Our History

Traip Academy was founded in late 1905 as a private preparatory school. The funds used to construct the school came from the will of the late Robert W. Traip, who died in 1864. Mr. Traip was a direct descendent of one of Kittery’s original settlers dating back to the 1600’s. After the death of his last heir in 1897, an endowment was established to start an academy. Actual construction began in 1905. The first class in 1906 graduated two students. The total enrollment at the Academy was twenty-seven students.

During World War II, the population of Kittery grew. Over 12,000 people were employed at the Navy Yard. The student population continued to grow well into the 1960’s. Traip Academy remained a private school, under contract with the town of Kittery, until 1967. The Academy property was sold to the Town of Kittery and the proceeds of that sale are held in trust. The Board of Trustees of the Robert W. Traip Academy Trust awards scholarships and funds special projects for the school and students. Over the years, separate buildings were added to the original 1909 school.

Jethro H. Swett, a prominent Kittery resident, left his estate to the Trustees to build a gymnasium. Swett Memorial Hall was built and opened in 1940 as the school’s athletic complex. The Swett Building, located in the Atrium, now houses the Media Center. The original architecture can be seen as the entrance to the library. The Cook building, which houses most of the school’s classrooms, was built in the mid 1950’s. The Wildes Building, in which the cafeteria is located, was built in 1958. The school remained the same until overcrowding, obsolescence, as well as local, state, and federal building codes forced a major renovation.

The major renovation and construction project started to modernize the school in 1989. Unfortunately, the original 1905 Academy building was demolished. Our new facility opened in 1993. The new building, unlike the old school, has four well-equipped science labs, thirty classrooms, offices, multi-purpose gymnasium, media center, computer labs, a full service cafeteria and is handicapped accessible.

Robert W. Traip has a long and distinguished history. You are now part of that proud tradition. Over 85% of your classmates go on to higher education. Your classes are small. The low teacher to student ratio will allow you to develop a close relationship with your teachers and classmates. You should take full advantage of this unique opportunity. No other public high school in the region can make this claim.