|611 Norwich Ave
Colchester, Connecticut 06415
Original location: 1803
In 1800 a prominent Colchester farmer, Pierpont Bacon, died and left an endowment of thirty-five thousand dollars (with buying power equivalent to that of about two million dollars in 2009). The endowment was to the
- inhabitants of the First Society of Colchester for the purpose of supporting and maintaining a school…for the instruction of Youth in Reading and writing English, in Arithmetic, Mathimaticks, and the Languages, or such other branches of Learning.
This established the academy that bears his name. Bacon Academy’s doors opened to the children of Colchester on the first of November 1803 and from that point forward, prepared many young men and women for the life that lay ahead.
In its early days, Bacon Academy had a reputation of preparing its students for accomplishment at universities and colleges around the country. Local children attended the school without charge for tuition. The status of the Academy was high in the minds of many prominent fathers of the nineteenth century.
The trustees established an academic year of three terms: the first term started in September and ended in December, the second ran from January to April, and the third, from May to August. Early class rolls show that the number of local students would fall in planting and harvesting seasons, many students skipping semesters or returning either late in the first term or leaving early in the second and not attending the Academy at all during the third.
Early Bacon students were neither given a diploma nor graduated after four years, as they generally are today. Instead, the school had a system divided into three branches. In the first branch, a young student learned such subjects as languages, English grammar, and mathematics. In the second branch, he or she would be taught writing, geometry, and rhetoric. The last branch was similar to the common or grammar school. Age never factored into a student’s placement or progress; some students would leave Bacon at fifteen or sixteen if they had completed all three branches. In 1886, the branch structure was abandoned for the current four-year system; and by 1890, the first modern commencement was held, with each graduated student receiving a diploma.
The school bell would toll at five-thirty in the morning during the first and third term and at seven in the winter for those in branches one and two, during which two scholars would be chosen each day to practice public speaking in front of instructors and other students. Following the speeches, the day would begin with the scholars from the common branch joining the others for the Morning Prayer. Afterward, the preceptor (the principal of the Academy) would talk about morals and the studies of his students. This routine was eliminated after 1846, and the bells were tolled only for the start of the school day.
Life as a Bacon student was strict. The attitude of the scholar had to be forthright and that of a gentleman or lady. In or out of classes, each was to behave properly and dress neatly—or risk punishment by means of "reproof, correction, admonition, or expulsion." While in class, all pupils would sit diligently at their desks and study the Greek or Latin classics. At home, students usually studied when not working on their fathers’ farms or doing chores for their boarding masters.
After the centennial celebration, the national reputation of the school declined and the Academy drew its students chiefly from Colchester and surrounding towns. In time, Bacon became simply the public high school for the Town of Colchester. By 1962, the students had become too numerous for the then 160-year-old building on Main Street, and they were moved to a new schoolhouse adjacent to the grammar school. A major building spurt in the 1980s again impelled construction of a new high school, less than a mile east; the doors opened at the present site in 1993.
Bacon Academy celebrated its bicentennary in 2003, commencing the celebration with a special concert by the Bacon Academy Bands led by director Thomas Kessler. Other events included an all-class reunion, a golf tournament, and an open house at each of the buildings that ever had housed the Academy.
1981, the boys basketball team won the Class S state championship.
In 2009, the varsity girls basketball team won the Class M State Championship with a 55-53 victory over Berlin.
In 2010 and 2011, the varsity boys wrestling team won back-to-back Class M State Championships. On February 26, 2011 the team captured the Connecticut State Open team championship.
In 2011, the girls varsity softball team advanced to the Class L State Championship, but lost to Foran High School by a score of 3-0.
On March 17, 2012, the varsity girls basketball team won the Class L State Championship with a 38-34 victory over top-seeded E.O. Smith at Mohegan Sun Arena. Head coach Dave Shea, a 1952 Bacon Academy graduate, won his 660th career game (331 with the girls) at Bacon Academy. Also, the girls basketball team finished third in Connecticut in the final 2012 New Haven Register State Poll.
- Stephen F. Austin — The "father of Texas"
- William Alfred Buckingham — Governor and Republican Senator for Connecticut from 1869–1875
- Lyman Trumbull - U.S. Senator of Illinois and co-author of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- Morrison Remick Waite — Supreme Court Justice, January 1874- March 23, 1888
- Morgan Bulkeley - Mayor of Hartford, Governor of Connecticut, Republican Senator for Connecticut from 1905–1911, and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Ron Wotus — Major League Baseball player and current bench coach for the San Francisco Giants
- Chad Bromley — Hip hop artist who performs under the name "Apathy"
- The New England Historical and Genealogical Register by Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, p. 78.
- Inflation Calculator, viewed January 23, 2011.
- Colchester Cemetery, Bigelow Society.
- "Bacon Academy". Colchester Public Schools. 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
- Dave Davis (March 18, 2012). "A dozen does it for the Bacon Academy girls". The Day. The Day Publishing Company. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
- Chris Hunn (March 18, 2012). "GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Final Connecticut State Top 10 poll". New Haven Register. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
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