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    Boys from the E.F.S. Boys from the E.F.S.
There appears to be a wide range of ages in this photograph of male students of East Florida Seminary, but it had been much wider in years past. When Edwin P. Cater, an educator from South Carolinia, became principal of EFS in 1877, he found students as young as 4 and as old as 20. Mr. Cater established age requirements (no younger than 13, no older than 20) and an entrance exam ("pass examination in the Third Reader and the Primary Arithmetic"). The pencilled notation on the back of this photograph says "Group of boys from the E.F.S. Gainesville Fla Feb 1901." In 1851 the Florida Legislature passed a bill to establish two tax-supported state schools-one in East Florida, the other in West Florida, divided by the Suwannee River-and the sites would be determined by which two counties offered the most in land and resources. A year later, in 1852, East Florida Seminary was founded as a fee-based school in Ocala but, short of funds, the school asked for state support. That support was granted in 1853 and EFS resources (land, buildings and cash) were turned over to the state. Over the years, Mr. James Henry Roper, an educator from North Carolina, built a school called the Gainesville Academy on Northeast 1st Street. Mr. Roper was also a State Senator from Alachua County, and in 1866 he offered his land and school to the State of Florida in exchange for the relocation of EFS to Gainesville. His offer was accepted. The impact of East Florida Seminary on Gainesville was extensive. As the best school in this part of the state, it was a magnet to new settlers, resulting in greater opportunities and prosperity for everyone. East Florida Seminary was absorbed into the University of Florida in 1905-1906.
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