It began in 1998 as an idea to help encourage students in the Mount Ayr Community elementary school to read more.
Seventeen years and over 5,250,000 minutes of leisure reading at home and at school later, the Raider Reading
program, with the support of the Margaret Ricker Endowment, has been a resounding success.
The program encourages students to read outside of school at least 15 minutes a day. Along the way during the school year,
students are rewarded with a personal pan pizza at Greggo's provided by Ryan Gregg for every 25 points they earn (15 minutes equals one point), and a movie at the Princess Theater for 50 points. At 75 points of reading, Raider
Reading t-shirts are presented to the students. Then at the end of the year, students who have earned at least 100 points are presented with a trophy.P>The funding for the t-shirts and the trophies comes through the Margaret Ricker
Endowment. More that 200 students a year have reached the 100 point mark, meaning that over 5,000 t-shirts and tropies have been awarded in the reading program.
The Margaret Ricker Endowment, founded by Bruce and
Michell Ricker, honors Bruce's grandmother, who instilled in him a love of reading and the importance of education.
Margaret loved reading with her children, grandchildren, great grand children and neighbor's children, saying \
reading was the most important skill children need to succeed. She lived her entire life in Ringgold county and died at Clearview Nursing Home January 26, 2005 at age 98.
Margaret (Margie) Driskell Ricker graduated from
Mount Ayr High School in 1924, attended the Teachers Training League and taught at Cottonwood and Star Center countr schools in Ringgold county.
In those days you had to quit teaching when you got married. She put off
marrying the love of her life, Theodore Ricker, for two years so she could teach.
Margaret and Theodore (Ted) were married at the Methodist Parsonage in Diagonal, Iowa Feb. 22, 1928. Two sons, Theodore Jr. and
Robert Eugene were born to this union. They were married d for 18 years, until Theodore died in a tragic corn picker accident during harvest. Margaret never remarried. She was content to teach Sunday School, farm with her two
sons, and help raise her grandchildren.
Theodore Jr. married Francis Vanderpluym and they had two daugthers, Tinnette and Marsha. Robert married Evelyn Lucy Pine and they had three sons, Robert Jr., Bruce and Brent.
The Raider Reading Program will continue to memorialize Margaret Ricker's love for reading by helping encourage Mount Ayr Community school students to read for years to come.
Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2016