Hopkins School

Hopkins School
Official Hopkins Logo
Mottos Quod felix faustumque sit (Latin: "May it bring you happiness and good fortune")
For the breeding up of hopeful youths (English)
Established 1660
School type Private
Campus 108 acres (44 ha), Suburban
Head of School Barbara M. Riley
Assistant Head John Roberts
Location New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Enrollment 650 students
Faculty 94 full-time
Mascot(s) "The Hilltopper"
The Stag
Endowment ~$40,000,000 (USD)
Colors Maroon and Grey
Homepage www.hopkins.edu
For the Minnesota school, see Hopkins Senior High School; for the university, see Johns Hopkins University.

The Hopkins School (or Hopkins Grammar School) is a coeducational private day school in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1660, it is the fifth-oldest educational institution in the United States and the second-oldest secondary school in continuous operation in North America, younger only than the Roxbury Latin School. Hopkins was founded "for the breeding up of hopeful youths" with funds from Edward Hopkins' estate to fulfill John Davenport's wishes to bring a grammar school to New Haven. After more than 250 years within the city, the school moved to its current campus on a hill overlooking New Haven in 1926.[1] Hopkins has been coeducational since merging with Day Prospect Hill in 1972. The school's main rival in athletics is Hamden Hall in Hamden, Connecticut.

Hopkins is divided into three separate schools. The Junior school consists of the 7th and 8th grades, known as the Lower class. The high school is divided into the Middle (9th and 10th grade) and Upper (11th and 12th grade) classes. Most new students enter Hopkins in either the 7th or 9th grade. Despite a $40,000,000 endowment, Hopkins' tuition has increased substantially over recent years to fund new development.[2] Tuition is set at $25,600 for the 2006–7 school year.[3] Financial aid packages are available, most of which involve a work scholar program.[4]






John Davenport, a founder of the New Haven Colony, was an early proponent of education in the colony.[5] Grammar schools of the time generally prepared young men for college, but the Puritan colony was too far from England for its citizens to attend the existing English schools.[5] Parents of the time were generally more concerned with spending their money on essentials such as food and viewed formal education as an extravagance most could not afford.[5] Davenport enlisted the help of a friend, Edward Hopkins, governor of the Connecticut Colony, to found a traditional grammar school that would teach Latin, Greek, and Hebrew grammar.[5]

The original Hopkins School coat of arms was designed by Edward Hopkins to be a personal symbol, though it was not an official piece of heraldry.
The original Hopkins School coat of arms was designed by Edward Hopkins to be a personal symbol, though it was not an official piece of heraldry.

Hopkins died in 1657 and bequeathed money to found a school dedicated to "the breeding up of hopeful youths for the public service of the country in future times." Colonial officials wanted Hopkins's bequest to remain in Connecticut and appointed three men, Davenport and two others, executors of Hopkins's will. They created the "Hopkins Fund" from which Hopkins Grammar School was established in 1660. The school's first home was a small building on the New Haven Green.

The exact date of Hopkins School's founding is a matter of definition. The historical record of the executors' report implies the trust was created on May 4 1660, but since the Julian calendar was in use then, the date corresponds to May 14 on modern calendars. The papers which created the fund were presented and accepted on May 30, and many use this date as the official date of the school's founding. Finally, on June 4 (June 14 on modern calendars) Davenport transferred control of the bequest to the Colony, on the condition that the colony accept responsibility for the support of the school.[5]


The Fallow Years

"The Fallow Years" is a term coined by Thomas B. Davis in his history Chronicles of Hopkins Grammar School to describe the period from 1696 to 1853.[5] During this time the school had difficulty finding qualified schoolmasters, and the Fund often fell short in paying them. This forced the school to take up collections to meet its payroll. Consequently, there was great turnover in Hopkins schoolmasters, some staying for no more than a year. Also contributing to the problem was the establishment of the Collegiate School in New Haven in 1701, which later became Yale University. The Collegiate School drew many local academics away from Hopkins.[5]

Public opinion of Hopkins and academia in general weakened the school. During this time parents wanted children who could read and write English and understand basic arithmetics, but Hopkins continued to focus on subjects that parents deemed irrelevant, such as Latin. Parents were also displeased with schoolmasters who paid little attention to struggling students instead focusing only on the scholars. On January 12 1713, the committee which managed the Hopkins Fund began releasing £12–£15 annually to run elementary English schools in East Haven and West Haven. The town of New Haven stopped donating money to the Fund in 1719, which made hiring schoolmasters nearly impossible. Though the trustees of the Hopkins Fund constituted an independent body, the town was known to control them with financial pressures.[5] Richard Mansfield served as schoolmaster from 1742 to 1747, and was the last headmaster until 1839 to serve for more than three years.[5]

Although Hopkins was still somewhat unpopular with the locals, as New Haven grew so did Hopkins, and the school moved to a new larger brick building on the Green. Hopkins was somewhat rare among American schools in that it remained open during the American Revolutionary War. Former schoolmaster John Hotchkiss was killed by the British in July 1779 during their invasion of New Haven, and former schoolmaster Noah Williston was captured. Although the school remained open, records seem to indicate it was frequently closed between September 1780–October 1781 "for vacation". Shortly after the Revolution, Hopkins hired Jared Mansfield for two terms (first from 1786 to 1790, then 1790 to 1795) to the unique position "Master of the Grammar School" to try and stabilize the school for the future. In between Mansfield's two terms, Abraham Bishop held a six-month term as headmaster during which he proposed radical reform, including making Hopkins coeducational, most of which never came to fruition. After the end of Mansfield's second term, the school returned to the pattern of short tenures for schoolmasters.[5]

Hopkins moved buildings again in 1803 to an even larger facility on the Green that took up nearly an entire block. Teachers were offered two-year contracts to teach at Hopkins, but rarely kept them. Hopkins boys grew "unruly and malicious", some roaming New Haven streets at night. In 1838 the school moved once again, as the trustees believed that moving the school away from the town center would allow its students to focus more on their studies. Throughout August and September that year, they rushed through the necessary transactions to buy the new plot of land. Following this move the trustees released an announcement to New Haven's three newspapers summarizing their hope that this new location would provide sufficient space for the boys to learn and be separate enough that they could do so in peace.[5]

A plan from 1922 for Hopkins atop the hill by 1895 graduate Henry Murphy. Baldwin ended up being built roughly between "The School" and "Masters House" on this plan.
A plan from 1922 for Hopkins atop the hill by 1895 graduate Henry Murphy. Baldwin ended up being built roughly between "The School" and "Masters House" on this plan.

Hawley Olmstead became headmaster in 1839 and ended the line of short-termed schoolmasters as he held the position for ten years. Although Olmstead thought much like Hopkins' early masters, namely that the school existed to prepare boys for college, he also modernized the curriculum in several ways. Most notably, English was finally added to the curriculum, and he began keeping accurate school rolls which solidified his final legacy, increasing the size of Hopkins student body. By the time Olmstead resigned due to poor health on July 28, 1849, school attendance had risen to 63 students.[5]

As soon as Hawley Olmstead left, the school began to deteriorate once again, with attendance dropping to 45 students in 1850 and farther down to 20 by 1853. In addition, the recently founded debate society disbanded, with seven young members forming the secret society known as "The Club". Though this club grew no larger and tried to remain quiet, parents grew so annoyed with this supposedly "rough-housing" club that it was forced to disband in 1851. After the debate society and "The Club" were gone, many students sought out new ways to express their literary interests, including founding the school newspaper that survives to this day, The Razor. Hawley's successor, Edward Olmstead, was seen by the trustees as a major failure and a cause of the school's rapid decline and was quickly replaced by James Whiton, who had just recently graduated from Yale. He further revised the curriculum by adding more English to it, and school attendance saw a rapid increase once again. Whiton taught for ten years and is regarded as the last of the "Fallow Years" headmasters.[5]


Modern day

Headmaster George Lovell convinced the Board of Trustees to buy land north of New Haven for a new campus atop a hill in 1925.[6] Graduate Henry Murphy had laid out plans for the new campus in 1922, and designed the original building Baldwin Hall in 1925.[7] The school opened at the new premises, the present campus, in 1926. Baldwin Hall was the only building, but the campus expanded greatly over the next century. Hopkins had begun to refer to itself without "Grammar School" in the casual name by 1935,[5] though it is still included on certain formal occasions and school stationery to this day. Two local women's schools — the Day School (founded in 1907) and the Prospect Hill School (founded in 1930) — merged in 1960. The combined institution became the Day Prospect Hill School (DPH), a united women's education school, which in turn merged with Hopkins School in 1972.[1] Trustee president Vince Calarco and headmaster Tim Rodd led Hopkins to buy a further 50 acres (20 ha) of land at its current location to establish playing fields in 1992.[6] In recent years alumnus John C. Malone, a wealthy telecommunications entrepreneur, has donated more than $25 million for new construction, the financial aid program, and forming the endowment.[8][6]



A map of the campus as of 2006, with Forest Road horizontally along the bottom of the map
A map of the campus as of 2006, with Forest Road horizontally along the bottom of the map

Baldwin Hall is the original building of the present campus. Baldwin has four floors including the basement, with an underground passage to Hopkins House commonly called "the tunnel". Baldwin houses a computer lab, the language lab, the school store, and the Library. Baldwin was renovated in 2000 and had additional work done on the exterior in the summer of 2005. The library is currently undergoing renovations, which will take over the classrooms above it and make a two-floor, 14,000 square foot library with group study rooms and a faculty reading room. Hopkins House houses the administrative offices, teachers' offices, the teachers' lounge, and classrooms in the basement. This building was named for Edward Hopkins, one of the founders of Hopkins School. Day Prospect Hill (DPH) is the former home of the Day Prospect girls' school. Originally intended to be a temporary building, DPH houses a computer lab and classrooms mostly used by the Junior School. It is connected to the Arts Center, which houses Hopkins' art classrooms, and the "Old Gym".

Lovell Hall is a recently remodeled building behind Heath and between Baldwin and DPH. Lovell houses the main school auditorium, art and music classrooms, and teachers' offices. This building is named after longtime headmaster George Lovell, who led the school in the first half of the 20th century. Malone Science Center is at the center of the Hopkins' campus and houses the science classrooms and labs. Donated by John C. Malone, it is named for Malone's father. It was opened for students in 1999 and has three floors of classrooms.

Heath Commons is a two-story building that houses the school cafeteria and a student lounge. This building was also donated by John Malone and named for his favorite teacher while at Hopkins, John Heath.[9] Heath Commons was designed by the S/L/A/M collaborative.[10] It was completed in 2003 and won a Connecticut Design Award in 2005.[11] Heath houses the kitchens and dining hall, multipurpose rooms, and advisors' offices.

The Walter Camp Athletic Center is named after alumnus Walter Camp, Yale's football coach. The Athletic Center has two floors of gyms, a pool, a trainer, and coaches office. The first floor is comprised largely of three standard-sized basketball courts. Dividers between these courts are removed and the united room is used for all-school assemblies. The second floor includes smaller weight rooms and training areas including the wrestling room. The Old Gym is a large one-room gym with a high roof. Before the Camp Athletic Center, this was the main athletic facility at Hopkins and is now used mostly for fencing team practices, an indoor ropes course, and storage. Currently, it is the temporary shelter for the library while the renovations are taking place.



The 1911 school body. Headmaster Charles H. Weller is first on the left in the third row and George Lovell is 7th from the left in the top row (he would go on to be headmaster from 1916–1953).
The 1911 school body. Headmaster Charles H. Weller is first on the left in the third row and George Lovell is 7th from the left in the top row (he would go on to be headmaster from 1916–1953).

Applicants to Hopkins undergo a series of standardized tests, and upon matriculation, testing is done to place students at the appropriate level of instruction in mathematics and languages. Hopkins' academics are broken into departments including English, mathematics, science, history, arts, language, and computer science. Each of the three class levels — Lower, Middle, and Upper — has a different level of choice in classes.[12]

The Arts Department is made up of student organizations and academic classes in studio and performance art. A number of student groups feature performing arts; a cappella groups such as the Harmonaires, Triple Trio, and Spirens; theater groups such as the Hopkins Drama Association; and a variety of choral and instrumental performance groups. A gallery room in Baldwin holds shows of student and teacher art.

The English department is the only department in which Hopkins requires a student have at least one class in every semester. Upper-class students have two required semester classes: a college-prep writing course and a Shakespeare-centered course. The history department is divided between broad basic required courses called Atlantic Communities and elective courses that go into detail on subjects such as the American Civil War. The language department is divided into two subdepartments: the Classics, which teaches Greek and Latin; and Modern Languages, which teaches all other languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, and Italian are currently offered).[12]

The mathematics department offers study from pre-algebra to advanced Calculus and Chaos Theory. The science department has three main tracks — Biology, Chemistry, and Physics — along which students can take entry-level courses and then more advanced AP and Honors courses. There are numerous one-off courses in subjects such as Introduction to Psychology or Environmental Studies. The computer science department offers basic computing courses in HTML and Java.[12]

Hopkins has various idiosyncrasies in its scheduling. The school declares snow days for small amounts or simply the risk of snow. In addition, school ends every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. as opposed to the usual 3:30 p.m. This extra time is generally used to schedule away sports meets, to allow for travel time. Hopkins adopted a modified block scheduling system in 2005, giving each class fifty-five minutes rather than forty minutes. Each student has two weekly class schedules, which alternate throughout the school year.


Graduation requirements

Hopkins' one-room Latin grammar school history is still reflected in graduation requirements. Every student is required to take an English course every semester, and Junior Schoolers are required to take Latin along with whichever other language they may take, if any. In addition to classical education, Hopkins requires three years of math courses and three years of a language (two years of Junior School level language counting as one full year for graduation requirements), two years of history and two years of science coursework. However, this only makes up a fraction of a student's total graduation credit requirement, while the rest is fulfilled by elective and advanced courses in any of the various departments.


Student privileges

Students have varying levels of power and responsibility at Hopkins, based upon what grade they are in and what leadership positions they hold. Lower classmen are 7th and 8th graders who study primarily in DPH, separated from the rest of the school. In addition, they have their own separate athletic teams and student organizations. Lower classmen have few privileges, though they can vote for certain Student Council posts and participate in the Junior School sports teams and student organizations of their choosing.

Middle classmen are the two younger grades of standard American high school, 9th and 10th grade. In addition to lower-class privileges, Middle classmen can begin designing their own schedules, choosing a few elective courses as opposed to the nearly completely pre-designed schedules of the Junior School. Middle classmen may also participate in general school teams and organizations.

Upperclassmen are the older two grades of American high school, 11th and 12th grade. Upperclassmen have nearly complete control over their own schedules as they begin to fulfill their graduation requirements in departments and move on to study topics of their own interest. Upperclassmen can also apply for a parking space and the ability to leave campus periodically. Juniors can run for Student Council president at the end of their Junior year; and Seniors can create a "Senior Project", a self-designed path of study replacing several courses he or she would otherwise be taking in the second semester. Starting with the 2006-2007 school year, Seniors are excused from all second term spring exams, replacing them with a required four-day long community service project. For the 2006-2007 school year, that project is building houses for Habitat for Humanity.


Student Council

The Student Council (or STUCO) is the student government of Hopkins. Each middle and upper school class elects four representatives and a class president at the end of the previous year. Eighth-graders elect two of their 9th-grade representatives and their president at the end of 8th grade, then the final two representatives once the generally large group of students has joined Hopkins in the 9th grade. In the 2004–5 school year, the Junior school added their own section to the student council. Each class also elects representatives from individual advisor groups to deal with class activities and fundraisers.

The highest position in the Student Council is the Student Council President, a student elected at the end of their junior year to run the Council during their senior year. The president organizes school-wide fundraisers, delivers a speech at most assemblies, and holds some ceremonial graduation duties. The Student Council can be seen as an analogy to the American governmental system. Each class functions like a state with a legislature of advisor group representatives with the class president as a Governor. Class representatives act as a Congress that deals with school-wide issues with the STUCO President fulfilling the Presidential role.


Extracurricular activities

Junior school students select from their own separate lists of activities during advisor meetings, and their activities sessions are separate from the general school. The main school activities program begins with the Activities Fair, usually held in early September, where every activity puts on a display and signs up members for that school year. These various clubs and organizations then meet each Wednesday during the last period of the day, which is set aside as an activities period as opposed to an academic one.

In addition to traditional school organizations such as the student newspaper and yearbook, Hopkins focuses strongly on community service especially within the New Haven community itself. The Student government runs school-wide events such as a fundraiser for the Connecticut Food Bank, but the bulk of Hopkins community service happens through clubs. Both the diversity clubs such as a racial equality club or a Gay-Straight Alliance and specific service clubs such as Habitat for Humanity organize a variety of fundraisers and events throughout the year. While not a graduation requirement, community service is an essential aspect of Hopkins life.

Hopkins hosts a Summerbridge program during the summer, opening all of the campus not being used by regular summer school programs to Summerbridge.[13] Summerbridge is a community service program meant to further the education of children from poor families.[14] Over 20% of families in New Haven are below the poverty line.



The 1891 football team
The 1891 football team

Hopkins' athletics function under a trimester system, with students taking an athletic for each of the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Students may choose to participate in a team sport if they make the team, an intramural sport, or an independent sport where the student participates in a school-approved athletic activity such as martial arts lessons. Seniors may also take one season off and not take any athletic for that season. Sports offered at Hopkins vary depending on the season and include cross country, soccer, water polo, football, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, fencing, track (both outdoor and indoor), swimming/diving, wrestling, golf, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, and softball. Hopkins is a member of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council.[15] Although Hopkins competes with many schools in sporting events, a rivalry has developed with nearby Hamden Hall.


Notable people

See List of Hopkins School people



The Hopkins' "Hilltopper".
The Hopkins' "Hilltopper".
  1. 1.0 1.1 History on Hopkins School's website by Thom Peters. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  2. Review of Hopkins authored for the Directory of Private Schools at some point in 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  3. Tuition information authored for the Hopkins School website some time in 2006. Retrieved July 16, 2006.
  4. "Summary of Hopkins Financial Aid" authored for Hopkins Homepage some time in 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 Chronicles of Hopkins Grammar School: 1660–1935. Thomas B Davis. Quinnipiack Press, New Haven, CT. 1938
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Barbara Riley Presents the 2004 Hopkins Medal to John C. Malone '59 on Hopkins School website on November 21, 2004 by Barbara Riley. Retrieved March 30, 2006
  7. "From Hopkins' Baldwin Hall to China's Memorial Hall" for Views on the Hill Spring/Summer '06 by Thom Peters.
  8. John C. Malone '59 for the Hopkins School website on November 22, 2004. Retrieved March 30, 2006.
  9. Barbara Riley's speech at Heath's Dedication on the Hopkins School website from May 14, 2004 by Barbara Riley. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  10. S/L/A/M Homepage authored by the S/L/A/M Collaborative. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  11. 2005 Connecticut Design Award candidates for AIACT at some point in 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Hopkins Course Guide, published annually by Hopkins School.
  13. Hopkins Summerbridge information on the Hopkins homepage, large portion written by Kate Goldenheim in September 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  14. Summerbridge Homepage from the Breakthrough Collaborative at some point in 2005. Retrieved March 19, 2006.
  15. Homepage of NEPSAC. Retrieved March 19, 2006.

External links

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