A Concise History of Smithfield High School
In 1962 the Rhode Island Department of Education recommended building a high school
in the Town of Smithfield. This idea, applauded by teachers, parents and students,
became reality six months later on June 18, 1963 when the voters of Smithfield approved
the construction of our SHS.
Built on close to 60 acres in the middle of Apple Valley, Smithfield High School would
be the first senior high school in our community. Until that time, students who were
promoted into the ninth grade went to nearby towns or private schools for their high
school education. In March of 1966, the first students walked through the doors of SHS.
The town rippled with enthusiasm when reporters greeted the freshman and sophomores
as they entered the state of the art building.
In 1968, the town eagerly anticipated the high school.s first graduation. The ceremony
was held in the courtyard, a popular place among all seniors who attend SHS. The first
graduates were colorful in the now traditional green and gold caps and gowns. Halfway
through the ceremony, the clouds opened and students, family and friends rushed into the
auditorium. Despite this misfortune, the tradition carried on until 2004. Since then the
ceremony has taken place at Bryant University.
The green and gold Sentinel has been synonymous with SHS since 1966. The mascot
was selected as an embodiment of our community that was incorporated in 1731. The
Sentinel reminds us of our heritage during our country.s colonial and revolutionary
periods. The colors, green and gold, were chosen during the planning of the school by
the first principal, Mr. Henry Shepard. After researching other schools, he found that this
combination was original to Smithfield High. This choice of green and gold surprisingly
deviated from the town.s colors of blue and white. These modest beginnings formed an
entire community spirit around our Smithfield Sentinels, adorned with kelley green and
By Megan Skwirz, Class of 2008