Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.
Marshall University is a familiar name in higher education throughout West Virginia, but did you know Marshall also once had a high school?
Marshall College High School, also known as Jenkins Laboratory School, was a high school on the campus of Marshall College (now Marshall University) in Huntington, West Virginia, in the mid-20th century.
The school was established in 1932 and moved to its permanent home in Jenkins Hall (now the Education Building) in 1938. The official role of the school was to provide real-world teaching opportunities for Marshall students, as well as implement new and cutting-edge education theories. However, the school also served another function: educating the children of Marshall professors.
When Marshall was first trying to blaze its path as an elite institution of higher learning, it proved difficult to recruit professors who wanted to put their children into the local public school system. The creation of Marshall College Junior High and High School fixed that problem (this was not uncommon at the time in the South and Midwest; University High in Morgantown started as a similar venture from West Virginia University).
For the majority of its time in existence, the school drew mostly from the children of MU professors and wealthy Huntington elites; it fielded teams in various sports using Marshall’s name, facilities, mascot, and colors, competing against public and private schools from the area.
As the quality of local schools improved into the 1960s, the need for MCHS began to wane and it was shuttered in 1970. However, the school still has an active alumni association which placed a monument to classmates who served in World War II at the northeast corner of the old school.