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High school secret societies

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High school secret societies

History

Collegiate secret societies within America's universities have a long tradition, initially started within East Coast colleges, and eventually trickling down into what became the secret societies found at America's oldest boarding schools. Between 1898 and 1908, high school secret societies were a recognizable feature within the school system, and Otto C. Schneider, President of the Chicago School Board of 1908, took an active role in stopping their influence within secondary schools. Initial growth in the Midwest may have been fueled by competition with the East Coast. Boston Latin, the oldest public school in America, and Erasmus High School often had football matches with Chicago's top public schools, thereby spreading an influence from the East Coast to the Midwest.

Many of Chicago's upper class students had East Coast connections. Introductions could have been made to the K.O.A and A.U.V. (Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas) secret societies of Phillips Academy, of which Skull and Bones inductee George H. W. Bush was a member of the latter. Secret societies at Phillips Academy remain prevalent to this day. The most elite of these societies is T.U.B. (Truth, Unity, Brotherhood), which is rumored to have started in 2001, modeling similar values and motives as their significant ancestor, K.O.A. Another elite high school secret society in America was Kappa Epsilon Pi, founded at Phillips Exeter Academy in 1891 and fashioned as the Preparatory Order of Skull and Bones. The order's badge was an expensively crafted gold skull and laurel wreath creation, incorporating seed pearls, rubies and emeralds. Exeter's group became the model for all high school secret societies throughout America, especially for Pi Epsilon Kappa (founded in 1941) and located within the village of Oak Park, Illinois. Oak Park's society, exclusive to students attending the village's Fenwick High School (Oak Park, Illinois) was known by its gold and ebony black badge, depicting a coffin and skull and cross bones outlined by seed pearls.

Between 1880 and 1915, more than 50 high school secret societies were formed within Chicago. Hyde Park Academy, alone, had 18 groups, and battles with secret societies within the village of Oak Park, Illinois, were taken to the Appellate courts. By 1929, Oak Park had one of Illinois's top-ranking preparatory schools within its village, Fenwick High School, and the village ruled in favor of each school within Oak Park to individually oversee all of their students' secret societies, rather than implement a general regulatory system across the board.

References

High school secret societies Wikipedia


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