Paris HS History

Opened: 1951
Closed: 1967

The school opened on October 8, 1951. According to the first yearbook, “hardly a day went by without the appearance of some new crisis ranging from perplexing plumbing to bulky buses.” The reconditioning of the high school was delayed, and the school was housed for eight weeks in the office building of the 7961 EUCOM Detachment. The entire first floor and one room on the third floor were used for the school. The building was never intended for school use and had originally been a private residence. The rooms were small with inadequate heat and lighting. On November 30, 1951, the school took possession of its first permanent building at 3 Rue Cimrosa. This building had also been a private residence but had been transformed into a school with six classrooms, a library, a study hall and a faculty room. The study hall also served as the school’s auditorium. At the beginning of December, the school finally started a physical education program by using the gymnasium of the American Community Church. The first year there were five teachers for the fifty students including five seniors.

For school year 1952-53, the school was back at 53 Rue de la Faisanderie, the EUCOM location. The student body was now more than one hundred and the faculty we increased to eleven. The EUCOM offices were remodeled, and an additional floor was used for the school. The beginning of the school year was started with continuous remodeling and a lack of supplies. The school used a local field for sports. The school newspaper, The Pirates’ Log was published monthly, and the yearbook was Nos Souvenirs. The students participated in football and basketball for men and cheerleaders and Girls’ Athletic Association for women.

Within its first three years, the school had four moves: 53 Rue de la Faisanderie to 3 Rue Cimarosa, then back to Faisanderie and, finally, to the facility at Bleriot Plant, 7 Rue Gallieni, Suresne. The Bleriot Plant, a former airplane factory, was rebuilt to house the Headquarters Seine Area Command. The school was described as having “the tranquility of Grand Central Station combined with the peace and quiet of a boiler factory”. However, the new location provided many new facilities that included a music room, an audio-visual room and a gymnasium. During the third year, the school had a full-time guidance counselor and new courses such as Typing 2, Shorthand, more French classes and more arts and crafts. In February, construction began on a new dependent school that would be ready for the 1954-55 school year. In the yearbook, the seniors were described as the largest group to graduate while being the smallest group in the school.

For school year 1954-55, the principal was James R. Johnston and there were 296 students in grades seven through twelve.

The new school was a four-building installation between St. Cloud and Garches. The elementary and high school were now in two completely separate buildings with a centrally located cafeteria serving them. When the school opened, the dormitory facilities for one hundred students were near completion. The enrollment now exceeded three hundred and the faculty numbered twenty-two.

In the 1963-64 yearbook there was a picture of the school and a description of the dormitory buildings.

For school year 1956-57, Paris American High School had dormitories for the first time. The dorm was a five-day facility and students came from Dreux, Evreux and Fontainebleau. By the next school year, there were over 130 dorm students. For the school year 1962-63 dorm students only came from Fontainebleau and there was only one dorm building. The other dorm facility was transformed into the junior high school. By 1956 the school also had a new gymnasium and its own sports fields. The senior class had grown to fifty-eight students. Language labs had been added to the school in 1962. In January 1963, a second two story building was added. This building housed arts and crafts, business classes and shop.

Due to the fact that the Paris military community had both the US European Command Headquarters and the SHAPE, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO, there were many high-ranking officers. Due the influence of these officers, the Junior/Senior Prom was held at the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower in 1966.

The school was closed in 1967 due to the withdrawal of American forces from France.

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