Monett Junior College
Until recently I was unaware of the existence of Monett Junior College. It closed while I was still in high school. And though I have ushered at a wedding in Berry County, I’m not sure that I have ever been to Monett. I was able to buy a 1937 MO-JU-CO yearbook on e-bay, so I have a sense of the students and their activities.
Monett Junior College was an outgrowth of the Monett school system. The MO-JU-CO paid tribute to those who had founded the school in 1927 and to 106 alumni who had attended in its ten-year history.
The 1936-37 student body numbered 71—28 sophomores and 43 freshmen. Almost all were from either Monett or one of the neighboring towns. Students earned Associate of Education or Associate of Science degrees. Approximately one-fourth of the alumni were in teaching. The faculty numbered 11.
The social life, as reflected in the MJC school calendar involved all-school picnics and parties, initiations, banquets, basketball games, and plays. Homecoming was celebrated in March.
The Thespian cast of “Sparks.” (MO-JU-CO)
The MO-JU-CO lists four major student organizations. Pi Alpha Gamma promoted “a professional spirit among prospective teachers.” Science Seminar helped students “keep up with recent developments in the scientific world.” Thespians put on two evenings of drama each year—one of short pieces and one full-length play. Since there were no intercollegiate athletic teams for women, Missing Link was an auxiliary group for men’s athletics.
Bricks and Mortar
The junior college shared a building with the high school. When the college opened in 1928, that building was the 1915 building, the second for the system. However the combined schools soon outgrew that facility. The building shown in the MO-JU-CO is a later building from around 1930. Both buildings were razed in 1973 when Monett Schools expanded into new facilities.
The Monett Times website notes that the columns and plaque from the original building were incorporated into the new football facility.
Team name: Gorillas
School Colors: Red and Black
The only sports team shown in 1936 was basketball. The Gorillas played a 12-game schedule of business colleges from Joplin and Springfield, reserve teams from Drury College and Springfield Teachers College, and varsity teams from Miami (OK) JC and Rolla School of Mines.
Earlier in the decade Monett fielded football teams. The “Dr. Roger B. Saylor Football Records Collection” shows that the MJC schedule also included junior colleges, freshman and junior varsity teams from four-year colleges, high school and independent teams. The 1930 team was the most successful as the Gorillas defeated Miami (OK) JC, the Arkansas Freshmen, JV teams from Pittsburg State and Springfield Teachers, Monett High School, and the Monett HS Alumni. The Gorillas lost to Ozark Wesleyan, for a 6-1 record.
The 1936-37 "Missing Links," a female social group that supported MJC athletics. Note the clothing styles. (MO-JU-CO)