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Commencement, Outer Islands High School. Students in traditional attire. Navy photo, 1976. From the TTPI Archives.


“During the TT (Trust Territory) time we had only one high school,” Hosay says. “PICS, Pacific Island Central School. It was located in Chuuk. Some Yapese, that’s where they went to school, and from there some of them went to Hawai‘i. And here in the Outer Islands, only three or four of us went to the high school.

"But by my time they had moved all the schools to Pohnpei. So that’s where we went. Beside that, Xavier High School had already started in Chuuk and is still going on today. And some of the boys from Ulithi, that’s where they went to school."



“Each island had one elementary school, even back in TT time. I don’t know whether the Navy set them up, but just after the War they asked people from each island to send down a person to Yap to attend school there, to become a teacher. And when they came back, they started opening the schools. They didn’t have any salary, so anytime they wanted to teach, they taught.

"And they kept on going like that until this Mr. Boykin came out here to start the high school. That’s when they started paying teachers. But before that, people just taught, then went down to Yap for summer school, came back and continued our teaching. Those that they really wanted to teach the whole year long, they just went ahead and did that."


Old school

"Congressional party and HiCom Goding at old school in Falalop, Ulithi, 1960s." TTPI Archives photograph.


New Dorm

Two images of a new dormitory at Outer Island High School, Falalop, early 1970s. From the TTPI Archives.


“I think during the American time, people here understood that school is important. I understand that after those first teachers went Yap and came back out, almost everybody here on the island—these old people—they wanted to attend class. They knew how important education is.

"I think they learned that from the Japanese, because I think everybody was supposed to go to Japanese school in Yap. From one grade to five grade. And those that went farther in school, they went to this vocational school in Palau. That was the only kind of school that they allowed us ‘natives’ to go to. So we could come back and do the work.

“You know, our local people, they know how to fix their type of house that they used before. They make canoe here on the island. They go fishing. They know how to, you know, the old way of fishing that they used to do."


Students 1963

"School picture (student body), Ulithi Jr./Sr. High, 1963." TTPI Archives photograph.


“Just before Typhoon Ophelia,” Alphonso relates, “I went to Guam because one of my cousins collapsed. He’s currently the chief of Fedraey. I went there to attend him, and that’s where I met Jim Boykin, the man who started the high school in Ulithi. And that’s when we start talking about Ulithi and school and all those things. He was teaching at Guam College. It was not a University then. And he said ‘you go back and wait for me because I’ll be there.’

"So according to what he told me, he went back and took some courses in secondary education, and then right after Ophelia, 1960 he came out here. That’s when he started negotiating about the high school. And finally, the High School started. It started on Asor. And I was one of his teachers when we started teaching there. And then finally he took three of us to Guam to attend summer in college. And then we started teaching.”



“When I went to school here,” Isaac Langal recalls, “I hardly ever saw any white people around. The only white person was the district administrator for all the schools, and we saw that man maybe once in two or three years.

“The teaching at that time was already Western style, but it was not consistent. So we still spent more time learning the local knowledge: you had to learn how to identify all the fishing spots in the atoll, and how to help fix a small part on the canoe, and how to sail the canoe.

"If the canoe capsized you could turn it right-side up and things like that—it’s really difficult when the canoe goes upside down, and only certain people can turn that thing back up. Especially a thirty-foot canoe, it’s difficult to turn that thing right side up. Only certain people can do that. You have to learn those skills."



A teacher fondly remembered as "Mrs. Stahl" in class on Ulithi, 1963. TTPI Archives photograph.


Soccer Net

Making Rope

Top: "Fishing class at OIHS weaving a net to use for soccer." Bottom: "Pedro Yamalmai teaching rope making to young men of OIHS, 1972." TTPI Archives photographs, 1976.


“The turning point into more Western-style education that I see is the Peace Corps introduction into the islands in 1967. There were American contract teachers before, prior to 1967. There was change, but there were also still quite a few of the old people around.

"So when changes started to come, those guys, they would allow this one, and ‘no, that one we don’t allow, maybe later.’ But in 1967 onward, most of the old people, they passed away. And the younger generation, they wanted to go, to explore. They wanted to go for education. I think that was the major turning point.

“Peace Corp classroom teachers,” Mariano considers, “I’d say they made the schools improve on their English. Sometimes in the other subject areas. Why I say English is because at that time, even our classroom teachers, they were not so competent in English, but they were good in math and other things. So after the Peace Corps first came here, you could tell the difference in the students’ progress in English."


"For the Peace Corps people, as they stayed on the islands, their native speaking improved because mostly, even a native that knew how to speak English would be hesitant to use English, and would be speaking the local language to the Peace Corps. So it made the Peace Corps learn the language faster."

“They came and started learning the language," Juanito explains, "and those who liked to learn the language really learned. There was one Japanese-American guy who later worked at the East West Center. When he speaks, you just cannot tell. If you couldn’t see him, you would think he’s really from Fais. That’s how good he is, and he worked in the Linguistic Department at the East West Center. When I went there I used to call him up and spend a night or two at his apartment.

"And some of them came and only learned the wrong kind of language, the bad ones.”


Teacher & Student

Jim Boykin and a student, Ulithi, ca. 1963. TTPI Archives photograph.



Student Speaker

"Student speaker at OIHS graduation, 1971." US Navy photo by Dick Paradis, from the TTPI Archives.


“Nowadays, some people are not that hesitant to speak the English language," Mariano concludes. "So, if I sponsor a Peace Corps volunteer, I’ll tend to be speaking English most of the time to him or her. While in the older days, I’d be speaking mostly Ulithian to them."



“People remained in the traditional attire up until I think 1967, when the Peace Corps got out here,” Isaac remarks. “That’s when people started to wear T-Shirts, and nowadays many of the young people wear Western clothes. And we use shirts because there’s plenty mosquitoes here on Asor. But before Peace Corps came, not many people wore such clothes. But right after that—1967—people started to wear Western clothes.

“The Peace Corps didn’t tell people to wear Western clothes, but just by observation, people watched them walking around with a shirt, and people, were like ‘ahh, maybe I’ll get one like that.’ People were that curious about it."


Outer Island Girls

Outer Island girls, 1970. The T-shirt had begun to take hold. TTPI Archives photograph.


Students 1970

Students at Ulithi's Outer Island High School, 1970. TTPI Archives photograph.


“The Peace Corps volunteers brought some new ideas with them. Some were civil engineers, and they helped build water catchments, and things like that. Before that there were no water catchments, we only used the 55-gallon drum can. When the Peace Corps came, they also brought that skill with them and they helped out. "

“There are some good things that we learned from the Peace Corps,” Juanito agrees, “and a lot of things they learned from us. We learned how to make donuts and cake from flour. But some of them, they didn’t even know how to light a kerosene stove. Even lighting a match was a problem for some.

"They learned how to cut tuba. They learned how to drink their own tuba, they learned fishing—they really liked fishing, and they liked fish. They could go out themselves and fish, spear fishing; they only had to go with other people to go out bottom fishing."


“And they learned to share. There were different kinds of individuals; some they were kind of stingy and they liked their own things, didn’t want to share. These are stories that I heard, but those are individual things. That is their way of life, their background; you cannot change those things.

“There were not many Peace Corps. We have had I think seven or eight here on Mogmog, ever since 1967 when the first Peace Corps group came. There was a period when we didn’t have Peace Corps. They had problem in Chuuk, so they stopped sending Peace Corps up here to Micronesia."



"Chief Hasedal presents diplomas, OIHS," 1975. TTPI Archives Photograph.




Students at Ulithi Jr./Sr. High, ca. 1963. TTPI Archives photograph.


“Having these teachers has really helped. Our school used to have problem with reading and writing, and did badly on the tests. This year, these kids finished the whole test, and they finished before time, and they finished well. Two of them did not even miss one. And also, before, some kids had problems with math. Now one of the kids, eighth graders, missed only four. And Mariano, when he comes, he gave one part of the test in morning and one in the afternoon.

"This group now, they just took the test in the morning, and finished both parts. They finished them in the morning. That’s something I see that really has helped. Our current Peace Corps, Carrie, really tutored our students, really helped them. She really knows how to help them learn, and they really learned something from her.”


You can learn more about Education and about this period in Ulithi's history by following the links below.

Ship Day
Mariano describes the relationship between schools and the periodic arrival of the Field Trip Ship.

War Claims Money
Alphonso and Pedrus talk about the origins and impact of war claims money that was given to Ulithi residents.

Or you can let Juanito's thoughts lead you to look at how Ulithi is moving onwards into the future.



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