Edgren HS (formerly Misawa HS) History

Opened: 1978

The school mascot is the Soaring Eagle and the school colors are green and yellow.

The 1987 yearbook was titled “ABOVE THE REST”. According to the yearbook:

Edgren High School, for the longest time, it seemed to many people that there wasn’t much that could be said about it. What could possibly be said about a place somewhere up north in the middle of nowhere? There’s lots of snow, maybe? No. that fact wasn’t likely to excite many people. So. many students thought there wasn’t anything to say. And. going to school at Edgren was. to put it simply, okay. But, what’s okay? A dance here, a trip there. Not too exciting. But. it wasn’t until this year that things got better, and people finally started talking about Edgren High School. With the start of school came the much-awaited longer lunch period. After what seemed like millions of town meetings discussing it last year, it finally happened. There were many other things that made the start of this year great. Students found that there were more classes offered than last year. And. both boys and girls found that there was a great chance to become a football star with the new football team system and the powderpuff football games. So. overall, things were going pretty good. There’s an old saying that states that things can only get better. And. at Edgren. they certainly did. When the cheerleaders went to Yokota and came back with a third-place trophy, people were surprised. And when the Dolphins Swim Team came back a week later with another third-place trophy, people were even more surprised. After all, people knew that at tournaments the most popular question was. “Edgren? Where’s that?” and they didn’t expect Edgren students to go to the Drama Festival and sweep the awards, or go to the Language Festival and have 6 people place, then go on to the Japan Computer Contest and take 5 of the 7 awards. But, Edgren students did just that. And many other things. The changes this year at Edgren were big. People were finally seeing Edgren as a competitive school, and. Edgren students were finally seeing it as a school to be proud of Yes. this was a terrific year. Because, after so many years of being “okay.” Edgren High School was indeed. ABOVE THE REST.

Within the next 15 years enrollment hit a high of 700 students. Because of the rapid expansion the building became a conglomeration of various structures brought from all over the world. The school was expanded via old army barracks that had been brought on the school grounds in the sixties. Then sometime in the lunatic eighties a new edifice was constructed. In 1983 the new high school was built. Within the first three months of opening, the first building had become too small... thus a new building was to be built. In 1987 phase one was completed. This addition to Edgren was completed to accommodate the more than 600 students enrolled. By 1988 phase four was already on the planning board and phase two was under construction.

The staff of the 1993 yeabook commented:

…the laidback lifestyle was in complete contrast to the reality of high schools across the U.S. Students can enter the building without first passing through a metal detector and walk down the halls without the fear of death or the sight of graffiti on the walls. Students are guaranteed an education without the threat of their teachers going on strike. Many students take for granted the safe haven that Edgren provides. Unlike our civilian, state-residing counterparts, we inhabitants of Misawa Air Base, Japan, have cultural experiences that many others are not quite fortunate enough to partake in. Living in a community where East literally does meet West, we find ourselves unthinkingly adapting to some basic Japanese customs. For instance, phrases like “doomo” and “kon’nichiwa” roll out of our mouths easily. Taking off our shoes before entering a house or bowing one’s head as a form of a greeting becomes routine. Enjoying the local cuisine and festivities that accompany annual celebrations such as the Koppa Festival or the Nebuta Festival soon is accepted as a part of our lives and becomes eagerly anticipated. Even American holidays are celebrated with a twist. Independence Day can be spent at Lake Towada gazing at the breathtaking fireworks, proving that old things can be done in new ways. The Japanese influence over our lives not only can be seen and heard, but can be felt as well. A big advantage of being overseas is meeting different people. The language barrier goes unnoticed as those students who participate in homestays form new friendships. On base we host our Japanese friends by showing them a life that might be different from their own. Stepping outside of the confining boundaries of the base, we become the guests. We observe the graciousness of our Japanese hosts and the serenity of our host nation. Every aspect of Japan, whether it is the driving on the left side of the road, the monsoon season, or the close interaction with the nationals, becomes a part of our lives. Although Edgren is a small school, we’ve come to accept its confinement. The smallness of our school does not hinder our ability to create memories that will last us a lifetime, but it intensifies the bond between teachers and students. While it may seem as if we are miles away from civilization, Misawa, Japan, has become our home away from home. We welcome you to our corner of the world.

During the 1997-98 school year, the school, at night was the home to 16 classes with 275 students taking classes through the University of Maryland. By day it was home to 600 students, grades 7-12, and 62 teachers and staff.

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