Kadena HS History

Opened: 1981

Kadena High School is located near the east entrance of Gate 5 with Kadena Middle School on the west side of the Gate. The school has a single main building where most classes and activities are held. Due to a large number of students, an additional two-story building, referred to as "The Annex", was added. The school pool was filled in due to a bad foundation, and the pool house was subsequently given to the school's AF-JROTC unit.

Kadena High School is the home of the Panthers, and the school colors are black and gold. The school yearbook is called Pegasus and the school newspaper is the Prowler. The first yearbook was published in the spring of 1982 and the newspaper was published throughout the year.

When the school opened it was for grades seven through twelve and the first senior class at KHS had forty seniors. The school had an active extracurricular program its opening year that included drama, several music programs, a Renaissance Fair, National Honor Society, and National Junior Honor Society. Additionally, there were language clubs, a science club, and pep clubs. Athletic teams included two football and two basketball teams for men: the Buccaneers and the Islanders. The women had several powderpuff football teams. Boys also had wrestling, golf, and tennis teams. Girls participated in soccer and two cheerleading teams. Cross Country and volleyball were for men and women.

The second school year the school added a drill team for women and a Varsity club. During the 1983-84 school year, the school was visited by the crew and actors from the television show, “Happy Days.” That year the school started a Thespian Society and the men’s basketball team won the Far East Basketball Tournament.

During school year, 1984-85, Kadena High School had a chapter of the Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society. This was the only known math honor society in the Pacific and may have been the only one in the DoDDS overseas schools. The same year the wrestling team won the Far East championship. For the 1988-89 school year, a dance team was added to the extracurricular activities.

Kadena Middle School opened for school year 1990-91 and the seventh and eighth grades left the high school to attend the middle school. This year there were separate language clubs for French, Spanish, and Japanese. Additionally, several new extracurricular options were added. These included an Academic Challenge Team, Future Business Leaders of America, Peer Counseling, and Graphic Arts. Swimming was added to the athletic teams and the Panthers were the Far East Basketball Champs for the fourth time—other years were 1984,1986, and 1987.

During the 1993-94 school year, the school began its AF-JROTC program and participated in Model United Nations. The following school year there were four men’s soccer teams as well as two women’s teams.

The 1995 Yearbook stated:

Living overseas and going to a DoDDS school has some special advantages. Students at Kadena travel to many places in the Far East for sports tournaments or conferences. This year the Panther B-ball team took a trip to Hong Kong, while Panther Volleyball team ventured to mainland, Japan. Selected members of the yearbook staff journeyed to the Far East Journalism Conference held in Seoul, Korea.

The next year the yearbook focused on the multi-cultural aspects of the school. The yearbook stated, “The multi-cultural aspects of Kadena High School are what make it truly out-of-the-ordinary”.

By the early 2000’s, it was evident from the yearbooks that the students were into technology, cars, and t-shirts. For the 2005-06 school year, the student body had grown to about 900 students. There were approximately 270 freshmen, 240 sophomores, 210 juniors, and over 190 seniors, more than triple the number of seniors from the first year of the school.

Baseball and softball were added to the school’s sports options in 2009-10. In 2015 several options were added to the extracurricular activities to more closely reflect the special interests of the students. Activities included a Magic Club, Table Tennis, Badminton, and Futsal.

According to the 2010 yearbook:

Kadena High School carried the honorable tradition of being athletic champions, but this year the Panthers achieved a record of unprecedented success. The Panther football team exhibited absolute dominance over opponents by taking the Far East Championship title after a perfect 8-0 season. The tennis team captured the Far East Championship title as well as four other first place titles. The Panther cheerleaders held the title of Far East champions and five squad members were honored to be a part of the All-American Cheer Team. Kadena's wrestling team also showed supreme athleticism by capturing the Beast of the East and the Far East Dual Match Championships. The boys' basketball players were also able to capture the Far East title and Tournament MVP award.

According to the 2009-2010 yearbook, “the Kadena Panthers exhibited great effort, courage, and dedication while facing opponents”.

Kadena High School's JA-932 Air Force JROTC unit competed in the first DoDEA Far East JROTC marksmanship competition involving Air Force cadets, in December 2011, where one Kadena cadet won a novice 3rd place overall medal. Kadena High School hosted the 2012 DODEA Far East JROTC drill competition in March 2012.They also hosted it in March 2014, getting 1st place in Overall, Armed Exhibition, Armed Regulations, and Unarmed Regulations, and getting 2nd place in Unarmed Exhibition and Color Guard. This was their first time winning the competition.

For the 2021-22 school year, the school website states that KHS offers a comprehensive curriculum consisting of 14 Advanced Placement courses, general education and exploratory coursework, and extracurricular opportunities. All courses are offered via a blended schedule of seven-period days and two block days per week allowing our students an opportunity to earn ½ Carnegie unit per semester toward the completion of a 26-credit diploma. In addition, all Kadena High School students must earn a 2.0 cumulative GPA to meet graduation requirements.


Information from school’s website and yearbooks

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