Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Mark's Schools in Guam

The prompt for Week 45 of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is High School.  Continuing with that theme, I'm going to talk about Mark's schools while his family lived on Guam (late 1954 through August 1960).

Describe your middle and/or high school. Was it a large or small student body? Is the school still in existence today? How has it changed since you went there? 

Mark's dad was sent to Guam by the Administrative Department of the Navy (he was a civilian employee) in July 1954.  The family followed from Pensacola, Florida, sometime that autumn, during or just after the first six week grading period in eighth grade for Mark. He completed eighth grade, graduating June 8, 1955, at the Wettengel Elementary School, which as that time was housed at Andersen Air Force Base, and appeared to only enroll stateside students (at least, in eighth grade).  It's now a K-5 school in a building in Dedego that opened in 1968.

Mark then attended and graduated from  George Washington High School, at that time located in a number of quonset huts at the former Fifth Field Marine Depot in Mongmong. Here's an aerial view published in one of Mark's high school yearbooks, the 1958 Gecko:
The school was huge at the time Mark was there, with over 2500 students enrolled (based on the number in English, generally a required course all four years), according to this graph in his senior yearbook, the 1959 Gecko:
The photo below left is of Mark and his friend Paul Gillet ("Mr. Statesider 1959") outside the school, and the other photos are ones Mark took inside the library (below right) and in science labs (bottom). Mark said each quonset hut (there were about ten) held five classrooms, and one also served as a mess hall (cafeteria).

The school still exists today, but in a building constructed in 1966 in Mangilao. Mark's school was destroyed by Super Typhoon Karen in November 1962.

Mark attended the Territorial College of Guam in 1959-1960.  This two-year college was also built on the old Marine Depot in quonset huts.  A new facility opened in the fall of 1960, also in Mangilao, but by this time Mark's family had moved back to the States.  The College eventually evolved into today's University of Guam.

© Amanda Pape - 2011 - click here to e-mail me.

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