Presidio of San Francisco (June 6, 2008) — The Presidio Trust is proud to announce the first class of high school students to graduate from the Presidio. The Presidio’s Bay School opened in the Presidio in 2004 and the 55 seniors graduating today represent the school’s first graduating senior class.
“I am thrilled to experience the graduation of the first senior class at the Bay School,” said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. “It is my hope that, as these graduates move forward in their lives, they will take with them an understanding of their historic role in advancing the Presidio’s new life as a national park, and an appreciation of their responsibility to become a new generation of advocates for the continued protection of this magnificent place.”
The Bay School started classes in a historic wooden building on the Presidio in 2004, while awaiting renovation of the school’s future home, a 62,000 square foot historic army barracks and office building. The school moved to its permanent campus at 35 Keyes Avenue at the beginning of the school year in 2005.
The Bay School incorporates the Presidio into much of their curriculum. Members of the graduating class studied the removal of a landfill in the Tennessee Hollow Watershed and learned about the benefits of these efforts. They have also been able to see the benefits first hand, as this former army dump site is now a vibrant green creek alive with birds and native plants.
The Presidio’s history has served as a unique learning tool for Bay School students. The building housing the school once served as Army offices, and the order to intern Japanese Americans was signed by General John DeWitt in his office there in 1942. The students learned about the experiences of a former internee, author Jean Wakatsuki, who spent her childhood in the Manzanar internment camp.
The Bay School graduation will take place at the Herbst International Exhibition Hall on the Presidio on June 6. The Presidio Trust board and staff congratulate the graduating seniors and hope that they will return often to the Presidio.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small city as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate.