1948 - 1949
Negishi Heights Elementary School began operation on September 20th, 1948 when it occupied its brand new building at Negishi Heights housing area in Yokohama with 167 students. That area initially was called "Area X". It was constructed by the US 8th Army to support the dependent children of US occupation forces residing in that area of the Yokohama housing complex.
The school was more than an elementary school--it housed kindergarten through eighth grades, making it also a junior high school. Eventually the junior high 7th and 8th grades were consolidated at the Nasugbu Beach campus, probably when Yo-Hi moved to that campus from the Bluff in 1952. From then on, Negishi elementary was purely an elementary school.
The first principal was Captain Robert Ross Goolsby, Assistant Principal was Mr Haven Andrist. It had a teaching staff of 17, plus Corporal Harold Iverson as athletic supervisor. A much beloved and long time later principal was Mrs Winnifred K. Primm, who became principal in 1955 and was still there in the mid 60s.
The school was renamed Richard E. Byrd School--in honor of that famous naval hero, explorer, and aviator--on April 5th, 1960 when the Navy took over the Yokohama complex from the Army.
If still operating from the same building (Negishi Heights is the only section of US Navy housing left in Yokohama unless there's been a recent change), Negishi Heights Elementary is 50 years old in 1998 and is the only military dependents school in the Yokohama - Yokosuka area still occupying the same building it originated in during the early occupation years. The Sullivans Elementary School in Yokosuka is also an old school at its original site, but its buildings have been replaced with new ones.[BB]
[from 1951 yearbook]
We Love our dear old Negishi School,
It is the best in the land.
Where the teachers are fairest
The kids are the squarest
Of any grade school in Japan.
We are the kids of Negishi Heights
In our loved Area X
We'll all stand beside her
And try hard to guide her,
Our dear school in Area X.
Written by Jim Wiley, former Eighth Grade Student