|The Gilbert School|
|The front of the school on May 23, 2012|
|200 Williams Avenue
Winsted, Connecticut, Litchfield, 06098
|Founder||William L. Gilbert|
|Head of school||Anthony Serio, D.Ed.|
|School colour(s)||Blue and Gold|
|Athletics conference||Berkshire League|
|Rival||Housatonic Valley Regional High School|
The Gilbert School is a quasi-public secondary school that serves as the public high school for the towns of Winchester and Hartland, Connecticut. The school was founded in 1895 as the result of the bequest of William L. Gilbert who, in his will, made provision for the “establishment and maintenance of an institution of learning to be known as The Gilbert School.” In 2010, the town of Winchester reached an agreement with the school to send its 7th- and 8th-graders to Gilbert beginning in September 2011.
The Gilbert School was founded in 1895 as the result of the bequest of William L. Gilbert who, in his will, made provision for the “establishment and maintenance of an institution of learning to be known as The Gilbert School.” He directed that the school should give instruction “for the improvement of mankind by affording such assistance and means of educating the young as will help them to become good citizens.”
Mr. Gilbert named 16 trustees who were to establish the school. Seven trustees were chosen to govern the school, forming The Gilbert School Committee. This committee was to be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the new institution. He died in June of 1890, leaving over half a million dollars for the school.
The school was opened on September 10, 1895, with Dr. John E. Clark as its principal, a faculty of seven teachers, and a student body of 143 pupils. It was located on Park Place East, the current site of Northwestern Connecticut Community College. In September 1959, a new school was built on Williams Avenue on the site of the former W. L. Gilbert Home with funds from the Gilbert Trust at no cost to the town.
Gilbert is known as an endowed New England town academy — a private school that accepts public school students whose towns pay an annual tuition for each pupil. There are two similar schools left in the state of Connecticut — Norwich Free Academy and Woodstock Academy — and several others in northern New England. For 52 years, from 1895 to 1947, the school operated tuition-free for the residents of the town of Winchester. However, since 1947 it has been necessary to charge tuition to each town that sends students to Gilbert.
In 1991, Gilbert was restructured into two separate corporations: the W. L. Gilbert Trust Corporation and the W. L. Gilbert School Corporation. The School Corp. increased to three the public representatives on its board from Winchester and added one representative from Hartland. This change brought the school into a new era of school governance, whereby the State of Connecticut was able to provide direct funding for building and educational projects.
In 2010, the town of Winchester reached an agreement with the school to send its 7th- and 8th-graders to Gilbert beginning in September 2011.
The Gilbert School today
Today, The Gilbert School is a six-year comprehensive middle and secondary school offering a variety of challenging academic programs designed to meet the needs of all its students. The head of school/superintendent is Anthony Serio. There is a faculty and support staff of 70 and a student body of approximately 540 students.
Gilbert continues to maintain a tradition of strong interscholastic athletics, as well as student extracurricular activities including music, drama, yearbook and newspaper. The program is geared to provide students with the essential knowledge and skills to be successful in postsecondary study and/or entry into the world as productive citizens.
Gilbert supports a number of sports, but not as many as its main rival, Housatonic Valley Regional High School. However, Gilbert has won a large number of Berkshire League Championships.
The Gilbert mascot is the Yellowjacket, and its colors are royal blue and gold. It is a member of the Berkshire League. The school has the following sports:
- Basketball (Bershire League Champions, 2008, 2012)
- Wrestling (Berkshire League Champions, 2009)
- Ralph Nader '51, author, political activist and four-time presidential candidate.
- John A. Bushnell '51, Fulbright Scholar; deputy chief of mission to the U.S. embassy in Panama during the United States invasion of Panama; National Security Council member; nominee, U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica.
- Edward J. Marolda '63, author, naval historian, former senior historian of the U.S. Naval Historical Center.
- Joan M. Centrella '71, astrophysicist, head of the Gravitational Astrophysics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
- Jeanne Morningstar Kent '62, author, artist.
- Winchester Board of Education has ball in their court to move 7th and 8th-graders to Gilbert
- Thomas, Grace Powers (1898). Where to educate, 1898-1899. A guide to the best private schools, higher institutions of learning, etc., in the United States. Boston: Brown and Company. p. 39. Retrieved August 17, 2012.