Jefferson County High School
Its Establishment and Its Aims
H. L. McCleskey
good many years before the war between the Stats, grounds were secured and
buildings erected for what was for years afterward known as the Fayette
Female Academy. For years after the war it was successfully run under
different managements, but there came a time when the large brick building
was practically tenant less. Years passed on and the County of Jefferson
came into possession of the property. Men interested in higher education
for the youth of Jefferson County were successful In having the
Legislature of Mississippi, at the session of 1898, pass an act
establishing The Jefferson County High School, to be domiciled in the
historic old buildings of the erstwhile Fayette Female Academy, and
authorizing the county to levy tax sufficient to support the school as an
institution of higher education and to keep the buildings in good repair.
The Board of Supervisors of the County made the necessary levy, appointed
a Board of Trustees to have complete management of the school, and the
first session opened in September, 1898. with Prof. W. J. Taylor,
superintendent, at the head Of a good faculty. He remained at the head of
the school for three years, and was succeeded by Wm. A. Barrett. the
latter holding for only one session and being succeeded by Prof. Jas. W.
Bell, who resigned at the end of one session to accept a chair in the
University of Mississippi.
sixth session opened Sept.. 14, 1903, with H. L. McCleskey as
superintendent assisted by a splendid corps of teachers as follows: Mrs.
Mary A. Newman, Mathematics and History. Miss Annie E. Turner, English
and Geography. Miss Kate Mayhew, Hall teacher. Miss Anabel McIntosh,
Primary. Mrs. Pearle C. Jenkins, Instrumental Music.
owing to the generosity of the county, there were added in December, 1903,
Miss Susie Richmond, Bookkeeping, Stenography, Typewriting; and Miss
Bessie J. Braden, Elocution. At the Annual Meeting of the Trustees in
April last, all of the above teachers were elected to serve another
foregoing account it would appear that this school is, in its
establishment and position, different from other schools of like grade.
This is true; there being, so far as I know, no other county that
maintains a high school, certainly not another one in Mississippi.
of the institution are to be the head of educational movements in
Jefferson County, to give a course of instruction that will prepare one
for life and its practical duties, and to prepare for the universities
those who want to pursue their studies further.
this the school is becoming articulated with all the schools in the county
by having them conform as much as possible to its grading, so that the
pupils from those schools may enter the High School here without loss of
time or grades. This is being done by the hearty co-operation of our
County Superintendent of Education, and by the various teachers of the
county working through the Jefferson County Teachers’ Association.
course of study is advanced and thorough enough to prepare pupils for the
active duties of life or for entrance into the University of Mississippi
or Tulane University of Louisiana with out further examination.
these advantages are free to the children of Jefferson County. They have
to pay a moderate rate for board in the dormitory or in town, but outside
of this, their expense is no more than it would be at home. The school is
growing in popularity, as is shown by the splendid enrollment this year -
181. This is 30 more than were enrolled last year.
school is not now supported entirely by the county, as it was originally,
but by a tax on a separate school district, which includes the territory
surrounding Fayette; this tax being supplemented by liberal appropriations
by the county for repairs and for the support of special branches of work
in the school.
high proper consists of three grades— eighth, ninth and tenth. The Course
of study completes Elementary Physics, - Higher Algebra, through
Quadratics, four books of Caesar, three. Orations of Cicero, General
History, Plane and Solid Geometry, Physical Geography, Rhetoric, and does
a great deal of work in the English Classics, and a course in Botany is
projected for next session. The following letter is indicative of the
schools high standing:
The Tulane University of
New Orleans, 21st
Mr. H. L. McCleskey,
Jefferson County High
My Dear Sir:
accept my sincere thanks for your kindness in sending the list of the
graduating class of the Jefferson County High School, which was received
some time ago.
Graduates of the Jefferson County High School, as one of our affiliated
schools, are admitted to our freshman class without examination. I am
enclosing a few certificates to be used. This certificate, signed by you,
and certifying that the student has followed the course of study and
passed successfully the required examinations, will entitle such student
to admission to the appropriate course in our College of Arts and Sciences
or of Technology without further examination.
On pp. 101,
102 of the catalog sent you a few days ago, will be found the regulations
relative to Honor Scholarships. One such scholarship is open to the
graduates of Jefferson County High School present session.
hope that we will have one or more representatives from the Jefferson
County High School next session.
Trusting that you have
had a successful year, I am very truly yours,
Edwin A. Alderman,