The Frederick Gunn School
About The Gunnery
Gunnery students are individuals with their own distinct takes on life and their own unique goals. This is a place where you can be yourself. Your teachers and fellow students will applaud your accomplishments and help you discover your talents and passions. The Gunnery is more than being uniquely you, though. Connections between people form the heart of all we do - whether it's engaging in a discussion of European history or reviewing a game plan in soccer or gathering to make brownies together in the dorm.We take learning seriously and support your exploration of many paths. It takes a community of individuals dedicated to becoming their best selves to chart the way. We think you'll find that community at The Gunnery.
Our Mission Statement
In 1850 Frederick Gunn established a school based on the belief that strength of character was the goal of education. Today, The Gunnery rests on the four cornerstones of character: scholarship, integrity, respect and responsibility. Character is forged in a cohesive, diverse community informed by a challenging college preparatory curriculum, a broad range of athletic, artistic and social activities and a faculty of scholars and committed educators dedicated to the intellectual and ethical development of every student. A Gunnery graduate is a broadly educated, socially responsible citizen with tested beliefs, strength of character and the courage to act on convictions.
There are moments in a classroom where you make that sudden leap of connection. An idea crystallizes. The link between a scientific principle and its impact on human society becomes clear. A comment made by a classmate sheds new light on your own thinking. The form of a poem is revealed, along with its meaning. Learning is made of such moments. At The Gunnery, you’ll find they happen often.Small classes are the norm here, which means that your contributions will be expected and welcomed. A comprehensive curriculum, with many courses to choose from, helps you master different subjects and become confident articulating your ideas in spoken and written form. We take academics seriously at The Gunnery. We also know how satisfying it is to make new discoveries. The two go hand-in-hand.Teachers at The Gunnery are passionate about their subjects and love what they do. You will get to know them as your instructors, advisors, mentors, coaches, and dorm parents. Their guidance and encouragement will help you reach beyond your expectations. Each Gunnery student has a personalized team of faculty members dedicated to guiding your academic progress and providing the support you need.In the classroom – and in everything we do at The Gunnery – you are challenged to achieve more. By sharing our insights, questions, and dreams, we define our potential.
What makes Gunnery academics special?
The Gunnery offers students a wide range of learning opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. Student ideas and initiatives are valued and nurtured here – our graduates are independent and creative thinkers who know how to learn. In particular, as a small school we have always been responsive to individual students and our curriculum is extremely receptive to and excited by the creative intitatives of all of our students.For example:
- Students may submit proposals and earn credit for independent study, both on and off campus. The Senior Spring Capstone is one example.
- The Gunn Scholar Strands encourages students to follow their intellectual passion through an intensive focus on a field of choice (STEAM, Entrepreneurship, Humanities, Language & Cultures) while at the same time the breadth of understanding, so essential a liberal arts education.
- Students in AP Economics can earn college credit for their work; their teacher, Mr. Sisk, is a certified instructor through the University of Connecticut.
- Student artists enter local juried art shows, such as the Kent Art Association’sstudent exhibition and the New Talent Gallery at Hunt Hill Farm’s Silo Gallery, every year and are often among the prize winners.
- One Senior pursues year-long original research in The Gunnery archives through the Gunn Scholar Program.
- Musicians prepare for national and international examinations through ourPrivate Music Instruction Plus (PMIP) program.
- Students have access to over 130 online classes in music theory, music business, music production, history, and contemporary music through Berklee School of Music.
- We offer an all-female section of Math 50: Pre-Calculus. This particular class has been largely responsible for a dramatic increase in the number of females in AP Math and AP Science courses here at The Gunnery.
- Operations Research, a post AP Calculus class that allows for greater creativity and colloboration in Math; Independent work beyond AP Physics C and the opportunity to do high level independent work in any department.
- Our field trips take students to the nearby cities of Hartford and New Haven as well as New York and Boston to see plays and shows, visit museums, tour the Stock Exchange and more. Classes also take advantage of local resources, such as the Steep Rock preserve, Lake Waramaug and the Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy to enrich the curriculum.
- Clubs and organizations such as the French and Spanish Honor Societies, the Mathletes and the Green Club, allow student to pursue their interests further and to compete both locally and nationally with other students.
The Gunnery's sports program cultivates competition and cooperation in the context of organized athletics. This is a tradition that stretches back, unbroken, to Mr. Gunn's era. A staunch advocate of physical fitness, he created the school's first athletic teams. With a wide range of options – 36 Gunnery teams compete in 15 sports – you have the opportunity to try new sports and to perfect your skills. By competing on a team, you will make friends with people outside your classes or dormitory, and you will learn what it means to define goals for yourself and for the group. Your coaches will be members of the Gunnery faculty who are as passionate about coaching as they are about teaching.Our facilities accommodate a variety of sports and athletes at all levels. The Ogden D. Miller Memorial Athletic Center houses two full-sized gymnasiums, training facilities, a fitness center, and a wrestling room. Just down the hill from the gym is the Linen Rink, home ice for Highlander hockey. Five miles from campus, the school maintains boathouse facilities for the crew program on Lake Waramaug. On campus, we have numerous playing fields for football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and baseball, and four clay and four all-weather tennis courts. The golf team practices and competes at the Washington Club two miles from campus.
The arts are integral to our life as a school community. The choral and instrumental groups that perform throughout the year bring music to all corners of campus, from jazz to blues to drumming. Art students enrich our perception of the world with exhibits of their work in painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and ceramics. Drama productions showcase student talent in acting, singing, directing, and stage managing.Because we believe experience in the arts is essential to your education, we require two terms of art. You may choose from a wide range of courses in music, visual arts, and drama to fulfill the requirement. Most Gunnery students go beyond the arts requirement and enjoy trying different art forms.Visiting artists, and the professionals on our faculty, give students valuable insight into the creative process and the artist’s life. You will have opportunities to travel with your teachers and classmates to New York and other nearby cultural centers for museum visits, plays, and musical performances. Opera trips to the Metropolitan Opera in New York have been a popular recent offering.The arts challenge us to think creatively, to view the world in new ways, to have empathy for others, and to take initiative. You’ll find all these avenues open to you in an arts program rich with possibility and talent.
Learning, you’ll discover, can happen anywhere at The Gunnery – around a seminar table in a classroom, in the dining hall, in the theater, or on the playing field. Gunnery students and faculty welcome the chance to explore new ideas and take on new challenges. The excitement of this common endeavor defines our daily life.You’ll notice the warm and friendly atmosphere that makes this a place where people feel comfortable. The Gunnery’s size of just under 300 students – and a beautiful campus located in the heart of historic Washington, with the woodlands of Steep Rock nearby – give us an intimate and welcoming feel. But once you step inside this picture, you’ll find a wealth of connections to the wider world.Gunnery students come from throughout the United States and 18 different countries. In history class, you may discuss current events with fellow students from China and the Middle East. The Gunnery faculty brings equally diverse backgroundsand experiences to their work here. Interacting with people from so many different backgrounds is invaluable.The combination of a close communityand an international awareness helps todefine our school culture. The potentialfor discovering new horizons is woven into the fabric of Gunnery life. So, too, is the importance of friendship andmaking time to be together.
Gunnery students are busy - with academics, leadership responsibilities and sports - and their weekends are busy too - there is always something to do. On and off campus activities are planned by a student-run group that meets weekly to organize a variety of events and trips. Here is a selection:
- Shopping mall trips
- Campus drive-in movie
- Winter Carnival
- Spring Fling
- Day trip to Six Flags New England
- Ping-pong tournament
- Outings to Steep Rock and Lake Waramaug
- Faculty-student baskeball and dodgeball
- Halloween dance
- Coffee Houses
In addition the gym and fitness center have weekend hours for students and in the winter the Linen Rink is open for skating. Faculty also offer open houses on a regular basis with movies and snacks and students compete in Dorm Cup challenges and games throughout the year.
Clubs and Organizations
Students also participate in the following campus clubs and organizations:
- WGUN Radio Club
- One World
- Community Council
- International Club
- Green Club
- Dance Club
- Student Activities
- Gay-Straight Alliance
- Gunn Society
- Red and Gray Tour Guides
- French Honor Society
- Spanish Honor Society
- Cum Laude Society
International Students at The Gunnery
The Gunnery is a school rich in culture and diversity and currently has students from 19 different countries across the world, including Bahrain, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.
Social Life at The Gunnery
The international students at The Gunnery are very active in all aspects of school life. All members of our community participate in sports, social activities, and other extracurriculars. Leadership positions in every area of school life are open to all. There is also an International Students club that organizes dinners and parties throughout the year as well as an annual trip to Boston, MA. Our International Student Advisor and ESL teacher, Karoline Theobald, runs an orientation program for all of our new international student when they arrive on campus and works with all of our international students to help them make the most of their Gunnery experience.
As technology becomes ubiquitous in our society, The Gunnery has chosen to put together a strong technology program that will prepare students for college and beyond. The Gunnery has a state-of-the-art network and computer facilities, including two main labs and a well-equipped library.At The Gunnery, technology is a tool to enhance learning – not a goal in and of itself. This philosophy is reflected in the fact that most computer intensive classes are not offered by the Computer Department but by the other academic departments.