Zweibr├╝cken ES (formerly ES #2) History

Opened: 1970
Closed: 1992

In 1969 the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pulled its forces from its airbase in Zweibruecken, Germany. The United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) took control of the property the same year. Along with the airbase USAFE also took control of the housing area which housed RCAF personnel and their families. Zweibruecken Elementary, a K-6 school, moved into what was formerly the Royal Air Force Canadian school in 1970 in the Canadian Housing Area, right across the highway from the Air Base. Initially it was called Zweibruecken #2, but in 1981 took on the present name when the French Housing school became a part of the school. The staff and students had the pleasure of enjoying the “Hausmeister,” Herr Gephart, who lived right next to the school, always taking excellent care of the property, showing kindness and pride in working with the American staff and children.The school mascot, Sunny, the Lion, made his appearance at several of the programs that continuously happened at this busy, happy school.The school had an average enrollment of 550 students. After 22 years, Zweibruecken Elementary School closed its doors in the summer of 1992.

Former students of Zweibruecken Elementary School have helped to share the special events of what made this school so unique and special.Several remarked that the two story mosaic mural on the wall of the spiral staircase which was a part of the entrance foyer was a remarkable memory of the school.Students also fondly remember the beautiful view of the city of Zweibruecken from the library, which was bright and airy, and by the 1980s had computers on rolling carts which were shared in classrooms or housed in the library for groups of students. In the 90’s, when DoDDS “beefed up” their computer program, part of the “buy” was computers on wheels, or COWS, which were used at Zweibruecken Elementary School in the 80’s.The computer club, which offered students training in programming Logo® as a prerequisite for learning Pascal®, and enabled the students with an understanding of computer science. It was one of the favorites of many students.

Zweibruecken ES added a German language class for students who were interested in formally studying German in addition to the host nation classes. Students who took these classes went on to be German language students in junior high school when they moved up to Zweibruecken High School as 7th graders.

Zweibruecken Elementary School enjoyed two partnerships with German schools. One partnership with the Hauptschule in Schönenberg-Kübelberg lasted from 1975 - 1992. Fifth grade students from the two schools went on study trips to Rothenburg together, enjoying scavenger hunts in the German and English languages with their partners. Among the visits to the American school by the German students was to experience and enjoy the American tradition of a Thanksgiving meal. The German students loved the “parachute” activities when they visited the American school. The Zweibruecken community raised funds to provide a parachute to their German partnership school as a gift of friendship. The second partnership was with a local Grundschule #3 in Zweibrücken for third graders which lasted for two years.

Students fondly remember study trips, which were highlights. There were trips to Vienna, Rothenburg, and to a Black Forest farm. They also had the chance to participate in ski trips to Scheffau, Austria. To defray costs for these overnight trips, many fund raisers were held at the school to include pretzel sales and bratwurst sales. Funds were also raised from the school store which was run and managed by the teachers. Additionally, local organizations, such as the Zweibruecken Free Masons and the Officers Wives Club provided financial assistance to students who needed that help. Every student was able to participate in these wonderful learning opportunities. In addition to the spectacular overnight study trips, students had day trips to the Saarbruecken Zoo, the Saarbruecken Fair, and the Roman Museum in Homburg, a German bakery and a Pretzel factory, to name a few that are fondly remembered. Additionally students went to the local market, and using their German language, bought the vegetables needed to make a soup. They came back to the school and prepared the vegetables, made the soup, and ate it. The whole school participated in an annual Volksmarch which included an annual medal for each participant and a pretzel.

Each year German Nicholas came to the school to read from the Golden Book in each classroom. The teachers provided a list of the names of the children and created a list of what each child did that was nice, including a “naughty” item, too. This was always a delight for the children who were given a German Lebkuchen for all the nice things for which they were recognized.

In addition to these amazing opportunities for student learning, Zweibruecken Elementary School also had a remarkable gym program with many competitions to encourage children in their physical fitness. Presidential Awards were earned by many students. The well-equipped gym provided great opportunities for students in physical education.

The wonderful gym also had a magnificent stage and a great sound system which allowed for an auditorium with many uses. During many of the years of ZES, children were able to perform Christmas programs as well as wonderful musicals and plays. Each student was afforded bi-weekly classes and opportunities to perform in winter and spring programs that directly related to their study of music and cross curricular connections. Upper grades were involved in spring musicals. addition, special performance groups were formed: The Lunchroom Singers, who practiced and performed during lunch recess and an auditioned group, The Sound of Music Singers, who performed with their teacher in German Festival Concerts and at other DODEA schools in Germany. Outstanding parent involvement and support was impressive in this endeavor.

The school never had a kitchen or hot lunch program. Initially, the children attending mostly lived in the housing area, so they walked home for lunch. When the school started bussing children in from the surrounding German villages, tables were set up in the long hallway below the library for children to enjoy their brown bagged lunches together. As a result, many children opted to stay at school to be with their friends for lunch and recess. Because there was no cafeteria, one of the teachers joined with others and opened a school store which sold snacks and school supplies, as well as instant soups which only required hot water which was prepared in a big coffee urn. Teachers assisted with this endeavor because it provided a service for the school as well as being a fund raising opportunity for study trips. The small profits from the school helped to defray costs for the overnight study trips.

Written by Peggy Hoffman-Schmidt

Principals:

  • Charles Hooper
  • Denise Cuddy
  • Fred Drath
  • Peggy Armstrong

Contributors to this history

Teachers:

  • Sandy Chebaro
  • Rosemarie Saalfeld
  • Richard Alix
  • Maryanna Jones

Students:

  • Brandon Rosenkoetter
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