Karlsruhe American High School

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Michael Olson '67
Date: 4/4/12

 I found this site while I was checking how far it was from Nelligen to Karlsruhe. My oldest sister, Marleen posted on facebook that it was 50 years since she met her husband when we lived in Nelligen.
 After we moved to Karlsruhe he made the trip to Karlsruhe almost every weekend until she graduated in 63. They Married June of 63 when Marleen graduated and Ray got discharged.

Adriana Stagg DiFilippo '67
Date: 10/11/11

Teaching elementary school for 40 years!  Have two wonderful sons, one a teacher, one a musician.  Would love to hear from anyone who was there from '59 to '62!

Daniel "Danny" Wood '80
Date: 10/10/11

I attended KAHS my freshman year and half of my sophomore year. I left to come back to the states about November of 1977. I played football my freshman year for the Jaguars of the DYA.
 Feel free to contact me if anyone remembers me. I hung out with a lot of people.

Catherine Jones Davis FA
Date:  1/28/11


David Neverette '80
Date: 1/9/11

Well left Germany 1978 to Colorado Springs.  Graduated at Widefield High. Ran into one guy from Karlsruhe - Tony Lucero, wrestling.
 Had a few jobs before starting my own biz called Valley Pets and have been doing it ever since.  Got married and have 2 kids.  Still here in Colorado.
 So where are my friends huh? Call me

Doris Johnson Hudson '70
Date:  1/1/11

I can't tell you how excited I am to have found this site.  I'm looking forward to more information about future reunions.

Jamie Kelly '94
Date: 12/31/10

Hello all, I attended Karlsruhe American High for a short period, however, I made some of the most important friends of my live during my visit.
 Please email me if you have any questions or if you just would like to reminise. I recently (2010) visited Paul Revere Village and would love to share with you what I discovered.

Chris Schaefer '60
Date: 12/14/10

1958-1959 (my Junior year) was the first year we had full high school at Karlsruhe.  The previous year everybody above 8th grade was bused to Heidelberg each day.
  We voted on the school name (Black Knights won) and colors (black and white) but the football uniforms had already been ordered, so the Black Knights played their first year
 (6-man football) wearing blue and yellow uniforms.  My recollection is that we had about 150 students, total, from 7th through 12th grades.

Mildred Sue Osborn Meister '62
Date: 9/18/10

It is good to find the site.  I would be nice to connect with friends...never thought of doing this until a friend mentioned it....thought Karlsruhe was lost to me forever.
Good Memories in Germany at that time.

Charles "Ray" Cheatum '76
Date: 9/18/10

I had alot of fun in those days, some of the best times of my life. I played football QB to be exact, my brother Darrly attended as well. I have 2 children, one son Dallas who is 34 with my high school sweetheart Carol Belser KAHS c/o 1977
 and I have one daughter, Jackie who is 14,with my ex-wife Iris. I have three Grandchildren Cameron 12, Dallas 11, and lil baby Morgan.
 I'm divorced and enjoying my freedom. I live in El Paso Texas, retired vet. Would love to hear from classmates and teammates.

Andrea Boerner Tabor '94
Date: 7/31/10

I went to school there in the early 80's. My mom worked in the cafeteria - her name was Deanna Boerner and she also was the soccer coach for the varsity Boys in which my brother played on.  If I am not mistaken, they won their division
 and were really good.  I left when I was in the fourth grade- my teacher's name was Mr. Holdorf, and I remember all the grades were held in one school and we used to have to go across the street to the playground and behind
 the playground were some trees with a walk that lead to my building.  We lived on the first floor. I too remember opening the windows that were so huge and yelling out at friends I also remember thinking I could sit in a child seat the wrong way
 and having to have my parents the neighbors cut me out of the thing.  I had some wonderful times and met many great people.

Richard "Rick" Sanders '70
Date: 6/19/10

 Great web site!  Wonderful to see faces from a top notch school.  I was really sad to leave KAHS and not get to graduate with the Class of '70, but as we all know, we basically had to go wherever our sponsor (parent) got assigned.
I was very fortunate, and got to spend another 12+ years in Germany working for the military and having my kids go to DoDEA/DoDDS schools - Augsburg and Stuttgart - and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Brian O'Connor '91
Date:  4/30/10

I joined the military in 1998 and am now a Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2), working for the Criminal Investigation Command (CID).  I am currently stationed at Fort Gordon, GA and will be deploying to Iraq
 for a second time in July 10.  I am married to my beautiful wife Kelley since 2000 and have no children to speak of.  I would love to get in contact with any of my former classmates and school mates that are still around.

Shirley "Bean Bean" Harris '85
Date:  2/10/10

I was born in Heidelberg, Germany. I'm originally from Commerce, Ga. I'm from all over. I was raised in Karlsruhe, Germany, Ft. Bragg, N.C., Commerce, Ga., Lawton, O.K., Ft. Sill, O.K., Augusta, Ga.
 and Ft. Gordon, Ga. I went to 2nd grade at Kaiserslautern Elementary School 1 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. And I went to 3rd grade at Kaiserslautern Elementary School in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
 I've had 13 1/2 years of college. I got a degree in fashion merchandising from Ashworth University on 9/8/04. I lived in Advondale Estates, Ga. for 6 months. And I lived in Stone Mountain, Ga. for 3 months.

Billy Henderson '71
Date: 2/9/10

In March of my senior year my dad had a massive heart attack and was medivaced to Ft Bless. It had been 39 years since I seen or heard from any of my classmates.
 I have recently located a few of them on Facebook.

"BRATS: Our Journey Home" is now available on DVD at...


It's the first-ever documentary about us -- about growing up "BRAT" -- and how that has profoundly shaped our lives and our struggle to belong. Help us spread the word.

Tim Wurtz, London Central and Ankara American High School class of 1969.
co-produced "BRATS: Our Journey Home." It's written and directed by Army Brat Donna Musil and narrated by Air Force Brat Kris Kristofferson. We need your support to let other Brats know about this movie. Here's what people are saying...

"This beautiful film is a must for each and every person who ever lived under these circumstances... this is not an easy topic... the filmmakers have done an excellent job of laying out the major issues... we should all support this film in the most aggressive way possible..."
-John Hardy, Military Brat, London Central - Producer, "Sex, Lies and
Videotape" "Erin Brokovich" "Ocean's 11" "Ocean's 12"...

"This movie made my heart sing, my eyes tear and my spirit soar. I am a richer person for having watched it."
-Michael Ritter, Military Brat, K-town HS, author, "The Brat Chronicles"

"I can't believe the changes in my life it's brought about already."
-Ginger Cole Turner, DoD teacher's daughter

"I am completely overwhelmed. I thought I had covered this waterfront both intellectually and emotionally, but how wrong I was. I was sobbing."
-Sarah Bird, Military Brat, author, "The Yokota Officers Club"

"I'm taking my copy to the local school here in Tennessee and see if this will finally help them understand that when my daughter said, 'You know I saw that last soldier from WWII surrender himself on Guam,' she was telling the truth."
-Michael A. Coleman, Military Brat, AFCENT High School, Netherlands

Watch this movie and help us inform BRAT NATION. Please forward this e-mail to every BRAT you know, including your brothers and sisters, and to the parents of every BRAT you know.

"BRAT NATION TOUR: Our Journey Home" Festivals and screenings...

We're adding cities across America.
 Please check - www.bratsfilm.com - for a screening near you.

Once Upon a Day in Dodds Germany, April 15, 1988
(Click on picture below to get pdf)

A Blast from the Past

By Vivian Jones Obianyo '72

My father was a career-soldier in the Army.  That makes me a military brat, a Brat.  I don’t know why military children would be considered Brats; but I acknowledge and accept that title with proud affection. 

The active military parent chooses to live within the parameters of military existence.  The accompanying spouse elects to accept that standard of living.  The children, however, are raised into a unique lifestyle.  From my point of view it’s not a bad life.  Being a Brat afforded me the opportunity of travel to eleven states and one country.  I attended seven schools, and most of the time I lived in a protected environment of a gated community with access to a movie theater, bowling alley, skating rink, swimming pool, and teen club.  How privileged is that?  But growing up, all I knew was life in transition.  Thankfully, my parents had five children, so I have three sisters and a brother, from oldest to youngest, five years apart.  They were my playmates, my best friends – they were my constants. 

My father put in for a tour of duty overseas so the family could experience life outside the United States.  We were sent to Paul Revere Village, a little Army base in the heart of Karlsruhe, Germany.  Paul Revere Village was a self-sustaining community with all the services offered stateside, but the American school housed 600 – 700 pupils from first to twelfth grade.  Karlsruhe American Elementary School included students from first to sixth grades while Karlsruhe American High School contained students from seventh to twelfth grades.  My graduating class of 38 was part of the 317 high school student population.  I counted each and every face in my yearbook.  

Even though it meant traveling across the ocean, I thought of our move to Germany as just another transfer.  It wasn’t until I became an adult that I recognized how unusual I had been reared.  How dissimilar my life experiences were from the general population.  And as the years passed I realized the impossibility of ever seeing my fellow Brats.  Then an innocent Internet query brought information that an East Coast gathering was held every Labor Day weekend right here in the Washington metropolitan area.  I made contact!  In 2000, I packed my bags and made the 35-mile trip to Ellicott City, Maryland, for my first touch with the past.  I didn’t want to miss a thing.  I arrived on Saturday to meet and greet, picnicked on Sunday and returned home on Labor Day Monday feeling refreshed and energized.  

I guess because we came from a small, overseas school, the emphasis is not on having graduated from Karlsruhe American High School, but on attending the school, period.  Everyone counts, even those who left school before graduating, and the tendency is to be recognized by the decade rather than by class groups.  For instance, at the gathering there were only three from my class in attendance and, perhaps five or six from my brother and sisters’ classes.  Together, we represented the ‘70s group.  That’s just the way it is, part of the bond of being a Karlsruhe alumni. 

This year I took a five-day visit to the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina, to attend my first all-school reunion.  My sister, Yvonne (also a graduate of Karlsruhe American High School), decided to attend the reunion with me.  For a year we planned.  We registered at the hotel and reserved a car from the airport, but we kept flip-flopping about our decision to go.  Surely, there would be few people we actually knew from our time there.  Was it worth the effort?  

I wondered why it was so important to meet these strangers?  I had not formed any lifelong friendships in Germany.  There were a few people I hoped would show but the chances were slim.  Then I arrived and met all these new and wonderful people and I realized the commonality.  We all shared the same experience as we grew up and faced the same adjustments when our parents were no longer military.  We can discuss with understanding the peculiarities of Brathood, such as enduring inspections of your bedroom; coming home from school to find out your family has moved; looking forward to Thanksgiving chow at the Mess Hall; or standing at attention with hand over heart as the national anthem is played.  Sadly, we can also identify with the difficulties of acceptance into the “regular” world of civilians.  When Brats find themselves thrust into a regular school setting, they often find themselves on the outside looking in, rejected or ridiculed by civilian peers for things unique to our upbringing:  Our sometimes-odd manner of dressing (often a holdover from our last tour of duty), our changing accents (depending upon our geographical location), or our speech may be peppered with foreign phrases or military terms.  We, who grew up with playmates of mixed cultures and never noticed the difference, were … different.   

We have learned the art of adaptation, but for some it was not always easy.  At the reunion, the high school jock’s adoring fans once again worship him; he revels in the midst of attention that he has not received since his playing days.  It didn’t matter that the transfer stateside in his junior year meant the end of a dream because cemented friendships at the local high school translated into exclusion for the new wannabe.  At the reunion, the homecoming princess is once again lifted to a popularity status she has not enjoyed since her Karlsruhe school days.  Reality found her an ostracized loner after a mid-year transfer to a school that mistook her natural reserve for snobbishness.

 The Karlsruhe organizers worked with the Berlin Brats association to arrange a joint affair that culminated with a picnic at Chimney Rock Park in Chimney Rock, North Carolina.  Sports wise, the Berlin Bears had often been the bane of the K-ruhe Knights, but time has a way of calming down rivalry.  The viciousness of competition had mellowed into a playful banter that was enjoyed by all because, with maturity, we all identify with a common past that unites us in our present position – we are still Brats. 

Paul Revere Village closed in the mid-nineties.  For the nostalgic souls, the realization is bittersweet.  For us, there will never be a homecoming.  All we have are memories of carefree adolescent days in a foreign land.  Maybe that’s why some actually made the connection of deep friendship even though contact was lost over the years.  With the advent of the Internet there are many websites postings “in search of” and many of the lost are being found.  The discovery is exciting.

I spoke to two women who found each other a dozen years ago and have kept in contact through letters and e-mails. One flew in to Georgia from Washington State; the other drove across the border from Alabama to meet her so they could make the long drive to Asheville together.

I met two brothers who have been separated for many years.  One brother married while in Germany and found employment with an American contracting firm.  The other moved to the Florida Keys.  The German immigrant scheduled a month-long visit with his family so they could attend the Asheville reunion.  When the brothers arrived, they were met by their best buddy, who had flown in from Serbia on a 48-hour pass just to say “Surprise!”

So many instances stand out in my mind; unfortunately, I can’t share all of them.  I met so many new people whose faces will be remembered long after their names have been forgotten.  I was even able to connect with a couple of friends, though many have yet to find us or have no desire to reunite (but that’s another story). 

Was it worth the effort?  Of course it was.  The reunion wasn’t big by anyone’s standards.  Although Berlin had almost 300 alumni, our little school had less than 100; but we had a blast!  We talked, and reminisced, and commiserated, and played, and laughed, and danced … by the time it was over there were tears and hugs and promises made – until the next one.  Wait until the next one.

If you have any news to share, please contact us at update@kahsknights.org. We will publish the information on this website at this location. Thank you.

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