Wilbur Cross High School

Wilbur Cross High School is a four-year public high school in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, United States, serving ninth through twelfth grades. The school is named after Connecticut Governor Wilbur Lucius Cross and is the largest school in the New Haven Public Schools in the number of students as well as teachers. The school operates with two semesters and four marking periods.

Wilbur Cross High School
181 Mitchell Drive

New Haven

United States
Coordinates41.3243°N 72.9085°W / 41.3243; -72.9085
Founded1920 (as Commercial High School)
1950 (renamed)
School districtNew Haven Public Schools
PrincipalEdith Johnson
Number of students1,488 (2016-17)[1]
Color(s)Red and White
Team nameThe Governors

The school was founded in 1920 as Commercial High School, taking over the vocational education components that had been included in Hillhouse High School. Commercial became a comprehensive school in 1949 and was renamed in memory of Governor Cross in 1950.[2]

Advanced Placement

Wilbur Cross High School offers 15 Advanced Placement (AP) Classes: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Government & Politics: U.S., English Language & Composition, English Literature & Composition, Music Theory, Physics 1, Psychology, Spanish Language, Statistics, and U.S. History. In 2011 the school administered 360 exams to 180 students. Students are required to take the exams. The exam fee is covered by the school district.


Wilbur Cross's mascot is the Governors, in recognition of the school's namesake. They compete in the Oronoque Division of the Southern Connecticut Conference. These sports are offered:


  • Football
  • Boys' Soccer
  • Girls' Soccer
  • Girls' Volleyball
  • Boys' Cross Country
  • Girls' Cross Country


  • Boys' Basketball
  • Girls' Basketball
  • Boys' Indoor Track
  • Girls' Indoor Track


  • Baseball
  • Softball
  • Coed Lacrosse
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Boys' Outdoor Track
  • Girls' Outdoor Track


The school's teams have a long tradition of success on the basketball court. At one time, Cross teams were regular participants in the New England Tournament, an event at the Boston Garden in which high school teams played before crowds of up to 15,000. However, Connecticut withdrew from the tournament after riots broke out in 1958 during the tournament final between Wilbur Cross and a Somerville, Massachusetts team. New Haven high schools dominated Connecticut high school basketball in the 1960s, when games were televised or held at the old New Haven Arena because the high school gyms were too small to accommodate the fans. Cross High School and cross-town rival Hillhouse High School won the state championship in nine of ten years of the decade of the 1960s.[3] One of the stars of the late 1960s teams, John "Super John" Williamson, averaged nearly 40 points per game for the Governors in 1970 and went to play college ball at New Mexico State University and star as a pro in the American Basketball Association.[4][5] In the 1973-1974 season The Washington Post ranked Cross the No. 1 high school team in the nation and a headline in the New York Post proclaimed Cross "The Best High School Team in the World" after the Governors defeated New York City's DeWitt Clinton High School team.[3][6] The 1999-2000 team was considered the state's best, with a 24-0 record, until being upset by Bridgeport Central High School in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.[3]

The 2007-2008 team had an undefeated regular season, going 20-0. The Governors won the division, the SCC tournament, and the BABC Holiday Classic, but lost to Lyman Hall by three points in the quarter-finals of the state tournament.[7]

Other sports

The boys' soccer team won its division and advanced to the final 16 of the state championship in 2007. The boys' indoor track team finished second in Connecticut, also in the 2007-2008 year.

The football team plays Hillhouse High School every year on Thanksgiving in the Elm City Bowl in an annual game that dates back to 1920.[8]

Notable alumni


  1. "Wilbur Cross High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  2. Gould, Isabelle. The Hillhouse High School Collection 1859-1970, New Haven Museum and Historical Society, July 1977. Accessed January 2, 2019. "In 1920, Commercial High-School was built opposite Hillhouse on what was now called Tower Parkway, and commercial courses were removed from the Hillhouse curriculum.... In 1949, the Board of Education reorganized the high schools in New Haven; and Hillhouse and Commercial each became comprehensive high schools with curricula covering all areas. The following year, Hillhouse was rededicated as James Hillhouse High School and Commercial was renamed Wilbur L. Cross High School."
  3. Wilbur Cross hoops brings back the magic by Kate Moran, Yale Herald, March 24, 2000
  4. New Haven's superstar: Williamson never left past too far behind, by Ken Davis, The Hartford Courant, 1999
  5. "Connecticut's Best Of The Century", Hartford Courant, January 2, 2000. Accessed January 2, 2019. "No. 22: John Williamson CT history: Attended Wilbur Cross High-New Haven."
  6. Levy, Paul. THE BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM IN AMERICA, published in Connecticut Magazine, 1974; retrieved from ct-hs-hoops.com, April 14, 2008
  7. Boys Basketball, Southern Connecticut Conference website
  8. Pucci, Mike. "Thanksgiving Football: Hillhouse vs. Wilbur Cross", New Haven Register, November 21, 2012. Accessed January 2, 2019.
  9. "Ben Allison Trio kicks off Spring Jazz Series at Firehouse 12 Friday", New Haven Register, March 12, 2014. Accessed January 2, 2019. "An accomplished jazz musician with 11 albums under his belt, Ben Allison is also the “local boy makes good” when he comes back to play in the Elm City, where he was born and attended Neighborhood Music School, ACES Educational Center for the Arts and Wilbur Cross High School."
  10. Solomon, Dave. "The complete story of Bobby Moore has yet to be written", New Haven Register, February 6, 2010. Accessed January 2, 2019. "'Bobby was the first person I called,' said Troy Bradford, the coach of the Stallions and a former standout at Wilbur Cross."
  11. "Sports", Colby Alumnus, Vol. 45, No. 3: Spring 1956, p. 18. Accessed January 2, 2018. "Born in East Orange, New Jersey, Clifford lived in New Haven from 1929-1939, graduating from Wilbur Cross High School."
  12. See http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/supapp/appjudge14.html and http://www.jud.ct.gov/external/news/press212.htm
  13. "Retired Supreme Court justice to 2015 Wilbur Cross grads: Keep moving forward", New Haven Register, June 18, 2015. Accessed January 2, 2019. "Wilbur L. Cross alumnus and retired Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Lubbie Harper Jr. urged 2015 graduates of his alma mater to keep moving forward, even during times of uncertainty.... Harper, who graduated from Wilbur Cross in 1961, said it was an honor to serve as keynote speaker for the commencement, calling it a 'memorable' occasion, a moment that brought him 'full-circle.'"
  14. via Associated Press. "Casimir Loxsom breaks own American record in 600", USA Today, March 1, 2015. Accessed January 2, 2019. "On Friday night at the Reggie Lewis Center, Loxsom stopped by to hand out medals at the New England Indoor Championships, the high school meet where he set a meet record in 2009 in winning a title for Wilbur Cross High School of New Haven, Connecticut."
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