Kreuzberg ES (formerly Zweibr├╝cken ES #1) History

Opened: 1952
Closed: 1993

Kreuzberg Elementary School (Zweibruecken Elementary School #1) was located in Zweibruecken, Germany on the military base of Kreuzberg Kaserne. It was a K-6 school with an average enrollment of 525 students. Its school symbol was a horse that was pictured on many of the school yearbooks. Students proudly referred to themselves as the Sunny Stallions.

Kreuzberg Kaserne was under control of the Wehrmacht form 1938-1945. From the period of 1945-1951 it was occupied by French forces, and by the US Army from 1951-1993. In its early years Kreuzberg Kaserne was a processing station for military troops. The school opened in 1952. Originally named Zweibruecken Elementary School #1 the school was renamed Kreuzberg Elementary School effective August 28, 1984, to reflect the name of the military base. Kreuzberg Elementary School was one of the dwindling number of schools that utilized Quonset huts to accommodate its student population. A few of the early teachers at the school were reassigned from American school closures in France. The school had the good fortune of retaining its two wonderful host nation teachers, Hannelore Lacroix, and Helga Sutter for many years.

Some of the fondest memories of students were the annual PTO sponsored school carnival, the annual 5th and 6th grade ski trip to Scheffau, Austria, schoolwide volksmarches, and the school wide Halloween Parade through the military base. The school group, the Sunny Steppers, performed in numerous local events. The choir participated in the annual German Christmas concert with local German Schools in the historic Alexanderskirche, built in the late 15th century, the oldest church in the city. Other notable events included the much-anticipated creation of the German gingerbread houses during the Holiday Season, an activity created and overseen by the host nation teacher, Hannelore Lacroix. Some of the most notable creations were proudly displayed in one of the downtown German shops. Students and teachers oddly remember walking to the lunchroom. The lunchroom was a 5-10 minute walk from the school building. To get there you had to walk along this extremely narrow walkway fraught with areas of unevenness and drop off. Parents were not as fond of it.

KES entered long term partnership with a local Grundschule that was both educationally and culturally beneficial to both schools. The kindergarten classes invited German students of the same age to participate in a Thanksgiving dinner. Kreuzberg students were dressed as Pilgrims and the German students dressed as Indians. A typical Thanksgiving meal was prepared by parents of the kindergarten students. In 1992 KES entered an exchange program with Russian students. The students spent a week in Zweibruecken and was housed by student parents. The following year the military base won the military Community of Excellence Award and as gratitude for the schools’ involvement in the process, paid the expenses of 6th grade students travel to Ivanovo, Russia where they were house parents and visited the schools of the Russian students.

Notable study trips included those to Trier, Saarbruecken, historic towns along the Mosel and Rhine Rivers, and the annual Ski trip to Scheffau, Austria.

A memorable event for many students was the day the principal, Mr. Haymon, spent the school day working from the school roof. The student body was challenged to read 15000 books by the end of the school year. If they met the goal Mr. Haymon, said he would spend a school day on the roof of the school working. The achievement was greatly helped by the established and popular Passport to Reading Program, the brainchild of the reading specialist, Dianne Yeasting. The program had the involvement of parents and even the base commander who visited the school and read books to lower grade students. Students were given “passports” to paste in stickers for each five books read. Their efforts were so successful that 17,000 books had been read by May of that year. Over 7,600 books were read by the three first grade classes alone. The post fire department sent a fire truck to the school to hoist a desk and Mr. Haymon to the roof to fulfill his promise. The feat drew a great deal of attention as the school was on the main strasse leading on and off the kaserne.

Assistant principals assigned to the school included Arthur Fox, Helen Sheng, Jim Harrison, School Principals included John Romeo, Dorothy Weihe, Dale Dickey, Allen Haymon, Robert Richards, and Eric Gentry, the last principal before closure.

The school closed in 1993.

 

Contributors – Alyce Surman, Jim Sargent and Ann Toone

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