No idling: Metro-east schools find a way to improve air quality

News-DemocratOctober 22, 2013 

Two local schools were honored for their efforts to improve regional air quality during the third annual Metro-East Air and Health Forum last week in Caseyville. Marie Schaefer Elementary School in O'Fallon and Belleville East High School both were recognized for their commitment to reduce the number of vehicles idling on their parking lots.

At Belleville East, no-idling signs were acquired from the Clean Air Partnership and hung in the student and teacher parking lots where idling is common. Idle awareness bookmarks provided by the Clean Air Partnership also were distributed to students and staff.

At Marie Schaefer Elementary, school representatives and parent-teacher organization members worked together to implement a no-idling policy. As part of their efforts, idle awareness bookmarks were distributed to students during the first week of school, letters highlighting the school's new no-idle policy were sent to parents and staff and four no-idle signs were hung in the school's parking areas.

To learn more about the third annual Metro-East Air and Health Forum, visit


The law firm Mathis, Marifian and Richter Ltd. recently announced it has renewed its sponsorship of the art program "High School Sculpture in the City" for another three years. The program held each year through Art on the Square, places an artist in an area high school to work with students and faculty to create one-of-a-kind art sculptures for their school.

Belleville West, Belleville East and Althoff Catholic High School have participated in the program since it began in 2010. The collaboration between the artist, students and faculty resulted in three sculptures placed on each of the schools' campuses. For the past three years, students worked with metal sculptor Kevin Trobaugh. The participating school and artist-in-resident for 2014 has not been announced.


Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons will speak to sixth-graders at Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville Wednesday about the dangers of heroin. Gibbons will be joined by Chief Investigator Kelly Rogers with the Madison County Coroner's Office and Troy Police Officer Chris Coyne who has served as a D.A.R.E. officer for over 17 years.


O'Fallon Township High School's marching band placed 10th in the Bands of America Super Regional Championships at the Edward Jones Dome Friday and Saturday. The event included 63 high school bands, representing 13 states. The Belleville East Marching Lancers, the Alton Marching 100 and the Collinsville Marching Kahoks competed alongside OTHS during the competition.


Pam Reilly, a second-grade teacher from Sandwich Community Unit School District 430 was named the 2014 Illinois Teacher of the Year Saturday. Two metro-east teachers Donna Whitaker, who teaches science to seventh-graders at West Junior High School in Belleville District 118, and Sina Rowe, a kindergarten to third-grade special education teacher at Goshen Elementary School in Edwardsville District 7, were among 11 teachers statewide nominated for the award.


DaVianna Robinson, a junior at Collinsville High School was nominated to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders Feb. 14-16 in Washington, DC. The Congress is an honors-only program for high school students who want to become physicians or go into medical research fields.

Robinson was nominated by Dr. Connie Mariano, the medical director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, to represent Illinois based on her academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine.

During the three-day Congress, Robinson will join students from across the country and hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science Winners talk about leading medical research; be given advice from Ivy League and top medical school deans on what to expect in medical school; witness stories told by patients who are living medical miracles; and learn about cutting-edge advances and the future in medicine and medical technology.


Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville is holding an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 27 in the school's Heritage Hall. For more information, contact Amber Gaither at or 618-235-1100.


U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, recently announced the Nov. 1 deadline for accepting applications from young men and women interested in attending one of the U.S. Military academies. To be eligible for a Congressional appointment to a U.S. Military academy, students must be at least 17 and not more than 23 years of age, unmarried, have no child support obligations and be a legal resident of the 12th Congressional District of Illinois.

Students may apply to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo.; U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., or the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.

Anyone interested in applying for admission to one of the academies can write -- U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart, 23 Public Sq, Suite 404, Belleville, Illinois 62221 -- or call 618-233-8026 for an application package. Information also is available on Enyart's website at

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. Follow her on Twitter at

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service