Bad Godesberg American School (aka The American School on the Rhine) History

Opened: 1952
Closed: 1971

Bad Godesberg American School was located in Bad Godesberg, a suburb of Bonn, Germany. The school was situated only a hundred yards from the Rhine with a spectacular view of the river and beautiful hills and towns on the opposite bank. The student body included Department of Defense, diplomatic, and business families, which gave the school an international flavor.

The school was originally called the Bad Godesberg American School due to its location but was later referred to as The American School on the Rhine because of its location. US Assistant Commissioner Chauncey G. Parker cut the ribbon for the opening of the school on March 21, 1952. The original school had grades kindergarten through eight, and then the nineth grade was added. There was a school nurse, full time librarian, and a music teacher. The first principal was Ruby P. Anderson and there were 142 students at the beginning of the 1954-55 school year. High school students added American school in Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, or Bitburg.

The first yearbook for the school, The Shield, was published for the 1966-67 school year. At that time there were eight primary teachers for grades kindergarten through two, seven intermediate teachers for grades three through six, and eight junior high teachers. There were two classes at each grade level except for grade nine, where there was only one section. The principal was Wayne Dahlgren, and the assistant principal was Richard Le Blanc. (Mr. Le Blanc was credited with getting the first yearbook established.) In addition to the yearbook, the school had a newspaper, The Rhine Review.

The school teams were the Crusaders, and the school colors were red and white.

The school had an active student government and several extracurricular activities. These included National Junior Honor Society, International Relations Club, and clubs for chess, drama, and art. The school had a basketball team which played other junior high schools and an intermural program provided by the Boys’ Athletic Association and Girls’ Athletic Association.

The tenth grade was added to the school for the 1967-68 school year. The school enrollment was 540 with over 180 in grades seven through ten. The drama groups presented two plays that year, A Christmas Story and Joan of Arc. The school had its first pep club and Spirit Week. The 9th grade basketball team had a ten-game winning streak, and both German and American teams were included in the schedule. The school also had an eighth-grade basketball team.

In 1968-69, the school was now referred to as The American School on the Rhine. The enrollment of about 540 students included one eleventh grader. The basketball team had a twenty-game winning streak and were the Holiday Tournament Champions. Soccer and golf were added to the sports offerings. The highlight of the music program was performing at the Ambassador’s Children’s Christmas Program.

Mr. Dahlgren continued as the principal until the 1971-72 school year. The assistant principal for the 1969-70 school year was Richard Rivers. The sports teams had a banner year with the basketball team winning the USDEDEA title and the soccer team winning its second league title. Wrestling was added as a sport and there was a swimming club. The enrollment had reached 580 students.

The final year before the school was split into Bonn Elementary and Bonn High school, there were almost 600 students enrolled. The soccer program added a junior varsity team, and the varsity soccer team won the USDESEA Northern Crown. When the high school became a reality in the fall of 1971, the Bad Godesberg American School building became the high school.

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