While Catholic School enrollment is declining in the region, Belleville's Blessed Sacrament School has bucked the trend.
School leaders say enrollment has grown from 180 kids a decade ago to 215 this year.
"We certainly feel that we're doing something right," Claire Hatch, principal of Blessed Sacrament School, said. "Every year I continue to hear from high school principals and educators about how they can always spot Blessed Sacrament students because of how well-prepared and well-rounded they are when it comes to academics and moral values. I think our reputation for being an excellent school is spreading and, as a result, we continue to experience growth."
Hatch said the school has families who live in O'Fallon, Sauget and even St. Louis that travel to the west end of Belleville to attend Blessed Sacrament. School administrators attribute the popularity of the school to its academic excellence and strong spiritual faith formation. Students also develop a strong sense of values and morality, which boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
Southern Illinois University's School of Dental Medicine children between 3 and 13 years old to attend Give Kids A Smile Day from 7:30 a.m. until noon Monday at the school's main clinic in building 263 at 2800 College Ave. in Alton.
Free dental care, including examinations, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and extractions, will be provided by SIU School of Dental Medicine faculty and students, members of the Madison District Dental Society and the St. Clair District Dental Society, and Lewis and Clark Community College dental assisting and dental hygiene faculty and students. Professionals and volunteers from the community also will participate.
"Every measure is being taken to ensure that information about our event is available to all area families, so that all children, who register for the event, receive treatment," said Dr. Poonam Jain, professor in the SIU School of Dental Medicine and director of Community Dentistry. "Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to be treated."
Previously, the event was held in February. This year to limit potential winter weather-related issues, the decision was made to move the date to a milder season and on the Columbus Day holiday when children will be out of school. Children qualified to participate in the event are those eligible for free and reduced-priced meal programs.
The volunteer dentists and staff offer an annual average of more than $50,000 in preventive, restorative and surgical treatment for the children who participate.
Kids also get a chance to take part in fun activities including the opportunity to visit with the Tooth Fairy. First-year dental students from the SIU School of Dental Medicine will host a "Smile Station" featuring fun and educational activities and games to help children learn the importance of a good diet, oral hygiene and the connections between their mouths and bodies.
For more information, contact Sherie Gottlob from the School of Dental Medicine, 474-7200, or firstname.lastname@example.org. While pre-registration is preferred, it is not required and walk-ins are welcome.
Supporters of the event, State Rep. Dan Beiser, D-East Alton, and State Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, will be in attendance.
Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an international academic honor society for the computing and information sciences, inducted its charter members of McKendree University's Eta chapter on Sept. 28.
To join UPE, students must rank in the upper 35 percent of their graduating class, with a GPA of 3.0 or greater and at least 45 credit hours completed, including 15 credit hours in the computing division. A faculty inductee must be a full-time employee responsible for computing and information sciences courses.
The new initiates are Austin Heller, Richard Arens, LaTia Jefferson, Dustin Page, Christopher Uhe, Kevin Schaefer, Kian Pokorny, Matthew Swenson, vice president; Matthew Ernst, president; and Zachery Turpen, treasurer.
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