Longtime area teacher retiring after 55 years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

When she was only 13 years old, Ramona Scaggs, known as “Miss Mona” to her students, was teaching piano.

She lived in rural Boyd County, Ky., and started taking piano lessons when she was eight years old. She started playing the piano at Leach Station Baptist Church.

“People kept coming up to me and asking me if I would teach them how to play,” Scaggs said. “We lived on a farm and my grandparents adopted my brother and me. It was nice to have the extra money (from teaching) and I bought my own clothes.”

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So, she started teaching and by the time she got out of high school she had 25 students.

Now, after 55 years, her career as a music teacher is coming to a close with her retirement.

Her first teacher was Margaret Cottrell, who moved to Florida when Scaggs was a teenager. Scaggs then began taking piano lessons from 16-year-old Joy Fairchild, whose father had Fairchild’s Buick-Cadillac dealership in Ashland.

“She was a great inspiration to me and she was an inspiration to anyone,” Scaggs said. “She was gorgeous and she had a Cadillac convertible. I worked myself overtime just to hear one pleasing word from her.”

One day she told Scaggs that she was better than she was and she needed a more advanced teacher.

“I went to Edward L. Buchanan and he is still living,” Scaggs said. “He was also an inspiration and was able to take me into advanced music and was so proud of me for teaching.”

After she finished college, Scaggs started teaching in Cattlesburg at Hatfield Elementary in first and second grade for two years while still teaching piano.

“When I was expecting my first daughter, Gina, my husband asked me to stay home and build my piano business up and stop teaching.”

She built it up to about 75 students and she never advertised. She has had about 4,500 students over the years, she said.

Two of her students who have died were especially memorable.

“Joe Barnett, of Cattlesburg, he had music built into him,” Scaggs said. “Everybody said they wanted their child to play like Joe. I told him he had God-given talent.”

Because of Joe, she had as many boys as girls as students. She had a boy’s recital once and had 29 boys performing.

“It was cool for boys to play piano, it wasn’t sissy,” Scaggs said.

Another student, Tom Robinette, who recently died in a car accident, was in charge of Main Street in Ashland and director of Red Cross in Huntington.

“He could play the stars down on the piano,” she said.

She also taught at Kamp Kindermusik from 1987-2007.

To celebrate her retirement, a party is planned at the Paramount Theatre in Ashland in the Banquet Hall on Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m.

Former students, friends and families are invited to attend the celebration, and asked to RSVP Lori Hughes at (606) 928-3305 or Johnda Huff at (606) 928-9565 or e-mail