Ernest Harmon HS History

Opened: 1956
Closed: 1966

Ernest Harmon High School was established in 1956. Previous to this date, students in grades nine through twelve were enrolled as tuition students at St. Stephen’s School, Stephenville, Canada. The first dependent students graduated from St. Stephen’s School in 1957. The rising enrollment in 1955 prompted the decision to open a base high school to include grades seven through twelve. No building was available until the spring of 1956, when the new elementary school was completed and the former school on Maine Drive became vacant. On September 4, 1956, the base high school officially opened in building T-394.

In 1958 Harmon High established its own newspaper, The Harmon Highlight.

According to the 1961 school yearbook, The Rocket,

Mr. McCormack and eight teachers greeted 110 students at the opening of school in August. The first high school building, was a rambling structure constructed of old contractors’ and military barracks that dated from the early years of the base. The tar papered structure, soon nicknamed the “Silver Slipper” from the aluminum paint that had been applied in a vain attempt to brighten its appearance, was ill-suited for school purposes. Narrow classrooms, poor laboratory equipment, inadequate heating facilities were handicaps, but both students and teachers refused to feel discouraged. “School spirit will have to make up for the deficiencies of our school plant,” Mr. McCormack noted at an assembly on opening day. The student response was enthusiastic. Despite the severity of the winter, during which ice formed on the school corridors, and snow drifted into desks through chinks in the walls, both attendance and morale remained high.

The second year of the school, the base renovated Building 203, a permanent barracks, to house the high school. This same year the school was accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

The school continued to be plagued by space problems and was supplemented by an annex, Building 155, which housed grades seven and eight.

In 1961 Cecil Haddox was promoted to superintendent of schools at Ernest Harmon AFB and he was also appointed principal of the junior-senior high school. Several new programs were started at the school. These included new classes in art, music, and physical education as well as the inaugural year of the National Honor Society.

The school was relocated to a new building on a site near the television station two years later. This was the first time; Harmon High had a building specifically designed for school needs. (This building is now being used by Newfoundland and Labrador’s community college, the College of the North Atlantic)

By 1965/66 the high school had an enrollment of 171 junior high and 235 high school students with twenty-eight teachers. When the base closed in 1966, there were 405 junior and senior high school students and twenty-six teachers.

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