Hampton Academy & Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association
65th Anniversary, Historic Souvenir Booklet, 1972

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A Fond Valedictory

While the traditional valedictory address of a graduating class is a solemn and somewhat sad occasion, the valedictory of a school presents an even more solemn moment of reflection and retrospect.

The 71st graduation exercises of Hampton Academy and High school tomorrow evening will be the last for this time honored institution of learning, which has guided the education of students in the seacoast area for the past 148 years.

One of the oldest educational institutions in New Hampshire, Hampton Academy was first founded June 16, 1810 as a Proprietary School for the “instruction and education of youth” by the General Court.

Although public schools existed in Hampton prior to that date, a considerable number of parents in Hampton and neighboring towns joined with Rev. Webster in the belief that “by the opening of a school of a higher order, a new interest would be excited, and a new impulse given to the cause of education.”

And so it was given to Edmund Toppan, Joseph Towle Jr., John Fogg, Thomas Ward, Ebenezer Lawrence, Samuel F. Leavitt, Richard Greenleaf and their associates to establish such a school in Hampton. In 1821 the proprietary school was incorporated as Hampton Academy with a board of thirteen trustees.

Through the years several propositions had been made to convert the Academy into a high school and at a special town meeting June 1, 1872 the townspeople voted to establish a high school. However, the plan for union was frustrated through the opposition of certain individuals of influence and it was not until September 14, 1885 that Hampton Academy and High School opened under the care of Mr. Jack Sanborn of Hampton Falls, as principal. The first class of fourteen was graduated in June, 1887.

The original lessons taught at the Academy included English, Latin and Greek languages, Writing, Arithmetic, Music and Arts of Speaking; also Practical Geometry, Logic and Geography.

Down through the years the curriculum of Hampton Academy may have changed, but the original aim of fostering in young people, “a thirst for higher attainments” has never waivered. And there is no reason to believe but that the new regional high school, with its historic name of “Winnacunnet”, will fail to “excite new interest and give a new impulse to the cause of education.”

Just as the first Proprietory School gave way to the establishment of Hampton Academy and further to Hampton Academy and High School, so does the present institution give way to the establishment of Winnacunnet High School.

Although the character of Hampton Academy will change wish this sequence of events, the historic name, one of note among educational institutions in the state, will not be lost to future generations since it will now become a Junior high school.

Just as the graduation exercise tomorrow evening is at once a time of bidding farewell and also a commencement of a bright future, so the end of Hampton Academy and High School as a secondary school marks the beginning of the new Winnacunnet High School with all the opportunities and horizons which await the graduate of ’58.

No one could wish anything but success for both.

{Photos by Art Moody ’53}

Hampton Academy Junior High School, 1971; corner of Academy Avenue and High Street (N.H. Rte. 101C).

Hampton Academy Junior High School, 1971, with 1962 addition at right.