Jefferson Middle School is located on a 40-acre tract of land at Sangamon Drive and Crescent Drive in Champaign. Named for Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Middle School was originally called Parkside Junior High School "as an identifying measure when the plans were being drawn at the local firm."

Unit 4 Board decided the school would be named by the students. (Both other middle schools were also named by the students.) As of October 18, 1959, it was known only by its geographic location - "the junior high school at the park-school side in southwest Champaign."

Each homeroom of the Franklin and Edison Middle Schools submitted a name and sent it to the Board. Five names were chosen by the board on November 3, 1959 to be voted on by the students: John Foster Dulles, Thomas Jefferson, George Marshall, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt. Students from Edison and Franklin voted and Jefferson won "by a landslide" - Jefferson 1,022, Marshall, 164, Dulles, 147, T. Roosevelt, 127, FD Roosevelt, 104. (This was announced at the November 16, 1959 board meeting - but was not approved by the board until the next meeting.)


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