A Brief History of Wilmington High School:
In September 1872 a girls high school was organized in School No. 4 on 11th
and Washington Street below Third. Almost immediately, a boys class was formed in School No.
1 on French Street below Sixth. These classes were the beginning of Wilmington High School.
The girls class was removed in September 1873, and from that time until February
1886, School No. 1 was also known as the High School. During this period the High School classes were transferred to School No. 28, which was then a new building on the northwest
corner of Eighth and Adams Streets. Classes remained there until February 1901, when the
original building at Delaware Avenue and Monroe Streets was opened and formally
named "Wilmington High School". Upon completion of the Annex in 1918, the two buildings at this location comprised the High School until June 1960. The present structure at
Lancaster Avenue and DuPont Road was ready for occupancy in September, 1960.
From the time of the establishment of high school classes in 1872 until the transfer of classes to the Delaware Avenue site in 1901, there were two
existing high schools, a Girls High School and a Boys' High School. Although both schools
were under one roof, these classes were administered by different curricula. In 1901, the classes were combined under one principal, one faculty, and one course
of study with few variations in electives. The school has since that time remained
co-educational. It operated for some years as a three-year high school with a
compulsory Course; however, in 1903, it was changed to a four year high school . Then the curricula was organized; Classical, Latin, Scientific, General, and Commercial.
Wilmington High School has continually met the challenge of our ever-changing world. The following curricula are presently being offered at Wilmington High School: Academic or College Preparatory, General Distributive Education, Diversified Occupations,
Industrial., Business Education (WHS is a pioneer in the area of work-experience programs which consist of working and attending school on a rotating basis).
Separate commencement exercises were held in June of each year for the Boys and
Girls High Schools; the first was held in 1875; the last in 1880. From that time, until 1925, there was only one commencement held in June. In 1925 the custom of holding two commencements a year was
inaugurated in January and one in June. This practice lasted for more than twenty years until the present custom of one
graduation exercise a year was adopted.
Because of court-ordered desegregation in 1978, students attended Wilmington High School
came from Elsmere, Newport, Richardson Park, and a portion of the western part of Wilmington.
- WHS Class of 1979 25th Year Reunion is scheduled for November 27th,
- at the Kennett Square, PA Red Clay