Seoul HS History

Opened: 1959
Closed: 2019

Seoul American High School was on Yongsan Garrison. The school complex consisted of eight buildings containing over sixty classrooms and special purpose rooms. The school had two combination faculty lounges and work areas. A library media center housed 12,000 books and audio-visual materials. In 2010 the educator staff included seventy education specialists and classroom teachers.

Seoul American High School opened in 1959 with approximately 150 students. The first class graduated in 1960. At that time, Quonset huts located across from the main Army Community Service building served as classrooms. Taegu, Pusan, and Chinhae students boarded at Seoul American High School since there weren’t high schools in these areas until the fall of 1987.

According to the first yearbook:

Five years ago, when it was decided that Seoul would be a family post, it was felt that a school was necessary. Plans were made by representatives from the United States Operations Mission to Korea and the Korea Military Advisory Group for two schools, one high school and one elementary school. It was decided that the project should be jointly funded, that USOM and KMAG should share equally in the expenses. Construction was begun earl y in 1959, and the buildings w ere completed and equipped in time for the opening of school in September.

August 24, 1959, Seoul American High School was completed, and government dependents transferred to Yongsan which historically became the second dependents school at that location. The school served students in grades seven through twelve. High school students from Chinhae, Pusan, Ui Jong Bu, and Taegu stayed in five-day dorms at Seoul. They traveled from their bases on a special train each week. The first year the principal’s secretary who had been with him in Japan supervised the girls’ dorm and men teachers lived in the boy’s dorm to supervise the boys. The school was accredited its first year.

The first senior class began with thirteen members and ended with nineteen members. Twelve states were represented as well as two foreign students, one from Turkey and one from Italy. Seoul American High School was a dormitory school in the 1960’s. The school continued to grow through the years with eighty-five seniors by 1978 and 114 seniors by 1989.

In 1981 construction began on the new high school, which was completed the following year. In addition to the main classrooms, arts, and gymnasium buildings, a new structure which included a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps section was opened in 1987. The JROTC facilities had two classrooms, three offices, a supply room, arms room, a four-point indoor firing range, and a hard top area used for inspections and drills. Additionally, JROTC formal inspections were held on Falcon Fields, the school’s full-sized artificial turf football and soccer field.

For the 1995-96 school year, Seoul American High School had 550 students. For the 1999-2000 school year, over 1,000 students attended Seoul High School with almost 150 seniors. The next year, the enrollment had dropped to 620 students. The last year of the high school was 2018. The next year the school was Seoul American Middle High School. The class sizes were small. For example, there were only twenty students in the junior class. One student commented there were more juniors in their old school than there were in the entire school here.

The school yearbook, Sanyangse—the hunting bird, was first published in spring 1960. It became apparent that the chosen yearbook name was not popular among the students, so a contest was held to rename it. The winning name was Chosun—Land of the Morning Calm—which reflects Korea’s history and culture. The school mascot was the Falcon. The school newspaper was The Falcon Crier and was published every three weeks. School activities included student council, the newspaper, yearbook, and science club. Sports included football, basketball, and baseball for boys. Girls were cheerleaders and participated in intramurals. By 1967, the extracurricular activities were increased to include French, Spanish, and Latin clubs, Honor Society, Red Cross, Lettermen’s Club, Quill and Scroll, drama productions, and band and chorus groups. Soccer, golf, tennis, and judo were added to the boys’ sports and there was a pep club for girls. By 1980, girls’ sports included volleyball, basketball, golf, tennis, and track. Wrestling and track had also been added to the boys’ program for several years. Later, JROTC was added to the school’s curriculum and afterschool program.

The school closed in 2019.

 

Based on information from DoDDS-Pacific Region 1946-1986 and school yearbooks

Share This: