Bristol celebrates 100 years

BRISTOL — Next spring the 50 seniors at Bristol High School will make history as the 100th graduating class.

Students and staff have begun celebrating the 100th birthday of their school building with different events planned throughout the year.

The three-story building was completed in 1918 with the first class graduating in the spring of 1919.

School Superintendent Christopher Dray and high school Principal Tim Fairfield kicked off the celebration with a birthday party with cupcakes provided by staff. Students in grades 6-12 and staff members later made the shape of “100” on the ballfields.

The class of 2019 stood near a large banner at the front of the school to get their picture taken.

“You see other districts around the county that are getting brand new schools, and that’s a great thing for those communities. We have a building that’s hitting the 100-year mark, and we’re proud of it, and that’s why we’re out here celebrating today,” Dray said.

Fairfield said different events are set throughout the school year, including a color run in the nearby woods and time capsule burial on Oct. 19. On that day, students will have early dismissal and the community is invited to take part in the ceremony.

Dray said the building does not have air conditioning, making for hot conditions.

“We will remember the fun we had here but also how hot it sometimes got in the school,” said Kendyl Switzer, a senior, who has classes in the building’s upper floors.

There still are advantages in the historic building located off state Route 88.

“We have the latest technology and equipment for our students and staff and we are proud of that. There is a lot of school spirit here from the students and the community for sporting events and school activities,” Dray said noting a pep rally was held to celebrate all fall sports.

The district has about 600 students who are all housed on the same campus site with a newer elementary section connected to the high school.

“The school is important to the community. It is one of the local landmarks,” said Dray noting the school is a short distance east of the center.

Shirley Arroyo-Stiffy, a teacher at the high school, said she has loved teaching there, saying the small school atmosphere is enjoyed by many.

“The students were excited to be celebrating the 100th birthday of the building. This is a great school district and community,” she said.

Fairfield said the banner at the front of the school honors all students and staff.

He said the senior class has about 50 students, with some attending Trumbull Career and Technical Center and others attending colleges while in high school.

Senior Chase Kufchek said: “It’s amazing to know we will be the 100th class to graduate from here. It will be something I can one day tell my kids.”

“To have three digits for our graduating class is a first,” said senior Nicholas Chirozzi.

Fairfield said the school has three foreign exchange students this year, including senior Luca Petrogalli, who will not receive a diploma until he finishes another school year in Italy. Two other foreign students, a sophomore and a junior, are from Spain.