Madrid HS History

Opened: 1955
Closed: 1970

Madrid High School was originally part of Madrid American School, also known as Generalissimo American School.

On September 6, 1955, the second school year began. The junior-senior high school moved from the elementary building to Dr. Fleming 37. The second year of the school brought two new principals, a new superintendent, and many new teachers. The enrollment reached 750 pupils. Many activities such as Glee Club, Dramatic Club, and the M Club were added to the school’s extracurricular activities.

In the 1957 yearbook, the students at Madrid High wrote that their school was different because it had elevators, it had a sidewalk café, it had constant construction, students rode to school in Mercedes buses, the school had been an apartment building, the gym was outside, and all the signs were in two languages. That school year, 56-57, there were fourteen teachers and about 250 students in grades seven through twelve. The school had an active student council, and the National Honor Society received its charter.

Activities included band, a library club, a Spanish club, and a fire squad. There was a Cresendo Club to foster music appreciation and Forum, which was a debate and public speaking club. The school mascot was the Silver Knight. Sports now included basketball, track, soccer, flag football, and softball for males. Girls participated in cheerleading and the Girls Athletic Association, which included intramurals for softball, basketball, volleyball, tumbling, badminton, archery, ping pong, and shuffleboard.

Mr. Kenneth Fish was the principal for the 1957-58 school year. There were twenty-five faculty members including a nurse who served the high school and elementary school. The enrollment for grades seven through twelve was over 300. The curriculum included classes for band, home economics, industrial arts, graphic arts, arts and crafts, and commercial classes. The students participated in exchanges with Spanish schools and had a ski trip. The Senior Glee Club presented the operetta “The Prince of Pilsen” and the Dramatics Club performed two plays for the school and a presentation at the local military hospital. Flag football now included four intramural teams and basketball games were played against host nation teams. A boys’ and girls’ Decathlon was sponsored by the M Club, the school’s version of a Lettermen’s Club, and the G. A. A. New clubs at the school included a stamp club and the Candid Club, which was a photography club.

For the 1958-59 school year Mr. Burton Lemmon was the principal and the staff was increased to thirty-six. There were almost 600 students in the school including about 150 in the seventh grade. The students published four issues of the school newspaper, Knight Life. Sports teams competed with other American military schools in Spain. The music program included a Dance Band, and new clubs were the Junior Red Cross and a Pep Club.

September 8, 1959, was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new school building. Four months previously the facility was designed to accommodate a 400-airman barracks but was converted to become a school in record time. The school was dedicated as Madrid Junior Senior High School. There were almost 750 students in grades seven through twelve with about 400 in the junior high. This was the first year the yearbook, Accolade, was published solely for Madrid. The junior high had its own newspaper, PAGE. The number of activities continued to grow and included a math club and model builders club. The school’s flag football team were the champions of the All-Spain league. Students had to endure two-hour bus rides to and from school. Mr. Harold Evans was the assistant principal for the school, and the staff numbered forty-eight.

During the sixties, the school enrollment continued to increase. For the 1960-61 school year there were over 900 students in grades seven through twelve. The configuration of the school changed during the sixties. Beginning with the 1962-63 school year, the school became a nine through twelve school instead of a seven through twelve school. When the school had just grades nine through twelve, the enrollment ranged from 500 to over 700 students.

In September 1966, dormitories were opened at the school and hosted students from several foreign countries. The eighth graded attended the school for the 1969-70 school year. The school faculty and staff ranged in size from forty in the mid-sixties to over fifty when the dormitories were added. The school administrators included principals, Dr. Lawrence Butler, Mr. George Gogo, Mr. Eugene Regan, and James Gallivan. During this time the assistant principals were Margaret McCormick, R. Wiley Brownlee, Jerald Bloom, and John Murray. The last year of the decade there were 750 students in grades eight through twelve.

Madrid High School had a very active arts program. Each year the drama club produced several plays and at least one musical in collaboration with the music department. During the 1960-61 school year, there were six drama productions, two musicals, and several one-act plays and skits. In 1968-69 there was a theatre group for the dorm students. During the 1969-70 school year there was a drama group, the Jesters, especially for the eighth and ninth graders. The band program included a symphony band, dance band, and marching band as well as a beginning and intermediate band. The music program included a chorus, Madrigal group, and folk singers. The chorus performed at local Spanish schools and venues and was on American and Spanish radio programs.

In addition to the newspaper and yearbook, the school facilitated the production of a literary magazine that showcased prose, poetry, and artwork from Air Force schools in Europe, Turkey and France. Throughout the decade, numerous new activities were made available to students, including a bowling club, pep club, Girls Athletic Association, Flag Twirlers, French Club, Future Teachers of America, Cybernetics Club, and Audio-Visual group. The 1982-83 school year the school received a charter for a Spanish national honor society known as the Menendez-Pidal Chapter of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica. This was the first charter of this worldwide organization in Spain. The school also had a daily radio program, Radio MHS, that aired before school and presented the daily bulletin. The school curriculum added new programs such as language labs and a remedial reading program. A unique class offered at Madrid was an Air Age class to broaden students’ understanding of their Air Age responsibilities and their opportunity to develop the use of the airplane to improve the life of all peoples.

Sports were an integral part of the school program. Tackle football became a sport for the 1960-61 school year, and this was the first year that the football team traveled outside of Spain for competitions. Golf was added as a competitive sport in 1963-64, and the first away soccer game was against Rota American High School in the 1965-66 school year. The football and basketball teams were the Spain champions for many years. The 1962-63 school year the football and basketball teams both won the All-Spain Championships, and the basketball team had an undefeated season.

For the 1970-71 school year the school was renamed Torrejon American High School.

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