'What Christmas is all about': Highland Middle School students send holiday cheer to soldiers

News-DemocratDecember 24, 2013 

For the eighth year, Highland Middle School brought holiday joy to 30 deployed service members.

Since 2006, every deployed Financial Management airmen in the Air Mobility Command has received a handcrafted box with food, games, toiletries and a personal letter from the HMS students and staff.

"This started when one of my students had a mother who worked at Scott Air Force Base," said Dawn Hubbard, HMS troop drive coordinator and teacher. "It has been a wonderful service project for the kids to show their support and give back."

In addition to donations from the school, this year's contributions included locally made summer sausage and special requests from service members such as coffee. The booster club normally pays postage costs, but this year an anonymous donor paid the nearly $450 postage bill.

After the school completed its collection drive, booster club members Col. George Coggins, AMC/FM director, and Tech. Sgt. Sandra Schmidt, AMC/FM warplanner, personally went to HMS to collect the donations and thank the students for their efforts and contributions.

"The students and staff contribute every year to make this happen," said Denise Schau, AMC/FM project coordinator for the packages and non-appropriated funds financial analyst. "This is what Christmas is all about."


East St. Louis School District 189 students will return to school following winter break on Jan. 7 instead of Jan. 6. The District 189 school board approved the school calendar change during its Dec. 18 meeting. One day will be added to the end of the year to compensate for the student non-attendance day on Jan. 6. District staff will return to work Jan. 6 instead of Jan. 3 for a professional development day.


Headmaster Phillip Paeltz announced four students at Governor French Academy in Belleville have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars. The recipients are Jonah Atchison, Belleville; Erykah Harris, East St. Louis; Martina Hukel, Belleville; and, Conner Ruhl, Swansea. All are students in the graduating class of 2014.


Emge Junior High School in Belleville recently held a fundraiser for the Belleville Area Humane Society. Through a jeans day, the school raised $273 in cash and also collected another $500 in cash and pet supplies as a result of the fifth-graders asking parents and local and national businesses to donate.


Last month, Collinsville High School's Latin Club hosted an all-day Latin Convention for the schools of the Illinois Junior Classical League -- South. The event was planned and presided over by CHS Latin Club members, especially seniors Thomas Campbell, Daniel Sims and Sabrina Flohr.

Six schools attended the competition, and more than 40 Latin students from Collinsville participated. Collinsville has one of the largest Latin Clubs in the state of Illinois, with over 100 members.

Highlights of the convention included academic contests, costume contests, Olympic games and speakers. In addition, two Collinsville juniors were elected to state office for this year:Erin Edwards is now the IJCL-South Secretary, andAlyssa Capizzi is now the IJCL-South Treasurer. Both will serve as officers during next year's convention in Springfield.


Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' 2013 Nut, Candy and Magazine Program was a success as approximately 4,200 girls sold more than $550,000 worth of , candies and magazines. The following girls were the top sellers in the metro-east: Kaylee Melton from Wood River; Amelia Wagner from Belleville; Cheyenne Quartermouse from Cottage Hills; Jovie Mersinger from Collinsville; Alexa Glover from Dupo; Carre Webster from Granite City; Josephine Rutledge from Glen Carbon; Ahmani Tillman from Fairview Heights; Emily Jones from Granite City; Dalanee Balint from Highland; Katlyn Springer from Godfrey; Zion Waddell from Swansea; Alexandra Sumida from O'Fallon; Madison Sanker from Mascoutah; Lynn Shirley from Lebanon; and Alayna Walton from Waterloo.

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