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.
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.