Sendai American School History

Opened: 1947
Closed: 1957

The Sendai American School opened in 1947. According to the 1948-49 yearbook:

As we come to the close of another school year, we, the students of the first stateside school of Sendai, wish to present a glimpse of our past accomplishments and history.

September 13, 1948 found a number of us seated in our old desks among familiar surroundings; but our principal Mr. Harry C. Frey, and the majority of our teachers were new. With a faculty of eleven we commenced the new year.

Studies are harder than in former years, but we are pulling through. A student council, a year book, a glee club, and a monthly program were started. Then after a small debate we added an athletic class to our schedule.

Every once in awhile Japanese educators were seen popping in and out of our class rooms. The military government teams had arranged for Japanese to compare our institution and teaching methods with theirs.

The year of ‘48—’49 was quite different from the two former years. There are still a few students who remember January ‘47 when school began with correspondence courses from the University of Nebraska. This system was under the direction of Major Kenneth Crawford. Later a Sergeant Gill was assigned to our supervisor. He was our first teacher.

Believe it or not S.A.S. was closed for a short while—lack of students. The re-opening in May found classes being held at the old IX Corps Building, now the 172nd Hospital.

Sergeant Gill soon returned to the Zl and Sergeant Heibert replaced him. About the same time a fine new building appeared at Kawauchi Tract, the new housing area for IX Corps dependents and military personnel.

The glorious christening of the Sendai American Dependent School was in October of ‘47. The same correspondence system was continued under the guidance of Mrs. Kenneth Crawford.

Mrs. Jessie Watts replaced our first principal. Afterwards Mr. Blandford, who was used as a disciplinarian, came to us. Our school needed discipline. We received it and we are glad.

Sergeant Harry Curry was our administration assistant. It was by Mrs. Watts and his guidance and patience that we published our first annual, contributed to the first graduation, and that we successfully came to close of the first year in the permanent school.

Graduation over and summer school started immediately. The majority of the pupils had to finish their extension courses before a new stateside method of teaching was introduced. Our vacation was short but enjoyable.

Now we have completed another year. As the seniors go forward to face adulthood and the remaining students advance, we wish to show our appreciation to our faculty for their guidance, help, wisdom, and understanding that they have given us.

In 1948-49 there were ten faculty members. The twenty-seven high school students included four seniors. In the elementary school, there were classes for a kindergarten, first grade, two-three combination, four-five combination and a six through eight combination.

On September 1 2, 1 949, the Sendai American School started with the largest enrollment in its history, 131 students, a new principal, and eleven teachers, four of whom were returning for a second year. The present school started in 1947 with an enrollment of 68, and a faculty of 12 teachers and clerks. The Sendai American School was accredited by the North Central Association, and was supervised through Eighth Army Headquarters. The school was accredited as of June 26, 1949.

The 1953 school yearbook, the Samurai, reported in the dedication that:

The Americans and the Japanese signed their peace treaty on April 28, 1952, after seven years of occupation on our part and rebuilding on theirs.

When the treaty was signed, there was a symbolic gesture of international friendship displayed here in Sendai as the Japanese flag was raised outside of Headquarters XVI Corps. The students of Sendai American School were granted permission to witness this ceremony, which was at once stirring, memorable, and sobering — stirring in its declaration of the newly formed friendship between two former enemies, memorable because it was a unique experience in the students’ lives, and sobering because it brought home to each of us the responsibility that lay upon each of our shoulders — the responsibility of not only keeping that friendship alive, but furthering it to the best of our abilities.

The school had sixteen faculty members for the high school of 83 students. The elementary grades had a fifth-sixth combo class and one class at the other grades, kindergarten through four.

For the 1953-54 school year, there were twenty teachers at the school. There were fifty students in grades nine through twelve, including six seniors. The seventh and eight grades had forty-six students. There were 192 students in the elementary school which included 31 kindergarteners.

The 1954 yearbook highlighted the school’s emphasis on understanding the Japanese culture. It stated:

We who are attending Sendai American School, find ourselves in the middle of an oriental and ancient culture that has flourished for many years. We realize that it is only through our understanding of this way of life and the people who live here, that a friendship between the two countries can exist. That we are ‘ambassadors of good-will cannot be emphasized enough. Unconsciously we are absorbing bits of the Japanese ways, but there is still a great deal more to learn. To help remedy this, the PTA started Japanese Culture Classes some time ago. Mrs. Nagashima, now a familiar face around the school, gives lectures once a week to the high school and thus helps us along the road to a better understanding of these people. She presents to us some of the various customs and traditions, and adds bits of the colorful Japanese history. Not only do we have these talks, but to the school come different tradesmen to show us how they make their wares. The classes one by one, from kindergarten through the Senior Class, file into the room to watch them display their skill. The Red Cross also has done a great deal to improve the friendship between Japan and America. Visits have been made, not only to the schools, but to various public institutions, and the Japanese and American Red Cross have gotten together and had a rally.

The last year of the school, 1956-57 there were fifteen teachers for the entire school and only one senior.

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