Darien High School

Darien High School is the single public high school serving the town of Darien, Connecticut, in the United States.

Darien High School
80 High School Ln.

United States
Coordinates41°05′04″N 73°29′18″W / 41.0845°N 73.4883°W / 41.0845; -73.4883Coordinates: 41°05′04″N 73°29′18″W / 41.0845°N 73.4883°W / 41.0845; -73.4883
MottoVeritas vos liberabit
(The truth will set you free)
PrincipalEllen Dunn
Staff127.73 (FTE)[1]
Number of students1,377 (2017-18)[1]
Student to teacher ratio10.78[1]
Color(s)Blue and White
MascotBlue Wave

In 2014, Darien High School had the highest SAT scores in the state. [2] In the 2004-2005 school year, Darien had the second highest CAPT score in the state and the highest Advanced Placement scores in the school's history, with a 100 percent pass rate on AP math exams and more than 85 percent of students earning the top score of "5." About one in three students in the school takes an AP math course.[3]

Darien High School was specifically ranked 22nd in the nation for best STEM high school by U.S. News & World Report, a list of the top science, technology, engineering and math schools in the United States. [4]

Of the 200 graduating seniors in June 2017, 13 won national recognition in the National Merit Scholarship program, with 13 as "merit finalists" [5] and three as National Merit Scholars.[6]

For the purpose of comparison with the achievement levels of similar schools, the state Department of Education classifies schools and communities in "District Reference Groups," defined as "districts whose students' families are similar in education, income, occupation and need, and that have roughly similar enrollment."[7] Darien is one of eight school districts in District Reference Group A (the others are Easton, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton).[8]

The school's sports teams have won numerous state championships. Darien is known for its competitive football, lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey, volleyball, and track teams.

A tradition at the school's graduation ceremonies is to present honorary diplomas to school teachers or administrators who are retiring. In 2007, they were presented to a school counselor and school librarian.[9]

The buildingEdit

The original high school building opened in 1927. A new building was built in 1960, and the former structure became Mather Junior High School. Upon the closing of Mather Junior High, the building became Darien's Town Hall.

The second high school building, on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) site at 80 High School Lane, opened in 1960 and was torn down in 2005. The current high school, designed by Newman Architects of New Haven, was constructed from 2003 to 2005, opening in the fall of 2005. The project cost roughly US$76 million. Among the major innovations were the development of a collegiate campus-like setting of multiple inter-connected buildings, a green roof over the new cafeteria wing, and the introduction of a campus-wide wireless network and fiber-optic networking to all classrooms. Construction costs of the new building significantly exceeded the original budget, mostly due to the cost of asbestos removal from the old building.

The high school's artificial turf field is one of the largest in the state and its cost of $1 million was raised in only 6 weeks by parents of the town.


Principal Ellen Dunn is the current principal of Darien High School. She started in the fall of 2013.[10]

Dan Haron of Stamford became principal in the summer of 2007. He previously worked at the school for a decade as a math teacher, chairman of the math department, and assistant principal. Before that he was founder and managing director of an educational consulting company. A graduate of Westhill High School in Stamford, Haron has a bachelor's degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated summa cum laude, and a master's degree from Columbia University. He was chosen from a group of 25 candidates.[11]

The previous school principal, Dr. Jerome Auclair, was named "Connecticut High School Principal of the Year" for 2004 by the Connecticut Association of Schools.[12] DHS electronics teacher Leon Strecker was awarded an American Star of Teaching Award in 2006.[13][failed verification] Auclair officially retired in 2005 but remained in the job because it was difficult to find a replacement with a shortage of school administrators across the state. In 2007, after five years as principal, he was replaced by Haron.


DHS is part of the FCIAC, the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The school's main sports rival is New Canaan High School. Darien has one of the best high school lacrosse teams in the country, winning eight of the last 11 FCIAC titles, the 2005 Boys' Division I state championship, and the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 CIAC Class M state championship. Darien's Boys' lacrosse team was also ranked #4 in the country by the STX/Inside Lacrosse National High School Lacrosse Rankings in 2008.[14] The girls' field hockey team has won nine FCIAC championships in the past twelve years and eight state championships in the past ten years, in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016. They have also maintained the longest winning streak and undefeated streak in the nation at 93 games. The girls' lacrosse team won the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2014 CIAC Division I state championship. The school also has a highly successful girls' volleyball team, which maintains a 100+ game winning streak in addition to numerous FCIAC and state championships. The Boys Volleyball team has been quite successful since its creation in 2006 with a .735 win percentage and 3 State Championships (Class M 2008 and 2011 as well as a Class L 2017) and 4 FCIAC Championships (2011, 2015, 2016, 2017). [15] They also have a highly successful girls' swim team, which has won over nine state championships and won FCIACs this past year. The boys' track team has also had much success, winning back to back state class championships for the Indoor 2005 and 2006 seasons. The boy's swim and dive team is also strong, and they recently won the state championships in 2018, defeating their rival and previous state champion New Canaan. [16] The school mascot is the Blue Wave, and its colors are blue and white.

These freshman (F), junior varsity (JV) and varsity (V) sports are offered at the school:[12]

Synthetic turf fields and stadium lightsEdit

The three grass oval fields in front of the school were turned in to turf fields and opened for use at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. A multimedia scoreboard, a ticket booth and concession area were also added. [17] The Darien Athletic Foundation conducted the largest crowd sourced project in the town's history by raising private contributions to fully fund the project. [18]

After years of public debate with school neighbors, [19] stadium lights were turned on for evening game play on September 14, 2017. [20]

A synthetic turf baseball field was installed at the high school in the summer of 2007. Darien resident Paul Voigt created the idea of the turf field in 2006. The DHS Baseball Field Project raised almost $1 million for the field (along with $1.08 appropriated by the Representative Town Meeting, $306,000 provided by the school district and $20,000 donated by the Darien High School Building Committee). As of early summer 2007, project organizers were hoping to raise another $60,000 to install a scorers' box and stadium seating behind the plate. Between the time the new high school building was constructed and the end of the 2006-2007 school year, the baseball field was unfit for use because of drainage problems and use of the field by other sports teams. The school's baseball teams had been playing on fields at Middlesex Middle School and at the Town Hall.[21] In 2008 the turf was completed and played on for the first time. The field received so much praise that UCONN and Sacred Heart University staged a NCAA Division 1 game at the high school.

Theatre 308Edit

Darien High School has a state renowned theater program, Theatre 308, which has been nominated for several HALO Awards over the past five years. It stages two productions a year, a fall drama and a spring musical, and has performed a wide array of shows from many different time periods, from Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes, to The Diary of Anne Frank and Eurydice.[22]

Student diversityEdit

These figures may be inaccurate today

Ethnicity[23] Darien High School
State Average
White 92% 61%
Hispanic 4% 20%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 3% 4%
Black 1% 13%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Two or more races 0% 2%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Darien High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  2. ^ http://www.dariennewsonline.com/local/article/Darien-High-at-head-of-the-class-on-state-SAT-5813810.php
  3. ^ Revitalization: Town of Darien Annual Report, 2004-2005, page 5
  4. ^ https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/search?stem=yes
  5. ^ http://darienite.com/thirteen-darien-high-school-named-national-merit-scholarship-finalists-20020
  6. ^ http://darienite.com/three-darien-students-named-national-merit-scholarship-winners-21802
  7. ^ [1] state "Strategic School Profile 2005-2006" for Wilton High School, accessed March 25, 2007
  8. ^ [2] Web page titled "Find a Community: By Educational Reference Group (DRG)" at the "Discovery 2007 / An initiative of the William Caspar Graustein Fund" Web site, accessed March 25, 2007 Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Romanello, Kimberly, "Darien High School/ Students, Principal leave as one" article in The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, June 21, 2007, page A9, Stamford edition
  10. ^ Spicer, Megan (2013-04-18). "Ellen Dunn appointed new Darien High School principal". Darien News. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  11. ^ Clark, Stephen P., "Stamford man named to lead Darien High: Assistant principal is promoted to top post", news article in The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, May 3, 2007, pp A11, A12
  12. ^ a b Darien Answerbook, 2006, published by the Darien Times weekly newspaper, page 26
  13. ^ American Stars of Teaching Teachers Archived October 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ http://boysvball.darienps.net/teamhistory.html
  16. ^ https://www.darientimes.com/99007/darien-rules-class-l-boys-swimming-and-diving/
  17. ^ https://patch.com/connecticut/darien/dhs-scoreboard-approved-part-of-75m-fundraising-effort_1c8d8690
  18. ^ https://www.darientimes.com/72327/darien-athletic-foundation-continues-to-improve-athletic-infrastructure/
  19. ^ https://www.darientimes.com/78651/neighbor-group-seeks-additional-regulations-for-field-light-proposal/
  20. ^ http://www.dariennewsonline.com/news/article/Darien-High-School-s-state-of-the-art-stadium-11952677.php
  21. ^ Amoroso, Austin, "New field has Major League feel", news article in The Darien Times, July 5, 2007, pp 1, 11A
  22. ^ https://theatre308.org/past/
  23. ^ [4] Darien High School teacher/student statistics page, US News Web site, accessed March 30, 2017
  24. ^ [5] Christopher Shays Web page at "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress" Web site of the U.S. Congress, accessed November 16, 2007

External linksEdit