It is intriguing to compare the graduation requirements of the 1920s with the graduation requirements of today. As public school requirements changed to reflect current educational trends so, too, have the graduation requirements for Bob Jones Academy students. Because of a desire for excellence, BJA seeks to meet and exceed the state’s requirements for public school students. The same was true during the early years in Florida. But what a difference between then and now! The following are excerpts from Bill Pinkston’s A History of Bob Jones Academy.
In the 1929 Bob Jones College Annual Bulletin the academics of the Preparatory Department are described as follows:
The Preparatory Department is a standard high school and offers the courses provided by standard high schools and…offers training in subjects not usually included in high school courses. In other words, the Preparatory Department will help boys and girls get ready for college.
Following this statement is a listing of courses offered and the “requirements of all pupils:”
- Four units of English
- Two units of mathematics
- Two units of the social studies, at least one of which shall be American History and Civics
- One unit of science, which shall be either General Science in ninth grade or Biology in the tenth or eleventh grade
- One unit of home economics (girls)
- Physical Education for all pupils throughout the high school course
These requirements paralleled or exceeded the Florida requirements for a high school diploma.
You can see the differences when you compare these to today’s graduation requirements, but in both cases, academic excellence was and is promoted. One of the major elements of the BJA mission statement is to challenge each student “to pursue excellence,” which, of course, highlights academics.
In a side note, the faculty of the Preparatory Department during the Florida years had a significantly different job description from Academy faculty today.
There was no high school faculty per se because no one taught only or even mostly high school classes. College faculty were assigned to teach a high school course or two to about a half-dozen students per class. This resulted in a very good student/faculty ratio. Since most college faculty had master’s or doctoral degrees, the faculty easily met the academic credentials for high school certification. Letters awarding certification to Bob Jones College Preparatory Department are in the Academy archives.
Whether teaching only six Academy students in a single high school course or teaching exclusively at BJA in classrooms full of students, BJA teachers, then and now, strive to fulfill BJA’s mission to challenge students “to love Jesus Christ, to embrace God’s truth, to exercise integrity, to pursue excellence, and to serve others.”