Pinkerton Academy of Derry begins celebrating 200th anniversary
Plans for the celebration began back in 2012 when a call went out asking for volunteers. A proclamation signing by Pinkerton trustees happened on Dec. 19, longtime English teacher Ann West said Monday. She is co-chairing the official anniversary committee with Headmaster Mary Anderson.
“The whole goal of this is to highlight the excellence that we believe is the basis of Pinkerton Academy,” West said. “We really want to promote the excellence, whether it’s on the stage or on the playing field or the classroom or wherever. And we want the world to realize that we think we’ve been doing it for 200 years.”
Even the patch worn by athletes has been changed to commemorate the 200th anniversary. The special patch, which has “200 years of Excellence” inscribed on it, is already being worn by winter athletes, West said.
“It’s not just a varsity thing,” West said. “If you sit on the bench, that’s just as important.”
Pinkerton Academy became a reality on June 15, 1814 when Gov. John T. Gilman signed documents that officially incorporated the school.
Poet Robert Frost taught English at the high school for about six years in the early 1900s, West said.
West said she was at school and remembers the day when astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., a Pinkerton graduate, became the first American in space on May 5, 1961.
“Everyone just held their breath because at that point it was the very first time, and no one knew,” West said. “When it was over, everyone very orderly just went back to their classrooms.”
“It was just a very special moment,” she said.
Pinkerton ranks as one of the oldest high schools in the nation, said Anne Parker, director of alumni relations for the school.
“Ms. Anderson and I both are very pleased with the all of the enthusiasm and willingness by members of the Pinkerton community to be a part of this,” West said.