Laon ES History

Opened: 1952
Closed: 1966

Laon American Elementary School was established in Crepy-en-Laonnois, France, in 1952. The school was for the first through eighth grade dependents of Wing personnel stationed at Laon Air Base. The first building used was rented in early 1952, under the direction of the Air Base Group Commander, J. H. Batiet. After numerous delays caused by extensive repairs, the school opened for classes on November 3, 1952. The faculty had four teachers including the principal, Mr. Joe M. Simpson. The other teachers were Mrs. Marijane Strunck, Mrs. Betty Perkins, and Mrs. Eugenia Deats. Supplies were very meager when the school opened but the situation improved as the year progressed. Several substitutes and replacement teachers were employed as illness and transfers took their toll. Four children graduated from the eighth grade at the end of the year.

The second year the school opened immediately after Labor Day with a staff of five teachers and the principal. The teachers were Mrs. Buckley, Miss Anne Casey, Miss Doris Nelson, and Mr. James Trail. Mrs. Edith Jenson became the fourth-grade teacher the second semester. There were 135 students enrolled in the school with thirty-eight first graders and five eighth graders.

By the 1962-63 school year the school had added kindergarten and the ninth and tenth grade and became Laon Elementary/Junior High School. Eleventh and twelfth graders were dorm students at another base. The administrators were Dan Jones and Earl Lamb. There were fourteen faculty members for the 150 seventh through tenth graders. In the elementary part of the school there were several sections for each grade level. The school had its first drama production and students produced their first yearbook, The Spur. The school had a football team, a basketball team, and cheerleaders. There was a National Junior Honor Society Chapter and a school choir. Students also were bus monitors.

Two years later the school administrators were Mr. Jones and Mr. Johnson. There were twelve faculty members for the junior high students and twenty-eight classroom teachers for the elementary students. Additionally, there was a host nation teacher and a librarian. Class sizes in the elementary school averaged thirty students. Grades seven through ten had 155 students. Extracurricular activities besides sports included a science club and Junior Red Cross.

The last year of the school, 1965-66, the administrators were Mr. DeCarlo and Mr. Johnson. There were eighteen faculty for the seven through tenth grade students and twenty-one classroom teachers for grades one through six. There were 181 students in the junior high part of the school and over three hundred in the elementary part of the school. The school also had a special education teacher and a full-time librarian. The school football team competed again schools from Verdun, Spangdahlem, and Hahn.

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