Thomas Jefferson High School (New Jersey)

Thomas Jefferson High School was an all-boys public high school in Elizabeth, in Union County, New Jersey, United States, which operated as part of the Elizabeth Public Schools. The school opened in 1929 at which time Battin High School became an all-girls school. The school operated on a single-sex basis for 48 years until the end of the 1976–77 school year, ending its status as one half of the state's only pair of public high schools operated separately for male and female students.[1]

Thomas Jefferson High School
641 South Street

, ,

United States
Coordinates40°39′26″N 74°12′54″W / 40.6572°N 74.2149°W / 40.6572; -74.2149Coordinates: 40°39′26″N 74°12′54″W / 40.6572°N 74.2149°W / 40.6572; -74.2149
TypePublic high school
School districtElizabeth Public Schools

In 1957, district officials stated that the inability to determine attendance zones for the two comprehensive high schools after Thomas Jefferson High School opened in 1929 combined with the expansive shop facilities in the new building, led the district to decide to split students by sex, with girls at Battin and boys at Thomas Jefferson.[2]

The school closed at the end of the 1976–77 school year, after the Elizabeth High School complex was completed and all of the district's students, male and female, were accommodated at the new four-building facility, ending the city's status as "the only community in the state with separate public high schools for boys and girls". The $29.3 million project included renovations to Thomas Jefferson High School, which was integrated into the new complex. The Battin High School building, together with the four existing junior high schools, was repurposed as a middle school for grades six through eight.[2]

The building now hosts the Admiral William Halsey Leadership Academy and the John E. Dwyer Technology Academy.


The boys' basketball team won the Group IV state championship in 1931 (against runner-up Neptune High School in the finals of the playoffs), 1946 (vs. Central High School of Newark), 1952 (vs. Emerson High School of Union City), 1954 (vs. Bloomfield High School).[3] The 1931 team won the state title in Class A (since recategorized as Group IV) with a 28-19 victory against Neptune in the tournament final.[4] In the 1952 playoff finals, the team defeated Emerson High School of Union City by a score of 72-59 to win the Group IV title.[5] The 1954 team defeated Bloomfield by a score of 59-46 in the Group IV final at the Elizabeth Armory.[6]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Hatala, Greg. "Glimpse of History: When Battin was co-ed", The Star-Ledger, June 11, 2012. Accessed October 24, 2015. "Both male and female students in grades 9 to 12 attended Battin until 1928, when Thomas Jefferson High School was built for high school-age males in the city at what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza. According to research by Kristin Kulick, director of special projects for the Elizabeth Board of Education, the academic year 1976–77 was the last year male and female students attended classes separately."
  2. ^ a b Horowitz, Ben. "Elizabeth Awaits Coed High School", The New York Times, July 10, 1977. Accessed November 2, 2019. "Elizabeth's 48-year role as the only community in the state with separate public high schools for boys and girls will end in September with the opening of a new four-building complex at the corner of South Pearl and South Streets."
  3. ^ NJSIAA Boys Basketball Championship History, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 20, 2020.
  4. ^ "Hun Five Captures Jersey Title Final; Triumphs in Class A of Prep School Tourney--Kingsley Scores in Class B. Jefferson Quintet Wins; Elizabeth Team Victor in Class A of High School Division--Crown in Class B to Princeton High.", The New York Times, March 22, 1931. Accessed February 4, 2021. "Thomas Jefferson of Elizabeth tonight defeated Neptune High of Ocean Grove, 28 to 19, for the State Class A High School championship."
  5. ^ "Jeffs Capture Group IV Title; Elizabeth Team Downs Emerson Five, 72-59", The Record, March 24, 1952. Accessed March 2, 2021, via "Thomas Jefferson of Elizabeth mauled Emerson of Union City, 72 to 59, to capture the Group IV title in the 34th annual N. J. S. I. A. A. tournament here at the Armory Saturday night."
  6. ^ "Cella's Cagers Lose To Jeffs; Bloomfield Five Fails To Retain Crown", The Record, March 22, 1954. Accessed February 1, 2021, via "St. Mary's of Elizabeth, Weehawken, and Thomas Jefferson of Elizabeth captured championships in the 36th annual N. J. S. I. A. A. basketball tournament here at the Armory.... St. Mary's successfully defended its Catholic B title by halting St. Joseph's of Camden, Weehawken repeated as Group II titlist with a 71-60 decision over Sayreville, and Jefferson knocked out the defending Group IV champ, Bloomfield, by a 59-46 count."
  7. ^ Ed Beach, Accessed October 24, 2015.
  8. ^ Frank Bruggy, Accessed November 2, 2019. "High School: Thomas Jefferson HS (Elizabeth, NJ)"
  9. ^ Staff. "Chapman Scores 5 Touchdowns As Jefferson Subdues Cranford", The New York Times, November 29, 1968. Accessed November 2, 2019. "Gil Chapman, Thomas Jefferson sophomore halfback, scored five touchdowns as Jefferson erased a 14–0 deficit to defeat Cranford, 32–21, today."
  10. ^ Horner, Shirley. "About Books", The New York Times, December 31, 1989. Accessed September 11, 2020. "'No,' he said, 'I was a youngster in suburban Elizabeth, where many of the gems of American Romantic architecture that fascinated me had already lost their luster or were about to fall to the wrecker's ball.'... Thomas Jefferson High School followed, where his art teacher was Armando Sozio, a highly respected artist."
  11. ^ Kratch, James. "A well-timed homecoming for N.J. native, Sunday Night Football director Drew Esocoff", NJ Advance Media for, October 9, 2015. Accessed October 24, 2015. "'We've never had a high school reunion,' said Esocoff, who grew up in Elizabeth and graduated from Jefferson High in 1975."
  12. ^ Denman, Elliott. "From Banishment to the Hall", Armory Track, December 7, 2011. Accessed September 11, 2020. "the Hudson and down the 'pike there was Ron Freeman at Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth, N.J."
  13. ^ Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, Volume 187, p. 410. J.A. Fitzgerald, 1963. "McGowan was born in Elizabeth, on January 19, 1920, and has lived in that city the major portion of his life. He attended St. Rose of Lima School in Belmar, Immaculate Conception School, Sacred Heart High School, and Thomas Jefferson Public High School, all of Elizabeth, N. J."
  14. ^ "Longtime baseball executive Dan O’Brien Sr. dies at 87", TheDeadballEra, January 17, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2020. "A proud native of Elizabeth, NJ, Mr. O'Brien was a distinguished dual sport athlete at Thomas Jefferson High School who was inducted into the Union County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999."
  15. ^ "Nov. 14, 1929, in Elizabeth." Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, Volume 78, p. 251. Accessed October 24, 2015. "Assemblyman Remington was born Nov. 14, 1929, in Elizabeth. After graduation from Thomas Jefferson High School, Elizabeth, he attended Temple University."
  16. ^ Viggiano, Bob. "Wilson hoops great Sullinger, 58, dies", Courier-Post, December 10, 2010. Accessed October 24, 2015. "The team's toughest test came in the state semifinals, when it went up against Thomas Jefferson of Elizabeth with John Shumate, who later starred at Notre Dame."
  17. ^ "New Air Chief in Vietnam John William Vogt Jr.", The New York Times, April 18, 1972. Accessed September 11, 2020. "Gen. John William Vogt Jr., who is directing the intensified bombardment of North Vietnamese forces in South and North Vietnam, is holding down his first command since he led a fighter squadron over the beaches of Normandy in World War II.... General Vogt was born on March 18, 1920, in Elizabeth, N. J., and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School there in 1938."
  18. ^ DeMarco, Gerard. "Elizabeth baseball star Jake Wood to speak at Union County Hall of Fame induction dinner", Elizabeth Inside Out. Accessed October 24, 2015. "Wood, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in Elizabeth who played PAL and American Legion baseball in the city, signed with the Detroit Tigers organization in 1957 when he was a 20-year-old at Delaware State University."
  19. ^ Staff. "Richard Wood Elected Into College Football Hall of Fame; The 3-time All-American linebacker on Troy's 1972 and 1974 national champs is part of 14-member 2007 class.", USC Trojans, May 9, 2007. Accessed October 24, 2015. "The 3-year letterman from Jefferson High in Elizabeth, N.J., played in 3 Rose Bowls (1973-74-75)."