Ponaganset High School

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Ponaganset High School
Anan Wade Road
Glocester, Rhode Island 02814

United States
Coordinates 41°51′54″N 71°42′53″W / 41.86500°N 71.71472°W / 41.86500; -71.71472Coordinates: 41°51′54″N 71°42′53″W / 41.86500°N 71.71472°W / 41.86500; -71.71472
Type Public
School district Foster-Glocester
Principal David Estes
Vice principal Todd Grimes and Alisa Diakite
Grades 9 to 12
Color(s) Green and White
Sports Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Football, Wrestling, Track and Field (Indoor and Outdoor), Hockey, Baseball, Fastpitch Softball, and Tennis
Mascot Chieftain
Nickname Pono
Team name Chieftains

Ponaganset High School is a school of the Foster-Glocester School District, located in Glocester, Rhode Island (in Providence County). The majority of high school students live in the rural towns of Foster, Rhode Island and Glocester, Rhode Island. This is a public high school, known for its music program, AP and honors classes, as well as its agricultural and automotive specialties. The school's athletic teams are known as the "Chieftains." Ponaganset is notable in RI because it averages a disproportionate number of winter weather-related cancellations each year. Many times, they are the only district that is cancelled, known as "No School Foster-Glocester." The cancellations are, in part, because the towns of Foster and Glocester have higher elevations than the rest of Rhode Island and are located in the unofficial "snow belt." Ponaganset is currently under the administration of Principal David Estes and Assistant Principals Todd Grimes and Alisa Diakite. Previous Principals from the past three years include Jacqueline Striano, Sandra Nolan, Stan Buckley and Brooke Macomber.[1] Superintendent of the Foster-Glocester Regional School District, Dr. Michael Barnes, was selected as the 2014 Rhode Island Superintendent of the Year.[2]

Mission Statement[edit]

Ponaganset High School students will be reflective learners, critical thinkers, problem solvers, independent researchers, and effective communicators. Our students are taught to live a healthy lifestyle and to respect the dignity and rights of others so they can succeed at life, work, post-secondary pursuits and citizenship.[3]

Music program[edit]

The high school has a music program which was started by Nedo Pandolfi in 1960. His ensembles won numerous national and international competitions, including the 1996 International Festival in Vienna, Austria. Mr. Pandolfi was Music Director at Ponaganset High School for more than 30 years. The current director of bands at PHS is Daniel Coyne. Mr. Coyne joined the Ponaganset High School Music Department in September 1995 as Concert Band Director, working alongside his mentor Nedo Pandolfi, who continued to teach Wind Ensemble. When Mr. Pandolfi retired suddenly the following year for health reasons, Mr. Coyne took over teaching duties for the Wind Ensemble, as well. After his passing, the auditorium was named after Pandolfi.[4]

Alternative energy program[edit]

PHS is currently under the public eye with regards to its fuel cell and alternative energy programs. These programs have received several grants from various organizations, such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and local energy corporations. Ross McCurdy, a teacher at the forefront of anything related to alternative energy, has helped to make Ponaganset a well-known institution. He has led students to design and construct a Ford Model T to run on fuel cells and electricity, and most recently, he flew the first ever biodiesel-fueled airplane in US history.[5][6][7][8]

STEM Academy[edit]

Ponaganset High School has made some major changes to its engineering department. In recent years, the organization known as Ponaganset STEM Academy has become well-known not just in the community, but online as well. A quick search on Google or YouTube brings videos of Gregory Gongoleski, Gregory Coffey, Steven Martin, and Joseph Mazzone acting out their dreams, becoming the superheroes that they always wanted to be. As stated on their Google site, "Here at Ponaganset High School in the Technology Department, we like to focus on educating each student not just in the Maths and Sciences, or even just Technology and Engineering... there is a certain element of Humanity that we strive to impart upon our pupils to produce the next generations of Global Citizens."[9] In fact, for the 2013-2014 school year, the academy has taken up the curriculum from the organization that calls itself Project Lead The Way, adapting newer and better ways to pass on the much needed knowledge to its students.

Capital improvement plan[edit]

The school recently underwent a major multi-phase renovation in which the old Ponaganset Middle School was re-located to a brand new building and the existing high school took over the old middle school structure. An indoor glass walkway was put in to attach the high school with the old middle school. The renovations were completed at the end of 2009.[10]

Notable alumni[edit]