Wells High School

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Wells High School
Wells High School (2016).jpg
200 Sanford Road (ME-109)
Wells, Maine 04090
United States
Coordinates 43°19′11″N 70°35′23″W / 43.3196°N 70.5898°W / 43.3196; -70.5898Coordinates: 43°19′11″N 70°35′23″W / 43.3196°N 70.5898°W / 43.3196; -70.5898
Type Public high school
Motto School Motto: Striving For Excellence
Established 1901
School district Wells-Ogunquit Community School District
Principal Eileen M. Sheehy
Assistant Principal Josh Gould
Grades 9–12
Number of students 450 (2014)[1]
Hours in school day 6.5
Color(s)     red,     white, and     black
Fight song Down the Field
Athletics baseball, basketball, cheerleading, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, wrestling
Athletics conference Western Maine, Class B
Mascot Warrior
Accreditation New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Newspaper Wells Street Journal
Yearbook Abenaki
Performing Arts chorus, color guard, concert band, jazz band, marching band, percussion ensemble, theatre, winter guard

Wells High School is a public school located in Wells, Maine. It has an enrollment of 450 students in grades 9 through 12.[1] The school primarily serves students from Wells, as well as a small number of students from Ogunquit, which was part of the town of Wells until 1980 and has never had its own high school.[2] From 1968 until 2006, Wells High School also served students from the town of Acton, which has also never had a high school of its own.[2]

For the 2013–2014 school year, Wells High School had a graduation rate of 100% — the highest graduation rate of any public high school in Maine.[3] It is among the top 10 best high schools in Maine, according to U.S. News & World Report.[4] The Maine Department of Education also ranks Wells High School in the top 10 statewide, and #1 in York County.[5]

Wells High School is the sole high school in the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District, and is also home to the district's adult education and distance education programs.


The 1901 building.
The 1909 building (left) and the Division 2 school (right).
The 1937 building.
The 1977 building.
Ronco Gymnasium (part of the 1977 building).
The renovated 1977 building.

Wells High School traces its origins back to 1873, when the state of Maine enacted the Free High School Act. The law gave towns the ability to establish public high schools which would receive 50% of their funding from the state. Classes were held at the existing one-room schools located throughout the town.[2]

By the mid-1890s, it became clear that holding high school classes in several locations was not an optimal arrangement. In 1901, voters at the annual town meeting were asked whether they wanted to build a standalone high school. The vote passed. Later that same year, constructed at a cost of $3,650, Wells High School opened its doors. The first class graduated in 1903, with all nine students — seven girls and two boys — receiving diplomas.[6] The graduation ceremony was held at the Second Congregational Church (today known as the Wells Congregational Church, UCC), in what was considered an extraordinarily special and historic event. The class motto was Vestigia Nulla Retrorsum — Latin for "no footsteps backward."[6]

In 1909, Wells High School suffered an extensive fire. A new, larger building was immediately built on the same site. The high school would suffer yet another fire in 1922. Classes were held at the town hall for several months while the building was repaired and enlarged.[2]

In 1937, a new high school was built a few hundred feet north, and the 1909 building was turned into an elementary school. The 1937 building, located at 1470 Post Road (US-1) across from Ocean View Cemetery, was the first school in Wells to be constructed out of brick, and cost $90,000 to build.[6] It was significantly larger than the previous building and included a combination gymnasium/auditorium on the top floor. It was designed by the Maine architectural firm of Miller & Beal, Inc.[7]

In 1939, the 1909 building was completely destroyed by fire, and was not rebuilt.[2]

Construction of the fourth (and current) Wells High School began in 1976 and was completed in 1977. The building is located at 200 Sanford Road (ME-109) and was built at a cost of $2.9 million. It was designed by Wilbur R. Ingalls, Jr. The 1937 building became a junior high school that same year.[2] The 1977 building originally had only two stories, but Ingalls designed it so that a third story could be added later if the student population increased. A partial third story was constructed in the late 1980s in order to provide additional classrooms. One of the building's unique design features is that it resembles the letter "W" when viewed from above. The gymnasium was named in honor of Richard Ronco, a 1960 graduate of Wells High School and a member of the Wells School Committee.[7] In 1999, the auditorium underwent interior renovations and was named in honor of Valjeane Olenn, who served as principal of Wells High School from 1986 to 1998.[8] Olenn's tenure as principal was noteworthy for several reasons: she was the first female principal in Wells; she was one of the longest-serving principals of the high school; and she instituted block scheduling, which was new and innovative at the time.

Wells High School celebrated its 100th graduating class in 2003 — which was also the 350th anniversary of the town's incorporation.[2]

In November 2013, voters in Wells and Ogunquit approved a $27 million renovation/expansion project for the high school, to be funded solely by taxpayers in the two towns. The existing classroom wing was demolished and replaced. The gymnasium, auditorium, cafeteria, library, and music spaces were renovated and expanded. Electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and computer network systems were refurbished or replaced. The entire facility was brought up to current A.D.A. and life safety standards. The renovations and additions were designed by Lavallee Brensinger Architects.[9] Work began in late 2014 and is expected to conclude by the fourth quarter of 2016.[10]


Wells High School Marching Band performing at a marching band competition in 2005.

The school mascot is the Warrior and the title of the yearbook is Abenaki. Both names reflect the significance of Native Americans in the history of Wells.[2] The school colors are red, white, and black. In 2014, Wells High School announced plans to phase out certain visual aspects of the Warrior mascot — specifically the stereotypical profile of a male Native American person's head — in favor of different imagery, such as a stylized "W," in an effort to focus less on any specific race or ethnicity.[11] As of 2016, however, certain renovated and newly-constructed areas of the building, such as computer labs and the entrance to the athletics wing, prominently feature the "Indian head" image.

In athletics, Wells' traditional rivals are Kennebunk High School and York High School.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Wells High School Principal's Report, February 2014". Wells-Ogunquit CSD. Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Shelley, Hope M. (2002). My Name Is Wells, I Am The Town. Wells 350th Celebration History Committee. Penobscot Press. ISBN 0-89725-468-6. 
  3. ^ Gallagher, Noel K. (8 April 2015). "Maine high school graduation rate shows slight improvement". The Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Gallagher, Noel K. (22 April 2014). "Maine ties California for top high schools". The Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Maine DOE - Report Cards". Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Perkins, Esselyn Gilman (1971). Wells: The Frontier Town of Maine, Vol. II. 
  7. ^ a b Hope Shelley, Historical Society of Wells and Ogunquit. Waves & Furroughs.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  9. ^ "Wells High School Renovation and Addition - Lavallee Brensinger Architects". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Charlton, Ann (7 November 2013). "Wells High to get $27 million overhaul". York County Coast Star. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Mehler, Johnny (29 April 2014). "Three Maine high schools remain with Indian mascot names". WCSH-6. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Nate Dingle Bio". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Fish, Jen (2 September 2002). "Principal on the job at Wells High School". The Portland Press Herald. 
  14. ^ Kanak, Jim (4 January 2007). "Teguis to step down as Wells High principal". York County Coast Star. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Charlton, Ann (9 January 2014). "Movers&Shakers: Jim Daly". York County Coast Star. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Wells High School". Retrieved 4 February 2016.