Classical High School

Classical High School
Classical High School
Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Type Public Secondary
Motto Certare, Petere, Reperire, Neque Cedere/ To Strive, to Seek, to Find, and Not to Yield
Established 1843
Principal Scott Barr
Faculty 72
Grades 9–12
Enrollment 1085
Campus Urban
Color(s) Purple and White
Mascot Lady Purple/Athena
Cahir Street View

Classical High School, founded in 1843, is a public exam school in the Providence School District, in Providence, Rhode Island, United States.[1] It was originally an all-male school, but has since become co-ed. Its motto, the Latin phrase Certare, Petere, Reperire, Neque Cedere, is a translation of the famous phrase taken from Tennyson's Ulysses, "To Strive, to Seek, to Find, and Not to Yield". It has been rated "High Performing and Sustaining" by its performance in 2005 on the New Standards Reference Exam, placing it third highest in the state.[2] Classical High School stands roughly at the intersection of the Federal Hill, West End, and Upper South Providence neighborhoods.


Mission statement

Classical High School, a demanding college preparatory examination school, serves a diverse community and provides its students with the means to achieve high standards in a rigorous learning environment. Classical encourages its students to pursue academic, artistic, athletic, and personal growth so they will experience success in colleges and universities, and will demonstrate excellence in leadership within the community.


Classical High School's current building was finished in 1970 and is one of few buildings in the area created in the Brutalist architectural style, making it an adventitious addition to the West End neighborhood of Providence.[3] The school's large faces of concrete, few windows, and lack of natural light gives the building a somewhat prison-like appearance, the reason for a persisting but likely spurious rumor that firm constructing it had specialized in prison construction.

The design is not popular among the students, mostly citing poor circulation and lack of natural light. William McKenzie Woodward, a well-known architectural historian and staff member of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, does not agree aesthetically with the building, going so far as to write in his Guide to Providence Architecture, "It's no wonder Modernism has gotten such a bad reputation in Rhode Island."[3]

The previous building, a yellow brick building with a peaked roof (under which was the study hall), was considerably smaller and was bounded by Pond Street which was consumed in the creation of the new campus. When the old building was razed the yellow bricks were sold to students and alumni.

Famous alumni


  1. ^ Classical High School - Providence, Rhode Island/RI - Public School Profile
  2. ^ Rhode Island Department of Education 2005 High School Classification
  3. ^ a b Woodward, William McKenzie (2003). PPS/AIAri Guide to Providence Architecture. Providence, RI: Providence Preservation Society. p. 207. ISBN 0-9742847-0-X. 
  4. ^ Fish, Stanley (June 7, 2010). "A Classical Education: Back to the Future". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 

External links

41°49′3.72″N 71°25′14.15″W / 41.8177°N 71.4205972°W / 41.8177; -71.4205972

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