Ramstein HS History

Opened: 1982

Mascot: The Royal (Crowned Lion)

School Colors: Red/White/Blue (Initial)
Red/Blue (Current)

Prior to 1982, Kaiserslautern High School was the only high school in the greater Kaiserslautern, Germany area. The greater Kaiserslautern area held the highest concentration of Americans outside the continental United States, once quoted to be around 50,000 people. Kaiserslautern High School was one of the largest in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools system (DoDDS) and the largest in DoDDS Germany. Construction of a new high school on Ramstein Airbase, Ramstein, Germany, began in June of 1981. On August 30, 1982, Ramstein High School (RHS) opened to approximately 650 students and fifty staff members. It opened as a 10–12 high school and later changed to a 9–12 configuration.

The large student enrollment made the school the sixth largest high school in DoDDS. Constructed at a cost of 13.5 million dollars, the school was the most modern high school in DoDDS Germany. Following its opening, construction began on the outdoor track, basketball, and tennis courts. The school design included facilities for educating students with handicap conditions, science laboratories, and a state-of-the-art auto-mechanics shop. The additions raised the total cost of the building to approximately 16 million dollars.

The school administrators for year one and two were Mr. Donald Beopple, principal, and assistant principals Mr. James Lynch and Ms. Judy McGuane. The expressed desire of the students was to build and pass on legends and traditions, thus the title of the initial yearbook was Die Legende. The student body galvanized rapidly. The student council adopted their constitution and moved quickly to organize school activities. The royal spirit of the First Class was exhibited by students wearing the royal colors of red, white, and blue imprinted with the Royal Lion. Their school spirit was exhibited in the fads and trends embraced by students.

The high-school-institutionalized Spirit Week was looked upon with great anticipation at the new school. The excitement of Spirit Week was heightened by the realization that this would be the first one in the history of the school. Instead of the traditional homecoming, students organized the “Royal Newcoming.” The theme of the student-sponsored dance was Royal Newcoming. “Eye of the Tiger”, a song that had been adopted throughout the school year, was the song of the evening.

Clubs and organizations were a vibrant fiber of Ramstein High School. Student clubs were referred to as the “pulse of life at Ramstein High School”. Twenty-one school clubs were established within the first school year. Throughout its history there were recreational, service, language, career, spirit, and drama/art/music clubs at the school. Student clubs and organizations, as voiced by students, were an important component in maintaining the school spirit. On one occasion it was said that student clubs were more than groups who met to raise funds. Many clubs and organizations volunteered to help the community and environment. In addition to increasing school spirit, students joined clubs and organizations to make new friends, to find a place to fit in, and to learn and respect differences.

In the 1984-85 school year, Mr. Fred Draft replaced Don Beopple as principal. Omni Magazine chose Ramstein High School as one of the seventy-seven most promising High Schools in the U.S.

The 1990-91 yearbook was entitled Changes 91, noting changes that had occurred worldwide and within the school. The most notable change within the school was the departure of Fred Draft, who held the principalship for six years. Mr. Draft was replaced by Mr. Douglas Kelsey.

In a year of change throughout Eastern Europe, students and teachers from Lithuania and two teachers from Hungary visited the school. The guests from Lithuania discussed the lives in their home country and the difficulties and sacrifices they endured in the process of breaking away from the Soviet Union.

The 1991-92 school year was the ten-year anniversary of Ramstein High School. Due in part to the previous year’s graduation and the departure of students because of family moves, nearly 50 percent of the student population was new. Even with the influx of so many fresh faces, the school continued to demonstrate the school spirit that had made it so vibrant. The Royal Players (Drama Club) presented the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Spirit Week was as fun as ever. The Senior Class Hall theme was “Winter Wonderland”. The seniors created murals on the walls of the senior hall and added cut out snowflakes. The scent of pine trees completed the effect.

Throughout its history, sports and athletics were positive components to the experience of being a student at Ramstein High School. One student stated in the 1993-94 yearbook that “sports create school spirit which creates memories we will cherish forever”. Ramstein sports teams provided positive memories for students and the community. Throughout its history the boys’ and girls’ teams have won championships in all sports. In some instances, they won championships in consecutive years. A few of their accomplishments are as follows.

In its first three years the school teams won the following:

  • 1982-83 – The wrestling team won the Triple A Championship.
  • 1983-84 – The gymnastics team won the Central European Championship.
  • 1985-86 – The tennis team was undefeated.
  • The golf team was undefeated and for the second year in a row DoDDS Germany Champions.
  • The cross-country girls’ team was undefeated and won the Triple A championship.
  • The 1990-91 basketball team went undefeated and for the second year in a row took first place in the Triple A Conference. The volleyball team also captured the Triple A Tournament Championship.

In later years:

  • 2005 – The varsity boys won the Division 1 Soccer Championship.
  • 2013 – The school won the DoDDS-Europe volleyball championship.
  • 2014 – The school won the Division 1 Cheer Competition.
  • 2014 – The school won the DoDDS -Europe Division 1 Basketball Championship.
  • 2018 – The football team won the European Championship.

From the early years to the present, Ramstein High School was proud of its musical program and Drama Club. The school’s advanced and intermediate bands, jazz band, orchestras, and choirs often performed for school and community events. The Winter Concerts were always a special school event. Student plays and musicals from year one of the school’s existence to the present entertained the student body. Students were entertained with musicals such as Annie, Grease, Guys and Dolls, and South Pacific. Student plays such as A Man For All Seasons, presented by the Royal Theater in the 1983-84 school year, were hits with the student body. In the following years, plays such as You Can’t Take It With You, Oklahoma, Harvey, Our Town, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Diners, The Brothers Grimm, The Write Stuff, and Fractured Fairy Tales were performed for the elementary school. The play Prometheus was performed at the Drama Fest.

The 2012-13 school year marked the 30th anniversary of Ramstein High School. Longevity in the principal’s position was noted in the first twenty-nine years of the school’s existence. There were four principals during that time span: Mr. Beopple (two years), Mr. Draft (six years), Mr. Kelsey (five Years), and Mr. Diesselhorse (five years). The principal at the 30th anniversary mark was Mr. Fred Hatch. The school yearbook, entitled “Long Live Us”, was dedicated to the school’s thirty-years of educating students. A special section in the yearbook was an interview with the two staff members who had served at the school since its opening.

In 2021, construction was completed on the new Ramstein High Scholl, described as the “brand-new flagship of DoDEA”. The school was built at a cost of $98.8 million. A ceremony commemorating the school’s opening was held on September 14, 2021. The three-story school conforms to 21st-century design principles. It has learning neighborhoods verses classrooms, enabling more flexibility for learning activities. There are music rooms, a computing center, an art room with a kiln, science labs, and a career technical education area. In addition, it features an indoor rifle range for Junior ROTC cadets, the “freshman academy” with a rooftop balcony, and a spacious gymnasium—the largest in the DoDEA system. The school was built to accommodate 1,100 students.

As of the 2022-23 school year, the school’s enrollment is approximately 860 students and eighty faculty members. The principal is Mr. Fredo Ontiveros.

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