In 1959-60, Arenzville became part of the consolidated school district of Concord, Chapin and Arenzville. The consolidation of the schools of Arenzville, Concord and Chapin was accomplished to share the limited resources of the three towns and provide the best education possible to the students of the community. Prior to the formation of Triopia, students in Arenzville attended school in the Zuschka School, which housed elementary grades through high school. The school was named for John Zuschka, who donated the land.
The Zuschka School in Arenzville, 1960.
Arenzville High School had fewer than 100 students in 1959. Athletic teams of the elementary school were known as the Arenzville Eagles, and the high school teams were called the Arenzville Raiders. Their colors were purple and white. Locals still savor the memories of great basketball teams from the late 1940's, led by beloved coach Jack Escorcia (see Kirk Wessler's column from the Peoria Star.) Since the enrollment at the school was very small, early football teams played a special 6-man (later 8-man) style of football with other small schools in the area, such as Meredosia, Chandlerville, and Bluffs. Arenzville was blessed with the leadership of a second legendary coach, Don Kemp, who came to the school in 1953. (For more on Coach Kemp, see related articles on this site.)
In the mid-50's the band members of Arenzville High School joined with the band at Chapin High School for common practice and performances, but it wasn't until the 1959-60 school year that the three schools of Arenzville, Concord and Chapin joined their athletic teams and other activities. (Originally, Meredosia was also part of the consolidation plan, but later elected to remain separate.) In the first year of consolidation, both Chapin and Arenzville continued to operate separate high schools, but after 1960, the high school (grades 10-12) was held at Chapin and the junior high (grades 7-9) at Arenzville. Each town had its own elementary school. Students who attended THS in those years will fondly recall the shuttle buses and the home room period which allowed time for moving students from town to town.
The name "Triopia" was selected by the students who were in high school during the consolidation. The "ABC boys"-- Abernathy, Beets and Clark -- formed a committee to suggest a name for the school, its team, and school colors. The student body then voted and selected the name "Triopia" as an invented word to symbolize the union of the three communities. The colors of columbia blue and white were also approved, and the team name of the Trojans was chosen.
Today, students from Arenzville attend the public school of Triopia Jr.-Sr. and Elementary School, located near Concord. Trinity Lutheran Church also provides elementary school instruction for a small number of Arenzville students.
Triopia schools have a well established reputation of excellent academic quality, a renowned drama and speech program, and athletic teams which have frequently competed in state championship tournaments.
[A special thanks to Bob and Donna Clark, who loaned me their 1951 Arenzville Raider high school annual yearbook, from which the above photo of Arenzville High School is borrowed.]