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Boston Latin School

1890: Boston Public Latin School (now known as Boston Latin School) is the oldest operating public school in America. Reverend John Cotton was greatly responsible for the establishment of the school, where he sought to establish an American school that provided a classical education – one that taught both Greek and Latin. The school accepts students starting in seventh grade. This classroom shows boys in their first year.
1890: Boston Public Latin School (now known as Boston Latin School) is the oldest operating public school in America. Reverend John Cotton was greatly responsible for the establishment of the school, where he sought to establish an American school that provided a classical education – one that taught both Greek and Latin. The school accepts students starting in seventh grade. This classroom shows boys in their first year. (Augustine H. Folsom/Boston Public Library Collection)

Boston is home to the oldest existing school in the US. Founded on April 23, 1635, Boston Latin School is also the first public school. It is a public exam school and was attended by many prominent Bostonians, such as: Ben Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Saltonstall Greenough, Sumner Redstone, Charles Bulfinch, Louis Farrakhan and Leonard Bernstein. A pretty impressive roster!

Ninety-nine percent of the students attending now are accepted into colleges. The first school house, 375 years ago, resided on School Street and changed locations in Boston four times until settling at its current location on Avenue Louis Pasteur.

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