Nathan Hale was born on June 6, 1755. He grew up on a farm in the lush and rolling meadows of the countryside near Coventry, Connecticut. When he was twelve years old, Nathan Hale's mother (Elizabeth) died. To try to forget their loss, Nathan and his brother, Enoch, took to books and studied hard. With help from their minister, in just two years time, they were ready to enroll in Yale College. All of this was happening at a time that our country was beginning to tire of the rule of the English, which led to the Revolutionary War.
After graduating from Yale, Nathan decided that his calling to be a leader of men would start out as a teacher. It was during his first year at the school that Nathan joined the Continental Army and asked for a commission. After being commissioned as a First Lieutenant, he was assigned to recruit new soldiers. Nathan proved his value to the army of the new America, even receiving a promotion to Captain. Hale volunteered to go on a secret mission for General George Washington. The mission was to go behind enemy lines, learn of the plans of the British, draw maps of their fortifications and write notes in code, and return with the information. Nathan was captured while trying to get back to General Washington.
After being searched, the notes were found in his shoe. He was sentenced to be hanged the following morning. While waiting for his execution he was asked if there was anything he would like to have. He asked for paper and a pen. He began with the heading " New York City, September 22, 1776, and he poured his thoughts out on paper as he wrote two letters to his family. He was promised by an English Captain that they would be delivered to his family. Nathan walked to the cart that had been placed under a tree and rope was hanging from one of the tree's limbs.
"Don't you know that you're about to die?" an English officer asked. "Yes, I know," Nathan said quietly. The officer said, "I never saw anyone like you! Don't you have any regrets?" He looked at the people without fear and spoke in an unwavering voice. "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my Country!"
Loosely adapted from Main, Mildred Miles. 'Hail Nathan Hale!' Abington: Abington Press, 1965.
Nathan Hale Junior High School was dedicated on May 16, 1965. At its inception, the school educated grades seven through nine. In 1990, the school transitioned to a middle school, educating seventh and eighth graders with the middle school philosophy, including teaming and advisement. Nathan Hale opened as a magnet school in 2009. Part of the magnet program is extended learning time. The school year begins earlier and ends later than other OPS students. Students are also in daily classes longer than any other OPS middle school.
In an effort to serve his country, Nathan Hale, the man, became a symbol of patriotism and a part of the American Heritage. Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School's staff, parents and community are committed to working together to serve the educational needs of every student with the same dedication, attitude and spirit of loyalty as their patriot namesake.