Chitose Dependent School (a.k.a. Edward Gavin ES and Kuma Station HS) History

Opened: 1949
Closed: 1972

One of the smallest schools to open in Japan in 1946 was Chitose Army Base Dependents School in Hokkaido. Mrs. Carl L. Aubrey was the teacher for Charles and Elizabeth Burnside and Ersilia and Margaret Ann D’Annibale. Ms. Aubrey felt the children were very gifted and could receive lots of help for individual problems; but, suffered from the loss of companionship they would normally have in the states. The base carpentry shop made all the shelves, chairs, desks and furniture for the school.

The Chitose American Dependents School was located at Kuma Station, 12th United States Army Security Agency Field Station on Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan.

According to the 1962-63 yearbook, The Lance, the building that housed the students of American personnel was originally built as a hospital for the Japanese Navy during World War II.

Classes were small in the beginning years and the high school students depended mainly on correspondence courses to complete their requirements. In 1962-63 the elementary grades and high school had a combined enrollment of 220 students. Mr. Lloyd Walker was the principal and there were fourteen teachers on the staff. This year there was only one senior. There were a few clubs and two drama productions were presented. There was a boys’ basketball team and cheerleaders.

By the 1968-69 school year the school was referred to as Edward T. Gavin Elementary School and Kuma Station High School. There were now twenty-two teachers on the staff with four seniors, seven juniors, six sophomores and fifteen freshmen. In the elementary school there were two kindergarten and first grade classes with one class per grade for fourth through six. The elementary students had a chorus and safety patrol. Extracurricular activities for high school students included student council, the school newspaper, “Kuma Hi News”, chorus, boys’ basketball, cheerleaders, photography club, the yearbook and boys’ cooking club.

For the 1967-68 school year, the Kuma Station High School l included grades seven through twelve with a total enrollment of 68 students, 31 in grades seven and eight, and 37 in the high school. The high school was housed in one large sprawling building which was a converted Japanese Naval hospital built in 1937. The construction was of wood-frame and was in fair to poor condition in 1968. That year there were fourteen classrooms, a library, an auditorium, science laboratory, typing room, language laboratory, guidance-study room and general office facilities. In 1968 there were two locations making up Kuma Station which were separated by three miles. The location where the high school was located was in the process of being phased out. There were plans to establish a new school for the 1970 fiscal school year.

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