Sheriff's department launching new program for teens

News-DemocratMay 7, 2013 

The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department is looking for 13- and 14-year-olds to participate in its Scared Straight Goes to College program later this month.

The new program is a spinoff of the department's Scared Straight program, where at-risk teens tour St. Clair County Jail and talk to inmates.

The Scared Straight Goes to College program will give seventh and eighth-graders the opportunity to tour Lindenwood University in Belleville and interact with officers from the sheriff's department, said Anita Tims, who's overseeing the program.

"Sometimes kids need to be rewarded, especially the kids who turn their lives around and the kids who are doing good in school," Tims said. "We find a lot of kids are interested in police officers and what we do for a living."

Tims is a 25-year veteran of the sheriff's department and currently serves as administrative assistant to the sheriff.

Sheriff Rick Watson said the sheriff's department is trying to show kids that going to high school, getting an education and having a goal of going to college is achievable. "My goal is to try to teach young people there or other avenues in life besides crime and drugs," he said.

Scared Straight Goes to College will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 30 and is open to any seventh and eighth grader in the metro-east. Applications at available by contacting Tims at 825-5788. The program only has 30 slots available.

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A group of 50 cyclists is expected to deliver books Thursday to children at Kreitner Elementary School in Collinsville as part of a Ride For Reading event. Ride For Reading's mission is to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods. The cyclists will load the books in backpacks and ride four miles to the school, where the children will be waiting. The books will then be unloaded, and each child will get to select a book to take home. Cyclists interested in participating are asked to meet at the Metro East Parks and Recreation Building, 104 United Dr. in Collinsville, at noon Thursday. For more information or to participate in the event, call Mieke Durbin at 656-1033.

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Students at Collinsville Middle School will learn about the dangers of heroin during a heroin awareness program from 2-4 p.m. Thursday at the school. A panel discussion will include Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons, U.S. Attorney Steve Wigginton, Madison County Coroner Steve Noon, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly and Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Mike Shah. Several other speakers will talk to students about the tragic way heroin has affected their families.

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Top students from O'Fallon Township High School will take on Carbondale Community High School in a battle of the brains on the next episode of Scholastic Hi-Q, WSIU Public Television's quiz show featuring regional high school scholar bowl teams. The semifinal round of the half-hour series will air on WSIU-TV 8 and WUSI-TV 16, the public television stations of Southern Illinois University at 5:30 p.m. Sunday with a repeat at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 19.

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The Delta Epilson Iota Academic Honor Society has selected Tyler J. Mode of Shiloh for membership in the local chapter at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mode, the son of Pete and Pat Mode, is a graduate of O'Fallon Township High School. He is a computer science major.

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Robo Raiders of Lebanon won a third-place award at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival last month. More than 10,000 students from around the globe traveled to St. Louis to put their engineering skills to the test at the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Championship, held at the Edward Jones Dome. The event introduces younger children to real-world engineering challenges by conducting research projects and building LEGO-based autonomous robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface.

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Long-time educator Matt Swinford was selected as the full-time faculty member of the year for 2012-13 at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville. Swinford teaches network design and administration, the Cisco networking academy and computer information systems courses while serving as the program coordinator for the network design and administration program.

A committee consisting of college trustees, administrators and other faculty members chose him from a pool of nominees. Swinford has been a professional educator for 22 years. Prior to working at SWIC, he taught at Kaskaskia College and Olney Central College. For his award, SWIC will nominate Swinford for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association 2013 outstanding full-time faculty member award.

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Mark Tessereau, director of bands at Belleville East High School, assisted by Timothy Hassall, assistant director of bands, recently presented the year-end awards for the Belleville East band program. Special awards include the John Philip Sousa award, which went to Sam Marek and Meloday Wolff, both trumpet players. The Patrick Gilmore award went to Michelle Savant, trombone, and Melissa Plemmons, clarinet. The Louis Armstrong award went to Tyler Hamilton, saxophone. The Woody Herman award went to Joshua Hagood, bass trombone. The Semper Fi award, a Marine Corps. award, was presented to Leah Cange, flute, and Nicholas Thompson, euphonium.

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East St. Louis School District 189 is partnering with students from Washington University in St. Louis to provide students at the 9th Grade Academy with information to help them access college and gain a better understanding of what college life is really like. Called the College Access Mentor program, students at Washington University will mentor students at the 9th Grade Academy.

The program began this spring as a pilot, where students from Washington University met with Ninth Grade Academy students once a week over several weeks. These initial visits culminated with East St. Louis students visiting Washington University for the day to spend time with their mentors on campus in late April. Starting in September, the students will meet with mentors from Washington University once every two weeks.

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Belleville East High School seniors Caitlin Henry and Jackie Crocket won honors in the Greenville Writing Contest. Both are students in Daniel Boyt's creative writing class. Caitlin earned second prize for fiction, and Jackie earned an honorable mention in poetry.

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville graduate Stephanie Link of Belleville was selected as a 2013 Senior Standout by the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The senior standout award honors graduating seniors who have excelled in and out of the classroom. Link, who graduated this month, plans to continue her education with a goal of becoming a medical doctor. She currently works at Memorial Hospital in Belleville and volunteers as a tutor with Project Read in Belleville.

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LeAundra Jefferson of Belleville received the student employee scholarship from Campus Dining Services at the University of Missouri. Officials from MU's Campus Dining Services awarded student employees scholarships based on students' lengths of service, GPAs and campus activities. Jefferson is a student supervisor for Campus Dining Services and has worked at MU since 2012. Jefferson, a 2012 graduate of Belleville East High School, is a freshman at MU studying accounting with a minor in business. She is the daughter of Roshonda and Walter Jefferson.

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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, recently announced that Calli Fischer, a senior from Monticello High School, was selected as the winner of this year's 13th District Congressional Art Competition.

Fischer's submission, "Recently Engaged," was selected by a panel of three local judges from among 20 entries submitted by area high school students. The portrait will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for one year. Fischer will also receive two round-trip tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend the official ceremony honoring Congressional Art Competition winners from across the country later this spring.

Mimi Scott, a junior from Edwardsville High School, was selected as the second place winner for her submission, "Bliss," and Tristessa Jett, a senior from Carlinville High School, received third place for her submission, "Untitled."

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Six eighth-grade students from Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Collinsville received honors at the Regional History Fair held last month in Carbondale. They were as follows: Haley Eckmann, Ashlee Robinson, Matthew Voss, Luke Sengele, Maggie Schlotter and Emma Reese. Ashlee and Luke advanced to the State History Fair on May 2 in Springfield.

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