Fitch High School
|Fitch High School|
101 Groton Long Point Road
|Type||Public high school|
|Motto||Achieve More, Believe More, Care More|
|School district||Groton Public Schools|
|Number of students||1,053 (2016-17)|
|Color(s)||Red and black|
|Newspaper||The Scarlet Tanager|
Robert E. Fitch High School is a public high school located in Groton, Connecticut. It is the only high school for its district, and serves students from the district's two middle schools, Carl C. Cutler Middle School in Mystic and West Side Middle School in Eastern Point, City Of Groton. (The town's third middle school, Fitch Middle School, closed at the end of the 2012 academic year.)
It serves the geographical region between the Mystic River in the east, and Thames River in the west, and has a northern boundary of the Ledyard town line. Major communities it serves include the City of Groton, the Town of Groton (including Naval Submarine Base New London Naval Housing), Groton Long Point, Noank, and parts of Mystic west of the Mystic River and south of Ledyard town line.
The school has offered the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program since the 2004–2005 school year. By the 2006–2007 school year, 75 percent of students eligible for the diploma received it. The school also offers numerous Advanced Placement courses. The class of 2007 received $2 million in scholarships.
In the 2006–2007 school year, 17.1 percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced-priced school lunches, up from 14.1 percent in 2002–2003. Statewide the average percentage is 22.9. The student body is 72.3 percent White, 12.5 percent Black, 7.4 percent Hispanic, 6.7 percent Asian-American, and 1.2 percent American Indian. A total of 4 percent of students speak languages other than English at home. Groton is the home of a U.S. Navy submarine base, and a relatively large number of students move in and out of the school district each year due to military transfers.
The original Fitch High School (now the former location of Fitch Middle School) was built in 1928 next to the Town Hall on Poquonock Road, and was funded in part by the will of a local merchant, Charles Fitch, with the stipulation that it be named after his son, Robert E. Fitch. In the early 1950s, the district enrollment was larger than the school could handle. The school district decided to split to a junior high and senior high system. In 1954, the school district built a new school, the current Robert E. Fitch Senior High School, in its current location at the top of Fort Hill Road, and renamed the existing school Robert E. Fitch Junior High School.
The new Robert E. Fitch Senior High School was a collection of 5 separate buildings, connected by uncovered outdoor walkways. The main building consisted of a gymnasium (today used as a small gymnasium), an auditorium (today used as the library), a cafeteria, office space, an art room, a music room, and a classroom. The 4 other buildings were constructed in the locations (until the 2006 renovations), of the Art Annex building, the Mathematics wing, the Business class wing, and the Home Economics/machine shop wing.
In 1958 and 1963, new wings were added to the school (the English wing, the two Science Wings, and the Foreign Language/Social Studies wing), also connected by outdoor paths. In the 1970s and 1980s, a few new construction projects turned the school into what many students would know for the next few decades. Where previously students would have to travel outside in all weather between buildings, all locations with the exception of the Art annex were enclosed and made part of the building, creating one large contiguous building. The path between the Art Annex and nearby Science wing was covered with an overhead roof. A larger auditorium was constructed adjacent to the old one, and the old auditorium was turned into a library. A larger gymnasium was constructed adjacent to the old one, which still continues to be used as a gymnasium. The cafeteria was renovated and expanded. The Home Economics wing had a garage attached, and a machine shop was created.
In 2000, Fitch was involved in controversy surrounding the case of Aaron Briggs. The school suspended Briggs for issues relating to free speech when he created an anonymous web forum that achieved a high user base of students in a short amount of time. The website received local media attention when the school attempted a crackdown. Fitch Principal Luciano and Superintendent Charles Muncatchy took a stand against the first amendment and free speech position presented by the ACLU, saying "anything that happens on or off campus that pertains to the school and harms the school environment is a matter appropriate for administrators to act on." In a heavy handed approach, school administrators issued the following statement ""If a child becomes suicidal (because of the Web site messages) that does impact what happens in school," Muncatchy said. "He (Briggs) is a good young man who had a good idea but the ripple effect had some unintended consequences." 
In 2006, the school underwent its first major renovation in a few decades, in response to growing enrollment and need for more modern facilities. A large 3-wing structure was added to the front of the school, containing classrooms, updated laboratory space, and office space. A few older wings of the school were demolished, including the original 1950s Art annex, the original 1950s Mathematics wing, as well as the Foreign Language/Social Studies Wing and the two science wings. Many areas of the existing building were renovated, including turning the previous guidance office and main office locations into classroom space, large renovations to the original 1950s Home Economics and technology education wing, and converting the location previously used for the school store into a branch for a local bank. In February 2008, students returned from February vacation and began using the addition for the first time.
Notable alumni and faculty
- Amby Burfoot, 1968 Boston Marathon winner
- Dave Campo, Dallas Cowboys Secondary Coach
- Jason Filardi, screenwriter: 17 Again, Bringing Down The House
- Jesse Hahn, Major League Baseball player
- John J. Kelley (1930–2011), winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon, member of two U.S. Olympic Marathon teams and a coach at the school
- Fran Mainella, National Park Service Director, 2001–2006
- Paul Menhart, former Major League Baseball pitcher
- Matt Harvey, 7th overall pick in 2010 MLB draft to New York Mets
- George Hall, Arena Football League linebacker
- Samantha Urbani (Singer/ Songwriter)
- "Robert E. Fitch High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
- Connecticut Department of Education. "Strategic School Profile 2006-07: High School Edition: Fitch Senior High School", retrieved January 26, 2008
- Streeter, James L. (24 November 2009). "Groton: Historical Bits and Pieces". iUniverse. Retrieved 18 June 2019 – via Google Books.
- "Student returns from Web-related suspension". The Day. 10 February 2000. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
- Douglas, Scott (November 26, 2013). "Amby Burfoot Set to Run 51st Straight Thanksgiving Race". Runner's World. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Fitch planning to add to its Wall of Fame". Google News. The Day. November 24, 2002. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Jason Filardi is on the cusp of Hollywood success". Google News. The Day. March 4, 2003. p. C2. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- DiMauro, Mike (August 16, 2012). "Same old Jesse Hahn, finally back on the hill". The Day. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Manchester Road Race Honors John J. Kelley, Posthumously". Runner's World. October 11, 2011. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Poole, Owen (March 3, 2010). "Menhart impressed with top pick Strasburg". The Day. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Atkins, Hunter (August 10, 2012). "To Harvey and His Father, Promise Has Always Been There". New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- DiMauro, Mike (May 6, 2007). "Ex-Fitch star Hall signs with Vikes". Google News. The Day. Retrieved June 4, 2014.