top of page

High School Chapters

How could Arethusa have started a High School Chapter?

The most likely answer to this question would be the influence of  our brother society, Gamma Sigma. They were a nationwide organization that had many chapters at the high school level. Also the fact that many of the NY State Normal Schools had a Training School. In fact the Brockport High School was a “department” of the “Brockport Normal School” and the young women of the high school socialized with Arethusas.  “At the regular meeting of Arethusa, …, in the society room, the following from high school were initiated, …,” ¹ The socializing of the Normal Students with the high school students is also evident in the fact the Normal sports teams competed against the neighboring high schools.

High School, Burlington VT

Early Lockport High School

In the Oneonta 1894 Minutes on a January 1895 entry the "Senior Class in Burlington, VT wish to form a Chapter". However nothing else is mentioned about Burlington in the record. On March 1898 an entry stated that a “new Chapter formed in Lockport.” As of yet we have not discovered any other documents that support the organization of an Arethusa chapter at Lockport. The last entry discovered in the 1894 Minutes was on April 1898.  The entry stated that a "motion made and carried that we do not organize any more Arethusa Chapters in High Schools".

“Normal Notes”; Brockport Republic - October 24, 1912.


Arethusa Chapter at Syracuse High School

This article was originally printed in The Syracuse Journal, February 27, 1904, page 6.


New Sorority To Be Formed at the High School Despite Opposition From Principal Wickes.

“A second sorority is being formed at the High school, but as yet they have not obtained a charter.  The new society will be called Arethusa sorority.


Similar chapters are in Rochester, Buffalo and several other large High schools in the State.  The names of all the girls are not yet made known but those prominently connected with the forming of this Greek society are: Miss Ethel Partridge, Miss Grace Tucker, Miss Leona Baldwin, Miss Pansey Dawson, Miss Minnie Boyd, Miss Jennie Bessent and Miss Norma Ackerman.

This will be the second sorority located in the High school, the Theta Sigma having obtained a charter several months ago.  The forming of these societies will probably break up the Lyceum and Philomathean.  Several prominent members of Theta Sigma have resigned from the Lyceum. The girls in the new sorority say that they will still keep up their membership in the literary societies if they are permitted to do so.

The forming of the Greek letter societies at the High school has been opposed by Principal Wickes and some members of the faculty while other teachers are friendly to these organizations.  The first fraternity formed was Alpha Zeta, and several months later Gamma Sigma (Our Brother Fraternity) and Theta Phi were formed and it is expected that another fraternity will be formed soon.  When the Alpha Zeta obtained its charter and the members were made known, Principal Wickes called the boys into the office and forbade them to form such an organization and ever since that time the fraternities and Mr. Wickes have been at war.


At a meeting of Congress last week Mr. Wickes, who is president, spoke in a disparaging way about the fraternities and said that they were not societies of the High school.  At the close of the meeting one boy was heard to remark, “Well, if the frats are not in High school all the boys composing them are.” …


We suspect that this chapter was short-lived as there was no mention of the chapter in an article of the October 1904 Convocation at Brockport.  We plan to continue to investigate our Syracuse chapter and welcome any Sisters in the vicinity to help us.

Early Lockport High School
High School, Burlington VT
bottom of page