The United States had a long presence in the Isthmus of Panama; ever since the construction of the Panama Canal in 1904. For almost one hundred years, many improvements were made in this narrow isthmus. Besides the Panama Canal, which is a monumental creation per se, there were other fundamental advances. One of them was the excellent educational system designed and implemented by the Department of Defense.
The quality of education in the former Panama Canal Zone was the highest in the hemisphere. Not only was the education staff contracted by the DOD second to none, but the infrastructure and educational installations was first class as well. For example, the Curundu Elementary School, the Curundu Jr. High School, the Balboa High School and the Panama Canal College are educational institutions that shaped the personnel that nurtured the Panama Canal.
After the United States left the Canal Zone, these installations were transferred to the Republic of Panama. It certainly was a challenge for this Third World country to take advantage of this golden opportunity and put these resources into profitable activities. There are fortunate and unfortunate stories regarding the use of these resources over the years.
The former Curundu Jr. High School was turned over to the University of Panama which has kept it in more or less in good conditions. I was there a couple of weeks ago to find out how it looked. I liked what I saw and decided to capture it with my Birthday camera. These are the pictures I shot of this structure where many kids living in the Panama Canal Zone encountered their first notions of knowledge.
Panama was very fortunate in receiving free of charge installations of such high caliber. I cross my fingers that we continue to keep them as well as the Americans did when they were here. Good Day.