The Gunnery

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The Gunnery
The Gunnery logo.jpg
'Vir Bonus Semper Discipulus Est'
Washington, Connecticut
Type Co-ed Private, Boarding
Religious affiliation(s) None
Established 1850
Head of School Peter W.E. Becker
Faculty 56 Teaching Faculty
Enrollment 291 students
156 Boarding, 135 Day
(9-12, PG)
Average class size 14 students
Student to teacher ratio 6:1
Campus 220 acres (0.89 km2)
Color(s) Red and Gray
Athletics 15 Interscholastic Sports Teams
Athletics conference NEPSAC
Mascot Highlanders

The Gunnery is a prestigious, coeducational boarding and day prep school for 291 students in grades nine through twelve. The 220-acre (0.89 km2) campus borders the village green of Washington, Connecticut, U.S., a small, historic town in Litchfield Hills. The Gunnery has no religious or military affiliations.

The Gunnery was founded in 1850 by Frederick W. Gunn, a teacher, abolitionist, and father of recreational camping in America. It was originally 30 boys on 50 acres.[1] In 1894 The Ridge School was founded as an affiliated junior school for younger boys. The basic mission of The Gunnery is to promote the four cornerstones on which character is built: scholarship, integrity, respect and responsibility.

There are ten dormitories on campus that house from 12 to 48 students each. In most cases, students are grouped by class. Each dormitory consists primarily of single and double student rooms, but also houses faculty members and their families. 85 percent of the faculty lives on campus.

The Gunnery’s academic curriculum emphasizes the liberal arts; Advanced Placement courses and many electives are offered in all disciplines. Classes average 15 students in size and are taught as seminars.

Interscholastic sports[edit]

Fall Winter Spring
Crew (boys and girls) Basketball (boys and girls) Baseball (boys)
Field Hockey (girls) Ice hockey (boys and girls) Golf (coed)
Football (boys) Skiing (coed) Lacrosse (boys and girls)
Soccer (boys and girls) Wrestling (boys) Softball (girls)
Cross-Country (boys and girls) Ultimate Frisbee (coed)
Crew (boys and girls) Crew (boys and girls)


  • One of the first photographs of a Baseball game was taken at The Gunnery's first alumni day in 1869. The Alumni baseball game is still played every year during Alumni Weekend.
  • A school tradition is to find The Stray Shot, a 20", 80 lb (36 kg). cannonball hidden by a group of seniors who then leak clues to its whereabouts to the junior class. When a group of juniors finds The Stray Shot they engrave their initials into the ball and hide it again for next year. The game is usually played in secrecy. The Gunnery faculty lost track of The Stray Shot I in 1992 and The Stray Shot II in 2002. The Stray Shot was spotted at Graduation 2007 before it was abruptly hidden again. Perhaps the most dramatic turn of events occurred at the 2009 Commencement ceremonies, when a group of Seniors, spearheaded by Josh Johnston and Alberto Dicktunes, briefly unveiled the Stray Shot before hiding it once again. In 2013, a group of alumni found The Stray Shot, giving it to the class of 2013, who abruptly took the ball and hid it, announcing cryptic clues at some school meetings.
  • Senior Rock is a large boulder in the middle of the Quad, in front of Gunn dormitory, dedicated to Hamilton Gibson (Third Headmaster). By tradition, seniors are the only group of people allowed to climb or sit on the rock. It is said that non senior students who touch the rock will not graduate.
  • The School Walk - The whole school takes a day off classes on Fredrick W. Gunn's birthday to go for a recreational hike, a tradition that he started. This walk takes students around Steep Rock, the nature conservancy in the town.
  • In 1978 the Gibson Dormitory became known as the "Hotel Gibson", complete with hotel T-shirts.

Notable alumni[edit]

Gunnery Camp, called the first organized summer camp


  1. ^ 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. 37. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°37′49″N 73°18′42″W / 41.6303°N 73.3118°W / 41.6303; -73.3118