John Adams High School


Michael Benton, Contributor

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john adams high schoolOne of the most well known high schools named after John Adams is a public school in New York City, but there are so many high schools named after him that one would expect to find a John Adams High School or John Adams Middle school in nearly every state. There is even a John Adams online high school known as the John Adams Virtual School. As a founding father and the second president of the United States, it is not surprising that so many schools are named after John Adams. A lesser known fact is that John Adams actually taught at a school in Worcester, Massachusetts after graduating from Harvard. He was the son of a simple farmer and shoemaker and had to teach so that he could afford to study law. The young John Adams was known to have taught during the day and studied law at night. His career as an attorney, well-versed in the principles of the Enlightenment, is what launched his fame in the days before the Revolution. Students of any John Adams High School should therefore study hard to carry on the tradition of their school's namesake.

John Adams' son, John Quincy Adams, was the sixth president and thus there are also schools named after him. Sometimes these schools' names are abbreviated, such as John Q Adams Middle School. Before his presidency, John Q Adams had been a powerful diplomat, serving in both Houses of Congress and as Secretary of State. He was in charge of negotiations with the British to end the War of 1812 and later to delineate the border with Canada as well as with the Spanish over the purchase of their territory known as Florida. He also helped write the Monroe Doctrine which declared the American continents off-limits to any further expansion of European nations. Any student of John Q Adams Middle School should know their school's namesake was a powerful man who helped shape the early United States.

It is somewhat ironic that John Adams once learned to read and even taught in the days of parchment and ink quills but now there is a John Adams online school. That is not to say that John Adams did not support widespread education. Mr. Adams was in fact a strong proponent of public education; in 1785, he wrote in a letter that every square mile of the nation should have a school in it supported by public funding. While this did not become actual policy, it is important to know that public schools were a central thought in the ideas of one of America's most brilliant founding fathers. Drawing on this example, we can deduce that he might be proud to know that today there are John Adam High Schools and John Adams Middle Schools throughout the nation. John Q Adams, the younger, was never a teacher, nor did his policies as a diplomat and a president ever reflect much of his father's support for public education.