Frankfurt MS (formerly JHS, aka Drake Edwards JHS) History

Opened: 1958
Closed: 1995

Frankfurt American Junior High School was one of the largest junior high schools in DoDDS. The school was housed in two buildings that were attached by an overpass. The school was located on the Drake Edwards Kaserne in Frankfurt, Germany. Prior to the opening of the junior high school the students in grades seven through nine attended Frankfurt High School.

The facility consisted of thirty-eight general classrooms, two industrial arts shops, two human ecology classrooms, an art classroom, a music classroom, a cafeteria, an Education Resource Center, and a gymnasium.

The school mascot was the Knight, and the first junior high yearbook was published for the 1963-64 school year.

In the sixties, the enrollment for grades seven through nine ranged from about 825 students to 925 students. The administrators included principals F. G. Christensen, Richard Penkava, Alexander Laire, and Rex Gleason, and assistant principals Richard Penkava, O.G. Lundin, Sy Kantrowitz, Edward Kleziak, and Paul Papineau.

Frankfurt American Junior High School had an outstanding music program throughout its history. The bands and choirs played for school functions as well as events for the military and German communities. For the 1965-66 school year there were over 150 students in the Art Honors Group. The drama group was the only student drama group to present a production for the 25th Anniversary Festival of the Frankfurt Entertainment Center.

Annual events in the sixties included a science fair, school carnival, and talent show. Extracurricular activities included the Junior Red Cross, National Junior Honor Society, student council, yearbook, and newspaper. The school had an intermural and intramural program for boys. There was a judo team as well as the usual sports of flag football, basketball, wrestling, and baseball. Girls participated in sports sponsored by the Girls’ Athletic Association.

The name of the yearbook became the Knight’s Pages for the 1969-70 school year and the newspaper was The Visor. The title of the newspaper changed several times during the history of the school but was most often called The Visor.

The school had its first rotating schedule and its first pep club for the 1969-70 school year. This year was also the second year for the boys’ soccer team. New clubs at the school included a drama club, psychology club, French club, and Lettermen’s club. This was also the first year of the 100 Mile Club. Students in this club had to run over 100 miles during the school year. The Mixed Soul Club was formed to provide a venue for students of different races to speak openly and learn about different cultures. This club was later replaced with the Black Culture Club.

During the 1971-72 school year the competitive sports of volleyball, tennis, and hockey were available for girls. Gymnastics and basketball were later added to the girls’ program.

Dr. Tom Ellinger became the school principal for the 1972-73 school year, and his assistants included Paul Papineau, Ms. Jo A. R. Kiley (Shaw), and Dr. William Yarbrough. Dr. H. G. Corbin was the principal for the 1975-76 school year and remained the principal until 1984. His administrative team included deputy principal Thomas Leaf (’76–’78), assistant principal Nancy Rorden (’76–’78), assistant principal Dode Thorson (’78–’80), assistant principal Joel Zuckerman (’79–’81), and assistant principal Joanna Reinfeld (’82–’83).

Students at the junior high had the opportunity to take courses at the Darmstadt Career Center beginning in the fall of 1974. These courses included auto mechanics, welding, electronics, graphics, dental assisting, computer technology, medical assisting, and business. The school also included mini courses in the schedule. Every Friday the fourth hour regularly scheduled class was replaced by a mini course. This year was the inaugural year the school’s chapter of the Junior National Association for the Deaf. The chapter received its charter in October 1974. The school also had the only Youth Health Center in Europe. It was started in April 1973. A unique program at the school was the Lancers. These students assisted as hall patrols, in the cafeteria and at special school events.

During the 1977-78 school year, the boys’ basketball team won both junior high tournaments and the girls’ team was undefeated. By the fall of 1979, the traveling teams were discontinued, and the focus was on intramurals so more students could participate in a sports program. The following year ninth graders could try out for high school sports teams.

For the 1981-82 school year the staff consisted of three administrators, two counselors, forty-four classroom teachers, Education Resource specialist, reading improvement specialist, and a nurse for the 860 students in grades seven through nine. The school enrollment remained at approximately 800 students through the eighties.

The school principals for the eighties included Ms. P. Stein Kuehler (’84–’85), Dr. Candace Ransing (’85–’86), Dr. Elizabeth Walker (’86–’88), and Dr. Catherine Ake (’88–’90). Mr. John Chavies, Dr. Emma Siegel, Catherine Ake, Raymond Burkard, Mary Haley Jo Ann Long, and Frank O’Gara were assistants during the eighties.

The school had its first business enterprise program for the 1987-88 school year. The business was named TUFF TOPS.

Frankfurt American Junior High was reconfigured for the 1990-91 school year. The school now had grades six through eight and was renamed Frankfurt Middle School. For the 1993-94 school year there were only 575 students enrolled and the last school year the enrollment dropped to 350 students.

The school was closed at the end of the 1994-95 school year.


Information from DOD School Information Guides and school yearbooks

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