Thomas McKean High School

Thomas McKean High School

Infobox Secondary school

name = Thomas McKean High School
native_name =
motto =
established = 1966
type = Public
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principal = Sherry Gross
asst principal = Lisa Ueltzhoffer
vice principal =
campus director =
headmaster =
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rector =
founder =
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enrollment = 1062 students (as of 2007)
enrolment =
students =
grades_label =
grades = 9-12
address = 301 McKennan's Church Rd.
city = Wilmington
state = Delaware
province =
country = USA
district = Red Clay Consolidated School District
oversight_label =
oversight =
accreditation = Middle States Association’s Commission on Secondary Schools
campus =
colors =
colours =
athletics =
mascot = Highlander
emblem =
yearbook =
newspaper = Minstrel
free_label_1 =
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Thomas McKean High School is a comprehensive public high school located on 301 McKennan's Church Road in Wilmington, Delaware. The school opened in December, 1966, and graduated its first class in June of 1967.


Having selected Thomas McKean, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, as its namesake, the school followed several traditions associated with the Scottish heritage of Thomas McKean. The mascot is a fierce Highlander, wearing a kilt made of the tartan of the Clan MacDonald. Among the dominant colors of the plaid are blue and green, the school's colors. In addition, the names of the school newspaper—Minstrel—and the yearbook—Talisman—reflect the culture of the Scottish Highlands. The Minstrel is headed by Junior Catherine Gillette who is also the Editor of the Minstrel.

Physical Building

Originally designed as a model school for flexible scheduling, the building has several unique features and has proven adaptable to many situations. The school expanded in 1972, adding ninth grade to the student body and a new wing to the building. Thus, the class of 1976 was the first to spend four years at McKean. [ [] dead link|date=September 2008] Dead link|date=September 2008 The school is currently going under construction for updating labs as well with safety equipment and slowly upgrading the schools internal computer network. Also a new band room and several other new rooms are being constructed currently as well.

Problems Facing McKean High School

According to the Delaware School Profiles, Thomas McKean High School is currently declining in enrollment. In the year 2001, there were 1,354 students enrolled at Thomas McKean High School. By the year 2007, there were 1,062 students enrolled, which is a 259-student drop.

The dropping enrollment has already caused Thomas McKean High School to move down a flight in the Delaware high school athletic conference, and has sparked concerns.

Dropping enrollment may be due to a mix of changing area demographics, the Delaware school choice system, and increasing enrollment at charter and magnet schools across the state.


McKean was known to be one of the top public powerhouse men's swimming teams. They constantly finished in the top three for States. Here is a chart of some of the team's accomplishments. []


The current principal is Sherry Gross. Mrs. Gross previously worked for more than a decade in the Christina (Delaware) school district. She then accepted a position in April 2006 in Jacksonville, Florida. However, instead of moving to Florida, she chose to remain in Delaware and accepted the position at Thomas McKean. The assistant principals at the school is Lisa Ueltzhoffer.

Points of Pride

*McKean's current Marching Band is lead by Drum Major Paul Braden. The Director is Wes Morton.
*McKean has its' own radio station, WMHS 88.1 FM [] . The instructor was Fran Kulas, who started the program. WMHS 88.1 FM "The Boss" has several shows that run on a regular school seasonal basis. On Tuesdays after school, "Classical Reactions" takes the floor hosted by Doc Stemniski, a retired chemistry teacher at McKean but still is currently teaching at University of Delaware. He plays selections from the classical genre. On Thursdays, also just after school, "Forgotten Favorites" takes place hosted by Gus Highfield with the help of Pete Murphy, Andrew Neber, and Kevin "Tater" Stewart. Gus Highfield plays songs for a theme of the week on the air. Highfield's "Forgotten Favorites" is currently airing along with Michael "Doc" Stemniski's "Classical Reactions" on their respective scheduled days for the 2007-2008 school year. In addition to these teacher-run shows, Seniors Andrew Neber and Mitch Thomas provide live play-by-play coverage of all of McKean's home football games.
*The school's most famous alumnus is former Dallas Cowboys great Randy White, who has the football field named in his honor. The school also produced National Public Radio producer, John Barth and televangelist, John Kendrick. Graduate Ellen Barrosse has been named 2008 Delaware Business Woman of the Year, and owns Synchrogenix, which was cited as the Best Place to Work for 2008 by the News Journal. Recently, Mckean has graduated two fine collegiate athletes, both from the class of 2006. Joe Shea currently plays college football for West Virginia University, while Clarke Kania plays hockey for North Dakota State. Fellow classmate Josh Kelly holds the Delaware state record in baseball for highest batting average in a season, as he batted .1000.

McKean High School class of 1988 / 20th year reunion!

The date is set for Saturday, October 4th at 7:30pm at the brand new Executive Banquet and Conference Center in Newark, DE. Tickets are $60 per person and if you pay by September 18 you will receive one free ticket to Friday nights’ Homecoming Football Game (a $5.00 value). More details available at the site. Click here--> []


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