How a Community Copes When a School Shuts its Doors

After 34 years of teaching math and science at Farragut Community High School in Fremont County, Iowa, Harold Dinsmore officially retired in 1992. Nine years later, he “retired” again, after he was called back to finish out the 2001 school year while administrators found a permanent chemistry teacher. In 2015, he went back again to close out the school’s last semester. This time, there would be no going back to the town’s only high school.

Last summer the school—a fixture in the community, since its creation in the 1920s—was “involuntarily dissolved.”

“It tears me up. It shouldn’t have happened,” says Dinsmore. “I was fortunate to have all my children go to that high school, and I’m very proud of [it].”