The state of Mississippi is endowed with a rich history in the education system. It boasts a wide range of private schools, public schools, and academies. From the historic Jefferson College to the cathedral school, Mississippi has seen an evolution in the education system. The birthplace of the Mississippi state in 1817 is a learning institution, Jefferson College.
Over the years, more schools have been built to what we have right now. In this post, we discuss some of the oldest schools in Mississippi, from elementary to college levels. Keep reading to see how well you know Mississippi's schools.
701 N Martin Luther King Jr. St, Natchez, MS 39120
The Cathedral Catholic School is one of the oldest elementary schools in Mississippi. The school was founded in 1847 by the Catholic church, just 5 years after forming the catholic diocese in Mississippi.
It’s one of the oldest elementary schools in Mississippi and remains active to date. This is a private Roman Catholic school located in the Diocese of Jackson.
Since its inception, the school was staffed by the Daughters of Charity until 2003. Over its 172 years of operation, the Cathedral School has led the way in social change and aspects of life in Natchez.
Currently, the school is one of the best performing with an enrollment of over 627 students. It averages 18 students per class.
It’s among the few schools that have greatly impacted the community with 25% of staff being graduates of the school.
501 3rd Avenue North, Columbus, MS 39701
Franklin Academy, located in Columbus is one of the oldest elementary public schools. The school boasts a minutes record from 1821 to 183 and a student register from as early as 1883 to 1904.
This is one of the oldest elementary schools in Mississippi chartered together with the town of Columbus on Feb 10 1821 by the Mississippi State Legislature.
The school remains the oldest public school for white children. When the school was founded, the Franklin Academy board controlled the 16th section of land in Columbus.
In 1878, the Franklin Academy Board of Trustees was recognized by the state. This led to the transfer of the financial control of the school to the mayor and Board of Alderman.
However, the board remained in charge of the school. Franklin Academy taught from grades 1 to 12 up until 1918. This is when the first high schools were built in the city for white students.
In 1965, Franklin Academy became racially integrated. To date, the school continues to operate as an elementary school.
1760 Old Hwy. 24, Hattiesburg, MS 39402
The 1760 Oak Grove Elementary School is another old school in Mississippi established in 1889. It was the first school to the east of Copco Lake. The school had two teachers, Miss Adelia Ager, and Miss A. Hickle.
However, the school later changed the location about half a mile to Beswick as the student population increased. The distance was about a mile and a half from the once-famous Klamath Hot Spring Spa. The old spa was quite popular in the summer.
Throughout the year, the school held classes for seven and a half months. The total enrollment was 25 students.
In 1939, the Oak Grove distinct lapsed creating two districts, Bogus and Spring School Districts. The school is filled with a rich American history. Between 1924 and 1960, more additions to the school were built.
The school has existed in different forms since the 1880s. The original school classes measured 20’ by 24 and housed 42 students of varying ages. The school has since grown to 485 students and around 23 students per class.
1921 Tribe Drive, Biloxi, MS 39532
Biloxi Junior was built in 1943 but its history dates back to 1912. Construction of the school started in 1942 on Howard Avenue. The school is across from the present Biloxi Community Center.
The current junior high school was once the Biloxi high school built in 1912. A new Biloxi high school was then built in 1961 at $1.6 million.
In 2002, the new high school opened in the North Bay of Biloxi. The junior grade 8 and 9 moved back to the high school located on Father Ryan Avenue.
Biloxi Junior is now one of the best schools in Mississippi. The new school is located on Tribe Drive serving grades 7 and 8. The completion of the new high school to the west makes accessibility easy for students within the area.
Not to mention that it’s one of the most easily accessible schools, especially for students that are new in Mississippi and have no clue what to expect.
4120 Old Canton Road, Jackson, Mississippi 39216
This is another old middle school in Mississippi founded in 1947. This is an independent preparatory school in Ridgeland Mississippi. It occupies two campuses, the North for middle school and lower for pre-kindergarten.
The school belongs to the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It’s one of the best schools in Mississippi.
It’s the only school in Mississippi and one among the 50 nationwide that receives a $2 million Malone Family Foundation grant. The year the school was founded is inscribed in a navy band circle with the school name.
The shield of the school is divided into four parts with a red and white cross in which Saint Andrew was murdered.
This is one of the best and oldest private schools in Mississippi with an 8:1 student-teacher ratio.
201 N Mulberry St, Batesville, IN 47006
Batesville Middle School is another old public school with an elementary school Upper. Its history dates back to 1882 when a building made of brick was made after a $5,050 contract was awarded to H. H. Wiesel.
The building was completed by December of 1882 and housed over 200 students. It provided many years of education up to 1952.
The school was constructed in 1973. An additional wing of the school was then built in 1981. The school currently enrolls about 600 students with accommodations for 12 fourth-grade classrooms.
308 New Mannsdale Rd, Madison, MS 39110
St Joseph Catholic Church is one of the oldest high schools in Mississippi. The school was built by Rev. Henry A. Picherit in 1870. It only had two temporary classes and an original enrollment of 56.
The Sisters of Mercy then arrived from Vicksburg to staff it. The school’s first principal was Mary Vincent Browne. They would then turn the school into the Diocese of Natchez in 1932. This led to the construction of brick classrooms.
St Joseph Catholic School was dedicated in 1933 by Bishop Richard Gerow. In 1965, the school changed its location from Amite Street to Boling Street. They then created a Junior high school at the site in 1989.
In the Holly Drive site, two campuses were located from 1996 to 1998. The middle high school then moved to a larger 65 acres of land in 1998. The St Joseph Catholic Campus is currently located under the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.
301 N Hutchinson Ave Hattiesburg, MS 39401
The Hattiesburg High School is another old school established in 1911 to serve the Hattiesburg community. It is located at 846 North Main Street.
Hattiesburg was specifically built to meet the demands of an increasing number of high schools in the area.
From 1911 to 1959, the school operated in a public building that would later be designated as a Mississippi landmark. The school construction was done in two phases. First was a 2.5-story building made of bricks and with a flat roof.
In 1921, phase two was done with a 4.5-story completion of the school. However, the building was closed in 1959 as a public school. It served as offices for Hattiesburg public district and antique mall.
The structure was however destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and arson in 2007. The building was later sold to a developer in 2017. Word has it that he has plans to construct age-restricted apartments.
3701 Drummond St, Vicksburg, MS 39180
The Vicksburg High School is another old school in Mississippi founded in 1845. The school was established as a public school serving students from elementary to high school.
In 1914, the school developed a new building specifically for the high school. This was a two-story structure known as the Old Vicksburg High School Building up to date. The building became the primary facility for the school.
Vicksburg got integrated in 1960 like most schools. In 1989, the school changed its location to the current campus on Mission 66, a major roadway in Vicksburg.
It’s a top-performing school serving the needs of students in Warren County. Its doors are also open to non-Mississippi residents who would like a taste of its learning environs.
University, MS 38677, USA
The University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss, is one of the oldest universities in the state dating back to 1826. It’s also the largest university in the state with the highest enrollment. The university was chartered in 1844 with the state laying the foundation for higher education.
Four years later, the university opened its door admitting the first 80 students. It remained the only public institution for higher learning in Mississippi for 23 years.
In 1854, it became one of the few universities in the country to offer engineering courses. The university grew in stature admitting the first woman in the South by 1882. The first female faculty was hired in 1885.
Since then, the university has grown and has 15 academic divisions and over 23,000 admissions. Ole Miss is ranked 151 out of 443 Universities across the United States.
The University also has a school of medicine on the Oxford campus that was established in 1903. The medical school offered two years of medical courses with students traveling outside to complete degrees.
It is a leading public university endowed with $775 million. The university greatly relies on donations with less than 13% funded by the state.
Some of its notable alumni include, among others:
- Angela McGlowan (born 1970), is a Republican political commentator, author, and consulting firm CEO
- Emmy Award-winning actors Gerald McRaney and Tate Taylor
- James Meredith, a leader in the American civil rights movement and the first African American student at Ole Miss
- Musicians Mose Allison and Grammy Award-winner Glen Ballard
- Jake Gibbs, and Michael Oher, NFL offensive lineman
200 S Capitol St, Clinton, MS 39056
Mississippi College is another institution that has transformed from modest beginnings in 1826 to a modern learning institution. The college was first chartered in 1826. It’s located on Mount Salus in Central Mississippi on a 5-acre piece of land.
Initially, the school was renamed the Mississippi Academy. It started offering classes for boys and girls in 1827. The academy was located on a tiny piece of land in Central Mississippi.
When the school first opened, Rhetoric was among the first subjects taught. The academy was named Mississippi College in 1831 and started offering arts, sciences, and languages.
In 1842, the college was given to the Presbyterian Church. The church encountered financial constraints in 1850 and returned it to the owners. The Mississippi Baptist Convention obtained the school in the same year making it the largest Baptist institution up to date.
The college has grown since then with enrollment hitting 400 in the 20th century. The facilities grew with enrollment reaching 5,3000 students by the 21st century.
Below are some notable alumni of Mississippi College.
- Theodore Marvin DiBiase Jr., an American former professional wrestler in the WWE
- Dewey Phillip Bryant, American politician. He is the 64th governor of Mississippi from 2012 to 2020
- Ross Robert Barnett, 53rd governor of Mississippi from 1960 to 1964
- Homer Edwin Young, famously known as Ed Young. He is a senior pastor of the megachurch Second Baptist Church of Houston
1701 N State St, Jackson, Mississippi
Millsaps College is another old college in Mississippi with a rich history. The college was first formed in 1890 by Reuben Webster Millsaps who was born in 1833. He made a $50,000 donation which was matched by the Mississippi Methods to establish a Christian college.
It was later chosen as one of the 131 sites for training the Navy and Marine officers. In 1943, the college received 380 students from the Navy V-12 program. Up to now, you can find traces of the Navy in the 1944 yearbook.
In 1964, the college admitted its first African American student. It was the first university to have black students in predominantly white institutions.
The college is now one of the best with some of the best professors. They were ranked among the best in the Princeton Review.
Below are some of the college’s notable alumni.
- Roy Clyde Clark, Bishop of the United Methodist Church
- Rodney Bartlett a quantum chemist and Guggenheim Fellowship winner
- Bidwell Adam (Class of 1913), a Democratic politician
- Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi from 1928 to 1932
- Turner Cassity, poet
- Nancy Plummer Faxon, organist, and composer
- Jim C. Barnett, physician, and surgeon from Brookhaven
Without a doubt, this is one of the best private liberal arts colleges in Mississippi and across the United States.
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