Skip to Main Content

About Us

Photo of NorwellNorwell District Secondary School is located at the corner of Main and Cumberland Streets in Palmerston, Ontario. Norwell (which stands for North Wellington) D.S.S. has a rich history that began in the fall of 1940 as the Palmerston High School. We are a mid-sized composite high school with a full range of educational programs – academic, technical, and special education. Over 90% of our students are bused from a wide area of approximately 500 square kilometers.

Principal’s Message

Our goal at Norwell is to engage our students in the learning process, and to challenge them to achieve personal excellence. The secondary school experience should leave every student richer, prepared for the future, and aware of their responsibilities as good citizens. The 2023-2024 Course Calendar is not only an information guide regarding Ontario Secondary School Diploma requirements, but also it speaks to our commitment to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. We are determined to build on our traditions, and to create new programs and create opportunities that engage our diverse learners. We hope to instill deeper understanding and to make clear connections between what is taught in the classroom and the needs of our global community.

Norwell’s grade nine and eleven Hockey Skills Program and Integrated Arts Projects, CELP, state of the art technical programming,  grade eleven LEAF program, and an abundance of community connections and partnerships represent the foundation of a new way of building educational programs that are relevant to learning and to our learners. Norwell’s desire to be on the cutting edge of new learning trends is a result of the confidence gained from great experience. We look forward to working with your student to help them achieve their greatest potential.

Adam Rowden


September 2023



The Norwell Story

The Norwell High School Crest and Motte were created to reflect and honour the schools community roots.

From 1940 until 1952 the original part of this building was home to the Palmerston High School. In 1952, the High School in Clifford closed and the closure of Harriston High School followed soon after. This school was renamed “Norwell” – short for “North Wellington”.

The Norwell School Moto, “Qui se vincit fortiter stat – He who conquers himself stands strong” is a melding of Harriston and Palmerston Mottos.

The Norwell School Crest embodies a similar ancestry. The extended wings that symbolize an eagle’s proud soaring flight comes from the Palmerston High School Crest. The rowers or “argonauts” who symbolize a journey of exploration and teamwork come from the Harriston High School Crest. The lamp of learning and three maple leaves in the crest symbolize both a love of learning, and of country.

The large sculpted cement school emblem from high up on the front of the old Harriston High School still stands today in the Norwell courtyard and the Harriston Honour Roll of the Fallen from World Wars has a place of respect in the Norwell Library.

The Harriston High School colours were red, black, and white, Cliffords were blue and white, while the Palmerston High School colours were maroon and white. To honour the Harriston roots, the Norwell school colours became red, white, and black, with emphasis on the red as the athletic teams were named the Norwell Redmen.

In 1952 the enrollment of the new Norwell High School was 325 students and the price of a weeks worth of meals in the cafeteria was $1.25.

Since 1952, Norwell students have distinguished themselves in academics, in athletics, in the arts, in the trades and agriculture, and as successful members if the communities that Norwell still serves.