Ardys J. Munson/Swanson Memorial Scholarship
Amount Awarded Annually: $1000
- BHS Graduating Seniors interested in teaching and/or journalism
- Preference given to: individuals who plan to attend a post-secondary school in the field of English and/or journalism
The Ardys J. Munson/Swanson Memorial Scholarship was established in 2021 by Clarice Nassif Ransom in memory of Ardys J. Munson/Swanson, English teacher at Bismarck High School for over 30 years. Nassif Ransom credits her love for writing to a journalism class taught by Ardys J. Munson/Swanson.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to 1 BHS senior student interested in teaching and/or journalism and plans to continue their education. Preference will be given to students who plan to attend a post-secondary school in the field of English and/or journalism.
Ardys was raised in Oakes and Ellendale, North Dakota. Known by many family and friends as “Ardie,” she graduated from the State Normal and Industrial College in Ellendale in 1952, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in English. While her ultimate goal was to teach in Bismarck, North Dakota, Ardys first taught for two years in Kenmare, North Dakota, and two years in Mandan, North Dakota. She then joined the faculty of Bismarck High School (BHS), in Bismarck, North Dakota, where she taught English and Journalism from 1956 to 1987.
Ardys was highly devoted to her students and BHS. For many years, she was the faculty advisor for the BHS student newspaper, the Hi-Herald, and a number of her students won high school journalism awards, winning trips to Chicago, Illinois; New York City, New York; and Washington, D.C. She also served as Chair of the BHS English Department. During the summers of her teaching years, she took courses at Colorado State College, Concordia College, and the University of North Dakota (UND), as well as the University of Missouri on a Fellowship from the Newspaper Fund of New York. She also earned professional credits from UND, Bismarck State College (then Bismarck Junior College), and North Dakota State University. She married Carl Munson, Jr. of Bismarck, North Dakota, in 1955, and they had one son, Mark; they were divorced in 1958. Carl, Jr. and his four siblings and Carl’s mother all graduated from BHS.
Ardys married Emeroy (Em) Swanson in 1975. After being on the BHS faculty and serving as an Assistant Principal, Em was Principal of BHS from the late 1960’s until his retirement in 1984. Ardys was a member of First Lutheran Church, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Bismarck Education Association, the ND Education Association (NDEA), and the National Education Association. She was also a 63-year member of P.E.O., which is an organization dedicated to the education of young women. She was elected President of the North Dakota Education Association in 1970 and served as its State President from 1971 to 1972.
Ardys was an avid reader, reading several thousand books in her lifetime, including more than 950 books in retirement. Her former students would appreciate the fact that she kept detailed lists of these books, and critiques of them. She was an enthusiastic fan of Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe. Ardys also enjoyed bowling, golfing, boating, fishing, knitting, crocheting, making her own clothes—and, most of all, family reunions and traveling.
Clarice Nassif Ransom is the author of children’s book Tripod Kitty and the Recipe for Kindness which helps teach kids to show kindness and accept differences in others. Ms. Ardys, the teacher in the book, was based on Mrs. Swanson.
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