Thompkins Middle School has an interesting and rich history. Land for the school was acquired and prepared in 1968 and 1969. Construction began in 1970, and the first students arrived at Thompkins in January of 1972. The cost of the school was $1.5 mil.  At that time, Thompkins was not a middle school. It was an elementary school for students in grades 1-6.  In the fall of 1972, students in grades K-8 began attending Thompkins.  From 1981 to 1984, the school continued to grow as 7th and 8th grade students from Stringtown began attending Thompkins. During the 1984-1985 school year, Thompkins officially became the middle school we know today, housing students in grades 6-8.

Thompkins Middle School was named after James E. Thompkins, a dedicated educator within the EVSC.  The school mascot, the JETS, is an acronym for James E. Thompkins.  The school colors were chosen as blue and gold because blue symbolizes loyalty and gold symbolizes honor and excellence.

Today, the school has a 780 student capacity and draws students from Highland, Scott, and Stringtown Elementary Schools.  Within the school, there are 30 classrooms, a Media Center, two gymnasiums, a cafeteria, auditorium, computer room, and an instrumental music room.
James E. Thompkins

James Eugene Thompkins was born in Evansville, Indiana on July 14, 1914. He received his formal education in the public schools of Evansville, attending the old Twelfth Avenue, Third Avenue and Douglas Schools. He graduated from Lincoln, then a high school, in 1930.

He was a graduate of Indiana State University in Terre Haute in 1934. He received his master’s degree from Indiana University in 1940. He did graduate work at the University of Michigan, Purdue University, and Loyola University in Chicago.

His teaching career began as a mathematics teacher at Lincoln in 1937. Later he became principal of Third Avenue School. When the school was closed, he returned to Lincoln as an attendance counselor and mathematics teacher. Later he became the counselor at Harrison High School where he developed a “Study Guide for Students."

He served as the public school system’s first psychometrist (testing specialist) and was named supervisor of guidance and counseling when that post was created in 1969. He was instrumental in drawing up plans to racially balance the city’s five high schools.

In 1968, he was appointed to the State’s General Commission by Governor Roger Branigan. He served with the U.S. Army in Africa and Europe during World War II. He was financial secretary of the Independence Baptist Church, treasurer of Otis Stone Post #354 of the American Legion, a board member of the Human Relations Commission, Boy Scouts of America, Association for Mentally Retarded Children, a member of Phi Delta Kappa educational fraternity and a 32nd degree Mason.

His teaching experiences, in addition to more than 32 years in the city’s public schools, included: Adult Basic Education; Prairie View College, Prairie View, Texas; Job Corp Training Program, Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky.
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