Nantucket High School

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Nantucket High School
10 Surfside Road
Nantucket, Massachusetts, Nantucket, 02554
Coordinates 41°16′24.5″N 70°5′54.8″W / 41.273472°N 70.098556°W / 41.273472; -70.098556
Type Public high school
Established 1838
School district Nantucket Public Schools
Principal John Buckey
Asst. Principal John Lucchini
Faculty 39
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 490 (2014-2015)
Campus size 20.35 acres (valued at $62 million) [1]
Campus type Rural
Colour(s) Navy Blue & White ‹See Tfm›     ‹See Tfm›    
Mascot Hank the Harpoon Man [2]
Nickname Whalers
Rival Martha's Vineyard Regional High School
Average SAT scores 529 verbal
516 math
521 writing
1566 total (2014)[3]
Newspaper "Veritas" [4][5]
Budget $4.7 million

Nantucket High School is a public high school in Nantucket, Massachusetts. It is also the only high school on the island of Nantucket. The school serves students in grades 9–12, and has an approximate enrollment of 400 students. The school colors are Navy Blue and White, and the mascot is Hank the Harpoon Man, whose name was chosen by the students in 2013.


Nantucket High School was founded in 1838 with Cyrus Peirce as the school's first principal. The school's mascot names of the Whalers, is obviously in tribute to the long and storied history of the commercial whaling industry on Nantucket. Nantucket is regarded as one of the most recognizable and synonymous places associated with Whaling in the world.[6]


The Nantucket High School athletic teams are known as the Whalers. There are currently five boys' teams (soccer, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, and baseball), five girls' teams (soccer, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, and softball), and six coed teams (football, field hockey, ice hockey, cheerleading, golf, and sailing).[7] Although football is considered a coed sport, no girl has played on the team in some time. While ice hockey and golf have had female members, they have been male-dominated in recent years. Field hockey had only one male member for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

There is the skeleton of a juvenile finback whale hanging in the commons area of Nantucket High School that serves as the team's mascot. The Nantucket Girls' athletic teams are known as the Lady Whalers.[8]

Every year, the Nantucket Football Team plays against Martha's Vineyard for the Island Cup on the weekend before Thanksgiving (in the 2013 season, the game will be played the weekend after Thanksgiving, due to new Massachusetts athletic rules). The Island Cup is played on Nantucket one year then on Martha's Vineyard the next year and continually switches back and forth. Currently, Martha's Vineyard has won the Island Cup the last 10 years. They have retained the Island Cup since 2003. The winner keeps the Island Cup trophy until the following game. The 2012 game resulted in a 27-26 loss for Nantucket. The 2011 game, at Nantucket, resulted in a 10-7 loss. In 2013, the Nantucket Varsity lost 0-14 and the Junior Varsity tied 8-8. In 2012, Nantucket's junior varsity and middle school teams beat their Martha's Vineyard counterparts.

The Nantucket Football team has won a total of 4 Massachusetts State Championships. They won championships in 1980, 1995, 1996, and 2011. Also, they were State Runner-Up's in 1982, 1983, 1990, 1993, 1994 and 1998. The Nantucket Football team has appeared in the State Championship game a total of 10 times since 1980.

Nantucket's football team was led by legendary coach, Vito Capizzo, for 45 years. Capizza was the head coach at Nantucket from 1964 to 2009. He is regarded as one of the most legendary, successful, and respected high school coaches in the country. Capizzo played football at the University of Alabama, under another legendary coach, Bear Bryant. He was a mentor to then freshman, Joe Namath, and was his roommate for his freshman year. Capizzo graduated from Alabama in 1962, and two years later landed on Nantucket and was hired as the head football coach. In his 45 years at the helm on Nantucket, he racked up 293 wins (3rd most in Massachusetts history), won 3 State Championships, appeared in 9 State Championship games, won 17 League Championships, and was named Coach of the Year numerous times by many publications. After Capizzo retired in 2009, he passed the torch to a former player, Bill Manchester, to take over the head coaching duties. In 2011, two years after Vito Capizzo retired, Nantucket won its first State Championship in 15 years with a 35–0 rout over Latin Academy (Dorchester, MA).

The NHS boys' lacrosse team had been considered highly successful, appearing in the state championship consecutively for over a decade from 1999 onward, but in recent years has suffered severe problems, going 0-18 in the 2012 season, and losing its coach, Seth Upson, during the 2013 season, amidst allegations of vandalism and shoplifting.[9]

The Whalers Ice Hockey Team is fairly new.


The school newspaper, Veritas, has received state, regional, and national awards as an outstanding student newspaper since its inception. The paper is considered one of the stronger high school newspapers in its region, and won 14 awards at the 2013 New England Scholastic Press Association ceremony. The paper took the prestigious All New England Award for best overall. Traditionally, the Veritas staff has numbered between 30 and 50 students. The current year's staff features roughly 50 students.[10]

Veritas has, notably, sent numerous graduates to prestigious colleges and universities, many of whom have studied journalism.[11]


The high school has strong programs in academics, art and music.

In popular culture[edit]

  • On the NBC sitcom Wings, the main characters Joe, Brian, Helen, Lowell and Casey were all graduates of the fictional Siasconset High School on Nantucket. Their yearbook is called "The Whaler."[citation needed]


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  5. ^ Veritas
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  8. ^ The Nantucket Independent
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