Canal Zone Schools

Curundu Elementary School

This birds-eye view of Curundu Elementary is undated.  Can anyone help us add a date to this photograph’s record?


Will any Curundu Elementary alumni be at the Panama Canal Society Reunion next weekend?  We hope to see you and your classmates in Orlando!

In the meantime, please share any information, memories, or stories you have of your time at Curundu Elementary!



      My dad was stationed here in the early 70’s. (72, 73, 74 ???). I remember bits and pieces as I was about 3 – 4 years old. I had a best friend, Kendra. Lived in a duplex with the Collins family. My friend was Steven Ray Collins. We ended up with dad’s friend Doberman pincher, I named Pal.

      I do remember going on a field trip to the Locks.

  • Laura Kosik

    Robert…this is not the CJHS. This is the elementary school located at the back gate of Clayton. I went to school here from 1st – 6th grade (1970 – 1976). I loved it!

  • Kathy Blevins Angelucci

    I attended Curundu Elementary School from 1968-1974… very fond memories. Loved the end of the year movies – the last one I saw in the sixth grade was ‘Born Free’.

  • Laura Kosik

    Kathy….you just revived my vivid memory of watching Born Free! Thanks for bringing a great memory to me! I remember gym classes in that big gym with Mr Stern. Loved him. He became my neighbor later in life and he remembered me!

  • Kimberly

    Mystery Solved- I attended Curundu Elementary for Kindergarten (had Mrs. Larabee) 1974-75 and 1st grade (had Mrs. Beck) 1975-76 school year. We moved 22 SEP 76 to the US, so I do not have any records of 2nd grade at all…I was not sure if I had attended Ft. Gulick or Curundu- but TODAY, I found old report cards! We lived on “Suicide Hill” in Ft. Clayton (house 480-B). I wish I could remember the street name…. we used a PO Box, so old letters are not helpful.

  • Clea

    One of the school’s kindergarten teachers for many years was Mrs. Miriam Hirschl. She was a very popular and gifted kindergarten teacher. As far as I know, she still teaches kindergarten in Arizona and has traveled back to Panama over the years. Each year when school would be starting up, she would spend days preparing her classroom for her students. She was our one of our neighbors in Balboa Heights. Each school year, as I was growing up, she would invite me to go with her to help her set her classroom up for the new school year. We would unpack the new fat Crayola boxes, the tempera paint, and the big fat pencils. I vaguely remember there being a bulletin board with a fall tree with leaves containing each child’s name on it. Children at that school who had her as a teacher were very fortunate.

    The building is still used as a school. It is now called Colegio de las Esclavas del Sagrado Corozon de Jesus. Short title —Las Esclavas (the Slaves). A private school, it relocated in 2000 from downtown Panama (Paitilla) due to the construction of the Southern Corridor highway. This school has been providing the young girls of Panama with a catholic education for over 64 years.

  • Moe

    I attended Curundu Elementary School from 1977-1979. Went there from 1st grade to 3rd. Was on the track team there and cannot forget my PE teacher Mr. Milford Stern. I later became a teacher with the DoD and now work at Ft. Bragg Schools as a PE teacher! I was able to contact Mr. Stern some years ago when he taught in Korea, but have never been able to catch up with him. If anyone here has an information please post. Thanks, Moe

    • Laura Kosik

      Moe, I don’t have any contact information for you about Mr Stern, but I remember him WELL. I adored him in school. He once told me that he was training his daughter for the Olympic swim team. When I was little I would be his “teacher’s pet” – He remembered me when we became neighbors when I was in High School. We became neighbors in Balboa.He was a good man.,

    • Susan Root

      Hi Quannah. Your dad Colonel McDaniel was friends with my dad and our family. I was good friends with Amanda. My mom used to play golf with your mom. I loved Panama and miss it sometimes. I was there from 1974 through 1977.

  • John Valadez

    Hi Kathy, do you remember if there was a spanish teacher there named Mr Barbosa? We were stationed in Panama from 68 to 72, and lived across from the Church on Howard.

  • pam rich{Anderson}

    I went to Curundu from 5th grade to sixth grade and had ms Gunderson for 5th grade I think I also remember Mr Stern.My da was stationed on the Power Barge over by Miraflores locks from 72 thru 1977.

    • Robert Dillon

      Pam, I know it’s off topic, but what can you tell us about the power barge. I remember it as being nuclear, is that true? I know for sure, the ship at Gatun Dam was nuclear. Was it only for the military bases or for the entire Zone? I haven’t found much about it in my searches. I seem to remember hearing or reading that it capsized and sank somewhere (I’m thinking Great Lakes). Thank!

      • Robert Dillon

        Power Ship Andrew J. Weber…

        “Built upon a surplus World War II U.S. Navy dry dock, the MAR II Power Plant measured 240 feet long and 101 feet wide. Equipped with three 1,650-kw diesel generators and two 8,400 kw gas turbine sets, the floating power plant was designed to provide 20,000 kw of power, enough electricity for a community of 25,000 people, to support the Multifunction Array Radar II, a tactical version of the MAR, under construction on Kwajalein’s Roi-Namur.

        It was the first American floating power plant designed with both diesel and gas-turbine power units. With three modes of operation — standby, surveillance and maximum traffic – the frequency and voltage could be controlled either from the barge itself ore remotely from Kwajalein Island.

        In June 1968, however, while transiting the Panama Canal en route from Maryland to Kwajalein Missile Range, the Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor redeployed the Power Ship Andrew Weber, assigning it to the Panama Canal Zone. The Panama Canal Zone, which operated under the jurisdiction of the secretary of the Army on behalf of the president, received its electrical power from the hydroelectric plant on Gatun Lake.

        In 1968, political unrest in the country coupled with a severe drought threatened the power supply. While in Panama, the USS Weber would supplement the USS Sturgis, the first floating nuclear power station. According to Corps of Engineer’s records the combined operations of the Sturgis and the Andrew Weber, saved more than one trillion gallons between October 1968 and October 1972.

        This volume of water would allow fifteen additional ships to pass through the Panama Canal each day supporting the increased traffic at the height of the Vietnam War.”


      • Albert Chyra

        I was assigned to Power Barge Weber from 1972 through 1973 and I remember Sgt. Anderson there I may even have an old picture taken in the control room on the Weber and Sgt. Anderson is in it. Is he still around? He may remember me and John DeClue, another draftee like me serving there.

  • Marco van Wijnen

    I arrived in Panama in 1974 from Honduras. I attended Curundu Elementary School from my 4th grade onwards. My teacher back then was Mrs. Edwards. When the class started becoming boisterous her motto would always be “hush your fears”. My 5th grade teacher was Mrs. Broyles, she could be hard but she was fair. The one I remember most is the kind spirit of Mrs. Halvosa. She was brilliant with kids. Bless all three of them, they were awesome teachers.

  • Maria Bonifatti

    I’m a current student in the former Curundu Elementary School. I have a huge curiosity about the past of the campus. If anyone can answer this, I’ll be grateful. In that time, when you were students there, was there any ghost stories about the school? Please don’t feel annoyed. My classmates and I have seen ghost kids around the basement rooms during the night shift for many years since our faculty placed there. It might be a strange topic, but I really want to know about the source of those stories… I’m not kidding, I’m serious. I’ve been searching but I got stuck. I really want to know, but I don’t want to make your dearest memories of the school, darker.

    • Laura Anderson

      Maria, I do not remember any ghosts in the Elementary school. I don’t remember any basements either. I went to school there from 1st – 5th grade…left on the 1st day of 6th grade to go do Diablo elementary. My last memory of attending was in 1976 so there were no ghosts then. Good luck on your research. Can you tell me what kind of school is it now?

  • Kay

    I went there in the early 90’s. If I remember correctly, the building at the bottom of picture was the gymnasium. The middle building was main office as well as kindergarten and first grade. Front side of the building at top of picture was second and third grade, and back side was fourth and fifth, possibly sixth grade. Can’t remember exactly.

    It’s not in this picture, but behind the middle building I remember there being picnic tables under shelters where we ate lunch. Also, a playground which we played after eating. On certain days, there was also an ice cream cart toward front of building that you could go get something cold during lunch. If you went up the street in the picture, there was check point that we had to go through everyday to get to school. I’m fairly certain most of the kids who attended that elementary turned the other way on that street to get home.

    • Anthony

      I remember those picnic tables!! We didn’t have a cafeteria so we ate there. If I can remember there was no sixth grade, they all went to Curundu Jr. High.

  • Laura Anderson

    Kay you have great memory of my beloved Elementary school. I was just in Panama last week. Wow. I was so surprised of the long fencing but I am happy to know that it is still standing!

    • Derrick Shorter

      I had Miss Cohen as a teacher for 2nd grade at Curundu Elementary and she dressed up as a witch for Halloween, burst into the classroom and scared this little girl named Kim to tears. I felt bad for her. My fondest memories of Miss Cohen was thatI races her in a math speed test that she used to give every morning and told her I could beat her. She beat me by a 10th if a second and laugh hysterically at me because I I love that woman.

      Derrick Shorter

  • Monty Burck

    I hated running up the hill in back of the school. Coach Stern was cool, we also ran laps in the parking lot. For anyone’s information both Miss Cohen and Mrs Halvosa are deceased. I enjoyed Miss Cohen dressing up like a witch.for Halloween.

    • Derrick Shorter

      I had Miss Cohen as a teacher for 2nd grade at Curundu Elementary and she dressed up as a witch for Halloween, burst into the classroom and scared this little girl named Kim to tears. I felt bad for her. My fondest memories of Miss Cohen was thatI races her in a math speed test that she used to give every morning and told her I could beat her. She beat me by a 10th if a second and laugh hysterically at me because I I love that woman.

      Derrick Shorter

  • Anthony

    I went to Curundu from 1994-1996. 3rd-5th grade. I remember I had Dr, Bridge was my 3rd grade teacher. Ms. Berger was my 4th grade teacher. 5th grade was Ms. Waller. I remember the Host Nation teacher was Senora Calvo. P.E. was the best cause all we did was play kickball and run. I lived in the 600 area of Fort Clayton at the very end close to the 700 area. Riding my bike down the hill across the street was the best!!!

  • Ray

    I went to Curundu Elementary and Junior High from 1985-1988. I live in Fort Clayton in the 700 area. I remember the colored glass hallway and my teacher Mr. Aurich. I went back a few years ago still looked the same, the neighborhood has changed. The houses were given to the locals and they have been adding construction to them. It was nice going back though.

  • Mark Urbin

    I lived in Curundu from 1970-1972. Third grade at Fort Clayton Elementary. Started fourth at Los Rios Elementary and finished at Diablo Heights. My dad was on the crew of the Weber.

  • Lavester Greene

    I lived in Panama, fort Clayton attended curundu elementary from like 85 to 88. Resided at 635-c. I really truly missed that place such a beautiful day out. My name is Lavester Greene nickname Big Mac. I was around 9 years of age. I remember walking to school cutting through the 700 area 1100 area past the guest house. I remember Ms.Woloughby, Ms.Armstrong as teacher’s of mine. I remember a slew of friends. My father was staff sergeant John Greene if anyone remember me feel free to contact me and catch up at 8436945588. Trying to find me a reasonable price for a house on fort Clayton.

  • Walter

    I attended CURUNDU elementary, Curundu Junior High and Balboa High School. My name is Walter Hidalgo. Had siblings did the same, Debbie, Kenny and Johnnie. We now live in Miami and Charlotte. Had an amazing time and life in the Canal Zone.

  • Theresa Soto

    I went to Curundu for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. I had Ms Kruksik, Mrs. Larabee, and Mrs. Gregg. My first best friend ever was Emily Tubbs in Mrs. Larabee’s class. Andy was a boy from Sweden who walked me to and from the gym. I remember a boy named Danny in Mrs. Gregg’s class. He let me try his Doritos. Curundu <3

  • Lourdes

    Holy cow , nice to read your messages about Curundu. I was there 71-77 had Ms Larabee also and Ms O’Brien for Phys Ed . Loved her games, I’m a teacher now and I use one of her games in my gym classes… doctor battle ball!! Best times!!! I also played softball for the Fort Clayton Royals, went to church and was in the choir Pauline and Rob were the directors. Life was so pure and simple then. Thanks for posting!!!

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