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Text & Drawing Courtesy of B C Harris Publishing Company Inc. Norwalk, CT


Staples High School was founded and built in 1884 by Horace Staples - a savvy Yankee trader - who believed in the value of education. Horace determined that Westport should be a progressive town and have its own high school.

As a young boy, Horace attended the local district school until he was 10 years old. At that age boys were expected to forgo schooling and work full-time on the farm, though a determined boy might continue his studies during the four or five months or winter. Despite these limitations, Horace Staples completed his education and embarked upon a successful business and banking career.

Having unsuccessfully offered land for a school to the town of Westport in 1866, Mr. Staples decided to build the school himself. Some of the businessmen feared that education would make the boys lazy, but Mr. Staples did not believe this.

Opening on October 31, 1884, Staples High School was a three-story, re-brick building on Riverside Avenue located on the land where Bedford Junior High now stands. Beginning with 60 students who paid an annual tuition of $16-$20, the school had one high school class room, one grammar school classroom, a library and a laboratory. A school day lasted from 9 am to 4 pm, as students studied a variety of subjects including English, German, Latin, Greek and algebra.

On June 24, 1887, the first graduating class of six young women were handed the first Staples diplomas made of genuine sheep skin (parchment). These diplomas bore a picture of the school's donor - Horace Staples. On july 1, 1903, control of the High School was transferred from Staples' Estate to the town of Westport. Fifty years after the first graduating class of six, 88 young men and women graduated.

In 1938 the original school building was replaced with a much larger facility. In 1958 Staples High School was moved to a new building at its current location at 70 North Avenue in response to the expanding needs of the community, and the Riverside Avenue campus became Bedford Middle School, which still has "Staples High School" lettered on the facade above the main entrance. Today Staples includes an Olympic-size indoor pool and a radio station; 90.3 FM - WWPT-FM.

Staples is a front runner in the state and the nation for, its rich curriculum, its broad range of extracurricular activities and its outstanding program of professional development for teachers and administrators.

Town and Country magazine cited Staples as one of the best schools in the country. The New York Times stated that parents consider it to be a "pearl of the school system." For more than five years, over 91 percent of Staples' graduating classes have continued their education. Over 82 percent have gone on to four-year colleges and universities.

In 1994-1995, an impressive number of Staples High School students were awarded the designation of "AP Scholar" for exceptional achievement on the college Advance Placement examinations. Thirteen students received commendation as National Merit Scholars and four student were nominated as Presidential Scholar semi-finalist; one senior was named a "presidential Scholar" for the second year in a row. One of our teachers was awarded "Distinguished Teacher" recognition in Washington DC. The school newspaper, Inklings, received first place in the American Scholastic Press Association competition, as well as commendations for feature writing and column writing from other journalism organizations. The athletics program saw State Championships won by both Girls Swim Team and the Girls VArsity Basketball Team. Other team sports have often emerged at the top of the league or divisional standings.

The graduating class of 1970 stands out as the most charismatic and most accomplished group of students in the history of Staples High School.

– 1994-1995 –

In 1994 Staples underwent two major construction projects. Our auditorium is now a state-of-the-art performance center and we celebrated its completion with a marvelous production of "Carousel." The studio drama workshops have now moved to the Black Box Theater which is a small acting laboratory at the end of Building 4. The other major facilities upgrade was a million dollar code compliance project which converted portions of the building into handicap-accessible areas to meet the needs of our very successful regional Life Skills program.

A new telephone system has been installed throughout the building with digital capacity for computer linkage in each classroom. Since 1992, three computers labs have been constructed in Building 9, thereby, introducing Staples' students and staff to the exciting challenges of 21st century technology potential. Intensive Staff development has occurred to enable the staff to integrate computer applications across disciplines. Staples High School staff and administrators are working closely with townwide experts in formulating a common vision about the role and capabilities of technology in our everyday curriculum.

Staples has also made serious efforts to look at the issue of diversity in the school community and forged the development of programs which foster respect for difference and community building. Our students participate in worldwide exchange programs with Russia, Spain, France and Germany. In summer of 1994 we participated in the Students International Peace Conference in Japan to promote increased knowledge of critical social issues. Closer to home, we received a grant to create a Border Crossings program for Staples and Norwalk High School students to meet regularly to share life experiences and work on mutually designed curriculum projects. Students in the foreign language department have also been functioning a tutors for Bridgeport elementary schools.

Curriculum is being looked at through the lens of learning outcomes wherein teachers have identified in every course of study those things which students should know and be able to do by the time they graduate from Staples. A committee composed of teachers and parents has been established to develop an alternative set of learning experiences called Senior Options. The options include: independent inquiry and exhibition, internships and formalized study.

An advisor program to help ninth graders make a smooth transition from middle school to high school has been fostered by caring and nurturing teachers. Staples students continue to achieve in the academic arena. For two consecutive years, a Staples senior was named Presidential Scholar, which is the highest national honor for academic excellence. Our finest students can be found on annual National Merit Finalists rosters. Graduates are accepted into the most prestigious colleges throughout the country. During the 94-95 school year, the athletics program saw its teams win two state championships and several FCIAC finals competitions. Our young performing artists have also appeared in presentations considered on par with any professional production.

Many alumni have returned to Staples to view a sports event, attend a concert, or just stop by to say hello. Some have had ideas to share which might benefit students or the school. Our past Stapleites have always been enthusiastic and giving in terms of their good will and energy. A recent example of this is the successful campaign to raise funds for seat during the auditorium renovation. It is our deepest wish that your relationship will all alumni remain strong and vital throughout the years ahead. Please remain involved in our evolving history and progress.


[would a local westporter please send in a description of the transformation]


Friendly ties can ne' er be broken
Formed at Staples High ,
Far surpassing wealth unspoken,
They'll forever lie.

Lift the chorus, sing her praises,
over hill and dale;
Hail to thee our dear old High School
Staples, hail, all hail!

When our High School days are over,
And our ways shall part–
Still by thee we'll be united,
Still be one in heart.

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