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Mrs. Irene Sprong

2008 Inductee into the ZAA Hall of Fame Life-Long Resident of Zionsville, Indiana. ZHS Class of 1934. Zionsville Elementary School Teacher for Total of 43 Years. A Legacy of Education from Work and Dedication to the Community.

July 26, 2008

Mrs. Elizabeth Irene (Ottinger) Sprong was born in Hendricks County Aug. 5, 1916. Her mother and father, Carl and Mary Ottinger moved to Boone county 5 miles west of Zionsville to property purchased from her mother's parents. She had two brothers, Burl and Clayton Ottinger.

Mrs. Sprong attended Swamp College- a one room school for 2 years, her aunt Olive (Harmon) Schooler, being her teacher. The Zionsville school was formed making room for all township schools to consolidate. She graduated from Zionsville High School in 1934.

After high school graduation, she attended Central Normal College in Danville, Indiana. From there she was granted a 2-year teaching certificate and Indiana teaching license. Mrs. Sprong began her teaching career in 1936, in a one-room school in Union township near Gadsen in 1936 - 1937, and thereafter in what was Northfield, Indiana on U.S. Highway 421.


Irene married Rex Sprong in 1937 and decided at the end of that school year she would become a full time housewife. With the coming of WW II teachers became so scarce that Mrs. Sprong returned to teaching at Zionsville in 1941. She continued until 1976 when her husband became ill. After Mr. Sprong passed away, Irene again returned to teaching in 1978 and continued until her permanent retirement in 1984.

During her teaching career Mrs. Sprong achieved a B.A. in Education and later a M. A. in Education, both from Butler University. "Mrs. Sprong", as known by hundreds in the community taught 4th grade (22 years), 3rd, 5th and 6th grade for a total of 43 years.

Mrs. Sprong is a founding member of the Ottinger-Sprong Foundation which has awarded a total of 19 scholarships to ZHS Seniors over the last 5 years (2004-2008). These scholarships are in the areas of education, leadership & community service, and vocational pursuits. She will leave a lasting educational legacy imprint in the Zionsville community through her steadfast dedication and active involvement in education.

Mrs. Sprong is a life-long member of Salem United Methodist Church, a member of The Retired Teachers of Boone County, BUTLER University Boosters, and Psi Iota Xi.

Thank you "Mrs. Sprong" ... for giving the gift of education to so many. A little part of you and all that you have done is carried by many individuals throughout their walks of life, and in their own higher educational and career pursuits.

Congratulations and welcome into the Zionsville Alumni Hall of Fame! The Zionsville Alumni Association; Zionsville, Indiana.

By Tim Ottinger, Class of 1972