THE HISTORY OF NHS...SO FAR
Nineteen-seventy-five: The president was a Ford. The most popular song was the chirpy, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” by Captain & Tenille. Appropriately enough for a seaside town, the top movie was a thriller named, “Jaws.” And with its new high school, you might say Narragansett finally grew up.
Long too small for its own high school, Narragansett had instead bussed off its students to neighboring towns — mostly South Kingstown, but North Kingstown and East Greenwich as well. With the opening of NHS in September 1975, those who would have hit the road once more finally had a home to call their own.
Still, NHS almost never happened, and the school wasn’t planned to be built where it stands today.
The idea of a high school goes back to at least 1964,
when a study recommended building a junior-senior high school, joining forces
with a neighboring town, or continuing to send students to
NHS was to have been built at Canonchet
Farm, not far from the current elementary school and the
Those who entered that year, in grades 7 to 11, remember a gleaming new school and the blank slate it represented — so many firsts to be accomplished, whether designing the class ring (student leaders chose from among proposals submitted by several ring firms), publishing the first school newspaper and yearbook, coming up with the “Mariners” mascot (beloved Class of 1977 adviser Robert Kimball credits alumnus Brad Hunt with the moniker), planning the first prom (junior; no seniors that year) and even adopting a school song (an original composition, selected in a contest that drew statewide attention).
In the years that followed, NHS blossomed into a top
academic and athletic achiever. Sports teams regularly won division and state
titles, and today, there are even hockey and swim teams. The curriculum and
activities expanded to include mock trial, speech and debate, math and science
teams, model legislature and more. NHS was named a
One-hundred-twenty-six seniors are now in residence, and therein lies a new tale of change. The demographic forces that 40 years ago began pushing Narragansett out of its sleepy reliance on neighbors have now reversed. System-wide enrollment is slipping
and the teaching staff has been trimmed, as
out-of-towners — forever a factor in what happens in Narragansett — buy ever-pricier real estate, but contribute fewer kids to the schools.
NHS has moved down from Division 1 to Division 4 in athletics, and doesn’t even
play what once was arch-rival
Today, perhaps, old-timers might think loss of that tradition unthinkable. But before 1975, any tradition at all was still but a dream.