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History of Westhill High School

General Overview


About Westhill High School

See also: About Us and School Profile

Westhill High School Core Values

Westhill High School values learning because it promotes academic excellence, civic responsibility, and personal growth. Our school encourages students to think creatively, work collaboratively, reason critically, and communicate effectively in order to be prepared for higher education and success in the 21st century.

Beliefs About Learning:

  • All students have opportunities to acquire, analyze, and apply knowledge.
  • All students have opportunities to be creative.
  • All students have opportunities to engage in collaborative work.
  • All students have opportunities to engage in critical thinking.
  • All students have opportunities to engage in communication.

21st Century Student Learning Expectations:

Social / Civic:
  • Students will participate in curricular, extracurricular, and/or community activities to develop civic responsibility, personal growth, and overall well-being.
  • Students will express themselves in coherent, original, and creative forms using appropriate academic language.
  • Students will understand and utilize multiple forms of communication, both individually and collaboratively.
  • Students will demonstrate procedural fluency using critical thinking skills.
  • Students will read grade-level texts critically across disciplines for a broad acquisition of knowledge.

A Brief History of Westhill High School

The year was 1969. The month, November. Construction commenced, and for Westhill High School, it was the beginning. The estimated cost of the proposed school was $12.8 million for the 335,500 square foot building. The ground breaking ceremony was held on November 25, 1969. The final cost of this enormous project? About $14.8 million.

The original vision of Westhill was that it be two separate schools: freshman and sophomores in one building, juniors and seniors in the other. The other alternative was to separate four year programs housed in the two buildings. They were to share the cafeteria, library, auditorium, and gym. This building design was followed, but plans changed for the programs. Westhill opened as a traditional high school with all students having classes in both buildings.

Westhill High School became the school's official name on January 12, 1971. The school opened with a freshman, sophomore, and junior class. The school colors, purple and gold, and the mascot, the Viking, were borrowed from the Minnesota Vikings, the new NFL team that season. The first official graduating class was in 1973.

Four decades later Westhill High School is thriving. A student body of roughly 2,500 students and nearly 200 certified staff work tirelessly to improve the teaching and learning environment for all learners. A multitude of AP course offerings, numerous electives, a JROTC program, an agricultural science program, dozens of clubs and numerous sport offerings have Westhill High School the place to be now and for decades to come.

We are Westhill and Proud!


This is Westhill High School 1971

This is Westhill High School 


Thousands Of Hours Of Planning Westhill High School, the newest addition to the Stamford Public Schools, is designed and planned for education in the seventies and beyond. With its flexible design and innovative program Westhill joins a proud tradition of quality education in Stamford. 

The design and planning of Westhill took into account the vast amount of knowledge that must be learned by students today, and society's ever increasing desire for education. This forward looking school took thousands of man hours in research and planning. Back in 1966 under the direction of the Board of Education, a committee headed by Dr. Thomas Reardon, then Director of Secondary Education started to study education specifications for the new high school. Serving with him were Messers Stuart Hulbert, Thomas Kernan, Paul Kuzco Jr., Josiah Bridge and Mrs. Georgiana White. Dr. Felix McCormick of the Institute of Field Studies of Teachers College, Columbia University, served as the educational consultant. The committee visited schools in nearby Connecticut and New York communities. 

While the Third High School was to be the keystone for an overall plan to eliminate overcrowding, it was felt it should not be just another school building. The new high school would allow the system to implement the 6-2-4 plan and relieve the student population at the junior high. Under this plan kindergarten through grade six would be in the elementary schools, grades seven and eight would remain at the junior high schools making them middle schools and grades nine through twelve would be housed at the senior high schools. 

It became obvious to the committee that a new school had to be flexible enough to take into consideration the present methods of teaching and those of the future. As time progressed so too did the committee. Some 100 teachers and school officials were serving on 27 different committees by 1968. Their recommendations were compiled in a voluminous document titled "Educational Specifications, Third Senior High School, Stamford, Connecticut". Working with the committee and its recommendations, the architectural firm of Knappe and Johnson started to "create" the new school in the Spring of 1968. 

Stamford's Third High School was to be built around the educational program, not as so many schools throughout the United States have been built in the past, where the program had to fit the school. The 2500 pupil school was to be built on a 28 acre site, at the corner of Roxbury and Long Ridge Roads, already owned by the City and known as the Finch Property. 

The committee's report stated "a high school which opens in the 70's must reflect the new developments in the art of teaching". Working on that basis the committee pointed out that there had to be areas for independent study, seminar sessions for small group discussions, standard classrooms, plus large rooms. The school had to be a community oriented structure. With education being an on-going process throughout life the committee felt that the school had to be available to all citizens. Part of the recommendation was that it have a 1500 seat auditorium, and a 2500 seat gymnasium; in addition, it has a six lane swimming pool with a separate diving area. 

The innovative part of the program called for more flexible scheduling, greater use of modern teaching devices, as well as small and large group instruction. The emphasis was going to be on more individual self-directed learning activities, expanded counseling and occupational guidance service. More technological courses in guidance were to be stressed and there was hope that the building could be used on evenings, weekends and vacation periods for students and adults in the community. The big innovation was the idea of a house plan. The house plan would break the 2500 pupils into two distinct schools within a school. Students in grades nine and ten would be in one house and grades eleven and twelve would be in another. This would give the students a sense of identity making them a part of a smaller unit in the whole school. Each house would have its own administrators and guidance counselors. 

Final plans for the Third High School were approved on April 9, 1969. Estimated cost at the time was $12,890,000 for the 333,500 square feet building. The capital projects budget for that year carried a sum of twelve and a half million dollars for the new high school. When bids were open on July 22, 1969 the low bid on the school was $13,977,000, but with the addition for sewers, fire hydrants, traffic lights and movable furniture and equipment the total estimate came· to $14,895,000. E. & F. Construction Co., Bridgeport, Connecticut was the low bidder and was awarded the contract. Following a great deal of discussion with the City Administration and the various city boards the additional money was appropriated and ground breaking took place on November 24, 1969. 

In less than two years of the formal ground breaking Westhill High School will be open to  students. The efficient operation of E. & F. Construction and the cooperation of many fine sub-contractors have enabled the Board of Education to open this school to students within this short period of time. Construction at the Third High School continued at a record pace. Although there was much community interest in the construction and many discussions as to how the building would be sewered and supplied with heat and power, the general guidelines of the original committee have been followed.

The House Plan

With the approval of the Board of Education a student committee has named the two houses. Grades nine and ten will be in Thurston Raynor House and eleven and twelve in Daniel Finch House. Mr. Donase will be house master for Raynor House and Mr. Nolan Housemaster for Finch House.

Thurston Raynor was one of the first 28 citizens to settle in Stamford in 1641. He was the second owner of the first gristmill in town. Later he was appointed to the New Haven Court with senatorial honors. Mr. Raynor was also a Constable of Stamford in 1641 and in 1643 became the First Chief Judge of Stamford's first

Daniel Finch was also an original Stamford settler and owned nine acres of property on which the school is presently located. He was an outstanding citizen and a strong booster of the original Stamford community.


This is Westhill Newspaper 1971 Supplement PDF



50 Years

Westhill Class of 1973 - The First Graduating Class 

Photo of the Graduates of the Westhill Class of 1973


Photo of a Diploma Cover from the Westhill Class of 1973
Photo of a diploma from the Westhill Class of 1973
Photo of the Graduation Program Cover from the Westhill Class of 1973



Westhill and Proud