wealthy pockets of wealth in the Midwest. The median income for every household in the city is around $100,000.
14. Cherry Creek High School — Enrollment 3,641
Location: Greenwood Village, Colorado
School opened: 1955
Principal/Dean: Ryan Silva
Famous Alumni: Cherry Creek High School
Famous alumni: Aron Ralston, Tracey Needham, Amy Van Dyken, Brad Lidge, Darnell McDonald, Mark Randall, Kyle Shanahan
Bottom Line: Cherry Creek High School
You won't find many public high schools in the U.S. that are nicer than Cherry Creek High, which serves the upper-middle class suburbs in the Denver Metro area.
The 80-acre campus is set up more like a college than a high school on purpose, as the powers that be thought that sort of setup would encourage students to continue their education past high school.
That makes sense because Cherry Creek also has one of the most aggressive offerings of Advanced Placement courses in the nation.
13. Upper Darby Senior High School — Enrollment 3,717
Location: Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania
School opened: 1895
Principal/Dean: Kelley Simone
Famous Alumni: Upper Darby Senior High School
Famous alumni: Tina Fey, Jim Croce, Jack Ramsay, Todd Rundgren, Alvin Sargent, Heather Donahue
Bottom Line: Upper Darby Senior High School
Upper Darby Senior High opened in 1895, making it the oldest high school in Delaware County, and it has the history to go with it.
Upper Darby is notable for its diversity, as over 55 different nationalities are represented in its hallways.
In popular culture the school is perhaps best known for being the inspiration for the movie "Mean Girls," written by one of its alums and one of the greatest comedians of all time, Tina Fey. The movie, released in 2004, made $130.1 million at the box office against a budget of just $17 million.
12. Hamilton High School — Enrollment 3,788
Location: Chandler, Arizona
School opened: 1998
Principal/Dean: Michael De La Torre
Famous Alumni: Hamilton High School
Famous alumni: Terrell Suggs, Cody Bellinger, Zach Bauman, Tyler Johnstone, Hannah O'Sullivan
Bottom Line: Hamilton High School
The Phoenix metropolitan area eventually swallowed up the surrounding city of Chandler and, in turn, Chandler High, which could not handle the ever-expanding population.
In turn, Arizona voters gave the Chandler Unified School District a $33 million bond in 1996 to buy land for a new high school, which opened in 1998 for almost 2,000 students in grades 9-12.
The apple of Chandler High's eye is its football program. They've won six state championships since 2014 and produced one of the NFL's greatest pass rushers of all time in Terrell Suggs.
11. Norcross High School — Enrollment 3,817
Location: Norcross, Georgia
School opened: 1903
Principal/Dean: Will Bishop
Famous Alumni: Norcross High School
Famous alumni: Alvin Kamara, Jeremy Lamb, Jodie Meeks, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jeff Backus, Diamond DeShields, Lajon Witherspoon
Bottom Line: Norcross High School
The biggest high school in Georgia also has arguably the most impressive list of athletes of any school on this list, including NFL All-Pro running back Alvin Kamara and WNBA All-Star and 2018 No. 3 overall pick Diamond DeShields.
Norcross has seen its greatest athletic success in the last two decades with athletes like Kamara and DeShields walking its hallways. Norcross has won four state championships in boys basketball, two state championships in girls basketball and two state championships in football since 2006.
10. Broken Arrow High School — Enrollment 3,838
Location: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
School opened: 1910
Principal/Dean: Liz Burns
Famous Alumni: Broken Arrow High School
Famous alumni: Kristin Chenoweth, Brad Penny, Archie Bradley, DeDe Dorsey, Jim Brewer, Steve Logan
Bottom Line: Broken Arrow High School
Broken Arrow High opened in 1910 and got brand-new buildings in 1952 and 1983 and then opened a new football stadium in 2010 — which in Oklahoma is as good as gold.
While the football team at Broken Arrow has just one state championship to its name, its competitive marching band has soared to heights few have seen. The Pride of Broken Arrow won national championships in 2006, 2011 and 2015 at the Bands of America Grand Nationals.
The Pride won 14 straight Oklahoma state championships at one point and is the only three-time winner of the Sudler Shield. There was even a documentary made about its 2001 season.
9. Alexandria High School — Enrollment 3,963
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
School opened: 1965
Principal/Dean: Peter Balas
Famous Alumni: Alexandria High School
Famous alumni: Ronnie Bass, Gerry Bertier, Dermot Mulroney, J. Holiday, Noah Lyles, Donnell Rawlings
Bottom Line: Alexandria High School
There are a lot of high schools on this list you may have heard of — none more so than Alexandria High, which was formerly known as T.C. Williams High until a name change in 2021.
That name change came about with a great deal of controversy. The school was previously named after the former Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent, who was an ardent supporter of racial segregation.
That's ironic because T.C. Williams High actually became most famous for being the basis of the 2000 film "Remember the Titans," starring Denzel Washington as the coach of the first integrated football team in school history.
8. Wando High School — Enrollment 3,997
Location: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
School opened: 1973
Principal/Dean: Sherry Eppelscheimer
Famous Alumni: Wando High School
Famous alumni: Dexter Coakley, Shepard Fairey, Travis Jervey, Barry Richardson, Melanie Thornton
Bottom Line: Wando High School
Wando High School opened its doors for the first time shortly after desegregation made its way through South Carolina in the early 1970s. It was named for the Wando River, a major tributary of the Copper River that divides Charleston from Mount Pleasant.
The high school got a brand-new campus in 2004, and its old campus was used by Wando High only for its football stadium until 2018 when the new stadium opened.
7. Brockton High School — Enrollment 4,123
Location: Brockton, Massachusetts
School opened: 1870
Principal/Dean: Dr. Clifford Murray
Famous Alumni: Brockton High School
Famous alumni: Marvin Hagler, Rocky Marciano, Pooch Hall, Dr. Eric Rubin, Brian McFadden
Bottom Line: Brockton High School
It's tough to look past the two men fronting the high school's famous alumni list — Marvin Hagler and Rocky Marciano, two of the greatest boxers of all time. It's especially interesting because the school's mascot is a boxer, although it's a boxer dog and used as a pun for the two greats.
Brockton High was the largest school on the East Coast for a long time before being overtaken by Brooklyn Tech. It's also been one of the most derided, and in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was commonly pointed to as an example of how big schools can lead students to fail.
The school was able to ultimately turn around this reputation.
6. Waukegan High School — Enrollment 4,609
Location: Waukegan, Illinois
School opened: 1870
Principal/Dean: Timothy Bryner
Famous Alumni: Waukegan High School
Famous alumni: Otto Graham, Jack Benny, Jerry Orbach, Adam Pearce, Corky Calhoun, Neil Flynn, Jermaine Lewis
Bottom Line: Waukegan High School
Waukegan High first opened its doors in 1870 but didn't see a notable expansion until 1974 in order to accommodate the Baby Boomer generation and the massive surge of students that came its way.
That said, Waukegan High's GOAT alum wasn't a Baby Boomer. Legendary quarterback Otto Graham was on the map of Waukegan High's football coaches from the moment he was born, and why is that you ask?
Graham set the Illinois record for the biggest baby born in state history in 1921 when the future three-time NFL Most Valuable Player weighed in at 14 pounds, 12 ounces.
5. Cypress Bay High School — Enrollment 4,692
Location: Weston, Florida
School opened: 2002
Principal/Dean: Kassandra Fried
Famous Alumni: Cypress Bay High School
Famous alumni: Danny Isidora, Nico Marley, Buddy Jackson, Steven Bohlemann, Daniel Bluman
Bottom Line: Cypress Bay High School
Cypress Bay High isn't just the biggest high school in Florida, it's also one of the best high schools in the state when it comes to academics. It routinely receives an overall "A" ranking on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results.
Cypress Bay is also nationally known for its Television Production program. The Student Television Network Awards honored Cypress Bay with first place in its Documentary category in 2021 along with second-place finishes in Commentary and Remote News/Feature Story.
In sports, their boys soccer team is also routinely among the best in the country and has won five state championships in the last seven years.
4. Paramount High School — Enrollment 4,722
Location: Paramount, California
School opened: 1953
Principals: Christiana Kraus and Elizabeth Salcido
Famous Alumni: Paramount High School
Famous alumni: YG, Brian Hunter, Antonio Pierce, Traphik, Jefff Sellers, Gil Velazquez
Bottom Line: Paramount High School
Paramount High School's student population is so massive it requires two campuses — ninth-graders on the West Campus and grades 10-12 on the Senior Campus.
From 2008 to 2010 Paramount High underwent a massive, $72 million renovation that included a new football/athletics stadium, field house, library/media center and installed solar panels throughout the entire campus.
The school also produced one of the toughest NFL linebackers in the last few decades — Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Antonio Pierce.
3. Allen High School — Enrollment 4,885
Location: Allen, Texas
School opened: 1910
Principal/Dean: Matt Russell
Famous Alumni: Allen High School
Famous alumni: Kyler Murray, Carly Patterson, Julie McCullough, Greg Little, A.J. Ferrari, Matt Barr
Bottom Line: Allen High School
Any discussion of Allen High School needs to begin and end with the school's 18,000-seat football stadium.
Allen Eagle Stadium opened in 2012 at a price tag of $60 million for the largest stadium in Texas used by just one school. It and added an additional $10 million in 2014 to fix some structural damage.
That kind of investment has definitely provided some dividends. Future Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Kyler Murray played his final three seasons of high school football in the new stadium and won three consecutive state championships.
2. Carmel High School — Enrollment 5,060
Location: Carmel, Indiana
School opened: 1869
Principal/Dean: Thomas Harmas
Famous Alumni: Carmel High School
Famous alumni: Sage Steele, Jake Lloyd, Steve Inskeep, Sarah Litzsigner, Josh McRoberts, Morgan Newton, Carlos Saldanha
Bottom Line: Carmel High School
There's a special place in our hearts for Carmel High, thanks to its nationally recognized yearbook, school newspaper and school radio programs, and the Carmel High School Marching Band is also widely recognized as one of the best in the nation.
That said, the thought of going to a school with a student population of over 5,000 every single day seems daunting and makes us wonder how Carmel only has one high school.
Isn't Indiana full of wide-open spaces?
1. Brooklyn Technical High School — Enrollment 5,839
Location: Brooklyn, New York
School opened: 1922
Principal/Dean: David Newman
Famous Alumni: Brooklyn Technical High School
Famous alumni: Lou Ferrigno, Al Lerner, Richard Matheson, Albert Ruddy, Charles B. Wang, Richard Farina, Kim Coles, Lorenzo Charles, Harry Chapin, Lee David Zlotoff
Bottom Line: Brooklyn Technical High School
The largest high school enrollment in the United States belongs to Brooklyn Tech — a dystopian-looking building in the heart of Brooklyn.
It's not easy to get into Brooklyn Tech either. Between 8,000 to 9,000 middle school students take standardized tests to gain admission every year, with only around 1,900 students getting in.
If we're picking a GOAT alumnus from Brooklyn Tech, it's hard to choose between Albert Ruddy, the Oscar-winning producer of "The Godfather," "The Longest Yard," and "Million Dollar Baby" and Richard Matheson, one of the greatest sci-fi writers of all time.
OK, we'll go with Ruddy.
Best of the Rest: Biggest High School Enrollments in U.S.
Our list of the biggest high school enrollments in the U.S. garnered enough interest that we've decided to add 10 more schools from the pool of the biggest high schools in the country, regardless of the states they're from.
North Shore Senior High School — Enrollment 4,778
Location: Houston, Texas
School opened: 1962
Principal: Dr. Joe Coleman
Famous Alumni: North Shore Senior High School
Famous alumni: John Bundrick, Andre Gurode, Cory Redding, Zach Evans, K'Lavon Chaisson, Lexi Randall
Bottom Line: North Shore Senior High School
This massive high school is spread out over two campuses for grades 9-12, which has been the standard at the school since 1999.
The largest high school in Houston is known for its powerhouse football program, which competes in the largest division in Texas and has won five state championships, including four since 2015.
Fort Hamilton High School — Enrollment 4,580
Location: Brooklyn, New York
School opened: 1941
Principal: Kaye Houlihan
Famous Alumni: Fort Hamilton High School
Famous alumni: Bernard King, Albert King, Janet Yellen, Lana Parrilla, Frank Layden, Julio Lugo
Bottom Line: Fort Hamilton High School
Opened in 1941, Fort Hamilton High overlooks The Narrows and Lower New York Bay and is among the biggest high schools in the U.S. with an enrollment approaching 5,000 students.
Fort Hamilton High has as varied and distinguished a group of alumni as any school on this list. They include Fed Reserve chairman Janet Yellen and former NBA superstar Bernard King, who is perhaps the greatest natural basketball scorer of all time.
Skyline High School — Enrollment 4,535
Location: Dallas, Texas
School opened: 1970
Principal: Dwaine Simmons
Famous Alumni: Skyline High School
Famous alumni: Michael Johnson, Cowboy Troy, Larry Johnson, Allen Rossum, Corey Nelson
Bottom Line: Skyline High School
One of the top-rated high schools in the entire country, Skyline High in Dallas is as tied to the city's past as any high school in that area.
Skyline is such a massive high school that it's actually spun off into two magnet schools over the years.
Polytechnic High School — Enrollment 4,142
Location: Long Beach, California
School opened: 1895
Principal/Dean: Bill Salas and Quentin Brown
Famous Alumni: Polytechnic High School
Famous alumni: Snoop Dogg, Cameron Diaz, Tony Gwynn, Jenni Rivera, DeSean Jackson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyus Edney, Jordan Bell, Chase Utley, Milton Bradley
Bottom Line: Polytechnic High School
Better known as Long Beach Poly High, you can make an argument that this is one of the more famous high schools in the whole country. And that's for good reason.
The alumni from Long Beach Poly read like a who's who of pop culture, sports and California politics for the last four decades, including rapper Snoop Dogg, actress Cameron Diaz and the late Tony Gwynn, one of the greatest hitters in MLB history.
Dr. Phillips High School — Enrolment 3,773
Location: Orlando, Florida
School opened: 1987
Principal/Dean: Nelson Warren
Famous Alumni: Dr. Phillips High School
Famous alumni: Wayne Brady, DJ Khaled, Joey Fatone, Eddie Huang, Johnny Damon, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, A.J. Pierzysnki, Ty Tryon
Bottom Line: Dr. Phillips High School
Dr. Phillips High is probably the best-known high school in Florida, thanks to its list of famous alums, including actor Wayne Brady, former MLB star Johnny Damon, N'Sync member Joey Fatone and, most famously, DJ Khaled.
The school's two main athletic facilities are named after former principals. The football stadium is named after Bill Spoone, the school's first principal, and the basketball gym is named after the second principal, Larry Payne, and known as "The House of Payne" to opponents.
Benjamin N. Cardozo High School — Enrollment 3,712
Location: Bayside, New York
School opened: 1967
Principal/Dean: Meagan Colby
Famous Alumni: Benjamin N. Cardozo High School
Famous alumni: George Tenet, Rafer Alston, Royal Ivey, Reginald VelJohson, Karen Yu
Bottom Line: Benjamin N. Cardozo High School
Named for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo, Cardozo High has been a haven for top achievers for over 50 years.
The school is known for its variety of law classes for high school students. Cardozo also has a law school in New York named after him.
Of all its outstanding alums, none has achieved the heights as former CIA director George Tenet.
Mill Creek High School — Enrollment 3,668
Location: Hoschton, Georgia
School opened: 2004
Principal/Dean: Jason Lane
Famous Alumni: Mill Creek High School
Famous alumni: Roscoe Dash, Chris Fronzak, Ryan Robinson
Bottom Line: Mill Creek High School
The newest high school on this list, Mill Creek High didn't even open its doors until 2004 and opened with an enrollment of around 2,500 students. Enrollment has grown to closer to 4,000 in the almost two decades since.
Of all its famous alums, it's hard to look past rapper Roscoe Dash as the most famous, with hits like "All The Way Turnt Up" and "No Hands" in the early 2010s.
Neuqua Valley High School — Enrollment 3,662
Location: Naperville, Illinois
School opened: 1997
Principal/Dean: Lance Fuhrer
Famous Alumni: Neuqua Valley High School
Famous alumni: Evan Lysacek, Chris Redd, Megan Oyster, Brittany Bock, Kevin Cordes, Danielle Panabaker
Bottom Line: Neuqua Valley High School
Neuqua Valley High is big enough that two campuses are required to house all of its students — the Birkett Freshman Center for ninth graders and the main campus for the other three grades.
The freshman building was added in 2003 to address overcrowding, and further overcrowding led the school to open a third building in 2007, the Frontier Campus, where students could take classes for college credit from the College of DuPage.
James A. Garfield Senior High School — Enrollment 2,531
Location: Los Angeles, California
School opened: 1925
Principal/Dean: Andres Favela
Famous Alumni: James A. Garfield Senior High School
Famous alumni: Oscar De La Hoya, Carlos Almaraz, George Ramos, Ken Davitian, Los Lobos (band)
Bottom Line: James A. Garfield Senior High School
The story of Garfield Senior High can't be told without also telling the story of former math teacher Jaime Escalante, the subject of the 1988 film "Stand And Deliver" starring Edward James Olmos as Escalante.
It was Escalante who famously took students from traditionally poor and lower-class neighborhoods and guided 18 of them to pass the AP Calculus exam in a single year. The students were accused of cheating in a pretty blatant example of racism but were able to prove to test officials they had actually learned the material. Pretty amazing.
If you're ever in town for it, check out "The East L.A. Classic" football game between Garfield and rival Roosevelt High, which regularly draws upward of 20,000 fans.
John C. Fremont Senior High School — Enrollment 1,871
Location: Los Angeles California
School opened: 1924
Principal/Dean: Blanca Esquivel
Famous Alumni: John C. Fremont Senior High School
Famous alumni: Dr. Dre, Leonard Pitts, Gene Mauch, Bobby Doerr, Eric Davis, Raymond Washington, Ricky Bell, Joe Caldwell
Bottom Line: John C. Fremont Senior High School
Fremont High in Los Angeles has been home to some of the most influential figures in the history of the city — and not always in the best ways.
High achievers like hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre and Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby Doerr have called Fremont home at one point, but so did Raymond Washington, the founder of the Los Angeles-based Crips street gang, one of the most violent, dangerous gangs in American history.