History of Champion Local Schools

School System History

As researched and submitted by Roger Samuelson

Henry Champion, of Connecticut, an original member of the Connecticut Land Company, was the land agent for Champion. Champion officially took its name from Henry in 1831.

On April 18, 1832, the trustees Mr. Woodrow, Mr. Rutan, and Mr. Booth agreed that the township of Champion would be laid in one school district, which was to be called the Champion School district. The first record of a separate school board came from the Champion Board of Education Minutes 1889-1912.

In 1889 there were nine schools in Champion hiring 14 teachers to educate 217 students. The average attendance was 127 and the school year lasted 24 weeks. In 1905 all school books and supplies were to be bought from Fred Klingemier, owner of the general store. January 11, 1910, a motion was passed to purchase books for scholars whose parents were unable to pay. The books were the property of the township and returned to the board at the end of the term.

Champion did not have a high school until 1915.  Up until this time those who wanted to attend high school were required to in Warren by taking either the train, riding on horses, or in buggies.  They lived in town during the week.

March 1898, Fred Klingemier saw an article in the paper promoting centralized schools.  Centralization, however, which was originally scheduled for December 17, 1900, was postponed until February.  In 1912, the school board passed a resolution in favor of centralization along with a $7,500.00 bond issue to be used for the purchase of a site and erection of a school.  Voters rejected the initial attempt on March 19, 1912.  The issue was presented again to voters in 1914, this time passing 113 for and 78 against.

Voters also approved a $16,000.00 bond issue to purchase the two-and-a-half acre site on Mahoning Avenue to build a six room fireproofed school.  In 1915 voters approved a second bond issue of $6,500.00 to complete the school.  This building is now a part of Champion Central Elementary School. 

The board of education established a system of eight routes and contracted with individuals to haul children along these routes to and from school each day.  This cost the board from $1.98 to $3.25 per day, depending on the length of the route.  The old district houses were sold.

October 8, 1915 the new principal, Professor Megget, arrived and the school opened October 11, 1915, with 200 students.  The people were very proud of their centralized school.

On November 20, 1915 champion dedicated its school house.  Four-hundred people attended, and among them was Ohio governor F.B. Willis.  Champion boasted one of the best built and best equipped centralized schools in the country.  The school added grades nine through twelve one year at a time, so that by 1919 all four grades were being taught. 

In 1925, several events occurred.  The curriculum was expanded to include a music teacher, and the length of a school year was set to eight-and-a-half months.  The building was expanded by adding four classrooms. Two inside toilets, a gymnasium, and steam heat were also added. Teachers were earning $1062.00 to $1200.00 per year and the number of school bus routes was expanded to thirteen. 

In 1931 a second addition was built. This addition cost $53,000.00.  Twelve classrooms were added, and four acres were bought in the back of the school for a playground.

In 1939 a new gymnasium was added to the south end of the building at a cost of $78,000.00, $35,075.00 of which was paid by President Roosevelt's Public Works Administration.

In 1949 an addition was added to the elementary school which included a new boiler room and cafeteria, as well as two new floors of classrooms. This section completed the construction of Champion Central School, which had continued from 1915 and ended in 1950. Central then housed grades kindergarten through sixth.

In 1954 a portion of the present high school was built, costing $400,000.00. Fourth through sixth grades occupied this space. In 1957, the high school was completed at a cost of $620,000.00 plus $40,000.00 for equipment. Champion High School moved to this building in the summer of 1957.

Kiser Elementary was built in 1960 and housed kindergarten through sixth grades.

Champion Junior High was built in 1965 for $785,000.00 plus $100,000.00 for equipment. When it opened, grades seven through nine attended there. The enrollment continued to grow, and in 1974 more construction was completed at Champion High School, including ten new classrooms, a new band room, and a 1,040 seat auditorium. Despite some serious slag problems which are currently being repaired in 2003, this auditorium remains a source of pride for the whole champion community.

In 1997, the high school began to build a new addition which included five new classrooms, a computer instruction lab, administration office area, a front entrance with new parking, and additional restrooms. Also, the addition included renovations of two science labs, five exterior classrooms turned in to interior classrooms, a business education lab, science recitation rooms, and much more. After the additions were complete, part of the southeast wing was torn down, leaving only four classrooms in the southeast wing.

The Champion Middle School was built in 1965 at a cost of $785,000. This building now houses grades five through eight. Since 1915, Champion Local Schools have been served by 11 administrative heads:

I.C. Meggitt

1915-1916

Earl C. Weygant

1916-1917

A.L. Carter

1917-1920

Frank Morris

1920-1922

Gordon H. Adam

1922-1934

S.B. Davis

1934-1936

Carl C. Kiser

1936-1963

Harold C. Butcher

1963-1971

Herbert G. Thomas

1971-1974

John R. Leeper

1974-1990

Lewis C. Strohm

1990-1993

Pamela S. Hood

1993-Present

updated: 2007-01-01





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