Hanau HS (Hanau MS/HS 2007) History

Opened: 1975
Closed: 2008

Hanau American High School was opened in August 1975. Prior to the opening of the new high school, students in grades ten through twelve attended high school at Frankfurt American High School.

The high school was located near the New Argonner Housing Area. The high school offered a comprehensive educational program. Students attended Darmstadt Career Center to for specialized career programs. The students took a bus to Darmstadt for a half-day and took their other core classes at Hanau. Cooperative Work Experience opportunities were offered at the high school and the Hanau community. The school had a JROTC program the first year. The school had a full range of student activities the first year. These organizations included the Student Council, speech and drama club, National Junior Honor Society, National Honor Society, Minority Culture Club, art club, sailing club, ski club, varsity club, and Teen Involvement. The school had an active music program with three band levels as well as a Pep Band and a choir. The Junior High Humanitarian Project was an organization for junior high students that focused on service projects like collecting canned goods at the holidays for local families and hosting activities for a local German orphanage.

The school colors were black and gold, and the mascot was the Panther. The first yearbook published in 1976 was the Panther and the school newspaper was the Watergate Scandal. The newspaper began as a weekly publication but became a monthly edition.

The school had the same sports teams as the other large schools in Germany. These teams included both varsity and junior varsity teams for football, volleyball, and basketball. To enhance the school spirit, the school had majorettes, cheerleaders, and a drill team. The girls’ basketball team won the Class B Championship their first year.

The second year of the school the Black Culture Club became the Black Student Union (then the Black Awareness Committee). The third year the yearbook was the Panther Prints, and the newspaper was the Panther.

The 1977-78 school year was an outstanding year for the school’s sports program. The cross country varsity women’s team was undefeated, had a twenty-three-game winning streak, and won the Regionals for the third year. The junior varsity men’s team had been undefeated for two years and the junior varsity women’s team had not lost a contest. The varsity football team won the Silver Division Championship, and the girls’ volleyball team won their Class B Championship. The boys’ basketball team had their best record. During the 1978-79 school year, the cross country team won the division championship, and the boys’ basketball team won their conference.

The drama club presented two school productions and participated in district and regional events. The school also had its third annual talent show, Extravaganza.

The 1979 yearbook provided a description of the school homecoming festivities:

The pomp, the celebration, the exhilaration of the homecoming activities is a treasured tradition at Hanau American High School. As the practice of jousting in feudal Germany passed out of the realm of mere sport to become an awaited festivity for entire medieval towns, so the homecoming celebration invades every aspect of student life during that week . . .when school spirit reigned supreme. For an entire week before the homecoming games, Hanau was taken over by a strange kind of insanity as huge numbers of otherwise normal students were seen dressed in hideously mismatched combinations of clothing for mismatch day, slicked down and combed up for fifties day, or decked out entirely in our beloved school colors for black-and-gold day. Then came the homecoming games themselves. In true form, our champions defeated the challengers. The King and Queen and their court put in an appearance between the games, and later that evening at the homecoming dance, which, as everyone knows, is one of the biggest social events of the school year.

The 1981 yearbook included the school Alma Mater:

We traveled far to come, together here as one,

Here at Hanau High, as years come and go,

We will always show, our love for Hanau High.

At Hanau High we’re never blue, because of pride that’s true,

We love our Hanau High eternal wisdom gained,

Our goals we will attain, we love you Hanau High.

Our colors black and gold have many victories told,

Stand proud for Hanau High, Our panther big and strong,

We hold our banners long, we love you Hanau High


During the 1980s the school enrollment increased from 850 students in the 1981-82 school year to almost 1,400 students for the 1987-88 school year. There were fifty-two teachers and three administrators for the 1981-82 school year. The specialists at Hanau included three counselors, a reading specialist, a librarian, a nurse, a learning development teacher, and a special education teacher. Up to five years of foreign language, mathematics, and science were available. The school had extensive fine arts, business, and practical arts offerings including Army JROTC, auto mechanics, cosmetology, and cooperative work experience. Grades seven and eight featured individualized math programs, exploratory career programs, and access to some high school classes. About half of the Hanau seniors went on to higher education.

The ‘82 yearbook described the reality of school activities:

Traveling to exciting places wasn’t uncommon to the Hanau athlete. Where else could an athlete play football in Osterholtz, wrestle in Berlin or play a game of tennis in Wiesbaden? These excursions sometimes involved a day out of school but were greatly appreciated by the teams.

Hanau had a variety of sporting programs including football, volleyball and cross country, in the Fall. Wrestling and basketball provided the Winter athletes with a challenge, while tennis, soccer and track kept us busy in the Spring.

The efforts of many coaches revealed to Hanau, athletic talent that surpassed that in previous years. The athletes evoked much enthusiasm and effort, making the 1981-1982 sport seasons as successful as possible.

Spirit and Support went unmatched by the contending schools as everyone from the shyest seventh grader to the most rambunctious senior cheered to lift the spirit of the teams.

When we won we were proud of our accomplishments and when we lost we were proud of our efforts. Whatever the outcome, the Hanau Panther emerged as a champion.

Our school clubs touched many peoples lives in many different ways, but all of them were an asset to Hanau High and its functioning. Screaming with the Spirit Society, playing in the band, or writing for the newspaper were among the activities that made a difference in how much school spirit we had.

Like most things in life, money determined the success of many of the club programs. Bumper stickers were sold, untold number of bake sales were held, and various other activities helped to both increase the bankroll and the closeness of the club.

These hard-working organizations proved to be the heart of student life and activities at Hanau High during the past year.

We came to Hanau High School by bus, car, and on foot; from many towns and villages. Hanau became the melting pot of schools. We all had something to offer, be it our talents in sports, art or academics. We also learned the need to share, whether it be an ice cream at lunch, a shoulder to cry on, a homework assignment, or a place to stay for the weekend.

We banded together, overcame our difficulties and grew in knowledge of both ourselves and our country as well as the country in which we were living.

This was our year at Hanau High!


The school newspaper changed its name several times during the eighties. It started as the Panther Pause (1980-81), became the Panther Times (1987-88), and ended the decade as The Claws Pause (1988-89). During this decade the school had an outstanding arts program. This included the music group Sounds of Music, several levels of band, and an active art and drama program. The school drama group presented several performances each year, and the yearbook published student art and creative writing. The school added some extracurricular activities including the Dungeons and Dragons Club, French–German Club, Forensics, and Science Curiosities. The school had its first Powder Puff football game in 1981, and tennis became a fall sport in 1985.

Several of the school’s sports teams won championships in the eighties:

1982 – Football team won the AA Silver Championship

1984 – The men’s cross country team won the conference and the women’s team placed second

1986 – The girls’ basketball team was undefeated and celebrated their tenth year winning the AA championship

1988 – The golf team, which was started in 1984, won the Division 2 conference

1990 – The wrestling team was the Western Regional Champs


Electives for high school students for the 1993-94 school year included computer science, physical education, JROTC, drama, speech, band, vocal music, show choir, art, driver’s education, METRA tutors, individualized business classes, auto mechanics, humanities, electronics, robotics, home ecology, drafting, wood shop, and cooperative work experience. Programs with students with special needs included reading improvement, special education, honors and/or advanced placement, and talented and gifted. The school participated in regional and district programs such as Brain Bowl and the Model United Nations.

On November 19, 1988, Ray Mercer, a gold medal boxer and former Hanau student, visited his alma mater and spoke with students. Mr. Mercer was on the school’s football team when he was a student. When he visited the school, he was a member of the Army and stationed in Germany.

For the 1989 school year, the middle school was collocated with the high school. Students from Hanau, Aschaffenburg, Babenhausen, Gelnhausen, and Buedingen attended the high school. The high school then had 800 students in grades nine through twelve.

During the nineties, Hanau High was affected by the military drawdown in Europe. The school enrollment went from over 725 students for the 1990-91 school year to about 250 students for the last two years of the decade.

Even with the constant change in enrollment, the sports teams continued to win championships:

1990-91 – Tennis, boys’ basketball, and girls’ basketball all won AA Conference Titles

1992-93 – Football was the Division II East Champions, Volleyball was second in Division II East, and Cross Country won the Central European Championship

1993-94 – Volleyball had an undefeated season and won the Division II Championship, Boys’ basketball was the Division II Conference winners, and the tennis team took second place in their division

1994-95 – Football won the Division 1A Conference, Cross Country was the Division II East Champs and the European Champs, and boys’ basketball won their second Eastern Regional Tournament


The arts program continued to be an outstanding feature at the school. The school had the only Musical Theater Program in DoDDS and daily announcements were presented by the News Broadcasting team. In addition to the Intermediate and Advanced Bands, Hanau had a Pep and Jazz Band. The school had a Renaissance Festival and the four language clubs—French, Spanish, Russian, and German—formed the International Club. The school had two choirs, and for the 1991-92 school year there was a Gospel Choir. In 1994-95, the school had its first computer music class. Artwork and creative writing were part of many yearbooks.

Several new activities were added to the extracurricular program in the nineties. The school continued the Talent Pool program where students met weekly to hear guest speakers or participate in activities. A Peer Facilitator Program was begun for the 1990-91 school year. The next year a Cultural Club was formed to help foreign students adjust to a new school system. Hanau participated in regional and district programs such as the Hinterbrand Outdoor Education Program, Brain Bowl (Hanau won the championship during the 1994-95 school year), the International Student Leadership Institute, the annual Language, Speech, and Drama Festivals, and Odyssey of the Mind. A Future Business Leaders of America group was begun for the 1995-96 school year.

The name of the school newspaper was changed to Expressions in 1994 and became the Panther Times again for the 2003-04 school year.

From 1995 to 1998 Hanau was part of the Model Schools Project funded by the National Science Foundation. This program was a technology initiative.

The 1993 yearbook felt that the school had improved with the passage of time. The Student Council had beautified the courtyard. Benches and tables were placed outside so students had a retreat from the cafeteria. The hallways were repainted, and renovations were done in the science labs.

The school celebrated its 20th anniversary during the 1994-95 school year. The first principal, Dr. Tom Ellinger, wrote the following for the yearbook:

Thank you for allowing me to contribute a few words to include in your 20th anniversary issue of the Hanau High School Yearbook. I can still recall the day, it was Christmas Eve 1975, when I received the call from Dr. Joseph Mason, Director of the USDESA School System, offering me the principal ship of the new Hanau High School. It was the best present I would ever receive. Minutes later I drove from my office in Frankfurt to visit the new complex. The school was located on 24 acre grounds, I believe the largest in the system. Modern classrooms and laboratories with a great track, football and soccer fields and a three hole golf course. But a school is more than a building. It is a dedicated staff, some of whom are still with you today. Great students with strong school spirit as well as high academic ambitions. I fondly remember our second and third year winning fourteen European athletic championships. I remember with pride when our first college scholarships were announced by Ms. Close. We had the best music and fine arts, social studies, science, computer, math and English departments anywhere in DoDDS. The Hanau Military community, our parents in general and the PTA and Booster Club members worked diligently to support our academic and extracurricular programs.

The drawdown continued to affect the school enrollment. The enrollment for most of the 2000s was between 250 and 340 students. However, the last year there were only 160 students in the school.

The AVID program was added to the curriculum for the 2000-01 school year. Other new clubs added in the 2000s were Future Educators of America; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; and a history club. The school’s first softball team was formed in the spring of 2004.

Even though the school was getting smaller each year, the sports teams continued their winning ways. The football team was second in the conference for the 2004-05 school year. The boys’ basketball team earned their second European Championship, and the girls’ basketball team won the Division II championship the same year. The following year, the football team was undefeated and won the Division II championship, while the boys basketball team won the conference title for the third year in a row. The next year, the girls’ basketball team won the Division III championship.

For the final year of the school, 2007-08, the middle school and high school were combined. Even with such a small student body, the football team won the Division IV championship, and the volleyball team was runner-up in their division.


School Administrators

1975-1977 – Dr. Tom Ellinger, principal; Mr. Leon Rivers, deputy principal; Mr. Oakley McEachren, assistant principal

1977-1979 – Dr. Tom Ellinger; Francis P. Smith, deputy principal; Mr. Oakley McEachren, assistant principal

1980-1985 – Leon Rivers, principal, Francis P. Smith, deputy principal; Mr. Oakley McEachren, assistant principal

1984-1987 – Donald Boepple, principal; Francis P. Smith, deputy principal; Nancy Spurlock, assistant principal

1987-1988 – Larry Patrick, principal; James Lynch, deputy principal; Katherine Forystek, assistant principal; Nancy Spurlock, assistant principal

1988-1989 – Larry Patrick, principal; James Lynch, deputy principal; Catherine Jennings, assistant principal; Dr. John Hunt, assistant principal

1989-1990 – Doug Kelsey, principal; Dr. Sandy Matthys, assistant principal; Catherine Jennings Hunt, assistant principal

1990-1992 – Dr. Allen Davenport, principal; Catherine Jennings Hunt, deputy principal; Janet Johnson, AP

1992-1993 – Dr. Allen Davenport, principal; Catherine Jennings Hunt, deputy principal

1993-1996 – Dr. Sandy Matthys, principal; Catherine Jennings Hunt, deputy principal

1996-1997 – Dr. Sandy Matthys, principal; Dr. Shirley Sheck, assistant principal

1997-1999 – Dr. Sandy Matthys, principal; Kenneth Harvey, assistant principal

1999-2003 – Jennifer Rowland, principal; Kenneth Harvey, assistant principal

2003-2004 – Terri Marshall, principal; Kenneth Harvey, assistant principal

2004-2006 – Christina Echevarria, principal; Eugene George, assistant principal

2006-2008 – Christina Echevarria, principal; Martha Duncan, assistant principal

Share This: