Billerica Memorial High School
|Billerica Memorial High School|
Respect,Individuality, Community, and Enrichment
|35 River Street
|Established||1916 as Howe High School; 1955 as BMHS|
|School district||Billerica Public Schools|
|Principal||Thomas R. Murphy|
|Grades||9 to 12|
|Color(s)||Forest Green and White|
|Athletics conference||Merrimack Valley Conference|
|Rival||Chelmsford High School (Chelmsford, Massachusetts)|
|Average SAT scores||513 verbal
513 writing (2010)
|Website||BMHS Home Page|
Billerica Memorial High School (aka: BMHS/fka: Howe High School) is located at 35 River Street in Billerica, Massachusetts. It is one of two public high schools in the town. Thomas Murphy is the principal of Billerica High. He is also a graduate of the school. The school serves about 1,630 students in grades 9 through 12. An assistant principal oversees students in each of the four grades. Billerica's arch-rival is Chelmsford High School. The colors of BMHS are green and white, and the school's emblem is the Indian Head.
Shortly after the foundation of Billerica in 1655, the town made plans to ensure education for its young residents. The first schoomaster of Billerica was Joseph Tompson. His private room was the first classroom. As the town of Billerica grew in the 18th century, other schoolmasters were hired.
In 1794 Ebenezer Pemberton opened the first private school in Billerica, Pemberton Academy. Mr. Pemberton was considered one of the most notable teachers of his time and had previously taught James Madison and Aaron Burr. The academy closed in 1808. Another private school was established in 1820 known as Billerica Academy, and classes were held in an old hotel. It also found itself closed in 1836. Reverend Mr. Stearns then tried to pick up the burden of higher education by teaching classes in his church, but this school also eventually closed.
The first official high school under town control was established in 1851 (although the town did not officially control it until about 1910). It was named Howe School after its founder Dr. Zadok Howe. Dr. Howe funded the building of the school but died before construction was completed. His estate ran the school, free of charge to Billerica residents. It took in students from all over New England and some from as far away as Illinois. The total enrollment was 46 boys and 42 girls, with the senior class graduating a total of six students (four boys and two girls).
In 1896, the Town of Billerica officially named the school as the town's high school as was mandated by law. It was also in that same year that a group of alumni from the school founded an association that is still active today: The Howe High School/Billerica Memorial High School Alumni Association is the second oldest active high school alumni group in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts behind the Alumni Association to the Boston Latin School.
When Dr. Howe's estate announced, in 1910, that free tuition would end for Billerica students, the town took over the school.
The Howe School soon became overpopulated and the town was forced to rent out rooms in houses opposite the building. The principal at this time was Mr. Vining. He himself taught six classes a day. The superintendent at the time was Mr. Arthur B. Webber.
In 1914, the overpopulation of the Howe School became a serious problem for the town. A suggestion was then made to erect a new high school. It was brought to the Town Finance Committee. The committee eventually voted to recommend the building of a new high school to cost no more than $90,000. The town issued 20-year, four percent serial bonds to this amount. In September 1916, the new Howe High School was open across the street from the original Howe School.
Billerica Memorial High School was officially opened on September 26, 1955. The school opened with Philip G. Hines as superintendent of schools and Royal S. Adams as the principal. In 1955 the high school received 700 students as well as four groups of elementary students. The total cost to build this new institution was approximately $2,425,000. Shorty after its opening, the Billerica school again became overpopulated. A suggestion was made to build an addition to the building. Billerica Memorial High School then added a new addition in September 1974. The cost of this addition was approximately $15,469,000. This addition provided 90 additional rooms, giving the faculty more room to work. The superintendent was William Flaherty and the principal was William Archambault.
BMHS consists of two buildings: the Old Building (aka Memorial Building) and the New Building. The New Building is an addition that was added to the original building in 1974, but it was built as a free-standing structure. Because of this, there are two gyms and two cafeterias. Only the cafeteria in the New Building is in use. There is one auditorium; it is in the Old Building. Each building has three floors, but only the top two floors of the Old Building are used by the school. The lower floor is used by the school department for a preschool for special-needs children, as well as storage for the drama program's set materials and costumes.
- Mike Balas, Former MLB player (Boston Bees)
- Tom Glavine - Class of 1984: American baseball player of the MLB
- Gary Disarcina - Class of 1984: American baseball player of the MLB
- "Billerica Memorial High School (00310505). Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- SAT Performance Report - School and District Profiles: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Vellante, John (November 21, 1999). "Title Adds a Bit of Gravy to Old Rivalry", The Boston Globe via HighBeam.
- Website of the history of Howe/BMHS football team[dead link].
- Billerica Memorial High School
- Hazen, Henry (1989). History of Billerica. Salem, Mass.: Higginson Book Company.
- Website of the Howe/BMHS Alumni.