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Staples High School (Connecticut)

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Staples High School
A black crest with a torch, ribbon with 1885 on it. Below the torch is a shield that features a grapevine, bridge & Water, an arrowhead, cannon & cannonballs and an old English ‘S’. Below that is says: Respect for Life.
The seal of Staples High School.
70 North Avenue
Westport, Connecticut 06880

United States
Type Public high school
Established April 26, 1884
School district Westport Public Schools
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 2000
Color(s)      Navy Blue
Mascot Construction worker named "the Wrecker"
Newspaper Inklings
Yearbook Stapleite

Staples High School is a public high school located in the town of Westport, Connecticut, USA.

Staples High School is named after Horace Staples, who founded the school on April 26, 1884.[1][2]

Westport is one of eight school districts in District Reference Group A (along with Darien, Easton, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Wilton).[3]


View of new main building, December 2011
View of new main building, December 2011

The school was first located at Riverside Avenue in a three-level red brick building.[4]

In 1958 Staples High School moved to its current location at 70 North Avenue.[5]


Seeing the “town’s lack of progress in education,” Horace Staples, a wealthy businessman with interests in shipping, hardware sales, and banking, founded Staples High School.[4] Initially Staples intended to fund the school via an interest left in his will; however, that interest became known while he was still alive, and led to the school’s foundation being laid in 1884.[6] On April 24, 1884, businesses closed early in Westport to celebrate the dedication of Staples High School.[4] Connecticut Governor Thomas M. Waller attended the opening.[4]

Front of Staples High School

In the first year of operation, commencing in the fall of 1884, Staples High School had 60 of the 807 students attending schools in Westport.[6]

On June 24, 1887, Staples High School conferred its first high school diplomas to six female students who comprised its first graduating class.[4]

In 1909 the Town of Westport accepted control of Staples High School from the Horace Staples estate.[4]



The school newspaper, Inklings, has won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association gold medal every year since 2000 (in addition to a silver medal in 1999).[7] The paper has also received the rank of First Place with "Special Honors" from the American Scholastic Press Association since 2001 and has been dubbed "the best school paper in the state" by the Hartford Courant.[citation needed] Staples teaches both introductory and advanced journalism courses during which students work at Inklings.[citation needed]

Staples Players

The Staples Players perform plays tri-annually - one toward the middle of the fall semester, one toward the middle of the spring semester, and one in the summer. Past performances have included "A Chorus Line," "Cabaret," and "West Side Story."[8]

AP Assassination

Traditionally, after taking their final exams, AP seniors play a game called "AP Assassin." This was inspired by the 1982 film Tag: The Assassination Game, and involves students stalking and using Nerf guns to "assassinate" each other. The original entry fee was $7, but has since risen to $20; the collected money is split among the organizer of the event, the most creative assassin, the 1st-place winner, and the runner-up. Since the school administration doesn't approve of this game, an assassination can't take place on school property or school sponsored events. Guns must be pre-approved before usage.[9][10][11]

Several incidents have happened during the game:[10]

  • Four students kidnapped a target by putting him in a van and driving away from campus.
  • A student called 9-1-1 when her assassin approached her as she sat in her car in her driveway.
  • Police received a report that a student brought a gun to school, which turned out to be a silver Nerf gun in his car.

In 1999, the game was cancelled due to the recent Columbine High School massacre. A barbecue and a game of Capture the Flag took place instead.[9] In 2013, soon after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Fairfield County happened, principal John Dodig said “I think this year, in particular, it’s poor judgment to be pretending to shoot high school students.”[12]

Notable alumni

Awards and press coverage

List of principals

No. Principal Years Terms
1. James Tuft 1884-1885 1
2. Wilbur Lucius Cross[19] 1885-1886 1
3. Thomas Stearns 1886-1890 4
4. Howard Pratt 1890-1891 1
5. Bessie Taylor 1891-1892 1
6. Howard Pratt 1893-1903 10
Unknown 1903-1908 5
7. Bessie Taylor 1908-1913 5
8. Jay Bates 1913-1914 1
9. Grover Bowman 1914-1920 6
10. John Young 1920-1921 1
11. Elizabeth Chatfield 1921-1922 1
12. Alan Henderson 1922-1923 1
13. Horace Beach 1923-1931 8
14. Douglas Young 1931-1953 22
- Gerhardt Rast 1953-1954 1
15. Stanley Lorenzen 1954-1966 12
- Raymond Walch 1966 1
16. James Calkins 1967-1974 7
- Robert Genualdi 1974-1975 1
17. George Cohan 1975-1981 6
18. Marvyn Jaffe 1981-1992 11
19. Gloria Rakovic 1992-2002 10
20. John Brady 2002-2004 2
21. John Dodig[20] 2004 - 2015 10


  1. ^ Woody Klein; Westport Historical Society (Conn.) (May 2000). Westport, Connecticut: the story of a New England town's rise to prominence. Greenwood Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-313-31126-0. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Charles Melbourne Selleck (1896). Norwalk: v. 1 and supplement. The author. p. 74. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  3. ^ [1] Web page titled "Find a Community: By Educational Reference Group (DRG)" at the "Discovery 2007 / An initiative of the William Caspar Graustein Fund" Web site. Retrieved March 25, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Woody Klein; Westport Historical Society (Conn.) (May 2000). Westport, Connecticut: the story of a New England town's rise to prominence. Greenwood Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-313-31126-0. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Woody Klein; Westport Historical Society (Conn.) (May 2000). Westport, Connecticut: the story of a New England town's rise to prominence. Greenwood Press. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-313-31126-0. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Woody Klein; Westport Historical Society (Conn.) (May 2000). Westport, Connecticut: the story of a New England town's rise to prominence. Greenwood Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-313-31126-0. Retrieved 29 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Inzitari, Vanessa (21 March 2011). "Staples Student Newspaper Wins Big". The Daily Westport. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "'West Side Story' last curtain call for Staples choreographer". Westport News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Mike Allen (May 15, 1999). "A 'Killing' Game at Schools Turns Worrisome". The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Alexandra O'Kane (April 15, 2011). "Catch me if you can: The controversial story behind AP Assasination [sic]". Inklings. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ Jesse Heussner (June 4, 2009). "AP Assassination Gets a Shot of Popularity". Inklings. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ Ben Reiser (June 3, 2013). "Two Views on AP Assassination: Gun Violence is a Reality, Not a Game". Inklings. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ Connor, Tim. "The Story of M". Connecticut Magazine. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  14. ^ Bailer, Darice (December 24, 2000). "The View From / Westport; It's a Quantum Leap For High School Senior". The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  15. ^ Marley Brant (1 October 2006). Happier days: Paramount Television's classic sitcoms, 1974-1984. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-8230-8933-8. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Dan Woog (15 February 2013). Harlem Shake and Westport Too!. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  17. ^ Yolen, Jane. "A Short Biography". Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  18. ^ Steele, Charles (November 2008). "Top High Schools". Connecticut Magazine. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  19. ^ Joan Shelley Rubin (2007). Songs of ourselves: the uses of poetry in America. Harvard University Press. pp. 117–. ISBN 978-0-674-02436-6. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Dydzuhn, Karen Kovacs (20 January 2010). "Staples Principal John Dodig discusses high school in the 21st century". Westport News. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 

External links

Coordinates: 41°09′14″N 73°19′41″W / 41.154°N 73.328°W / 41.154; -73.328