George Cannon School (formerly Midway Dependents School) History

Opened: 1946
Closed: 1978

In September, 1946, the Midway Island Dependents’ School was formed for grades one through eight. The school was named for First Lieutenant George H. Cannon, United States Marine Corps, who lost his life on Midway. The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to him posthumously for “heroic action in the Defense of Midway Islands on 7 December, 1941.” The school was officially dedicated to him on Memorial Day 1960, and each year the students held a memorial service in his honor on the quadrangle. The George Cannon school provided instruction for grades one through twelve. The subject matter for various class levels was based on the courses of study recommended by the Bureau of Naval Personnel for Navy Dependents Schools. The building itself was of modern construction and provided space for twenty-five classrooms. This included a nursery, kindergarten, a library, science laboratory, and a general assembly room. The enrollment of the entire school during the 1963-64 school year was 238, of which 84 were high school students. Mr. Calvin Snodgrass was superintendent of schools, assisted by Miss Ruth Seibert as acting elementary principal and Mr. Robert Winters as acting high school principal.

The original name of the school was changed to George Cannon School in 1956. A new building complex, erected in 1958 by the Hawaiian Dredging Company, replaced the former school which was located in a Pan American Airways house. The enlarged campus, serving 250-275 students consisted of sixteen classrooms, auditorium, library, science lab, home economics room, reading center and supply room. High school courses were offered by correspondence until 1960. The school expanded that year to include kindergarten through twelfth grade. Senior class size ranged from one to eight. In 1972, the school was also used for University of Hawaii classes and plans were underway to offer PREP courses.

Single teachers lived in the BOQ and married teachers were housed in family-type quarters. Both were within a three-minute walk from the school. Teachers had rest and recuperation flights to Honolulu at least twice a year. Because of its isolated location, Midway was considered a hardship area. Personnel were given a 25% differential.

For the 1963-64 school year, there were twelve teachers for grades K-12 and four seniors. School sports for males included football and basketball. By 1975-76 sports for women included volleyball and basketball. Males also now had a volleyball team.

School year 1977-78 began with a student population of approximately 270 and a senior class of eight. These eight would be the last graduates of George Cannon School. The last yearbook was called Oceans. The Navy closed the island to dependents and the school officially closed its doors on June 15, 1978.

Some information from DoDDS-Pacific Region 1946-1986


Exterior photo of the front of George Cannon School in 1964
Photo of the school from the 1964 Midway Island Naval Station cruise book.
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