Shelton High School (Connecticut)

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Shelton High School
Outside of Shelton High School 2009.JPG
120 Meadow Street
Shelton, Connecticut
Type Public
Established 1973
School district Shelton Public Schools
Headmaster Dr. Beth Smith
Faculty 106
Grades 9-12
Gender Coeducational
Number of students 1784 students
Color(s) Orange and Black
Mascot Gael
Newspaper Gael Winds
Magnet School No
Charter School No
Year-round schedule No

Shelton High School (SHS) is a public high school in Shelton, Connecticut, in eastern Fairfield County. It has an enrollment of approximately 1700 in grades 9 through 12.


Outside Shelton High School during construction in 1973

The first four SHS graduates received their diplomas on June 26, 1889. In 1894, the First School Society became the Town School Committee, with Walter D. Hood as the first school superintendent.[1] The current Shelton High School was built in 1973.[citation needed]

In 2006 residents of Shelton voted to renovate the school at a cost of about $25,000,000. The renovation started in the summer of 2006 and the majority of the renovation was completed in August 2008.

Beth Smith became Shelton High School's headmaster at the start of the 2008-2009 school year.[citation needed]

2008 Fire[edit]

A cigarette thrown into a garbage can in the maintenance department's storage closet sparked a fire that damaged a portion of Shelton High School. Smoke got into the school's ventilation system, resulting in heavy smoke damage, including to the media center. Heavy water damage also occurred. The damage was in the millions of dollars. Fire damage was confined to the second-floor storeroom where the fire broke out shortly after noon on December 30. Cleanup of the school started on December 31, 2008.


Shelton High School underwent a $25,000,000 renovation project. Construction started in the summer of 2006 and major construction was completed by August 2008.

Some of the renovations included:

  • Auditorium upgrades, which include new seating, lighting, sound, and other technology,
  • A new science wing was added from the existing library mezzanine. In addition, all other science classrooms were renovated to a 'like new' condition
  • New HVAC system/mechanical system
  • Air quality improvement
  • Electrical system upgrades
  • Building technology upgrade
  • Phone system upgrade
  • Plumbing
  • Fire alarm system, life safety systems, ADA, and building codes
  • Site reconstruction

A wing of about 18,000 square feet (1,700 m2), was added on the east side, containing a new weight room and locker rooms. The former weight room was constructed into an auxiliary gymnasium. New student lockers were installed throughout the building. During the summer of 2009, new outside doors were installed in the building, the cafeteria ceiling was replaced, boilers were replaced, and a new health room was reconstructed to reduce noise levels.

2008 sprinkler issue[edit]

State law and building codes state that sprinkler systems must be installed in older schools that undergo renovations. An investigation showed that Shelton High School did not meet all fire code requirements. Building Committee Chairman Anthony Simonetti said that Shelton High School did not go under a "like new" renovation, but instead "alteration", which does not require putting sprinklers in the building. Fire Marshal Tortora said that some violations of the state fire code having to do with several windowless rooms will soon be fixed.

A fire caused extensive damage in part of the school in late December 2008, while students were out on holiday break. During the fire cleanup, another building inspection took place. Conducted by the Shelton Fire Marshall's office, it found fire code violations, some having to do with the lack of sprinklers in maintenance areas and art rooms. The building's fire doors were also cited. Many of the door's self-closing devices were broken, some doors were bent and couldn't close, and some didn't have fire alarm magnets.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Gael Winds[edit]

The school newspaper is called the Gael Winds. The paper has had issues with censorship.[2]



Shelton High School's sports programs include football, baseball, boys' volleyball, swimming, ice hockey, girls' and boys' indoor and outdoor track and field, and girls' cheerleading programs. The school is part of the Housatonic Division of the Southern Connecticut Conference.[4]

The Shelton Gaels high school football team won the state championship in 1988, 1995, 2000, and 2003.

The Shelton Gaels high school boys' volleyball team won the state championship in 2004 and 2005, with a 46-0 record. The Shelton Gaels Varsity Cheerleading squad won the state championship in the 2000-2001 season.

The Shelton boys' cross country team won its first division championship, and the SCC championship in 2007, making its first trip to the New England championships. In 2008, it placed second in the CIAC State Open Championships, and fourth in the New England Championships.

2011 Prom[edit]

The Shelton High School headmaster banned a senior and two friends from attending the senior prom because[5] the students had taped a message of 12-inch high cardboard letters above the school's entrance inviting Tate's classmate, Sonali Rodrigues, to go to the dance with him.[5] In addition to giving the students in-school suspensions for what she described as a safety issue, the headmaster described the act as trespassing and banned them from the dance.[5]

The ban became the subject of protests on Facebook and was reported on national media.[6][7] but also international[8][9]

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti[5] and Shelton High School alumnus NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky[10] questioned the appropriateness of the punishment. Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy sided with the student, saying, "While it seems that there are rules that were broken, in this case, it doesn’t seem as though the punishment fits the crime."[9] The punishment prompted state lawmakers Jason Perillo (R-Shelton) and Sean Williams (R-Waterbury) to introduce an amendment to a pending bill that, with an exception for vandalism and violence, would require schools to offer parents an alternative to banning students from school-related activities as means of punishment.[11]

On May 12, the headmaster announced that she stood behind her decision, citing long-standing policy.[12] Protests at the school continued the next day, with students being sent home saying they'd been told they were "inciting a riot and breach of peace".[13] On May 14, the headmaster held a press conference[14] reversing the decision, saying that "the level of distraction created by this incident" had "affected the culture of Shelton High School" and that "international notoriety" had forced her to reverse herself.[15]


Construction, 2007
East Addition Exterior View 2007.jpg
East Addition Exterior View2 2007.jpg
East Addition Exterior View3 2007.jpg
East Addition Interior View4 2007.jpg
FUSCO'S SHS Field Office.jpg
East Addition Exterior View Near Completion 2007.jpg
Spring, 2009 SHS Stadium
Shs driveway view.JPG
Outside of Shelton High School 2009.JPG
Shs bus loop ex-closeup.JPG
Shs main drive.JPG
Shs main enter.JPG
Shs main enter far view.JPG
Shs field.JPG

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "SHS History". 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "SHS Athletics". 
  4. ^ "Souther Connecticut Conference". Housatonic Division. 
  5. ^ a b c d Miller, Joshua Rhett (May 11, 2011). "Mayor: Punishment Doesn't Fit Crime in Case of Connecticut Teen Barred From Prom". Fox News. 
  6. ^ "Creative Prom Invite Gets Student Suspended", NPR
  7. ^ A story about this incident, featuring reporter Ben Sosenko, was aired nationially on MSNBC
  8. ^ "You WON'T go to the ball: Teen banned from prom after posting giant invite on school's walls". Daily Mail. London. May 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Gendreau, LeAnne (2011). "James Tate Take Prom Plea to Today Show". Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  10. ^ NFL QB Joins Huddle of Support for No-Prom Teen May 12, 2011 8:28 PM EDT
  11. ^ "NFL Quarterback Backs Teen Barred From Prom, but School Stands Firm on Decision". Fox News. May 12, 2011. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Tate serves suspension as fellow students attempt sit-in Anne M. Amato, Staff Writer Updated 11:16 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2011
  14. ^ press video of press conference
  15. ^"

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°19′17″N 73°07′01″W / 41.3214°N 73.117°W / 41.3214; -73.117