Incirlik HS History

Opened: 1972
Closed: 2008

Incirlik High School was located on Incirlik Air Base in Adana, Turkey. The high school was originally part of the Adana Dependent School and, later, the Incirlik School which was grades K–10. The Incirlik High School was built in 1972 and was painted green. The Incirlik High School consisted of a permanent two-story structure with an inner courtyard and five self-contained, semi-permanent classrooms. It still had portable buildings in the back until the eighties. In 1975, under the direction of Jim Heston, six students designed and constructed statues for the courtyard. There was also a large mural which was later painted over. Nuran Avsar, a host nation teacher, collected, brought, and planted most of the trees and shrubs within the courtyard. She wanted the courtyard to be representative of the country of Turkey and included plants from her travels in the 1970’s.

In 1970, the school had neither colors or a mascot. By 1972, the school had chosen the colors blue and white to show its connection to the Air Force, and the Hodja became the school mascot. The first yearbook, Hodja, was published when the school was still part of the elementary/junior high.

The Turkish meaning of the Hodja is teacher. The people around the world know him as the man who rode his donkey backward to see the world from a different light. He can see where he has been, rather than where he is going. The Turks know him as a hero. The students of Incirlik High reflected the Hodja through their individuality and their humorous outlook on life. And in spite of constant change that goes with being a military member, lasting friendships were formed, and the prestige of being a Hodja would never be forgotten.

The last two principals before the junior high became a high school were Dr. Lutz and Fidel Gaviola. There were now about 350 students in grades seven through ten.

The 1974-75 school year was the first year Incirlik was a full high school. Eleventh and twelfth grades had previously attended Karamürsel High School in Istanbul as dormitory students prior to this school year. Mr. Emil Mika was the supervising principal, and Fidel Gaviola was the assistant principal. The high school now had thirty-two faculty members. The high school had its first accreditation visit in January 1975 and was fully accredited.

Sports for high school included football, girls and boys cross country, varsity and junior varsity basketball for boys, girls’ volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics, boys’ soccer, coed track, and coed tennis.

The yearbook was renamed Odyssey, and the school newspaper was Hot Borek. The high school held its first prom. School activities included the Host Nation Club, the Lettermen’s Club, the National Honor Society, Spanish Club, and Teen Involvement. This was also the first year for Cooperative Work Experience.

During the remainder of the seventies, the school had outstanding chorus and band programs and hosted the All-Turkey Music Festival. The cross country, wrestling, and gymnastics teams all won championships.

The school Alma Mater appeared in the 1978-79 yearbook. It was:


On, Incirlik forever

We hail to thee the blue and white

Thru every endeavor

We keep our spirits bright.

Oh Hodjas forever,

We will defend they name

Our loyalty will never fail

It will always stay the same!


Ms. Edna Brower was the principal, and Earl Bayers was the vice principal.

For the 1980-81 school year, the teaching staff consisted of twelve classroom teachers, a media specialist, a learning development teacher, and a counselor. Speech, reading, host nation, art, physical education, and music specialists are shared with the elementary school. The high school enrollment was less than 200 students, and Ms. Gen Rucker was the assistant principal.

A newly constructed physical education facility was completed for the 1986-87 school year. Teaching staff included twelve classroom teachers, a media specialist, a learning development teacher, a compensatory education teacher, and a counselor. Other specialists were shared with the elementary school.

Other administrators in the 1980’s included principals Warren Elges and Robert Bennett and assistant principals Dr. Rene Garcia and Jack Peterson.

The arts programs at the high school continued to grow. During the 1983-84 school year there were two drama productions. Over one-third of the student body was involved in the band and chorus programs. The newspaper’s name was changed to Hodja Haberler for the 1984-85 school year. Eleven-man football was no longer part of the sports program. The school now had varsity and junior varsity teams in the major sports, and driver’s education was offered at the school. All winter sports teams were undefeated during the 1988-89 school year.

In the early nineties, the high school facility was newly renovated and now had a two-story laboratory building. The teaching staff was around twenty-five to thirty. Dr. Donald Torrey became the principal and Mr. Joseph Davis the assistant principal for the 1992-93 school year. The school was evacuated for the second semester of the 1990-91 school year due to the Persian Gulf War. The principal for the 1994-95 school year was Fidel Gaviola. Mr. Sam Mennitti became the principal for the 1995-96 year, with Dr. John Middleton as his assistant. In 1998-99 the principal was Peggy Bullion, and Walter Ulrich was her assistant. The student enrollment during the nineties ranged from a low of 200 students to a high of 275 students.

New school activities during the 1990’s included a Show Choir, Brain Bowl, Math Counts, Health and Science Fairs, Video Tech Club, Creative Connections, and Model U.S. Senate. The school also began the TORCH (Teen Orientation Representing Community Hodjas) for the 1997-98 school year.

The 1999-2000 school year was an outstanding one for sports at Incirlik. The junior varsity teams won the league championship, the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams were district champs and placed in the Europe tournaments, the cheerleaders won the district competition, and the wrestlers were champions.

Incirlik continued its winning sports program for the 2000-01 school year with undefeated seasons for girls’ and boys’ basketball, and winning seasons for wrestling, cheerleaders, and track and field.

The school enrollment dropped from 235 students for the 2000-01 school year to 175 students for the 2003-04 school year. The school had again been evacuated due to world conflicts the previous years. Administrators from 2000 to 2008 included principals Sandra Daniels, Sandra DiQuinzio, and Raynard Eddings. Ann McKenzie-King and Lucille Sutherland were assistant principals.

New school activities included participation in Red Ribbon Week, Model United Nations, Lingua Fest, International Student Leadership Institute, and a Robotics Club. During the 2006-07 school year, students traveled to Slovakia to build a playground. The next year high school students participated in the base-wide, mass-casualty earthquake drill.

The elementary and high school were combined into a unit school in 2008.

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