Colonia High School is situated in the town of Woodbridge in New Jersey’s Middlesex County, about 30 miles southwest of New York City. Interstate 95, one of the busiest highways in the country, runs the along the East Coast and passes through town.
According to the school district’s website, Colonia High School was built in 1967 and typically has around 1,300 students enrolled at any given time. The district touts that the school was named one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” by The Washington Post in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The school has also received Bronze and Silver Medal Awards from U.S. News & World Report.
The school made headlines in 1997 when a science demonstration involving a Geiger counter led to the school being evacuated. A science teacher was showing her class how it worked using small, store-bought samples, and at the students’ request tested it on samples kept in a classroom closet. One of them, a rock the size of a grapefruit, caused the Geiger counter to go haywire and was stashed away in a lead-lined box by officials in Haz-Mat suits. According to the Associated Press, scientists said at the time that the rock never posed any safety threats.