Grants await LaHarpe students

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Angie Linn, first-grade teacher at LaHarpe Elementary School, gives Alora Doolittle a hug during an awards assembly Wednesday morning. The school will be closed at the conclusion of the school year. At right, Hailey Carman was representative of the K-3 students recognized at the school.

Students who attended LaHarpe Elementary this school year will have something special to look forward to years from now.
Lisa Holloway announced during an awards assembly Wednesday morning that four $1,000 scholarships, one for each class — kindergarten through fourth grade — await when they graduate from Iola High School, “nine, 10, 11 and 12 years from now.”
Holloway explained that she and husband Chris, who have two children at LaHarpe, wanted to recognize teachers at the school and decided on the scholarships.
“We just love the LaHarpe school and the teachers,” Holloway said. “They’re so unselfish. They’re always trying to do all they can to help the kids.”
They mentioned the idea to others, who then contributed. More donations are encouraged.
“I’m sure we’re going to reach our goal of funding four $1,000 scholarships,” Holloway said.
When today’s students participate in their IHS commencement exercises, the scholarships will be awarded in the name of the teacher from their class at LaHarpe.
“The only requirement will be a student will have to have at least a 3.0 grade point average and graduate from USD 257,” Holloway said.

USD 257 BOARD members voted last month to close the school, one of several steps taken to deal with more than $300,000 in revenue cuts for the 2009-10 budget required by state aid reductions.
Lori Maxwell, in her first year as principal of LaHarpe and McKinley elementary schools, recalled living in LaHarpe as a child.
“I lived in LaHarpe until I was 7 years old,” Maxwell told students and parents gathered for the awards and a student talent show, “and spent many of my days making memories in the two-block radius of this school.”
When she was a child in 1966, the school was an older brick structure. Today’s school opened in 1978.
“I went to first grade,” at LaHarpe, Maxwell said. “I remember playing hide-and-seek ... outside the building. I used my imagination to travel to different places, using the merry-go-round as my transportation. The old brick building had steps everywhere, including a huge fire escape to the third floor. The steps led to an imaginary throne, and I will let you guess the identity of the queen.”
She recalled learning to read with the help of her “Tip and Mitten” book and using her ears as pencil holders.
“I’m not telling you these things to make you think about me,” Maxwell told the students. “I’m telling you so you will understand how many wonderful memories I have from days as a little girl in LaHarpe ... I hope you will always treasure your memories (here) and take them with you throughout your life, just like I have.”

DUE TO closing LaHarpe, classroom alignments will be changed at the three elementary schools in Iola. The intention is for McKinley to host kindergarten to third grade, while Jefferson and Lincoln schools serve K-5 classes.
Class sizes will increase by a few students as studnets from LaHarpe are assimilated.
Current LaHarpe students who will be in first through third grades next year will all attend McKinley School. Next year’s fourth graders choose either Lincoln or Jefferson schools.
Not all 57 current LaHarpe students are expected to remain in the district, however.
Board member Darrell Catron said at a contract negotiation session last night that requests for transfers to Marmaton Valley (Moran-Elsmore) have been made by the parents of five students. Dr. Craig Neuenswander, superintendent of schools, said he would figure next year’s budget on the assumption the district would have 10 to 12 fewer students.