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Mount Ayr's Early Schools

The first subscription school in Mount Ayr was established during the winter of 1856 with classes being held in Judge James C. HAGAN'S cabin. Classes were held for two months and were taught by Miss BROWN who was compensated at a salary of $4 per month.

NOTE: Subscription schools were funded by a monthly tuition fee which was paid by the parents to the teacher. In exchange the teacher was responsible for securing a place of study and for paying the rent from his/her earnings.

Judge HAGANS and Barton B. DUNNING felt the need of providing a school building for the children of Mount Ayr. Out of their own private means, these two men built a log schoolhouse, 16 feet square, on the lot where the old Christian Church, and later the Catholic Church, would later be located. The log schoolhouse was completed on May 19, 1856. It was on loan to the town until Mount Ayr could afford to purchase it, which occurred on May 4, 1859. During the spring and summer terms of 1856, Miss Jane AUSTIN taught at the school, receiving a salary of $14 per month.

The log school house served the community well, not only as an educational center for the town's children, but for church and Sabbath school, fairs, and other community activities. Community and town hall meetings were held in the school until the frame court house was constructed in 1859. Ringgold County's first county fair was held at the new school house.

The fall term of 1856 was delayed because Judge HAGANS had moved into the school house while awaiting the completion of repairs to his own cabin. Once Judge HAGANS moved back into his home, Ith BEALL commenced the winter term which was of three-months duration. Miss Charlotte SWAN, a recent arrival in Mount Ayr, taught the summer term of 1857. Rev. Samuel WEEKS taught the winter term of 1857-58; then Miss SWAN assumed teaching responsibilities for the following summer term.

On June 8th, approximately a week before the end of summer term, a cylcone hit Mount Ayr. The new log court house was blown down. A. G. BEALL'S frame house was lifted off its foundation and taken across the street. Judge HAGANS lost his log cabin. Mr. DUTH lost most of his tinware inventory which had been pounded flat as though it had been hammered, the loss forcing him out of business. However, through all the carnage, the log school house stood untouched.

Mount Ayr lost two of her teachers when Ith BEALL and Charlotte SWAN were married June 17, 1858 and resigned from teaching.

Mr. DUTH, no longer in business, assumed teaching responsibilities for the fall term of 1858 and continued into 1859. D. E. THOMAS who was a strong mathematics instructor taught a few terms in 1860.

By this time, the student population in Mount Ayr had outgrown the confines of the log school house. The battle for a new school building was fought fast and furious. Eventually, it was agreed upon that the town should have a single-roomed framed school building [1861], one that would fulfill the town's needs for the next 20 years. In 1872 a second frame building was erected beside the first one to meet the town's growing needs. Three years later [1875] a four-room brick school house was built on the present-day site of Mount Ayr's school.

The first teacher in the first frame school building was A. G. BEALL. Mr. BEALL had a rostrum built across the front which proved to be a great for the pupils. A rostrum was not included in the construction of the second frame school building.

Teachers during this time period were Miss Sally SWAN, Mrs. S. M. ROSE, then A. G. BEALL again. Belle BUCK taught for several terms beginning in the spring of 1862. A. G. BEALL resumed teaching responsibilities in the fall of 1864, and continued in this capacity for two years.

H. H. ROSS was elected as the teacher. During this time the students wished to have a day of vacation on Christmas Day. The directors vetoed the idea as a waste of time. When Mr. ROSS arrived at the school on Christmas Day, he found that the school was locked. He walked away from the school making the older boys believe that they had achieved their goal of getting the day off. An hour later, Mr. ROSS returned to the school, carrying a large basket of apples. The school was unlocked and class resumed as it did on any other day of the year.

J. F. MOUNT, an attorney in Mount Ayr, taught school for several terms, succeeded by William J. BUCK. In 1871, D. E. THOMAS returned to Mount Ayr and taught for one year with an assistant, Lizzie WILSON who was followed by Mrs. Z. T.KINSELL.

Amanda JOHNSON was elected as the teacher for the 2nd frame school building, teaching the winter term of 1872-73. She began the first grading system in Mount Ayr's schools. E. J. TURNER from Afton assumed teaching responsibilities that term, taking over the higher grade classes. Demands on the second frame school building became quite heavy at this time, forcing Mr. TURNER to take his two higher grades into a room on the site where the Mount Ayr Journal was later located.] These two grades would be the equivalent of a high school.] Later Mr. TURNER resigned and went into the newspaper business as editor of the Record News in 1874.

Following Mr. TURNER, Samuel McGILL, Mr. DELAY, Sally SWAN, George STEPHENS, and J. C. ASKREN taught in the frame school house.

Mount Ayr Community School

The four-room brick school building was completed in 1875. On January 1, 1876, Mr. HAMMOND moved into the new building with three teachers: Miss GALLOWAY (who later married J. H. SAVILLE), Miss Julia MERRILL (who later married Samuel BAILEY), and Miss Addie HINES. George A. SLENTZ was elected as the principal in the fall of 1876 and served in this capacity for two years. He later went on to teach in country school, then established his store on the square.

In 1878 the four rooms in the brick school were made independent of one another. Mrs. L. M. ELLINGTON taught the highest grade in 1878, then the following year she was placed in charge of the entire school, the only female to assume such responsibility to this day [1937].

J. A. HILSEBECK was the principal during three months of the fall and winter of 1880; Samuel MAXWELL finished out the term as principal. Samuel left Mount Ayr and was later the head of the biological department at Harvard University.

The first addition to the brick schoolhouse was constructed during the summer of 1881 and the fall term saw six new teachers with E. H. EASTMAN as princiapl and John RICHARDSON as assistant principal. Mr. EASTMAN holds the honor of fathering the higher education courses. Mr. EASTMAN'S work paid off in the spring of 1884 when Miss Lora L. LOUGHLIN became Mount Ayr's first high school graduate.

J. W. WILKERSON, principal of Mount Ayr School from 1886 to 1895, and Adam PICKETT, Mount Ayr principal from 1900 to 1908, were a major influences the school's progression into prominence. The school refused to join the athletic leagues of larger schools so that the students could continue to participate in games with other Ringgold County pupils attending area smaller schools.

When the school building was condemned, a new modern, fire-proof building of two stories with a full basement was built in 1914. It measured 157 x 51 feet with an annex measuring 33x72 feet. Included was a gymnasium, and auditorium, electric lights, drinking fountains, a master clock system, and waterworks. A complete high school course was in place: English, Scientific, normal training [for future teachers], and special instruction for cooking, sewing, music, drawing, woodworking, and commercial.

The south section, at far left, was built in 1914, torn down in 1978 and replaced with a new structure.

~ ~ ~ ~

Twice-A-Week News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, October 13 & 16, 1914

High School Notes: -- The Senior boys recently organized a club for the encouragement of the minor sports of boxing and wrestling. They purchased a new set of gloves and have practiced at every moment since. All of the boys live in the country and owing to this fact they have been granted permission to use the gynmasium at noon. The sport is quite popular with the senior boys and other boys in the high school and they may purchase gloves soon.

~ ~ ~ ~

From Mount Ayr's 1914 Ayrian, it is noted, "With the end of the sophomore days came the end of the days spent in the old schoolhouse. The old building was torn down to make room for the elegant present structure. For lack of a better home in the fall of 1912, high school assembled in the old opera house. Classes were held upstairs in the SIMPSON building. The class of 1914 had dwindled to only about half its former number, which was 16."

The Schoolman's Club of Ringgold County was organized in 1925, an outgrowth of the early annual teacher's meetings and Normal School. This organization became the policy maker with regard to the county's cooperative educational system. The organization also supervised the county's basketball and baseball tournaments, the county youth conference, the county elementary reading and spelling contest, and the county music festival.

The first Ringgold County Music Festival was held on April 22, 1936 in the Mount Ayr Methodist Church. 225 student musicians from the county's ten high schools participated. In 1936, 500 student musicians participated in the festival.

The south section, at far left, was built in 1914, torn down in 1978 and replaced with a new structure.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, May 12, 1916

The result of the election held Tuesday afternoon for the purpose of voting $4,000 bonds for use in completing the new schoolhouse was 86 for and 45 against.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, May 23, 1916

Summer school will begin May 29 in Mount Ayr and continue for five weeks. Instructors and the branches they will teach are: Prof. W. H. Fasold, manual training, history, didactics and economics; N. E. Schupback, physics, civics, geography and agriculture; F. W. Vorhies, arithmetic and algebra; Mary Marschall, domestic science, sewing and physiology; Vera D. Hart, penmanship, drawing and music; and Mrs. F. W. Borhies, primary methods, reading and orthography.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, June 16, 1916

At a meeting of the Mount Ayr school board, the following teachers were elected: N. E. Schupback, high school principal; Lena Ogden and Vesta Merritt, high school teachers; Eleanor Welch, departmental; Beatrice Carson, third grade; and Ethel Curtis, of Des Moines, first grade.

An addition to the Mount Ayr High School was made in 1936 to provide a auditorium and gymnasium for the 500+ pupils. The old portion of the school was remodeled at the same time.

Building in background was Ford Tractor Sales
Courtesy of Mount Ayr Depot Museum

Mount Ayr includes the previous schools of Beaconsfield, Benton, Clinton Township, Delphos, Ellston, Maloy, Redding, & Tingley. As the other town school closed throughout the county, students from Redding, Delphos, Kellerton, Maloy, Benton, Tingley, Ellson, Beaconsfield, and some pupils from Taylor County, attended classes at Mount Ayr's schools after the rural district re-organization in 1958.. Clearfield has a whole grade share of secondary-level students. 7th - 12th grade students from Diagonal attended high school in the morning hours.

When a bond issue of $3.5 million passed in February of 1979, construction of new elementary and junior high buildings were completed in 1981. At this time, new track, football, softball, baseball, and bus garage facilities were also completed.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr Community High School Addition, June of 2010



Mount Ayr High School Basketball Team

Left to Right: unknown, Don SHROYER, Carroll SPURRIER, Glenn ROBINSON, Perry STEPHENSON. Top: Frank WILSON.

Mount Ayr High School formed a basketball team around the year 1902. Because the school didn't have a gymnasium, early home games were played at Mount Ayr's opera house. In 1915, Mount Ayr's boys shut out Humeston, 34-0.

In 1916, team captain Harry SPURRIER led Mount Ayr to a record of 11 wins. The team made it to Iowa State Tournament, losing once to Osceola in the south central Iowa championship game.

The first Ringgold County Boys' Basketball Tournament was held February 28 - March 1st, 1919, at the Mount Ayr high school gymnasium.

At the 2nd Ringgold County Boy's Basketball Tournament, Delphos defeated Mount Ayr, claiming the championship 41-18.

For the 1922 Ringgold County Basketball Tournament, the games were played at Arispe due to severe winter weather, bad roads, and a small pox epidemic which swept through western Ringgold County. Mount Ayr's team rallied, winning the 1923 championship, defeating Diagonal 18-14. Mount Ayr's guard DEFENBAUGH was named to the all-county's first team in 1923.

Mount Ayr lost the 1924 championship to Delphos' team led by Coach "Pop" VARNER, the final score being 22-21.

Mount Ayr fought Kellerton for the 1925 championship. At half-time, Mount Ayr was in the lead, 3-2 with neither team scoring in the second quarter. Kellerton rallied in the second half, scoring 11 points to Mount Ayr's 10. Mount Ayr's guard LESAN was named to the all-county first team.

Mount Ayr's boys had a record of 17-7 for the 1930-31 season. They suffered defeat from Benton at the county tournament, but came back to win over Bedford, claiming the sectional championship title. They defeated Chariton and Melcher to claim the district tournament and went on to play at the Iowa State Tournament where they faced an old rival - Diagonal. Mount Ayr defeated Diagonal in first round play but lost to Muscatine in the second-round.

In 1933 Ringgold County Tournament, Diagonal claimed the county championship title over Mount Ayr, 16-15. Mount Ayr's RUSK was the high scorer for the Raiders. Diagonal came back to claim the 1934 title once again over Mount Ayr, 23-20.

Mount Ayr's RUSH and ILTIS were named to the all-tournament first team.

Upon the completion of a new gymnasium in 1936, Mount Ayr hosted the 1937 Ringgold County Tournament and remained the host for most of the remaining tournament years. Programs were introduced for the first time, indicating team colors, a roster of players, teams' season records, a tournament schedule, and of course, sponsors of the program. During the championship game, a blizzard blew in, forcing the teams and spectators to find refuge in Mount Ayr's town hall, the courthouse, the school, cafes and private homes until Sunday.

Mount Ayr lost the 1938 championship to Maloy, 39-21.

Mount Ayr's NEWMAN was named to 1939's all-tournament first team.

Mount Ayr hosted the 1940 Ringgold County Tournament with the programs distributed free of charge courtesy of the local business men.

Mount Ayr lost the 1941 championship title to Diagonal, 30-28. Mount Ayr's Raiders were DAILY, WILSON, ROBINSON, BEVINGTON, and BAGLEY. After the tournament expenses were paid, each school received $43.

Diagonal once again claimed the championship title from Mount Ayr, 51-32 at the 1943 Ringgold County Tournament. Bill RUSK scored 15 points for the Raiders during the championship game.

Mount Ayr's Raiders rallied, claiming the 1944 championship title over Diagonal, 43-23. This was the Raiders' first county title in 21 years - 1923. RUSK and BRYANT were leading scorers for the Raiders. The Raiders went on to win the championship title of the Blue Grass Conference Tournament.

Although Mount Ayr's captain Dave IRVING saw limited play due to a leg injury in the 1945 championship game, the Raiders defeated Redding 35-21 and claimed the championship title. The Raiders also won the Class A Sectional Tournament of 1945.

Mount Ayr's Raiders lost to Tingley in overtime play, coming in at 4th place during the 1946 Ringgold County Tournament.

With five lead changes in the last four minutes of overtime play, Mount Ayr lost the 1947 championship title to Diagonal, 34-33. "Pop" VARNER was the Raiders' coach, suffering defeat to one of his former players, G. Dale HERRINGTON, coach for Diagonal's Maroons.

Mount Ayr came back to defeat Diagonal 40-33, claiming the 1948 championship title. Raiders PRENTIS was Mount Ayr's high scorer.

After winning the championship title from Redding 61-32 at the 1949 tournament, Mount Ayr accepted the trophy from Vera DICKENS, Ringgold County school superintendent. Cliff TEALE was the high scorer for Mount Ayr.

Mount Ayr won the third consecutive championship during the 1950 tournament, defeating Maloy 55-18. Clair "Skip" EASON was the team captain and Cliff TEALE scored 33 points for the Raiders during their first-round play against Beaconsfield.

During tournament play in 1951, Mount Ayr lost to Diagonal, 49-47. Team co-captains were Dick REYNOLDS and Hank SMITH.

Raiders' Coach Omer Clay "Pop" VARNER, was forced into retirement after suffering from a stroke in 1952. The 1953 Ringgold County Tournament presented a special tribute to Coach VARNER. He was presented with a trophy, inscribed "To Pop VARNER, Dean of Iowa Class B basketball, in deep appreciation of his able teaching, sense of fair play and oustanding coaching contribution to our community and the State of Iowa."

Mount Ayr won the 1953 championship title over Benton, 93-46 with Earl PICKENS the leading scorer for the Raiders. Joe McNEILL was the coach for the Raiders, also experiencing success for with Mount Ayr's baseball and football teams.

Mount Ayr claimed the 1954 county championship over Beaconsfield, 83-60. Carroll JOHNSTON was the Raiders' leading scorer.

The Raiders claimed the 1955 championship by defeating Redding 60-58. The Raiders entered into the county tournament with a 11-2 record, both of those losses to West Des Moines' Dowling Catholic High School. The win of 1955 was Mount Ayr's third tournament title in a row. It was also their last county championship title.

During the history of Ringgold County's Basketball Tournament, Mount Ayr won nine titles.

The Raiders won the Tall Corn Conference championship title in 1963, setting a record for the most points scored in a game, 133 against Lenox. Jerry WAUGH set the record for the most rebounds in a single game, 36, and scored the most points in a season, 482.

Mount Ayr's Raiders went to the Iowa State Tournament five times.

The Raiders' first appearance at the Iowa State Tournament was Coach Harry KNAPP's 1931 team. The Raiders defeated Melcher 20-18 to win the district title; defeated Diagonal 17-15 in the first round of state tournament play; and, lost in second round play to Muscatine, 22-12. Members of the 1931 Raider team were John KITSELMAN, Roy PAYNE, Wifred NAIRN, Lowell DEHART, and John McFARLAND.

Coach KNAPP took the Raiders to the Iowa State Tournament again in 1932, defeating Abraham Lincoln School to win the district title. The team lost to Roosevelt High School of Des Moines in their first round of play. 1932 Raiders were Elmo ROE, Roy PAYNE, Forrest RUSK, John McFARLAND, and Lowell RUE.

Following the death of Coach Pop VARNER, Coach Joe McNEILL took over the Raiders during mid-season in 1953. The Raiders defeated Bloomfield High School, 53-51, in the sub-state tournament, but lost to Clinton High School in the first round of state tournament play, 73-59. 1953 Raiders included Kenneth PICKENS, David CULVER, Doyle STUCK, Edwin POORE, Rex STUCK, Leland DOLECHECK, Richard TYSON, Earl PICKENS, Douglas SWEARINGEN, Carroll JOHNSON, Jim KIMBLE, and Gene MILLER.

The Raiders' fourth trip to Iowa State Tournament came when they defeated Underwood 61-65 in sub-state play. They lost their first round game to HLV of Victor, 80-62. 1973 Raiders were Rick ADAMS, David HENDERSON, Kurt NICHOLS, Bob JOHNSON, Dave McNEILL, Pat Monaghan, Rich JOHNSON, Carlin LAWHEAD, Mark PACKWOOD, Steve EASON, Crae GEIST, and Bruce RICKER.

Two years later, 1975, the Raiders defeated Pleasantville 75-58 in sub-state play. They went on to the Iowa State Tournament, losing in the last two minutes of their first round game against Alta, 77-73. 1975 Raiders were Eric Fell, Bruce RICKER, Rich JOHNSON, Pat WEEDA, Crae GEIST, Brian NIEMAN, and Scott RUSK.


Mount Ayr's girls' basketball team of 1914, consisting of 6 players, had a season record of 0-2, losing to Afton and Grant City. Most of their games had been cancelled due to bad weather and poor traveling conditions.

The girls' team of 1915 traveled with the boys' team to Ellston for a doubleheader. Because the roads were impassable, the team traveled by bobsled. Mount Ayr's girls tied with Ellston, 9-9. Ellston's boys defeated Mount Ayr, 17-13.

In 1916, the girls won three games and lost two. They defeated Afton, 6-3, on December 17.

At some time there was a tragic accident which brought about the dissolution of the girl's basketball team. There was a team in 1931, but all play was interclass games.

Lynn OBERMEIER was the high scorer for Mount Ayr's Raiderettes with 418 points.

The starters for the 1965 Raiderettes team was Julie HALEY, Leona MINNICK, Linda HARTMAN, Nancy DUFTY, Nancy WEEDA, and Lois REASONER.


Mount Ayr's football was formed in 1902 with George MALONE, manager, and Jesse SAWYER, Captain. Mount Ayr defeated a team from Graceland College, 27-0 during a game which was played at Saville Park. They were later defeated during a return game played in Lamoni. Team members CLARKE, SAWYER, and LESAN were standouts for the team.

Football didn't really capture the public's fascination like the baseball team. During this time, the entire nation was caught up in a baseball frenzy. Mount Ayr dropped its high school football team in 1910. It would be another twelve years before a formation of a team was approved by the school board. The school purchased 24 uniforms. Because so many boys turned up to join the team, more uniforms were quickly ordered to accomomodate the demand.

After 20 years, Mount Ayr high school reorganized a football team. Pictured above, Back Row, left to right: E. MILLIGAN, H. BAKER, E. BUCK, J. BEARD, Coach G. B. YEAROUS, J. KEATING, H. WILLABY, V. DALBEY, V. OLNEY. Middle Row, left to right: P. McCANDLESS, Capt. John SPENCER, G. KIDNEY, J. THOMPSON, D. STEPHENS, captain-elect G. SHEPHERD, L. SHROYER. Front Row, left to right: E. DEFENBAUGH, A. HICKERSON, M. TORRENCE, C. BOLBY.

One of the first games that the 1922 team played was against Bedford High School. The game was tied 19-19.

Harry KNAPP was Mount Ayr's football coach who led the team to an unbeaten season of 10-0 in 1932. Mount Ayr outscored their opponents with a total of 257-6. Team members included letterman Howard BUCK, Roy PAYNE, John McFARLAND, Eugene MOSIER, and Linden MORRIS. Captain PAYNE was selected by The Des Moines Register as an all-state center on the first team. The Register also selected MOSIER, McFARLAND, and MORRIS with honorable mentions.

Mount Ayr High School was one of the first schools in the area to feature night football games. The first night game was played on September 20, 1935 against Orient High School. Mount Ayr Raiders won the game 6-0.

In 1943, team members Tom TEALE, Don GUTHRIE, and Vernon McGAHUEY were selected for the all-conference team.

The 1945 Mount Ayr football team under Coach Jim CHAMPLIN were Bill JOHNSTON, Carroll McANINCH, Bob ROE, Dave IRVING, Bob TEALE, and Bill BRYAN. THe team members were all named to the first all-conference team.

Walter KNICH was Mount Ayr's football coach of 1946 with team members Clair EASON, Jack BRABY, Don BETHARDS, Jim SKINNER, Vern HACKER, Jim MONAGHAN, Charles SAVILLE, Ray PRENTIS, Howard BRYAN, Robert TOLAND, Bill PRATT, Edward KNIGHT, Harold FROST, Laurance BISHOP, Allen RICHARDS, Stan SMITH, Jim BRABY, Ivan DOLECHECK, Gerold WILLEY, Don EURITT, Dock LINDSTROM, John RUCKMAN, Melvin INGRAM, Jim EASON, Loren CAMPBELL, Charles RICHARDS, and manager Cliff TEALE. The team won all eight of their games and placed first in the Bluegrass Conference.

The 1951 team was co-captained by Dean FROST and Gene SICKELS. The team won six games, lost two, and tied one.

1961 co-captains were Bill WARIN and Gary KEPLINGER with Joe McNEILL, coach, who was named as The Des Moines Register prep football coach of the year. All-conference seniors from Mount Ayr were quarterback Dave STILL, co-captain Dale STEPHENS, co-captain Gene RICKER, Rick DEFENBAUGH, Joe BROWN, Don GEPNER, Ed PINE, Ronnie WOOD, and Rick FARRELL.

In 1965, the Tall Corn all-conference stars from Mount Ayr were Barry MONGAHAN, Gale MILLER, Keith SACKETT, and Dan COULSON.


In 1964 Kenny MARKLEY placed first at the Mount Ayr junior boys' tournament and at the Bedford junior boy's tournament.


In 1956 Charles BLACK set the record for the mile with a time of 4:39.2.

Mount Ayr won the Tall Corn conference title in 1963 with outstanding athletes Rick DEFENBAUGH and Gene RICKER under the guidance of Coach Chet ROED.

Mount Ayr set eight new records in 1963.

In 1965, the track team won the Tall Corn Conference and placed second in both the state Class A outdoor and indoor events. Eugene RICKER and Rick DEFENBAUGH set three records each with many others which were broken.


The 1965 Raiders won the conference championship, undefeated in 8 meets. Four of Mount Ayr's wrestlers finished first in the district tournament to move on to state tournament: Pat IRVING (17-3-2), Dennis STEPHENS (17-3), Jerry KNIGHT (21-1) and Jim DILLENBURG (15-6).

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dennis Sharp from FEH Associates, the Mount Ayr Community school district's architectural firm in charge of replacing the 1936 building, presented the next set of plans for new construction.

~ ~ ~ ~

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, September 28, 2006

After looking at a number of different drawings and concepts for additions to the school buildings in the Mount Ayr Community school district and providing feedback, the Mount Ayr Community School Board is zeroing in on what the floor space for additions would look like and how the project would be financed.

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 12, 2015

$1.2 million auditorium renovation reviewed
Auditorium/HVAC project to be discussed February 19

An artist's rendering of the proposed outside of a enovated auditorium (above).
The proposed econfiguartion of the inside (below).

The Mount Ayr Community board of directors met in regular session Monday, February 9. Agenda items included review of plans for the renovation of the high school auditorium, a review of district finances and a preview of the district's upcoming school and wellness program site visit.


Tom Wolbers, representing the architectural firm of Design Alliance, presented drawing and specifications for the proposed renovtion of the auditorium at the high school. He also presented an estimated price tag of $1.2 million for the project.

Superintendent Joe Drake told the board that Mount Ayr alumni Larry and Rita Hunter have pledged $600,000 toward the project, leaving the district to pick up the remaining half of the cost.

In response to the higher-than-expected cost plus consideration of other projects facing the district, Drake suggested the board could choose to scale back the renovation design, hold fund raisers, seek grants or simply put the project off until a future date.

Photograph & drawing courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2015

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 04, 2016, Page 13

Winemiller gives grant to Mount Ayr weight room

The Mount Ayr Community Weight Room (Strength and Conditioning Program) has received a $2,500 donation from America's Famers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund and directed by local farmer Loren Winemiller of Ringgold County. The donation will help the organization purchase more weightlifting and fitness equipment for the growing number of students using the school's weight training facilitiy.

Lifelong health and fitness is the number one goal being taught in high school physical education classes and being able to purchase this equipment will allow more students to participate in physical activity while learning about living a long healthy and active lifestyle.

"The weight room is an area that all of my grandkids have used," stated Winemiller. "It really teaches them discipline and self-confidence that will hopefully carry on into their everyday adult life."

For six years, America's Farmers Grow Communities has collaborated with farmers to donate over $22 million to more than 8,000 community organizations across rural America. Winning farmers will direct donations to nonprofits to help fight rural hungar, purchase life saving fire and EMS equipment, support ag youth leadership programs, buy much needed classroom resources, and so much more.

America's Farmers Grow Communities partners with farmers to support local non-profit causes that positively impact farming communities across rural America. Grow Communities is one program in the America's Farmers community outreach effort, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. Other programs include America's Farmers Grow Ag Leaders, which encourages rural youth to remain in agriculture and provides $1,500 college scholarships to high school and college students pursuing ag-related degrees and America's Farmers Grow Rural Education, which works with farmers to nominate rural school districts to compete for $10,00 and $25,000 match and science grants.

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2016

CURRIE, Anne H. "School History: History of the Mt. Ayr Schools From The Time The First School House Was Built To The Present Day" The Record News Mount Ayr IA. May 21, 1903.

TERRY, Jack R. A Centennial History of Mount Ayr, Iowa: 1875 - 1975 Pp. 77-79, Mount Ayr Record-News Mount Ayr 1975.

Mount Ayr Record-News, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa, February 10, 2007

Ringgold County History Compiled and written by the Iowa Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Iowa, Sponsored by Ringgold County Superintendent of Schools, Mount Ayr, Iowa. 1942.

AVITT, Mike. Pages and Pictures from the Past. . .Ringgold County, Iowa 1855-2005 Pp. 60-8. Paragon Publications, Inc. Mount Ayr. 2009.

LESAN, Mrs. B. M. Early History of Ringgold County: 1844 - 1937
Pp. 39-43. Blair Pub. House. Lamoni IA. 1937.

Compilation by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2009; updated June of 2010; updated September of 2015; updated May of 2016; updated October of 2016

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