Deering High School

Coordinates: 43°40′18″N 70°17′45″W / 43.67165°N 70.29585°W / 43.67165; -70.29585
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Deering High School

United States
Coordinates43°40′18″N 70°17′45″W / 43.67165°N 70.29585°W / 43.67165; -70.29585
TypePublic secondary
School districtPortland Public Schools
PrincipalJacob Giessman
Teaching staff66.70 (FTE)[1]
Enrollment711 (2021 - 2022 )[2]
Student to teacher ratio14.08[1]
Color(s)Purple and White   
RivalPortland High School
AccreditationNew England Association of Schools and Colleges
YearbookThe Amethyst

Deering High School (DHS) is a public high school located on Stevens Avenue in Portland, Maine, United States. The school is part of the Portland Public Schools district.

It is one of the three public high schools located in Portland, the others being Portland High School and Casco Bay High School. Along with Portland High, enrollment to Deering is open choice by the family.[3]


Deering High School was established in 1874 after Deering, Maine, seceded from Westbrook, Maine, in 1871. It is named after the town of Deering, which was later annexed by the City of Portland in 1898.[4] The first Deering High School building eventually became Longfellow Elementary.[5] The second building was completed in 1889. It burned down in 1921, but was saved and converted into Lincoln Middle School in 1923.

The first session opened in Morgen's hall, a one-room wooden structure, at Morrill's Corner, in the fall of 1874 with 31 students attending. Before the end of the year, the high school moved to the Heseltine Grammar School on Ocean Avenue where it remanded for four years; crowded conditions existed at Heselton. Five students graduated in the first class. There were two sessions daily and, as late as 1895, school was held six days a week. The courses were similar to those of our present Algebra and Latin. However, a student had no choice in subjects, but was compelled to take all those offered in order to be graduate.

In 1878, Deering moved to the old wooden Longfellow School which was located opposite from Central Square Baptist Church. Seventy students were enrolled; however, the school was so large that the ground floor was used by the student body. Mr. F. E. C. Robbins was principal. In 1887, two new courses were re-organized and renamed the Commercial Department. The first edition of the school newspaper, The Breccia was published in 1887. In 1889, Deering became part of the City of Portland. When the Enabling Act was before legislature, Fred Matthews, a graduate of Deering who was then practicing law in the city, included in the act a provision for the "continuing" maintenance always of a high school in Deering of equal grade and standing. This led to Portland having two high schools.

By 1897, with Mr. E. H. Crosby as principal, the school had grown so plans were made for a new building which was to have fourteen recitation rooms, a library and a large assembly hall. Loud and long were the protestations that such a building was a wicked waste of money since four classrooms would do nicely – and why a library? In 1889, however, work was started on the construction of the main building of what is now known as Lincoln Middle School. Just before the building was to be occupied, Mr. Crosby, Principal, was killed by a train at "Woodfords Crossing" during a rain storm. His term was completed by Mr. Swan and Mr. Hill. In 1898, on January 30, the new Deering High School was opened with Principal William H. Marvin in charge. The Assembly Hall, which was located on the third floor, was dedicated to Mr. Crosby and remained in his name until the hall was renovated into a library.

From 1902 to 1909, John M. Nicholas served as principal; from 1909 to 1913, Herbert I. Allen was the principal; and from 1913 to 1919, Louis B. Farnham, was chief administrator of Deering. Yet only fourteen years after 1898, the school has grown so that an addition, the Annex of Lincoln Junior High was built. In this building, the school's disaster occurred, the fire of May 1921. The library and classrooms in the main building were entirely destroyed. For the remainder of the year, classes were held in the Annex and in two local churches. Under the administration of William E. Wing, principal of Deering from 1919 until 1942, the present Deering was built and enlarged. In 1922, the main building was constructed and housed 826 students, and in 1932 a small wing was added to complete the structure. The athletic field was laid out and many extra curricular activities were started. The school newspaper was named The Purple Line in 1929 and changed to the present name Ramblings in 1940. Carlton Wiggin was head of Deering through the years of World War II.

In the fall of 1960 Deering became a three year high school for the first time. Freshmen were scheduled at the four-hour schedule in junior high schools. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors occupied the Stevens Avenue School in which many improvements had been made during the summer. The school day was extended from 1:05 P.M. to 2:10 P.M., and included seven periods – each forty-five minutes long. In the fall of 1979 Deering became once again a four-year school. Mr. Wiggin retired in 1967 and was succeeded by Donald G. Hale. During the 1976 school year, The Deering High School Study Committee was formed to assess the physical plan and program offerings. During the 1978 school year, a DHS Building Committee with architectural firm Wadsworth, Boston, Dimick, Mercer & Weatherill began designing the new addition. Plans were presented to the State Board of Education on July 9, 1980, and then to referendum on September 23, 1980, which passed. Construction of the new addition began in the summer of 1981 when David Wallace became the new principal of Deering High School. Mr. Hale continued on the stuff as the Building Project Coordinator. With the 1982–83 school year, students and staff utilized all newly constructed and renovated areas of Deering High School. Included in first group of the high schools recognized nationally, Deering was named a National School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education in 1983. In 1985, Paul A. Pendleton became the Principal of Deering High School. Under his leadership the provisions of Maine's Educational Reform Act were implemented, and ten years NEASC re-accreditation was awarded. The Portland School Committee confirmed Jan C. Patton as principal in July 1992. Patton served 3 years. The challenge of her tenure was the successful planning for and adoption of block scheduling.[6][failed verification]


Deering was one of 34 high schools nationally which had joined the International Studies School Network, which is part of the Asia Society. The school later chose to not renew its ISSN membership due to fees.[7] In October 2013, Deering High School announced it would offer an Arabic language course as part of their new international curriculum. It was believed to be the first Arabic language course in Maine public schools.[8][9]


Memorial Stadium in March 2023.

Memorial Stadium is located on Ludlow Street near Deering High School, it is an artificial turf surface and is the home field for DHS outdoor sports teams.

The Deering Rams won the Maine Class A Boys' State Basketball Championship on March 3, 2012.[10]

The Deering High School and Portland High School football teams have played each other each Thanksgiving since 1911, except for 1920 and 2020.[11]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Deering High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "Student Enrollment Data | Department of Education".
  3. ^ Ohm, Rachel (September 23, 2021). "Enrollment gap between Portland and Deering prompts new look at high school choice". Press Herald. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  4. ^ Bouchard, Kelly (July 7, 2010). "New Deering principal returns to familiar setting". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "Maine Memory Network – Old Deering High School, Portland, ca. 1900". Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  6. ^ "DHS". Archived from the original on May 17, 2014.
  7. ^ Ellis, Colin (August 19, 2014). "Back to school: Portland's Deering High takes global perspective on hunger, poverty". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Noel K (October 1, 2013). "Deering High to offer Arabic class". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  9. ^ McCanna, Ben (August 10, 2013). "Arabic language now a little less foreign to students at Portland's Deering High School". The Forecaster. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  10. ^ DHS Wins Class A Boys' State Basketball Championship Archived December 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Portland Schools, March 6, 2012.
  11. ^ Craig, Steve (November 25, 2020). "Coaches say local Thanksgiving football tradition is worth saving". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  12. ^ Tom Allen Archived November 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine American Association of Publishers.
  13. ^ Lambrecht, Gary (February 2, 2003). "Maine man Caner-Medley adapts". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "Series Title At Stake For Maine Against Bowdoin". The Lewiston Daily Sun. November 5, 1932. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  15. ^ Chard, Tom (March 19, 2014). "Former Deering High player proves useful to Orioles". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "Olympic Hammer Competition Keen". The Bates Student. May 26, 1936. p. 2. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  17. ^ "Anne Haskell – Governor Haskell?". September 26, 2008. Archived from the original on September 26, 2008.
  18. ^ "Daniel Hobbs". Ballotpedia. Retrieved January 20, 2024.
  19. ^ "Conversation piece: Reading festival 'bigger than ever'". The Portland Daily Sun. March 31, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  20. ^ a b Carbone, Gina (November 3, 2009). "Sold out: 'Twilight Saga: New Moon' cast tour, Seacoast midnight shows". Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  21. ^ Keyes, Bob (May 4, 2010). "Three with Maine ties get Tony nod". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  22. ^ Shorr, Chris (September 4, 2014). "Fall in Portland". The Portland Sun. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  23. ^ Rood, Karen Lane (2001). Understanding Annie Proulx. University of South Carolina Press. p. 2. ISBN 9781570034022. Annie Proulx Deering High School.
  24. ^ Mahoney, Larry (July 3, 2013). "Portland's Ryan Reid perseveres to earn job in Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
  25. ^ "Maine Historic Preservation Commission: Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr". Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  26. ^ Winland Jr., Joseph L. (August 18, 2010). "Opening the Window to Edward Whittemore". Georgia State University. Retrieved November 10, 2014.

External links[edit]