Ernest J. King ES/HS History

Opened: 1956
Closed: 2003

In 1956, schools located on the U.S. Naval Bases and Air Stations were given names of U.S. heroes of the past. The Sasebo Dependents School was named after the famed World War II Hero, Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King. Thus, the official name of Ernest J. King School, Navy 3912, FPO San Francisco, California became effective School Year 1956/57. In February 1958, the entire elementary grades 1-6 abandoned the ten-year-old “Dragon School” and moved into the second floor of the “Command Post Building” (The children called it “Children’s Prison” instead of Command Post). Later, the building was renamed “Community Building,” which was more appropriate since the tenants included Bank of America, The Base Library, Shore Patrol, Stars and Stripes Office, Civilian Personnel, a Beauty Shop, Pass Office, and the Telephone Exchange. The Sasebo District Court and the Prosecutor’s Office now stand at the Old Dragon School Site. In 1966, the Department of Defense took over the dependent schools worldwide, and the Headquarters was located at Yokota Air Base. The Vietnam War increased the home ported ships for Sasebo. The population of the American Community was at its peak. There were over 870 students, kindergarten through twelfth grade in the “Community Building” with over forty-five classrooms and a faculty of over fifty, comprising the entire three-story building. After the Vietnam War was over, the school population dropped considerably. In February 1979, the entire population of sixty-five students (K - 12) walked to the present site. Hario Housing Complex was completed in 1988. A school having kindergarten through sixth grade was named after Rear Admiral Jack N. Darby. The Darby School was inaugurated on 14 October 1988. October 1998 marked the 50th Anniversary of E.J. King School and the 10th Anniversary of J.N. Darby School. (As reported by Mr. Adolph Portaria, former teacher at Jack N. Darby School August, 1998) Note: Two schools were created in May 2003 by splitting the former E.J. King Unit School into Sasebo Elementary School (K-6) and EJ King High School (7-12).

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