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Jefferson County High School

Jefferson County High School

Its Establishment and Its Aims


 H. L. McCleskey

A 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.

The 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.

            To these, 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 session.

            From the 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.

            The aims 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.

To do 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.

Our 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.

All 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.

The 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.

The 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:

President’s Office

The Tulane University of Louisiana

New Orleans, 21st April, 1904


Mr. H. L. McCleskey, Superintendent

Jefferson County High School

Fayette, MS


My Dear Sir:


Please 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.

            We sincerely 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, President


Return to Expo 1904 Index

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