Belleville West team takes second at journalism competition

News-DemocratApril 23, 2013 

The Belleville West High School team, comprised of Bellevinois and Hy News staffs, took second at the Illinois High School Association Journalism Sectional Saturday and advanced to the state competition in 12 events this Friday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

Sectional champions include Kayla McLaughlin in advertising and editorial cartooning; Keaton Cheffer in photography; and Lloyd Coakley in broadcast news writing. Other advancing staff members include Romel Jones in yearbook theme development and yearbook double page spread; Johnathan Marchbanks in headline writing and infographs; Jennifer Combs in yearbook theme development; Vimal Patel in copy editing; Jacob Cange in review writing; Joey Hasenstab in sports writing; and Tyler Fedak in news writing.


Local residents are invited to attend a Mock Driving Under the Influence event to be held from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at O'Fallon Township High School, located at 600 S. Smiley. The event will simulate the effects of drinking and driving. Local emergency personnel including police, fire and EMS will participate in the event.


Belleville East High School won the seventh annual Greater St. Louis Botball Tournament on Saturday at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. A record 36 teams competed before a steady crowd of more than 400 throughout the day in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom.


Michael Picchiotti, an eighth-grader at Lincoln Middle School in Edwardsville, will be awarded a 2013 Scholar Attitude Award by the Illinois Elementary School Association during a luncheon Tuesday in Bloomington. Michael was one of 15 individuals in the state recognized with scholar attitude awards.

To be considered, a student must be in the eighth-grade, have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, must have participated in at least one Illinois Elementary School Association activity during each year of their two-year junior high career, and demonstrated outstanding citizenship during their junior high tenure. In addition, each student is required to submit a typed essay titled "The Value of Sportsmanship."


Three administrators at Pontiac-William Holliday School District 105 in Fairview Heights will receive pay increases effective next school year. Superintendent Julie Brown said the administrators were granted the same salary bump teachers will get -- 3.85 percent.

The following salary increases were approved by the school board at last week's meeting: William-Holliday Principal Amy Seelman $87,316; Pontiac Junior High Principal Joanna Luehmann $83,080 and William Holliday Dean of Students Rebecca Skillern $62,775.

The school board also approved an increase in lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year. Brown said lunch will go up 10 cents from $1.90 to $2.


Katie Harper Wright has won a first place prize from the Missouri Professional Communicators in the 2013 Communicators Contest-Writing-Editorial or Opinion: Print-based newspaper section of the contest. Wright's Belleville News-Democrat essay was entitled, "Don't label women as angry, strong."

Wright is a former school administrator and is a feature writer for the St. Louis Argus newspaper. The Dr. Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis is named after her.


Rebecca Boehning and Caitlin Cronin, both of O'Fallon, were recognized as Girl Scout of Southern Illinois' 2013 Outstanding Graduating Girl Scouts. The girls were recognized during the annual All That Glitters Ceremony earlier this month at Lindenwood Auditorium in Belleville. In addition to earning this award, each girl receives a $500 scholarship for the college or university they will attend this fall.

Rebecca with Troop No. 296 in O' Fallon is the daughter of Stephanie and Jon Boehning. She plans to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she will pursue a degree in chemical engineering.

Caitlin with Troop 541 in O'Fallon is the daughter of Cheryl "C" Cronin. She plans to attend college and major in elementary education.


Two local high school students have been awarded $2,500 National Achievement scholarships. The recipients are Darneisha N. Coleman of Belleville, a student at Belleville East High School, and Danica J. Foreman of Scott Air Force Base, a student at Masoutah High School. Darneisha plans to pursue a degree in education, and Danica is interested in anthropology.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program is a privately financed academic competition established in 1964 specifically to honor scholastically talented black American youths.


Thirteen high school seniors from Madison, Jersey and Macoupin counties received the Outstanding Citizenship Awards in an annual recognition ceremony held by the Genl. George Rogers Clark Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution earlier this month in Edwardsville.

The recipients included Travis Dunnette, Collinsville High School; Rachel Wiesehan, Edwardsville High School; Aaron Peach, Granite City High School; David McIntire, Madison High School; Mallory Stevens, Marquette Catholic High School; and Joe Mersinger, Triad High School.

The student recipients were nominated by their school on the basis of dependability, cooperative spirit, leadership, service to their school and community, evidence of personal values and patriotism. The Genl. George Rogers Clark Chapter is composed of members who live in Madison and nearby counties who are descendants of American patriots from the Revolutionary War.


The following local students were honored with "Do The Right Thing" awards during a ceremony April 11 at the city of St. Louis Police headquarters: Haley Gimpel from Smithton Grade School; Victoria Martin from St. Clare Catholic School of the Belleville Diocese; Jamyra Mathis from Westhaven Elementary from Belleville District 118; Ben Straub from Highland Middle School and Kelsey Straub from Highland High School of the Highland School District.

Do The Right Thing is a program that recognizes St. Louis-area school students for exhibiting positive character traits.


The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business tapped James Boudeman as the recipient of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Student Organization Leader of the Semester Award. Boudeman received the award at the annual School of Business Scholarship Banquet on April 11 in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom. The award goes to student leaders who participate in events, show a willingness to take on responsibility, promote innovative ideas and effectively involve others in the organization.


Frank Dorris has recently been hired with the University of Illinois Extension. He will provide leadership and program coordination to the St. Clair County 4-H program. There are 200, 4-H members actively involved in the St. Clair County 4-H program, and Dorris will be working to establish the educational 4-H program in new communities in St. Clair County. For more information about the 4-H program, contact Frank Dorris at 618-344-4230.

Do you have an item for Education Matters or an education-related story tip? We want to know about it. Send your ideas to Jamie Forsythe at or call 618-239-2562.

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