A Proud History
Horton High School sits on a 42-acre hillside site overlooking the Minas Basin and the farms and orchards of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. The 1000-student facility features leading-edge technology and has been called the “finest secondary school in the province and country.” It was built in 1998, using public-private sector partnering and the involvement of the community to create a state-of-the-art facility.
Teachers, staff, students and the community helped develop visions for the school’s design, and technological literacy and the integration of the curriculum with technology became a priority. Learning and instruction are enhanced by the excellence of the students, the teachers and all support staff and resources available. Horton High School provides academic advantages to its students with modern instructional areas, art studios, technology and science laboratories, numerous computer studios and (at the time of opening) a computer-to-student ratio of approximately 1:2. Since 2015, each student at Horton has been issued a ChromeBook laptop computer to use for the school year.
Home of the Horton Griffins, the campus features a double-sized gymnasium, three athletic fields, an outdoor recreational area and a modern fitness centre. The performing arts are served with a 500-seat, fully equipped theatre, and music, dance and drama facilities, as well as an outdoor amphitheatre. Students have a modern mall-style cafeteria with sound, digital and visual capabilities, an art gallery, student organization offices, and numerous support facilities for counseling, career research, mediation, tutoring etc. There is even a daycare facility on the premises.
Always proud of its long tradition of producing outstanding students— academically, artistically, athletically—Horton continues to excel with some of the finest facilities anywhere.
The Horton Shield
Mr. Charles Eaton, an historian and genealogist – and first principal of Horton – was fascinated by heraldry and felt that Horton District High School should have an official crest. Mr. Eaton arranged for a staff artist of London’s College of Arms to design an emblem, borrowing the griffin and the diamonds from the Montague family crest. The blue behind the griffin and the white/argent represent the waters of the township, the brown represents the land or the earth. The word “Horton” once meant “a bit of marshy land that was dyked”.
The documentation from the College of Arms notes that the name stems from the Old English, Horu-tun, meaning “a tun on muddy land”. It reads: “The word Tun originally meant a fence or enclosure, but soon developed to mean a homestead, village, etc.”
The Horton ShieldThe emblem captures this essential feature of the township. According to Dianne Thompson-Sheppard, the artist of the Class of 1959-1960, she adapted the emblem received from England for use by the school. Although the original school colours were chosen to be black, red and gold, the emblem replaced red with blue, which has caused considerable confusion in producing crests over the years. The school yearbook was officially known as The Red, Black and Gold until 1980 when it was renamed The Horton Gryphon, changed the following year to Griffin. Until 1973, the authentic colours were reproduced on the cover of the yearbooks; the 1973 yearbook staff decided to change the emblem to match the name of the book, and thus switched the blue for red, and left out the brown.Since then, a variety of colours have been used on school emblems. The scroll, with the name of Horton High School on it, is the only part of the crest without an historical background other than it being carried forward from the Horton District High School crest.
There are no copies in the Horton archives of the original suggestions from London. Dianne Thompson designed the crest originally used. David E. Sheppard (her step-son) re-designed the crest when HDHS became Horton High School in 1998.