In September 1950, near the industrial town of Warrington on the River Mersey in the country of Lancashire in northern England, the Burtonwood American High School held its first classes. By 1957 two eighth grade classes crowded the space which originally accommodated the entire school, including the principal’s office.
According to the 1959 Vapor Trails yearbook, August 5, 1957, was a memorable date in the history of Burtonwood High School, since it was the day trucks arrived to remove all materials from the sprawling buildings that had housed the school to the new school location. On September 9, 1957, students entered the new buildings, which were described as “an enchanted world with a color scheme of lemon yellow, light green, salmon pink, cream and the pale blue of a summer”.
Each year of the school’s operation the curriculum became more varied with thirty courses offered by the 1956-57 school year. That year there were 116 students in grades seven and eight, and 108 in the senior high school. The administrative and teaching staff for the junior and senior high school departments totaled sixteen.
The administrators for the 1956-57 school year were Dr. Delrae Christiansen, principal, and Mr. Jack Richardson, assistant principal. There were sixteen teachers and about 160 students in grades seven through twelve. For the 1958-59 school year, Mr. James Jarboe was assistant principal. There were fifteen staff and 127 students, grades 7–12, with five seniors.
Pupils participated in football, baseball, basketball and soccer. The school produced plays and programs, formed clubs and travelled on school sponsored tours to local points of interest and to distant parts of the United Kingdom as well as seven continental countries. The clubs included a Letterman’s Club that was formed for the 1957-58 school year, the Jr. Red Cross and the “Golden Voices” music club.
Burtonwood Dependents’ School had its first newspaper in 1950, the year the high school opened. Miss Elsie Yaeger, the commercial teacher at that time, was sponsor. In 1952 the student body adopted the name The Pirate and monthly editions of the newspaper were published. There was an end-of-year literary magazine in 1954. In the 1953-54 school year, the newspaper staff put out a paper every three weeks under the direction of the principal. That year, Burtonwood High School had its first yearbook, the B-Book that was printed as a souvenir record of school-life overseas. Burtonwood High school was included in three editions of Vapor Trails, 1957-1959. The name of the school paper was changed to Hi-Lites that year and continued to be published under that name until the school closed. In 1954 the journalism staff published a magazine for the end-of-the year activities. This was the only magazine published by the school.
June 1959 marked the end of tenth year of Burtonwood Dependents’ School and the ninth year for the senior high students. During the decade more than ten thousand elementary and high school pupils attended school at Burtonwood. Forty-six seniors had graduated. The last year one hundred forty-seven pupils, grade seven through twelve, attended the school.
Information from the 1957-59 Vapor Trails combined yearbooks