Looking Back: 50 Years Ago
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
Looking back at news articles published in 1970, one is reminded of many events that took place in Grain Valley that fall. Three articles are certainly worth mentioning.
Marvin D. Headley, director of transportation in the Neosho School District was named superintendent of the Grain Valley R-5 School District. Mr. Headley spent 18 years in Neosho as a junior high science teacher, junior high principal, and district director of federal programs before accepting his last position there.
Headley was originally from Downs, Kansas. He received an undergraduate degree from the College of Emporia (now Emporia State) and a Masters and Specialist degree from the University of Missouri. The Headley family included his wife, Doris, a registered nurse and three children, Lynn (Class of 1974), Russell (Class of 1976) and Eric.
Mr. Headley served as our superintendent for 10 years, from July, 1970, until June, 1980. During that time a new high school was completed at the original campus on Main Street and Matthews Elementary School was built. Unlike today’s fast growth pace, during his 10-year tenure enrollment increased by fewer than 100 students. Mr. Headley received his doctorate in education in 1978. In 1980, he accepted a position as superintendent in Aurora, Missouri. In a statement to the newspaper Headley said he “…would be paid $30,000 per year --$4,750 a year more than his current salary with the Grain Valley.”
A 5-letter word, “PRIDE” was adopted by the students as a motto for the 1970 school year. It was suggested by the new superintendent, Marvin Headley. But he wanted the students and teachers to “take it from there.” And they did. Ron Affolter and Tim Hays, student council president and vice-president published a new student handbook to help students know what was expected of them. It was the 70s, so a dress code and grooming issues were addressed. After all, those were the days of short skirts for the girls and long hair for the boys. Students reported more school spirit. Susan Mann, a girls’ state representative in 1970 states, “I personally want to push more pride in our flag and our country.” That seems like a good idea fifty years later!
And finally, Grain Valley brought home the I-70 Conference Football Championship trophy. The Eagles won the title for the first time since the league was organized in 1967. Don Kalthoff was the head coach and Doug Lee was a key player in the pennant drive. The Eagles finished the season with records of 6 and 0 in the conference and 8 and 2 overall - - the same records the team finished with in 1966 when they won the Western Missouri conference title.
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