Ankara American Education Association History

Opened: 1950
Closed: 1957

The first school for American students in Ankara, Turkey, was the Ankara American Education Association which opened for its first session of school on October 16, 1950. The school had one hundred twenty children, ranging from kindergarten through ninth grade with eight teachers, one of whom served as the principal. The students were crowded into a school located on a hill.

The enrollment expanded and it was necessary to acquire another building and hire a full-time principal. The first full time principal was Miss Bernadine Cross. By the 1953-54 school year, there were 404 students enrolled and twenty-one faculty members. The school now had grades K-12 with two seniors, fifteen juniors, ten sophomores, and eleven freshmen. A monthly assembly program featured music and drama presentations, and students participated in field trips to local sites. The high school students went on a multi-day trip to Bursa where the students stayed at local schools (one for girls and one for boys).

The school was described as “a little bit of America” in the heart of Turkey. The school song was:


Our School Song

High above the plains of Turkey

On a heavenward hill,

O'er the old Sultan's palace

With its great halls still;

Rising free in light and grandeur

Thou school proud and true.

We will ever guard the honor

Of the gold and blue.

When the chilling winds of winter

Beat upon the walls,

We will guard the lessons taught us

In your stately halls.

Teach us best of all the courage,

Like you in faith to stand,

In a unity of spirit Strong in every land.


A former student described the school as two houses: one for elementary and one for high school. Each house had two stories. For the 1952-53 school year, the senior class had three students: two boys and one girl.

According to the 1958 Ankara High school yearbook, the Air Force Dependents Schools began the necessary preparations to take over the education of American dependent children in Ankara. Plans were made for the utilization of the current school building and certified personnel were hired. In December 1956, a contract to remodel the building was signed. However, in July 1957, it was determined that the planned building was totally inadequate, and a new school building was planned. It was decided that a local automobile service garage was to be reconstructed into a school that would meet American standards.

Although, the reconstructed building was not quite ready for complete occupancy, the school was opened on September 16, 1957. Initially, students in grades K–12 occupied the first two floors while the third floor was being completed. After the Christmas holidays, the high school moved to the partially completed third floor, and the elementary school occupied the rooms on the first two floors.


Information from school yearbooks and DoD Dependent Schools Information Guides

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