Six MHS students earn All-State Music Honors

Six Marshalltown High School music students have attained the highest individual honor available to Iowa high school musicians – each has been selected as a member of one of the 2020 All-State Music Ensembles. Congratulations to the following students:

  • All-State Band: Rebekah Stone, bass clarinet (second year)
  • All-State Chorus: Olivia Adams-Zmolek (second year), Taylor Hoffman, Aaron Seberger, and Elijah Thiessen (fourth year)
  • All-State Orchestra: Veronica Herrera, violin

The 2020 All-State Music Festival concert would have celebrated the 74th anniversary of this prestigious event. District auditions for each ensemble were held virtually last month in Le Mars, Hampton, Independence, Atlantic, Indianola, and Washington. 

In total, 3,483 students representing 263 high schools auditioned virtually. The students selected to an All-State ensemble represent the top 1.7% of all Iowa high school musicians.

While we are saddened that the 2020 All-State Music Festival Concert itself has been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, that in no way diminishes the accomplishment of the young musicians designated as members of the 2020 All-State Band, Choir, or Orchestra. They are in every way All-State Musicians and we commend them for earning this honor! 

PHOTOS: Three Bobcat All-Staters show their instruments and medals. From left: Taylor Hoffman, Veronica Herrera, and Rebekah Stone.

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MCSD honors military veteran employees on Veterans Day

Lenihan Intermediate School military veteran employees Bill Roberts, left, and Brenda Pappas, center, also received Veterans Day cards from Dr. Schutte Wednesday.

The Marshalltown Community School District is incredibly proud of our many military veteran employees who bring their valuable skills, knowledge, and experience to our schools each day. 

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte shared special Veterans Day cards with military veteran employees Wednesday to honor and celebrate their service to the country. Thank you to all who have served!

Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, left, shared Veterans Day cards with District Transportation employees Jerry Flathers, second left, and Ken Hoffman, second right, on Wednesday. Also pictured at right is Transportation Director Rex Kozak.
Dr. Schutte shared a Veterans Day card with Roger Johnson, left, of Lenihan Intermediate School.
Marshalltown High School teachers and military veteran couple Marsha, center, and Tim Johnson, right, got a visit from Dr. Schutte to recognize Veterans Day.
Miller Middle School teacher Brett Comegys, left, received a Veterans Day card from Dr. Schutte as well Wednesday.

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Community celebrates new Marshalltown Court Complex

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, center, is joined by community leaders and partners as he cuts the ribbon on the new Marshalltown Court Complex at Tuesday’s grand opening event.

After months of planning, partnership and hard work, community members came together to celebrate the brand new Marshalltown Court Complex Tuesday afternoon.

Marshalltown Schools Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte introduced the exceptional new facilities – including 12 new tennis courts and three new pickleball courts – and shared the District’s gratitude for the community partnerships that made the sports facility a reality. 

“The reality is our kids deserve what other kids in other parts of the state and country have, which are high-quality facilities to learn a lifelong sport and, for those who want to compete, to compete at a really high level,” Dr. Schutte said. 

Bobcat student-athletes hit an inaugural volley on the new Marshalltown Court Complex tennis courts Tuesday

Marshalltown School Board Vice President Sean Heitmann praised the new facility and thanked Dr. Schutte for his work to organize the many partnerships that made the project possible. 

“This is a great deal for our kids, it’s a great deal for our community. I hope it gets tremendous use,” Heitmann said. 

The project saw the City of Marshalltown and MCSD continue a partnership going back more than four decades, starting with the eight previous tennis courts originally installed in 1974. The significant deterioration of the previous courts was a major factor in pursuing the Marshalltown Court Complex project.

“Marshalltown is a fun place to live because there’s so much collaboration going on here,” said Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer. “If you have a good idea and the right people behind it, it happens, and that’s exactly what happened here.” 

Contributions from national, regional, and state divisions of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) were also vital to the creation of the Marshalltown Court Complex. In total, the USTA, USTA Missouri Valley, and USTA Iowa District gave $91,500 in support of the project; the funding also supports increased tennis curriculum in physical education classes District-wide.

The United States Tennis Association provided a total of $91,500 to support the Marshalltown Court Complex project, as well as increased tennis curriculum in P.E. classes District-wide. Pictured, from left: MHS Boys Tennis coach and Bobcat Tennis Academy Director James Christensen, MCSD School Board member Mike Miller, MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte, USTA Iowa District President Jack Wardell, and MCSD School Board Vice President Sean Heitmann.

The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation played a crucial role in ensuring pickleball facilities were included in the Marshalltown Tennis Complex, providing $150,000 toward the project. Pickleball, a paddle sport played on a small court, has seen increasing popularity locally and nationally in recent years; the specialized courts at the new facility will offer community members access to this fun sport.

“The Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation was excited to support this opportunity to provide students with yet another quality athletic complex,” said Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation Executive Director Karn Gregoire. 

Additionally, the Zink family provided $25,000 toward the project, and Bobcats Softball coach Jim Palmer was pivotal in providing seating at the new sports complex. The MHS Class of 1969, led by Lyle Jensen and former Bobcats Girls Tennis coach Billy Wilson, donated several evergreen trees to act as windbreaks on the north side of the facility grounds. 

“This is an incredible complex,” Wilson said at Tuesday’s grand opening. 

Dr. Schutte said the complex is very near completion, and the project is expected to come to a close within the next few weeks. Marshalltown Schools appreciates all of our partners and community members who supported this important project. The Marshalltown Court Complex will provide Marshalltown community members with recreational and competitive opportunities for years to come. 

Young tennis enthusiasts wasted no time in hitting the brand new courts at Tuesday’s Marshalltown Tennis Complex Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening event.
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This week is National School Bus Safety Week

National School Bus Safety week takes place each October, serving as an important reminder to prioritize safety near school buses.

According to the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), the 2020 National School Bus Safety Week theme is “Red Lights Mean STOP!” When a school bus displays flashing red lights, other vehicles must stop until the flashing red lights are no longer displayed. More information on required stopping for school buses from the Iowa DOT is available here.

The NAPT offers many school bus safety tips and resources for students, families, educators, and the wider community. School buses are crucial to ensuring Bobcat students are transported safely to and from school – it is vital for everyone in the community to maintain caution and awareness near school buses!

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JBS Marshalltown, UFCW Local 1149 donate thousands of water bottles for MCSD students, staff

Anson Elementary students show off their new water bottles Tuesday after a generous donation from JBS Marshalltown and UFCW Local 1149. Also pictured are (back row, from left): JBS Human Resources Director Niko Aguirre, Anson Principal Ronnie Manis, and UFCW Local 1149 Vice President and Business Agent Mike Graves. Water bottles were distributed District-wide.

Bobcat students and staff throughout Marshalltown Schools are sporting new water bottles thanks to a generous donation from JBS Marshalltown and UFCW Local 1149 this week. 

The 4,655 new water bottles will support health and safety within the schools by ensuring each person has access to their own personal water container throughout the day. Personal water containers are among the multiple health and safety strategies MCSD has implemented this school year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Marshalltown Schools is incredibly grateful for our ongoing community partnerships with UFCW Local 1149 and with JBS Marshalltown, which donated thousands of face masks for this summer’s MHS Commencement Ceremony Such strong community partnerships are crucial to the health, safety, and success of Bobcat students and the Marshalltown community. 

Fisher Elementary first grade students in Mandi Nunn’s class were happy to receive their personal water bottles Tuesday.
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Bobcat students’ musical talents showcased at MHS Band Extravaganza

The Bobcats Marching Band and Color Guard lit up the evening Monday during the annual MHS Band Extravaganza

Marshalltown High School Band and Color Guard students gave several excellent performances at Monday evening’s MHS Band Extravaganza at Leonard Cole Field.

The MHS Jazz Band, Marching Band, and Color Guard were each highlighted at the Extravaganza, with each group bringing unique and entertaining performances.

Enjoy these photos from Monday evening’s MHS Band Extravaganza!

Trombone soloist Evalitzy Rangel adds to a great Jazz Band performance
Joshua Reynolds, left, and Drew King, right, provide piano and bass guitar performances, respectively, at Monday’s Band Extravaganza.

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Sidewalk murals to be created at school buildings in memory of Christian Maxon

The Sidewalk Safety Mural Project will promote safety while honoring the life of Franklin Elementary student Christian Maxon

Marshalltown Community School District is partnering with the Arts & Culture Alliance and the City of Marshalltown to create vibrant sidewalk murals at local schools. In May of 2019, our community tragically lost an 8-year-old boy, Christian Maxon, after being struck by a car while crossing the street after school.

We believe the arts provide hope, healing and are a creative way to address and solve community challenges. It is our priority to honor and pay tribute to Christian and his family by increasing safety, awareness, education, beautification and engagement in the arts through this project.

“In 2019, the Alliance launched our newest program, Marshalltown Murals. From the beginning, it was our priority to expand the program by partnering with the Marshalltown Schools to incorporate murals within the community,” said Arts & Culture Alliance Executive Director Amber Danielson. “We believe this is a critical and significant opportunity to address the challenge of street safety in the school zones, while engaging students in a creative and educational way. We are honored to lead this project to pay tribute to Christian and his family.”

The project’s fall kick-off is possible thanks to a gracious donation by Jason and Jenny Matteson, who are sponsoring the mural at Franklin Elementary School. Jason and Jenny said the Sidewalk Safety Murals project “was extremely important to us – to promote safety awareness, as well as an offering of love and hope for Christian’s family.”

Murals will first be placed at three of the 11 schools this fall – Franklin, Rogers and Woodbury elementary schools. The remaining MCSD schools, as well as St. Francis Catholic School and Marshalltown Christian School, will be completed in the spring/summer of 2021. Franklin Elementary, the school Christian attended and where the accident took place, will receive the first mural. Each mural will measure approximately 10ft x 10ft.

Franklin Elementary’s mural will have a special dedication to Christian, including a lightning bolt which represents Flash, his favorite super hero, as well as his favorite color, blue.

The artwork on the left will be installed at Christian’s school, Franklin Elementary, while the artwork on the right will be put in place at the rest of the school.

“I’m hoping this campaign will remind all people to be hyper-vigilant and careful any time they are driving or crossing the street because even if you have the right of way and follow proper safety precautions, there is no guarantee that everyone else will,” said Christian’s mom, Brittany Maxon. “We want to bring awareness to everyone – children, adults, drivers, and pedestrians – anything to prevent another family from suffering our heartbreak. Christian would want that. He loved everyone and would want his loss to help bring awareness and keep others safe.”

MCSD Superintendent Dr. Theron Schutte said the project serves as a powerful way to honor Christian’s life and as a critical safety reminder.

“MCSD is very excited to partner with the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance on the Sidewalk Mural Project in honor and remembrance of former Franklin Elementary student Christian Maxon. It is a step in the right direction of providing more education, support and attention to the critical importance of safe practices for motorists and pedestrians within our community,” Dr. Schutte said.

The Alliance’s Mural Selection Committee, which includes a local artist, an Alliance Board Member and a Marshalltown Public Art Committee Member, is working hard to finalize the mural design with the hand-selected artist, Lauren Gifford of Des Moines. The artist has granted us copyright of the mural, so we will be able to spread the message throughout the community. Our intention is to put the mural on signs to be placed at each of the schools’ busy intersections and crosswalks to share the message to drivers traveling through school zones. The signs will be translated into Spanish. 

The mural design and verbiage “Look Both Ways” was selected for many important reasons:

  • It is vibrant and bold – our hope is it literally stops people in their tracks to remember street safety.
  • The phrase is universal to everyone – people of all ages, from children to senior citizens, and people of all ethnicities and abilities.
  • The phrase is applicable to everyone – walkers and drivers, allowing the messaging to be spread community wide.

The painting will begin over the next couple of weeks, with the goal to have the first three murals completed by the end of October. The Alliance concentrate on fundraising over the winter months for the remaining schools. Each mural is $1,500 and we still need another $12,000 to complete this project at the remaining schools

“Christian was the most caring child I have known. I am blessed to be his grandmother. It is a great honor to have his memory kept alive with this project that will remind drivers to be extra cautious in school zones and remind the students to be careful when crossing the streets,” said Christian’s grandmother, Denise Balot.

The Arts & Culture Alliance, a non-profit organization, was created in 2004 to cultivate a community of arts and culture by supporting, promoting and enriching existing opportunities and by seeking new possibilities. Our mission allows us to focus on enhancing the quality of life in Marshalltown by making it a place in which arts and culture thrive and our community flourishes.

To make a tax-deductible donation toward the Sidewalk Safety Mural Project:
Please make checks out to Arts & Culture Alliance – send to PO BOX 386, Marshalltown, IA, 50158

Online Donations Accepted at www.artsandculturealliance.org/support *click the donate button and select sidewalk mural project

For more information or questions, please contact us at (641) 752-ARTS (2787) or director@artsandculturealliance.org. Learn more about the project at www.artsandculturealliance.org/marshalltown-murals

The “Look Both Ways” will also be displayed in Spanish.
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MCSD principals’ leadership, dedication celebrated during National Principals Month

Each of the 11 Marshalltown Community School District building principals is committed to ensuring the achievement and success of Bobcat students – we celebrate their incredible dedication and leadership this October during National Principals Month. 

The District’s school principals oversee student learning and safety at each of their buildings, keep in contact with parents and families, organize school events, share their insights as educational leaders, and so much more. They all continue to show great leadership through the turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read on to meet each of our incredible school principals, each of whom shared what they love about their work: 

Anel Garza, Woodbury Elementary
“I enjoy interacting with parents, students, and staff in a collaborative way to do what is best for all our kiddos. The fun part is when you really get to know the parents and you get along with them like family. I love sharing that same great family feeling with our students and staff.”


Dave Glenn, Miller Middle School
“I most enjoy working with diverse groups of people. I work with teachers, students, support staff, district personnel, other principals and, of course, parents and guardians. Building meaningful relationships with all of these people in order to ultimately provide meaningful learning experiences for ALL students and increase achievement is a critical and most rewarding aspect of my day-to-day work.”

Eric Goslinga, Marshalltown Learning Academy principal 
“I enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with talented teachers and great kids to help students reach their goals.”





Tim Holmgren, Franklin Elementary
“What I enjoy most about being a school principal is leading staff that all want the same for kids and families – success! Our team takes on challenges and advocates for kids, acting with students’ best interests in mind.”



Dr. Mick Jurgensen, Rogers Elementary 
“I enjoy the variety of celebration and challenge that comes with being a principal. The joy is all about the students and making a positive impact on their lives … Personally, my ultimate reward is seeing my former students in our community moving our community forward in various roles and hiring former students to serve here at Rogers as employees. The joys of teaching kids more and more of the skills and knowledge in this rapidly changing environment has come from the challenge to be on top of the wave so children would benefit most from their time in school.”

Kristyn Kell, Miller Middle School
“What I enjoy most is the people – I love working with kids and staff; it’s truly about the relationships that are formed. It’s about making a difference in our students’ lives and making decisions based on what is best for them. At the end of the day, if I helped a student or staff member I did a job well done.”


Mark Lee, Fisher Elementary
“What I enjoy most about being a principal is working with teams to find solutions to challenges. I enjoy working with teachers to seek out the best methods to help all students to grow.”



Ronnie Manis, Anson Elementary
“I most enjoy my interactions with students and staff. I enjoy popping into classrooms to just sit back and enjoy watching the learning that occurs every day.”



Amy Williams Hoglan Elementary
“The thing I enjoy most about being a principal is helping students, families, and teachers. I enjoy working on teams with other adults who are passionate about serving kids and are willing to learn. It is rewarding to work with students and to help them learn and grow socially, emotionally and academically.”


Jacque Wyant, Marshalltown High School 
“My greatest pleasure in my role as principal has been disruption innovation: helping school communities develop better environments for learning for both adults and students. In Sioux City and Marshalltown, I have facilitated the integration of 1-1 computers, launched Professional Learning Communities, developed smaller learning communities like Freshman House and PIER as well as implemented Mentors in Violence Prevention. I enjoy bringing out the leadership abilities of staff and students as they work together to improve the school environment.”

Kyle Young, Lenihan Intermediate School 
“I enjoy knowing that no day as a principal is ever the same. We have the opportunity to directly support so many people. It’s a challenge and an honor to be in this position.”




Thank you to each and every MCSD school principal! You play a crucial role in ensuring Bobcat students are prepared to pursue a meaningful, successful future.

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Community Foundation of Marshall County – Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund announces grant to Marshalltown Community School District

Pictured, from left: MCSD Transportation Director Rex Kozak, Marshalltown Municipal Transit Director Kevin Pigors, and CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins smile with a $9,000 check from the Foundation toward student transportation services. Hitchins presented the check at Monday evening’s Marshalltown School Board meeting.

The Community Foundation of Marshall County (CFMC) awarded Marshalltown Community School District with a grant to support student transportation services on Monday, Oct. 5.

CFMC Executive Director Julie Hitchins presented the $9,000 Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund grant to the Marshalltown School Board at Monday’s regular meeting. The Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund received donations to assist those negatively impacted by the current pandemic.   

“Thanks to generous donations for pandemic relief efforts, the Foundation is pleased to provide this grant to ensure students are transported to school to ensure learning continues,” Hitchins said. “This is another great example of collaboration between the Marshalltown Community School District, the City of Marshalltown and the Marshall County Disaster Recovery donors to meet a need which is a result of the pandemic.”

The award funding will support the partnership between the MCSD Transportation Department and the City of Marshalltown Municipal Transit to ensure access to safe, high-quality transportation to and from school for all Bobcat students.  

“The MCSD Transportation Department is very appreciative of the grant from CFMC, which will help our students get to school using the City’s public transportation system. We look forward to working with the Marshalltown Municipal Transit team in getting students to school with this grant,” said MCSD Transportation Director Rex Kozak.

Marshalltown Schools thanks the Community Foundation of Marshall County for helping us meet Bobcat students’ school transportation needs! We are grateful to have excellent partners in the CFMC and Marshalltown Municipal Transit.

CFMC recognizes that this is an unprecedented time but anticipates a continued need for funding pandemic related efforts. Contributions to the Marshall County Disaster Recovery Fund can be made online at www.desmoinesfoundation.org/marshallcountydisasterfund  or checks can be mailed to the Community Foundation of Marshall County, 11 N. First Ave., Marshalltown, Iowa 50158.

If you have any questions, you can contact Julie Hitchins, Community Foundation of Marshall County Executive Director, at director@cfmarshallco.org. www.cfmarshallco.org

The mission of the Community Foundation of Marshall County is to improve the quality of life in Marshall County by building charitable endowments and by addressing critical needs of our communities in partnership with nonprofit organizations and donors. The Community Foundation of Marshall County is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, a community foundation that is confirmed in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.

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MHS senior Jablonski recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program

MHS senior Marek Jablonski has been named a scholarship competition semifinalist and a Commendable Student from a Rural School by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Marshalltown High School senior Marek Jablonski has been named a scholarship competition semifinalist and a Commendable Student from a Rural School by the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Both honors reflect Jablonski’s commitment to academic success. He is one of only 16,000 students nationwide to be named as a scholarship program semifinalist.

“The next phase is becoming a finalist, and that involves writing an essay about what your plans are for and after college, activities and volunteering,” Jablonski said, adding he has already submitted his essay for consideration. 

In his essay, Jablonski wrote about a major project he began several years ago – a synchronized holiday light show – and how his academic interests in computer engineering have grown since starting that project. He has since become involved in the MHS BotCats robotics team, the MHS Math Team, Lego League and the National Honor Society.

The NMSC will announce the scholarship program finalists in February. In the meantime, Jablonski will continue to work toward his post-graduation career goals. 

“I’m planning on going to either Iowa State or Purdue for computer engineering,” he said. “Computer engineering is a good medium between programming and electrical engineering. You get to deal with software on the hardware level.” 

Congratulations Marek Jablonski for earning both of these major recognitions!

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