Student at SIUE East St. Louis Charter High receives state award

News-DemocratDecember 31, 2013 

Starr Gibson, a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School, recently received a 2013 Charter Excellence Award from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools.

The 17-year-old was one of five charter high school seniors honored in the state at the charter schools convention earlier this month. The award also came with $1,000.

"I wasn't sure if I'd get the award because there are a lot of charter schools in Illinois," said Gibson, who has a 4.0 grade point average. "But I do work hard. Grades don't come easy. I study about two hours every day after school."

Gibson said she is working to be the class valedictorian.

"Starr is the absolute model of everything I think a student should be," said Colin Neumeyer, her language arts teacher. "She has the greatest work ethic of any student I've been around. She's thorough; and she really engages the activities."

Gibson is actively involved in school activities including serving on the Principal's Advisory Council and Student Council. She is also senior class vice president and a member of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Club.

Gibson, who has an ACT score of 21, has been accepted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Tennessee State in Nashville, Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and SIUE. The high school senior, who wants to be a dietitian, has not made a decision as to which college she will attend.

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The school children of Kreitner Elementary School in Collinsville wanted to do something for others this holiday season and decided to collect pennies for their local public library -- the Fairmont City Library Center.

They began collecting at the end of October during Red Ribbon Week and continued their efforts until after Thanksgiving.

The school with 93.9 percent of its students receiving free or reduced school lunches collected pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, a check, a few Mexican and Canadian coins and one souvenir penny flattened with a St. Louis cardinal imprint. Their collection of $202 was emptied into a large Ziploc bag and delivered to the Fairmont City Library Center.

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Nearly 150 people gathered at Zion Lutheran Church in Mascoutah for a FIRST Lego League Robotics Competition on Dec. 23.

FIRST Lego League is a middle-school level robotics and team-building program with a world-wide reach. Teams develop a research program on an assigned topic and design and build a functioning robot using Lego pieces and a motor/controller that interfaces with Lego-designed programming on a computer.

An area-wide FIRST Lego League competition was supposed to be held at McKendree College on Dec. 14 with 26 teams entered, but the entire event was canceled due to inclement weather.

In order to give the students who have worked so hard on their projects and robots a chance to demonstrate their work, the parents of five of the teams in the metro-east began planning a showcase event for these home school-based teams to present their research and demonstrate their robot designs in a supportive and friendly competition environment.

The five teams that participated in the event were DA EX Bots, Metro East Builders, Robo Bros, Robot Ninja Ensmartination and VX3. DA EX Bots will advance to the state tournament due to a drawing following the McKendree event cancellation.

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Collinsville Sunrise Kiwanis Club donated $1,000 to the Good Shepherd Lutheran Early Childhood Program during its meeting Dec. 19.

To continue the Christmas spirit, the Kiwanis Club met with more than 50 children and their parents at the Walmart in Collinsville Dec. 21. The children and their parents were guided by the Kiwanis club members, local fireman and police officers through the clothing department to purchase needed clothes, shoes and coats.

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