Darien High School
|Darien High School|
Veritas vos liberabit
"The truth will set you free"
|Number of students||1,357 (October 1, 2013)|
|Colors||Blue and White|
In the 2004-2005 school year, Darien had the highest SAT math score in the state, the second highest CAPT score in the state and the highest Advanced Placement scores in the school's history, with a 100 percent pass rate on AP math exams and more than 85 percent of students earning the top score of "5." About one in three students in the school takes an AP math course.
Of the 200 graduating seniors in June 2005, 24 won national recognition in the National Merit Scholarship program, with 20 as "commended scholars" and four as National Merit Scholars.
For the purpose of comparison with the achievement levels of similar schools, the state Department of Education classifies schools and communities in "District Reference Groups," defined as "districts whose students' families are similar in education, income, occupation and need, and that have roughly similar enrollment." Darien is one of eight school districts in District Reference Group A (the others are Easton, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton).
The school's sports teams have won numerous state championships. Darien is known for its competitive lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey, volleyball, and track teams.
A tradition at the school's graduation ceremonies is to present honorary diplomas to school teachers or administrators who are retiring. In 2007, they were presented to a guidance counselor and school librarian.
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The original high school building opened in 1927. A new building was built in 1960, and the former structure became Mather Junior High School. Upon the closing of Mather Junior High, the building became Darien's Town Hall.
The second high school building, on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) site at 80 High School Lane, opened in 1960 and was torn down in 2005. The current high school, designed by Newman Architects of New Haven, was constructed from 2003 to 2005, opening in the fall of 2005. The project cost roughly US$76 million. Among the major innovations were the development of a collegiate campus-like setting of multiple inter-connected buildings, a green roof over the new cafeteria wing, and the introduction of a campus-wide wireless network and fiber-optic networking to all classrooms. Construction costs of the new building significantly exceeded the original budget, mostly due to the cost of asbestos removal from the old building.
The high school's artificial turf field is one of the largest in the state and its cost of $1 million was raised in only 6 weeks by parents of the town.
Ellen Dunn is the current principal of Darien High School. She started in the fall of 2013.
Dan Haron of Stamford became principal in the summer of 2007. He previously worked at the school for a decade as a math teacher, chairman of the math department, and assistant principal. Before that he was founder and managing director of an educational consulting company. A graduate of Westhill High School in Stamford, Haron has a bachelor's degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated summa cum laude, and a master's degree from Columbia University. He was chosen from a group of 25 candidates.
The previous school principal, Dr. Jerome Auclair, was named "Connecticut High School Principal of the Year" for 2004 by the Connecticut Association of Schools. DHS electronics teacher Leon Strecker was awarded an American Star of Teaching Award in 2006. Auclair officially retired in 2005 but remained in the job because it was difficult to find a replacement with a shortage of school administrators across the state. In 2007, after five years as principal, he was replaced by Haron.
DHS is part of the FCIAC, the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The school's main sports rival is New Canaan High School. Darien has one of the best high school lacrosse teams in the country, winning eight of the last 11 FCIAC titles, the 2005 Boys' Division I state championship, and the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 CIAC Class M state championship. Darien's Boys' lacrosse team was also ranked #4 in the country by the STX/Inside Lacrosse National High School Lacrosse Rankings in 2008. The girls' field hockey team has won five FCIAC and state championships in the past six years, in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. They have also maintained the longest winning streak and undefeated streak in the nation. The girls' lacrosse team won the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2014 CIAC Division I state championship. The school also has a highly successful girl's volleyball team, which maintains a 100+ game winning streak in addition to numerous FCIAC and state championships. They also have a highly successful girls' swim team, which has won over nine state championships and won FCIACs this past year. The boys' track team has also had much success, winning back to back state class championships for the Indoor 2005 and 2006 seasons. The school mascot is the Blue Wave, and its colors are blue and white.
These freshman (F), junior varsity (JV) and varsity (V) sports are offered at the school:
Basketball — boys and girls (F, JV, V)
Baseball (F, JV, V)
Synthetic turf baseball field
A synthetic turf baseball field was installed at the high school in the summer of 2007. Darien resident Paul Voigt created the idea of the turf field in 2006. The DHS Baseball Field Project raised almost $1 million for the field (along with $1.08 appropriated by the Representative Town Meeting, $306,000 provided by the school district and $20,000 donated by the Darien High School Building Committee). As of early summer 2007, project organizers were hoping to raise another $60,000 to install a scorers' box and stadium seating behind the plate. Between the time the new high school building was constructed and the end of the 2006-2007 school year, the baseball field was unfit for use because of drainage problems and use of the field by other sports teams. The school's baseball teams had been playing on fields at Middlesex Middle School and at the Town Hall. In 2008 the turf was completed and played on for the first time. The field received so much praise that UCONN and Sacred Heart University staged a NCAA Division 1 game at the high school.
These nonsports extracurricular activities are offered at the school (subject to change based on student interest):
Fuel Cell Car
Starting in 2003, Darien's fuel cell car has been well regarded throughout Connecticut as leaders in innovative thinking, with the team presenting at many conferences throughout the state, such as the Connecticut Technology and Engineering Educator's Association Annual Conference. In 2013, the team traveled to Houston, Texas to compete in the Shell Eco-marathon.
Darien-China Student Exchange Program
Chinese students visit the high school for two weeks in the fall and a DHS delegation of students travel to China in the spring through the school's student exchange program. In June 2007, HSBC Bank, which was about to open a branch in town, donated $12,000 to the program.
Darien High School has a state renowned theater program, Theater 308. Its stages two productions a year, and has performed a wide array of shows including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Kiss Me Kate, and Anything Goes. In 2008 they performed Dead Man Walking, written by Tim Robbins, and in spring of 2009 Les Misérables. In fall of 2009 they performed The Curious Savage by John Patrick. You may access their website here: http://www.darienps.org/308/
Reflecting its location in a wealthy community, only 1 percent of students at the school are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, compared with 26 percent across the state in the 2004-2005 school year.
- Chloë Sevigny - model and actress
- Garett Maggart - actor
- Moby - musician
- Joanna Scott - novelist, graduated from the school (class of 1978), was in Post 53, and wrote for the school literary magazine
- Christopher Shays - former Republican congressman representing Connecticut's Fourth District, a 1964 graduate
- Mark Tinker - television producer and director
- Anthony Valentine - former professional baseball player
- Gus Van Sant - film director
- Darien EMS – Post 53 — an organization independent of the school, but with about 50 high-school volunteers, almost entirely from DHS
- Revitalization: Town of Darien Annual Report, 2004-2005, page 5
- Revitalization: Town of Darien Annual Report, 2004-2005, page 4
-  state "Strategic School Profile 2005-2006" for Wilton High School, accessed March 25, 2007
- [dead link] Web page titled "Find a Community: By Educational Reference Group (DRG)" at the "Discovery 2007 / An initiative of the William Caspar Graustein Fund" Web site, accessed March 25, 2007
- Romanello, Kimberly, "Darien High School/ Students, Principal leave as one" article in The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, June 21, 2007, page A9, Stamford edition
- Clark, Stephen P., "Stamford man named to lead Darien High: Assistant principal is promoted to top post", news article in The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, May 3, 2007, pp A11, A12
- Darien Answerbook, 2006, published by the Darien Times weekly newspaper, page 26
- [dead link]
- Amoroso, Austin, "New field has Major League feel", news article in The Darien Times, July 5, 2007, pp 1, 11A
- Darien Answerbook 2006, page 28
- "China Exchange Program / HSBC teams up with DHS" article (no byline) in The Darien Times, June 21, 2007, page 6C
-  Darien High School teacher/student statistics page, Great Schools Web site, accessed March 6, 2007
-  Christopher Shays Web page at "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress" Web site of the U.S. Congress, accessed November 16, 2007
- Darien High School Official Website
- The Darien High School Alumni Website
- State "Strategic School Profile 2005-2006" for Darien High School
- Darien High School Web page at the Great Schools website
- Theater 308