Winchester Thurston School

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Winchester Thurston School
File:Winchester Thurston School Logo.svg
Candide Modo Fortiter Re
Gentle in manner, strong in deed
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States
Type independent, coeducational preparatory school
Established 1887
Head of school Gary Niels
Grades PK – 12
Enrollment approximately 650[1]
Color(s) Purple, Black, and Yellow
Mascot Bear
Newspaper Voices
Yearbook Thistledown

Winchester Thurston School is an independent, coeducational preparatory school located on two campuses: one in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the other in the Allison Park neighborhood of Hampton Township. Established in 1887, Winchester Thurston offers PK–12 education in the Lower, Middle, and Upper School campuses in the city and PK–5 at the North Hills Campus school in the suburbs. The school is a member of the Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools.[2]


Winchester Thurston has its origins in the founding of the all-girls Thurston Preparatory School by Alice M. Thurston in Shadyside in 1887.[3] The Winchester School was founded separately, also in Shadyside, as a coeducational school 1902. The two schools merged to produce the all-girls Winchester Thurston School in 1935. The school moved to its current Shadyside campus, formerly the site of Shady Side Academy, in the fall of 1967.[4] The school added its second Lower School campus in Allison Park in 1988.[5] Winchester Thurston became co-educational in 1991.[6]

The Winchester Thurston School has had several new additions in the past including the Main Building in 1963, a science wing in 1987. A new turf field used during all seasons was also constructed called Garland Field. The school has plenty of notable features including three libraries, an art gallery, Mellon Gymnasium, a solarium, a learning garden, a dance studio, the Hillman Dining Hall, Lower, Middle, and Upper school science labs, and three computer labs.[7]

City as our Campus

The school's City as our Campus program provides opportunities for students to interact throughout the city of Pittsburgh as researchers, artists, communicators, and advocates in the cultural, political, and economic life of the city. This is a Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 initiative. Representative projects include:

Lower School - exploring how the city is interconnected by meeting with community members and travelling to locations throughout the city including Carnegie Mellon University, WQED, and Churchview Farm

Middle School - producing educational videos for ALCOSAN and working with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy to rebuild the Frick Environmental Center and to build a green bus shelter near the corner of Forbes and Braddock Avenues.

Upper School - inventing and programming applications for Android devises and then collaborating with other students from around the region, allowing them to teach one another, collaborate on ideas, and solve problems together. WT has worked partnered with students from South Fayette School District and the Pittsburgh Public Schools; the plan is for each participating school to mentor another school the following year, passing along the knowledge they acquire throughout the region.


Winchester Thurston has numerous performing and visual arts programs. Winchester Thurston has received Gene Kelly awards and nominations for their theater performances.[8]

The performing arts curriculum includes dance and music in the Lower School and the opportunity to participate in orchestra and chorus. In the Middle School students take one trimester each of dance, drama, and music; students can also take chorus, orchestra, and dance ensemble. Each year there is a Middle School Musical allowing students to participate in all aspects of a full-length theatrical production. In the Upper School, the curriculum emphasizes the historical and theoretical foundations of the performing arts; students may participate in orchestra, chorus, dance ensemble, jazz band, and guitar ensemble.

The visual arts at Winchester include the Winchester Thurston Art Gallery and Evenings of the Arts. The curriculum includes graphic art, basic acrylic painting, contemporary sculpture, decorative glass, and photography.


The interscholastic sports program provides opportunities for Middle and Upper School students to represent WT on the courts, tracks, and fields of the Pittsburgh area.

In 2014, the school held its inaugural Hall of Fame induction. The following student-athletes were honored:

Emily Dorrance '93 and Julie Pett-Ridge '93; Haley Surti '97; Cassandra "Cassy" R. Davis '01; 2007 Boys Lacrosse Team; G. Gray Garland.

On Saturday, November 1, 2014, the WT's boys cross country team won the PIAA Class A Boys state championship. That same afternoon, the soccer team won the WPIAL Class A soccer championship against Sewickley Academy.

WT fields athletes in crew, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, tennis, basketball, fencing, squash, lacrosse, and track.

Before and After School Opportunities

WT after 3 is an after school program for Lower, Middle, and Upper School students. WT faculty instructors and expert external specialists offer programs that complement WT's curriculum, build academic skills, develop creativity, and strengthen athletic ability. Recent programs include: Reptile Mania, movie Quest with Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Lacrosse Clinics, and Physics for Young Scientists.

Lower School Homework Lab is available for students in grades 3 - 5, Monday through Friday form 3:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. A teacher is on hand to supervise a group of students as they complete their homework.

Extended Day is available at the North Hills Campus for students in Pre-K - grade 5 and at the City Campus for students in Pre-K - grade 2. It is in operation on all regularly scheduled school days. Morning care operates from 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. and is provided as a free service to parents who need to drop off their children before the start of the regular school day. The afternoon program operates from 3:15 - 6:00 p.m. (2:30 - 6:00 p.m. for Pre-K).

Middle School Supervised Study is offered for students in grades 6 - 8, Monday through Friday from 3:30 - 6:00 p.m. A proctor is on hand to supervise students as they complete their research, projects, and homework.

Music Arts Program: WT arranges for and coordinates professional, private music lessons for beginning through advanced students in grades 1 - 12, during and after school. The program includes lessons in clarinet, flute, guitar, percussion, piano, saxophone, trumpet, drum set, violin, bass guitar, voice, and other requested instruments when available.

Summer Camp

Winchester Thurston offers summer camps for campers ages 3 -- 18 at the North Hills and City Campuses. Options include adventure and play, sports and physical fitness, creative and visual arts, and academics. All programs are designed and taught by WT's faculty and educational partners. Examples of camps include Curious George, Junior Detectives, Jedi Knight Training, Saddle Club Horse Camp, Pets and Vets, Flag Football, and Tennis.

North Hills Campus Camps:

- for campers age 3 -- 13 (entering grade 7)

- half and full-day programs

- options for lunch, transportation, before- and after-camp care

City Campus Camps:

- for campers entering grades 3 -- 12

- half and full-day programs

- options for before- and after-camp care


  1. "Winchester Thurston Smart Facts". Winchester Thurston School. Retrieved May 9, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Pittsburgh: Center of Education". 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Pittsburgh First National Bank (1919). The Story of Pittsburgh, Vol. 1. Pittsburgh First National Bank.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Doherty, Donald (2008). Pittsburgh's Shadyside. Arcadia Publishing. p. 75.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "School's construction outpacing enrollment". The Pittsburgh Press. August 24, 1988. Retrieved May 9, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Phillips, Jenn; Oberlin, Loriann H.; Pattak, Evan M. (2004). Insiders' Guide to Pittsburgh, 2nd Ed. Insiders' Guide. p. 390.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Stephenson, Philip A. (2006-06-04). "Gene Kelly Awards: Pine-Richland, North Allegheny and Winchester Thurston receive top honors". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links