Play It Forward: East St. Louis school gets $30,000 worth of instruments

News-DemocratJanuary 21, 2014 

Students from East St. Louis Senior High School's concert and jazz bands received an unexpected gift of $30,000 worth of musical instruments from the nonprofit organization Play It Forward.

"We are extremely pleased to receive this generous gift from the Play It Forward organization," Jazz Band Director Delano Redmond said. "We are also deeply appreciative and would like to thank Montez Coleman, a well known jazz artist who is from East St. Louis and a graduate of Lincoln High, who contacted Play It Forward about the donation."

The donated instruments include keyboards, trumpets, bass guitars, electric guitars, saxophones, clarinet and trombones. The students also will receive more clarinets and a full drum set.

"Our biggest need right now is more flutes, clarinets, even trumpets. Those are the instruments we are in most need of right now, as we are not only working with students at the high school but at the middle schools as well," said John Barnes, director of the East St. Louis Concert Band.

Students will use the equipment in upcoming concerts, pep rallies and sporting events.


St. Clare Catholic School in O'Fallon invites the community to an open house and kindergarten registration from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday. The open house kicks off St. Clare School's celebration of Catholic Schools Week, which runs through Feb. 1.

Come meet members of the St. Clare family, see the latest additions to the school and learn more about the quality Catholic education the school provides for children in preschool through eighth grade. St. Clare School is located at 214 W. Third in O'Fallon.

For more information on St. Clare School, visit or call Principal Milissa Faust at 618-632-6327.


The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora will hold a preview day event from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The event is an opportunity for students, their parents and teachers to learn more about the academy's world-renowned academic and residential life programs.

Students are encouraged to register for the event at Guests are asked to arrive at IMSA's Aurora Campus at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, and students should bring at least one adult with them.

IMSA is a state agency and tuition and most room and board expenses are provided by state funds; no student is refused because of inability to pay. For more information about IMSA, visit the admissions website at or call 630-907-5028.


The 33rd annual Immaculate Conception School magazine renewal drive is now underway through Jan. 29. Students from ICS in Columbia will call on the community for their support. Last year, the school netted more than $14,500. The Eugene J. Schorb Immaculate Conception Fund for Catholic Education has received $434,878 since the magazine drive began. Magazine orders may be placed online at The school I.D. number is 2710556.


Mason Clark Middle School in East St. Louis will hold its first school-wide oral spelling bee Friday in the school's main gymnasium. The top five competitors from each grade level will compete. Mason Clark held its preliminary round last month. The preliminary round winners were: Isaac Holmes, Bryanna Moore, DeAnthoni Chambers, TKeyah Robinson, Jamaine Owens, Kaelei Williams, Parresha Murphy, Edith Laktzian, Brandon Shewmake, Stefan Culley, Derek Williams, Ramiah Brinson, Dezarray Trussel, Dennis Doublin, Jaylan Simpson, Malik Russell and James Groves.


Parents, teachers, school administrators and others are invited to attend a presentation about keeping schools and children safe. The presentation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Lindenwood University Auditorium, 2600 W. Main St. in Belleville.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is the keynote speaker. Grossman is one of the leading experts on interpersonal aggression and violence. The information will be frank and directed at adults.

The event, which is intended for mature audiences, is sponsored by the Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council -- 20th Circuit, Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois and Lindenwood University.

The presentation is free and open to the public. No registration is required. For more information, call Debbie Mize at the Violence Prevention Center Southwestern Illinois at 618-235-0892.


As a service project, Gibault Catholic High School freshman Adam Zeveski, 15, of Mascoutah is collecting jeans for teens and their families this month. Jeans of all sizes will be accepted through Jan. 31. The jeans will be delivered to Holy Angels Homeless Shelter with the Catholic Urban Program in East St. Louis.

Individuals interested in donating jeans can drop them off at St. Joseph Catholic School, at 2 N. Alton St. in Freeburg, or Gibault High School, at 501 Columbia Ave. in Waterloo.


St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark A. Kern recently announced the scholarship recipients for the 2013 Community Services Block Grant Scholarship program. The winners were: Cortesha Spencer of Washington Park, Gaylon Haire of Belleville, Paul Graham of East St. Louis and Malori Wofford of O'Fallon.

St. Clair County annually provides scholarships to eligible county residents who desire to pursue higher education at accredited Illinois educational institutions.


Teachers, administrators and parents, the BND wants to see your school photos. If your class went on an exciting field, your school received an award or your student took top honors at the science fair, submit your photos to the Belleville News-Democrat.

To submit photos, visit and click on the "Submit a Photo" link under the "Recent Galleries" section and follow the simple step-by-step instructions. Your photos may run in print with future Education Matters column.

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

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