School History

School History

Our high school, known mainly as either “Madrid High School” or “Torrejon High School” was located in Madrid, Spain, and was established and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Most of the students were U.S. military (primarily Air Force) dependents. However, the school was also open to U.S. Embassy dependents, and U.S. government contractor dependents. In later years, the school became more widely open to other American, and in some cases Spanish, students.

Our school is not to be confused with the American School of Madrid. That was (and, as far as we know, still is) a privately-run school.

A brief history

Starting in early 1954, American military personnel with school-age children began arriving in Madrid. At first, parents enrolled their children in the available schools (the American Institute [about which we have no further information], the British Institute, and Spanish schools). These soon reached their saturation point, and temporary arrangements were made for school space while a more permanent location was being prepared.

This more permanent location was in an apartment complex that occupied an entire city block in Madrid. (The same complex also housed the in-town branches of the BX and Commissary, and many apartments were occupied by personnel who lived in town). One of the four streets that bounded the complex was then called Avenida del Generalisimo Franco (it has since been renamed as an extension of Paseo de la Castellana). Thus, the entire complex was often referred to (informally, and primarily by Americans) as the “Generalisimo” building.

In November 1954, the high school, which had been located at 18 Juan Bravo, was moved to 7 Felix Boix and the first official graduating high school class was the Class of 1955.

When the next school year started in September 1955, the junior and senior high school (grades 7-12) moved around the corner to 37 Doctor Fleming. To the best of our knowledge, the high school’s formal name was then “Madrid Dependents’ Junior-Senior High School,” but it was usually referred to as “Madrid High School” or “MHS.”

In September 1959, the high school moved to a converted barracks at Torrejon Air Base.

For several years after the move to Torrejon, our high school continued to be known as “Madrid High School until around 1971 when the name was officially changed to “Torrejon High School”.  

Sometime in the late 1960s, a dormitory was opened for high school students whose parents were stationed in locations where there were not enough people to justify opening (or continuing) a high school. we don’t have definitive information as to exactly when the dormitory was opened (our best guess is that it was just before the 1966-1967 school year), or when this arrangement ended.

In the early 1990s, the U.S. acceded to Spain’s desire for greater sovereignty over what had always officially been a joint air base at Torrejon, and the U.S. presence there began to be phased out. As a result, Torrejon High School graduated its last class in June 1992, and the school then closed its doors forever.

Note: The above history is based on the best information we now have. We know there are some gaps and omissions, and there may be some errors. If you have additional information or corrections, we would appreciate your sending them to M/THSA PO Box 1550 Washington, DC 20013-1550. Because we have (and may get) conflicting information on some points, we would also appreciate any supporting documentation or other reliable substantiation you can provide. Gracias!