Although attempts to provide a public school system in Paris were made as early as 1877, it was not until 1884 that the system as it is known today was organized. Under the strong leadership of Mayor John C. Gibbons, W. B. Aikin, E. L. Dohoney, and Travis Henderson, the city council appointed a board of trustees to supervise the first full session of the newly organized school system. Three schools comprised the system in 1884. The Aikin Institute, later known as Aikin High School and as Paris High School, was located at this site. The second facility was the Graham School, originally known as the Paris Female Institute. A school for black students was located on North Jefferson Street in 1884. It later was moved to another site and was named Gibbons High School in honor of the former mayor. J. C. Brooks of Tennessee served as first superintendent of Paris Public Schools. A later superintendent, J. G. Wooten, served for 37 years and was responsible for much improvement and expansion, including the 1924 addition of Paris Junior College, which remained part of the public school system until 1949. Through its years of growth and development, the Paris Public Schools have educated and influenced thousands of students throughout the community.
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