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AMERICAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL CLOSING ITS DOORS…

Submitted by Deborah (Spohr) Martin (ACS and PSG)

OR, PHOENIX STUDY GROUP OPENING ITS DOORS …

Phoenix School Saigon 1974

The PHOENIX SCHOOL (Phoenix Study Group) on Cong Ly in Saigon, Viet Nam. Circa May 1974. Kim Koene Collection. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

I was 12 years old when the American Community School in Saigon closed its doors on February 8, 1965 and I remember the event so distinctly. I remember getting off the school bus and announcing to my parents, with great glee, Betty and Hank Spohr, that school had ended!

Every kids dream of no more school!!

We weren’t going back to school.

My parents were quite surprised but my Dad being in second command working for ESSO in Vietnam, a private oil company, was not daunted. He immediately procured a private villa in Saigon to start another small school for all those families of private foreign companies that would remain on in Vietnam.

There were 2 teachers for grades 1-12. One teacher taught all junior high and high school students and the other teacher the elementary school. My teacher was a Mennonite lady, a wonderful teacher.

The school was called the Phoenix School (Phoenix Study Group). I loved the school. It was so homey warm and our teacher taught us all kinds of games like rhythm. The school was very much like the one room school houses used to be, back in early US history.

I did not keep up with any of the children attending there but if there are any out there I would love to reminisce with them.

Deborah (Spohr) Martin

2 comments to AMERICAN COMMUNITY SCHOOL CLOSING ITS DOORS…

  • Carolyn Cathey Castelli

    Deborah, thank you for sharing this interesting piece of history from the Viet Nam war and USA involvement in Viet Nam. I didn’t know about this new school or if I did it was very little. My brother and I attended the American Community School only one semester (fall of 1964). Then our parents sent us to Dalat School for missionary children (and some military) up in the mountains. By April our school was evacuated to Bangkok due to increase in the attacks on civilians but we returned to Saigon for four years for our vacations.
    There really should be an archive for this unique information….I guess that’s one purpose for this website!

    Your father was quite resourceful and I’m encouraged to hear it was a good experience for you!

  • Maile Doyle

    Deborah, one of my best friends in Saigon was an Esso daughter and I have been trying to find her for years. Would you know of the Laughlin family? I am looking for Michele Laughlin who was my classmate in 1962-63.

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