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Near Ralston in Park County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Heart Mountain High School:

Education in Camp

 
 
Heart Mountain High School: Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 14, 2015
1. Heart Mountain High School: Marker
Captions: (left) Home Economics class at Heart Mountain High School.; (top right) Kindergarten 1942; (middle right) Heart Mountain High School.; (bottom right) High School girls basketball game.
Inscription. As you look through the site glass, you see a concrete records vault, the only remnant of the high school that stood on this ground.
In early August 1942, the Heart Mountain project director hired Clifford D. Carter as superintendent and John Corbett as high school principal. Their immediate task was to find teachers. Twenty-six Caucasian teachers and four internees, the latter having been issued Wyoming teaching certificates stamped, "Valid at Heart Mountain only," were hired. Turnover was high, with Clarissa Corbett only teacher to remain through the life of the center.
Classes were conducted in barracks with 6 rooms in each building. Each room contained a coal stove, a single light fixture hanging from rafters, low wall partitions with open rafters and benches for seating. Initially there were no desks for students, no blackboards and few school supplies. Often 50 textbooks had to suffice for two hundred students. Students located near the stove sat perspiring, while those near the door and windows wore their coats to keep warm. In December 1942, Celotex insulation wallboard for partitioning arrived, but it was evident from the beginning that high school classes could not be successfully conducted in the barracks.
The high school building was completed for the 1943-1944 school term, constructed for the most
Heart Mountain High School: Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 14, 2015
2. Heart Mountain High School: Marker
Heart Mountain is in the background.
part by the internees themselves, under the supervision of Bennett & Lewis Contractors of Billings, Montana. Tatsu Hori, an engineer at the Stanford Research Institute prior to his incarceration, designed the school's heating system. The high school had 39 classrooms, a gymnasium/auditorium, and other office space. It was not until the second year, that the center obtained enough textbooks and school supplies.
Heart Mountain High School had the normal curriculum of other Wyoming schools at the time. The journalism class published a mimeographed school paper, The Heat Mountain Eagle, and school annuals called The Heart Mountain Tempo were edited in the camp and sent out to be printed in 1944 and 1945.
Eventually, five elementary schools were consolidated into two schools, Lincoln and Washington. They were more centrally located within the camp but still in barracks.
Teachers developed curriculums believed to be most beneficial for students who had been stripped of their freedom, which also met the approval of the Wyoming State Board of Education. Not the least of problems was how to teach the tenets of democracy at the same time the students were looking out the window at guard towers and barbed wire fences. Heart Mountain High School graduated 808 students in its three-year existence. The Class of 1943 had 249 graduates, the Class of 1944 had 302 graduates and the Class of 1945 had 250 graduates. Ted Fujioka, the first high school student body president, enlisted in the U.S. Army and was killed in France.
 
Erected by Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation.
 
Location. 44° 40.199′ N, 108° 56.972′ W. Marker is near Ralston, Wyoming, in Park County. Marker can be reached from Road 19 near Lane 15, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1474, Ralston WY 82440, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Administrative Area: (a few steps from this marker); Barracks Living Area: (within shouting distance of this marker); Relocation Center Support Facilities (within shouting distance of this marker); Heart Mountain Relocation Center Honor Roll and Flag Pole (within shouting distance of this marker); Daniel K. Inouye (within shouting distance of this marker); Norman Y. Mineta (within shouting distance of this marker); Heart Mountain World War II Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Swimming Hole: (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ralston.
 
More about this marker. Heart Mountain Relocation Camp is located off of the Powell Highway (U.S. Highway 14A) about 6 miles south of Ralston. This marker is located on the Setsuko Saito Higuchi Memorial Walking Tour near Heart Mountain Relocation Center Memorial Park.
 
Categories. Asian AmericansEducationWar, World II
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 2, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 192 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 2, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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