High school fraternities and sororities

High school fraternities and sororities

High school Fraternities and Sororities, or secondary Fraternities and Sororities, are social Fraternities and Sororities for high school-aged men and women. Most secondary Fraternities and Sororities, like their college counterparts, have Greek-letter names. Although there were countless local high school Fraternities and Sororities with only one or two chapters, many secondary fraternities founded in the nineteenth and twentieth century in the United States grew into national organizations with a highly evolved governing structure and regularly chartered chapters in multiple regions. Most of the local chapters of these national fraternities were not tied to (or affiliated with) individual high schools but were instead area based, often drawing membership from multiple high schools in a given area.

High school Fraternities and Sororities were inspired by, and modeled after, the Greek-letter fraternities which became prevalent in North American colleges and universities during the nineteenth century (Owen 492). The first known high school fraternity was Torch and Dagger in Council Bluffs, Iowa, founded in 1859. This organization existed with lapses from 1861 to 1866 and again from 1880 to 1893. In 1900 it was renamed Omega Eta Tau and began expanding nationally. Gamma Sigma was organized in October 1869 at Brockport Normal School (then a high school level institution, but now a college). Alpha Zeta came into existence at the Union Classical Institute in Schenectady, New York (home of the college fraternity movement) on December 8, 1869, and Alpha Phi followed one year later at the Colgate Academy (connected with Colgate University). Most of the American secondary fraternities that were successful in the twentieth century had national governing bodies, produced regular publications and convened in regular (often annual) national conventions. They also each possessed a secret ritual and handshake and a Greek-letter name which, like college fraternities, was derived from the abbreviation of a secret Greek motto. These groups were identified by a coat-of-arms and members wore distinctive fraternity badges, or pins.

The [http://www.mscode.com/free/statutes/37/011/0037.htm Mississippi code of 1972] addressed these organizations and defined them as "any organization composed wholly, or in part, of public high school pupils, which seeks to perpetuate itself by taking in additional members from the pupils enrolled in such high school on the basis of the decision of the membership of such fraternity, sorority or secret society, rather than upon the free choice of any pupil in the school." Today, however, at least one high school fraternity has stepped outside of this definition as Sigma Alpha Rho, in the 9th edition of its handbook states that "blackball votes are considered undemocratic."

Some of the more important high school fraternities included Alpha Phi (ΑΦ), Alpha Zeta (AZ), Delta Sigma (ΔΣ), Gamma Delta Psi (ΓΔΨ), Gamma Eta Kappa (ΓΗΚ), Omega Gamma Delta (ΩΓΔ), Omicron Kappa Pi (ΟΚΠ)Phi Kappa (ΦΚ), Phi Lambda Epsilon [http://www.philambdaepsilon.com/] (ΦΛΕ), Phi Sigma Chi (ΦΣΧ), Phi Sigma Epsilon (ΦΣΕ), Sigma Phi Omega (ΣΦΩ) and Theta Kappa Omega (ΘΚΩ). Most of these once-powerful national groups have fallen apart after long term opposition from teachers and administrators beginning at least as early as 1906 (Owen 493) and continuing through the 1920s when Glen Perkins called them "a problem recognized by all school men" and claimed that "no one familiar with boys and girls of high school age would argue in favor of [them] ."

Sigma Alpha Rho (SAR) (ΣAP), Tau Epsilon Chi (TEX), Alpha Mu Tau (AMT), and Beta Delta Tau (BΔT), are secondary fraternities and sororities respectively that are still active and successful today. SAR was founded in 1917 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while TEX was founded in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1921.
Alpha Mu Tau (AMT) was founded in 2000 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Beta Delta Tau (BΔT) was founded in 2004 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.These brother-sister organizations have proved a general exception to the rule of weak and dying organizations as they continue to provide valuable learning and life experiences today. All allow their members to plan, execute, and attend any events that they wish and bring the entire organization together with monthly events.

"See Also:" "List of high school fraternities and sororities"


* Owen, William Bishop. "The Problem of the High School Fraternity" The School Review Vol. 14 No. 7 492-504. The University of Chicago Press, 1906.
* Sigma Alpha Rho Handbook, 9th Edition
* Perkins, Glen O. "The Elimination of Fraternities and Sororities in the Tucson High School" The School Review, Vol. 31, No. 3. (Mar., 1923), pp. 224-226.
* Brown, J. Ward. "American Secondary School Fraternities" Published by the Maske Brown Company, New York, Copyright 1913. 213 pages with 16 page supplement, June 1914.
* Baird, William Raymond. "American College Fraternities" Fourth edition, copyright 1890. Published by James P. Downs, New York. Pages 287-288.

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