Upper Heyford HS History

Opened: 1966
Closed: 1982

The original Upper Heyford High School was located on Site 3 at RAF Upper Heyford in the fall of 1966. The facility was originally built to house the 801st Engineer Aviation Battalion who arrived from RAF Molesworth in 1950 to upgrade the airbase for Strategic Air Command (SAC) operations. The school was opened due to the relocation of 66th Training Wing (TRW) from France to what had been a SAC Temporary Duty (TDY)/Reflex airbase. Most of the students and faculty came from American bases in France after French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew his country from military involvement with NATO and told the American armed forces to leave. There had been an elementary and junior high school at Heyford before that, but the relatively small number of dependent high school children associated with the 3918th Airbase Group either went to local United Kingdom schools or were boarders at the Bushy Park School at Teddington or the school at RAF Lakenheath.

There was an elementary school and a junior high school at RAF Upper Heyford at the time, but high school students attended Lakenheath High School, staying in dorms during the school week and returning home on weekends. However, when the Americans who had been in France arrived at Upper Heyford and High Wycombe, there were far too many new students for Lakenheath to accommodate, and there wasn’t time to build a new high school, so the old barracks were made available and became Upper Heyford High School. Maroon and white was selected as the school colors, and Rick Hunter (‘68) and Mike Brown (‘69) came up with the school nickname, the Hadites.

The school yearbook was the Trident and the school newspaper was Imprint. The school had a full academic program the first year and offered several extracurricular programs. There was a Student Council and a National Honor Society, and a yearbook was published. Athletics included cheerleaders for girls and football, golf, cross country, wrestling, and basketball for boys. Additionally, the school had a chorus, a band, and majorettes.

In 1967-68 school year, the principal was Arnold Goldstein and there were twenty-four faculty members. Grades seven through twelve formed the student body of approximately 460 students, with thirty-five seniors the first year.

By the 1970-71 school year the student enrollment was almost 700 students. There were forty-three faculty members including the principal and assistant principal, Fred Paesal. There was also a supervising principal, Luther Skelton, for the school complex. The next school year Mr. Paesal was the principal with Fred Antobus as the assistant. The high school was now grades nine through twelve, with sixty-six students in the senior class and over 160 in the freshman class. The school launched its first school carnival, which was a combined effort between the high school and the elementary school. The high school also opened a Sculpture Park between the mathematics and art wings in 1973. A creative magazine, Odyssey, was added to the school publications.

For the 1973-74 school year, a seven-period day was implemented, and the high school again had grades seven through twelve, with almost eighty seniors and 200 students in the seventh grade. The faculty totaled fifty-five, and a second assistant principal, Mr. Brisley, was added. Sports for girls, hockey, volleyball, basketball, and gymnastics were added for girls and coed tennis was added to the athletic schedule. Upper Heyford High now had a varsity and intermediate band, and the Chorus competed in competitions within the English community. The school also had a riding club and an active “L” Club to recognize outstanding sports lettermen. Air Force JROTC was added to the curriculum and had 130 members the first year.

The school continued to grow in the mid-seventies. Miles Aiken and Ira Scheir became assistant principals for the 1974-75 school year. In 1975, the high school was housed in a new modern complex at RAF Croughton. Mr. David Schlesinger was the new principal. The school now had its own television studio, computer class, and Hadite printing facility run by students. French, German, and Spanish language clubs were added to the extracurricular offerings as well as a business club and Madrigals for music. Dr. Richard Bauer became the principal for the 1977-78 school year. The AFJROTC program received the Meritorious Unit Award for the first time.

In 1981-82 there were thirty teaching stations with special purpose rooms for auto mechanics, industrial arts, hobby shop, and computers. The school was renamed Croughton High School in the spring of 1982.


Information from school yearbooks, DoDDS School Information Guides, Robin Kroyer-Kubiak and Nick Forder

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