Metro-east students to compete for chance to perform at The Fox Theatre

News-DemocratJanuary 28, 2014 

More than two dozen metro-east students will compete in the preliminary round of the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation's fourth annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition this weekend. The students will compete for chances to perform April 4 on The Fabulous Fox stage and win scholarships and prizes.

The following students will perform: Kayla Thompson, Red Bud High School; Shayla Whitfield, Jermeisha Brownlee, Arerevure Lindsey and Clemesha Pruitt, all from Cahokia High School; Jada Wright, Edwardsville High School; Connor McDonald and Morgan Beavers, both from Collinsville High School; Erika Gordon, Althoff Catholic High School; Darius Jenkins, Belleville East High School; Olivia Gregory, Triad High School; Ragan Faulkner, O'Fallon Township High School; and Amanda Dragert, Logan Dunlap, Genna Hilbing, Eddie Koharik and Matthew Voigt, all from Mascoutah High School.

In all, 145 acts from 78 schools in the bi-state region will take the stage at the preliminary competition Saturday and Sunday. The two days of preliminary competition at three different locations -- Lindenwood University-Belleville, St. Louis Community College-Forest Park and University of Missouri-St. Louis -- will narrow the field to 36 acts.

The students who advance will then compete in the semi-finals on March 1 at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park where the final 10 to 12 acts will be chosen to compete at The Fox.

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Community members are invited to Althoff Thursday night for a presentation by Allen Hunt, who was the minister of the largest Southern Methodist church in the world in Atlanta before he converted to Catholicism. He is the author of "Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor." Hunt's presentation starts at 7 p.m. in Heritage Hall. The event is open to the public. Hunt will return to talk to students at 9 a.m. Friday at the school. For more information, call the school at 618-235-1100.


A cast of 32 seventh-and-eighth graders at Highland Middle School will present "Willy Wonka Jr." Friday and Saturday.

"This is an incredibly talented group of young men and women. It took close to three hours to figure out where to place everyone in the show because everyone was that good at auditions," said director Marla Weis. "It's a great problem to have. They have all been working very hard at making this a fantastic production. I'm really excited to show them off to the community."

Doors open at 7 p.m. both nights and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Highland Elementary School Auditorium, 1600 Lindenthal Avenue. Tickets are available at the door for $5 for adults and $3 for student.


Male metro-east high school students are invited to attend the Center for Racial Harmony's Youth to Youth workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Belleville East. This session is dedicated to boys with a theme of "The Man in the Mirror." A session for girls was held in October. The third and final Youth to Youth program will be held in May, where both male and female students will be invited. For more information, call the center at 618-234-0508.


Members of Girl Scout Troop 392 at Marie Schaefer Elementary School in O'Fallon have earned the National Garden Club patch. This program encourages partnerships between Girl Scouts and local National Garden Clubs to teach the scouts about native plants. To earn the patch, the troop worked with the O'Fallon Garden Club to discover and take action to protect native plants. They visited the Community Garden on State Street in O'Fallon to learn about the plants and how to preserve and protect them. Then, with the help of the Garden Club, they planted some in their school garden beds. Finally, they created and placed posters around the school to teach other students about the plants.


Family physicians in nine Illinois communities are hosting students from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine through Feb. 7.

Students from the metro-east participating in the school's Family Medicine Preceptorship Program are:

* Jared Henrichs, son of Carl and Mona Henrichs of Breese, is the guest of Dr. Jonathan Osborn at Clinton County Rural Health in Breese,

* Kelli Kreher, daughter of Ken and Lori Kreher of Freeburg, is the guest of Dr. Todd Vonderheide at Rural Family Medicine in Freeburg and

* Stephanie Lorts, daughter of Mel and Lori Czeschin of Bethalto, is the guest of Dr. Mettisa McLeod at Family Medicine Associates in Collinsville.

The experience provides an opportunity for students to use their medical knowledge in an office setting under the supervision of an experienced physician. The students will graduate from medical school in May 2015 and then pursue advanced training in a specific area of medicine before beginning practice.

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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