Happy 216th Birthday, Horace Staples!

From the opening of Staples High School in 1884, to a few years after he died 13 years later at age 96, students and faculty celebrated January 31 — Horace Staples’ birthday — as “Founder’s Day.”

That tradition — dormant for over a century — gained new life today. The Staples chapter of Rho Kappa — the national high school honor society — brought Founder’s Day back..

Exhibits outside the auditorium, created by nearly every academic department, portrayed life in the late 19th century. The culinary classes dedicated one to onions. After all, when Staples’ High School (as it was punctuated then) was dedicated, the Westporter newspaper proclaimed, “A good high school will increase the value of property, and raise the price of onions.”

1880’s music played between classes.

And “Horace Staples” — the founder who was a businessman, merchant, factory owner, bank president and farmer — roamed the halls again today. He wandered into classrooms, discussing the differences between his school in 1884 and the 2017 one that sits, a few miles from his original Riverside Avenue building, on North Avenue.

"Horace Staples" posed with students in Barbara Robbins' English class this morning.

“Horace Staples” (center) posed with students in Barbara Robbins’ English class this morning.

Students asked questions. Mr. Staples answered everything from what Westport was like back then (“there were not as many very large houses”) to what he thought of the school today (“you have so many wonderful teachers; be sure to listen to them, read, think, and make your mark on the world”).

And who was “Horace Staples”?

Why, the guy who wrote the book — Staples High School: 120 Years of A+ Education — about his own alma mater.

"Horace Staples," with his portrait near the front entrance to Staples High School. He hasn't aged a bit.

“Horace Staples,” with his portrait near the front entrance to Staples High School. He hasn’t aged a bit.

24 responses to “Happy 216th Birthday, Horace Staples!

  1. He looks remarkably like you, Dan! 🙂

  2. That outfit really works on you!

  3. Love it😄😄😄😄😄

  4. James Honeycutt

    What fun. I wish I had been there is to see it. I hoped Good Morning Staples was there to shoot an interview. How interesting that would have been.

  5. 216 years YOUNG, you mean!
    Does Horace know that he shares his birthday with other notables, such as Jackie Robinson, Carol Channing, and Justin Timberlake?

  6. And a mighty fine looking Horace if I do say so myself.

  7. Very funny, Horace😜

    Sent from my iPhone

    Sent from my iPhone >

  8. Bob Weingarten

    For those that want more information about Horace Staples you should come to the Westport Historical Society current exhibition called Westport School Days 1703-Present. The exhibit just opened and will run for about two more months. There is a lot of photos of Staple High School students through the ages and additional information about Staples. Even Dan Woog is featured in one of the activity photos.

  9. Someone should also point out (Dan is perhaps too modest to do so) that the book “Staples High School: 120 Years of A+ Education” Dan wrote is a fantastic source of more information about Horace Staples and other aspects of Staples High School – also available at the Westport Historical Society.

  10. Kathie Bennewitz

    What a great display and event with all the theatrical interpretation–Dan! You look great. Kuods to the Social Studies dept. for organizing and to all the others involved at Staples HS for bringing this day back! It was wonderful for the Westport Public Art Collections to feature works of Horace and the school in it too. Too bad it was a half day due to snow.

  11. Thanks for going the extra mile today, Mr. Staples!

  12. Good likeness!!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  13. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    I love this and every comment. Thank you Mr. Staples. I am so proud of my High School and it’s long tradition of turning out citizens that care and are so well educated..

  14. Thank you for doing that today, Dan. My son is one of the kids in the picture behind you and he came home quite excited about the experience and about what he had learned. That is truly a good day for a teenager who never thinks about history, especial local history.

    And thank you for the great public service you do for our town. We are lucky to have you.

  15. The Book… 120 Years, Give or Take

    To the past it will take us
    With high marks, it’s an A-plus!
    Smartly penned by our Horace
    Yup, especially for us,
    So buy one, it’s definitely a mus-t!

  16. Carissa Baker

    Danny, you are fabulous! Wish I had been there to hear you!