Mannheim HS History

Opened: 1956
Closed: 2015

Mascot: Bison
School Colors: Purple/Gold
School Newspaper: Bison By-line
School Yearbook: Der Spiegel

Mannheim High School was in Mannheim, Germany. The school opened on September 5, 1956, as the newest member of the US Army Europe (USAREUR) school system. The seven–twelve high school moved into a building on Benjamin Franklin Village that was once occupied by the elementary school. They were to remain in that building throughout the school’s fifty-five-year history. In 1956 the junior high wing was added; in 1985 the school underwent extensive remodeling; and in 1987 a school construction project added a new gymnasium and additional classrooms. Mannheim High School opened with a faculty of nineteen teachers, one of whom was Clyde Born, an industrial arts teacher, who two years later would be the principal of the newly opened Karlsruhe High School. Mannheim High School would remain a seven–twelve high school until Mannheim Middle School opened in 1975. The principal of the new school was Warren Ruppel. Twenty-two students were members of the senior class.

School Organizations in the opening year were the Student Council, Annual, Girl’s Athletic Association (GAA), Majorettes, Cheerleaders, Newspaper, Craft Club, and the M-Club. The music groups were the Dance Band, Dixieland Band, and an orchestra. A six-man football team and the basketball team were the school’s only athletic teams.

The following year, Clyde Born was assigned the position of assistant principal. Mr. Ruppel continued as principal. There was an increase in school activities. The senior class raised funds for their senior trip to Venice. The junior class sponsored the Junior-Senior Prom and the barn dance, and the freshman class supervised “Twirp Week” activities. Other activities were the powder puff game, the Christmas Formal, the Jungle Hop, the Gridiron Soiree, Senior Symposium, and the Student Council Leadership Conference. New to the school were the Pep Club girls, and the Lettermen’s Club, The National Honor Society, Red Cross, Library Club, Art Service Club, Projection Club, Future Educators of America, French Club, Hi-Y, and the Freshman Science Club. Track, golf, tennis, and soccer joined football and basketball as the school’s athletic teams. The track team won the USAREUR Championship. The Girls’ Athletic Association sponsored intramural sports activities in soccer, volleyball, basketball, field hockey, and soccer for girl students.

As early as the second year of the school’s existence, students felt that Mannheim High School (MHS) had the most active music departments in the American Dependent Schools. The Marching Band played in all sports events, in special assemblies, in community activities, and in the local Fasching Parade. The orchestra combined with the band to present the Christmas assembly and other musical programs. Other groups that performed throughout the year were the Dance Band, Senior Band, Mixed Chorus, Girl’s Chorus, and the Boy’s Quartet.

Mr. Wayne Dobson was assigned as principal for the 1958-59 school year. His assistant was Mr. Orrin Bull, Jr. Based on the desire of the students, additional clubs were added. Among these was the International Furniture Making Club. The football team moved from a six-man team to and eleven-man team. The team concluded the season by beating highly respected Nürnberg High School. The Senior trip was to Rome.

Student clubs and organizations were very active at MHS. The following is an example of some of the club’s activities from the date of the school’s opening to the 1980-81 school year.

Student Council

  • Led the school’s service and social activities.
  • Sponsored the Christmas Formal.
  • Sold basketball tickets.
  • Promoted the Leadership Conference.
  • Operated the student store.
  • Established a mailbox for outgoing student mail.
  • Sold postage stamps to save students from having to go to the post office.

German American Club

  • Home and Home Exchange Program
  • German American talent show

Junior Red Cross

  • Made rag dolls and collected toys for gift boxes and sent them to the Mannheim Orphanage for Christmas.

Art and Science Club

  • Initiated a school beautification program.

Cheerleading Club

  • Sponsored assemblies.
  • Sponsored a Christmas Program “Christmas in Many Lands”.

Future Homemakers of America

  • Mended coats.
  • Repaired and distributed toys for children in the orphanage.

Red Cross

  • The group divided into three committees: clothing, toys, and the social committee. The clothing and toys committee organized successful clothing and toys drives. Items from these drives were given to the German Orphanage and the German Refugee Camp. The social committee held a party for patients at the Heidelberg Hospital and the scrapbook committee completed a scrapbook of the school and exchanged it with for a scrapbook from a foreign school.


  • Participated in international projects such as the aid for Cystic Fibrosis Program.

Concert Band

  • Participated in three Fasching parades: Illvesheim, Mannheim, and Kafertal.
  • Gave a Spring Concert for high school and elementary school.
  • Participated in a three-day music festival at Karlsruhe High School.

Marching Band

  • The MHS Marching Band was referred to as the number one band in United States Dependents Schools, European Area (USDESEA). The group played at every football game, home and away.

Jazz Band

  • The Jazz Band was described as not being a Jazz Band but a Swing Band, a Rock Band, and a Jazz Band who could play Glenn Miller, Chicago, and the Hustle all in the same performance.

Concert Choir

  • Performed for the Thanksgiving Assembly, Christmas Carnival, Winter Concert and for a joint German American Concert

Mixed Chorus

  • Performed at the Christmas assembly.
  • Participated in the three-day music festival at Karlsruhe High School.
  • Provided entertainment for a local service club.

Drama Club (Performances)

  • The Young and the Restless
  • Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid
  • The Taming of the Bard an evening of two one-night adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
  • General Hospital
  • The Velvet Rabbit
  • Do You Want My Opinion


  • The track team won the USAREUR Championship. (1957-58)
  • The wrestling team won the USAREUR Championship. (1960-61)
  • The football team went undefeated and were USAREUR co-champions with Heidelberg High School. (1966-67)
  • The girls’ volleyball team won the USDESEA Championship. (1980-81)


Mannheim High School celebrated its Silver Anniversary during the 1980-81 school year. The school yearbook opened with “This is Mannheim High School’s ‘Silberne Festjahr’ or Silver Anniversary. After twenty-five years this is what Mannheim has become, a school with much to remember, much to look forward to, and certainly much to celebrate. You have come a long way Mannheim. Prost to an unforgettable year and to the class of 1981!” The school yearbook was dedicated to teacher Sue Haertel, who coached the undefeated girl’s championship volleyball team and was instrumental in the adventure center, varsity club, and the school bike rally. Memorable activities as listed in the school’s yearbook were a better than ever Spirit Week, the Sadie Hawkins Dance, and the posh Winter Formal. The entire school study trip day saw some students take a castle watching cruise on the Nectar River, while others visited the King Tut Exhibition at Cologne, and yet others bicycled on paths in the Odenwald. In February, the Marching Band and the Lettergirls traveled to Colmar, France, and the Thespians and orators attended the Forensics festival in Wuerzburg. The school administrators during this milestone school year were Principal Warren Van Zee and assistant principal, Barbara Axton.

School administrators from the school’s opening to the 1981 school year were:

PrincipalsAssistant Principals
Warren RupelClyde Born
Wayne DonsonOrrin Bull, Jr
Wendell GreerDavid Cook
Phillip YoungDavid Cook
Robert PlattenbergKenneth GarlandDennis ShawGustave D’Ari
John GatesJohn Smith
Donald ElsmoreJohn SmithJohn Winkler 
George StevensThomas MickettPhillip Morgan 
Frank GalavanLouis KorthThomas Mickett 
Warren Van ZeeHouston JackBarbara Axton 


New staff, school administrators, school organizations, clubs, and athletic teams became part of the school landscape leading up to the school’s 50th anniversary and beyond. New academic programs and curricular changes occurred throughout this span. Students loved the school for its uniqueness. In the 2004-05 school yearbook the assistant principal, in his letter to the senior class, described that one of the things that made MHS such a wonderful school was its uniqueness. He attributed those unique qualities as beginning in what the “old timers” referred to as the Goldstein Years, 1994–2001. The school took on its uniqueness from the student lounge which came into existence from a project involving the schools condemned roof which was converted to the student lounge; from the barbeque pit that was built in the courtyard; from the outside area created for students to relax that was created from the space of the demolished Quonset huts.  He listed other “quirks” of the school that contributed to the school’s uniqueness.

The theme of the 2004-05 school yearbook was “Just Different!”. The school’s enrollment had decreased to 340 students and a staff of forty-seven. In the mid-seventies the enrollment had been nearly 1,300 students.

In the 2006-07 school year the school celebrated its 50th anniversary. Sharon O’Donnell was the principal.

School administrators from the 1981 school year until closure were:

PrincipalsAssistant Principals
Warren Van ZeeHouston JackBarbara Axton
 Patricia SteinkuhlerPatricia Lewis
 Dennis McGuane 
Barbara AxtonDave DouglasLee Kirsch
 Robert BrintonDavid Davenport
Ken GoldsteinPatricia CosbyAl Schertzing
Eric GoldmanAl Schertzing 
Sharon O’ConnellJoseph Malloy 
Sheila Smith  


Mannheim High School closed its doors in 2015.

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