O'Fallon students donate pajamas to children in need

News-DemocratFebruary 4, 2014 

Second-graders at Marie Schaefer Elementary School in O'Fallon set out to warm the hearts and bodies of children in need. They achieved their goal by collecting and donating pajamas to foster children through Caritas Family Solutions.

"We are grateful for people of all ages who have the heart and desire to give to others," said Elke Hansen, Caritas regional director of Belleville.

The students donated the pajamas through the Pajama Program, which was founded in 2001. The Pajama Program provides new pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide, many waiting and hoping to be adopted. To learn more about the Pajama Program, visit http://www.pajamaprogram.org.

Caritas distribute the pajamas to foster children throughout St. Clair County. "Something as simple as a pair of pajamas can really make a difference," Hansen said. "We are in constant need of miscellaneous items, such as, towels, bedding, socks, etc."

For information about Caritas Family Solutions, visit http://www.caritasfamilysolutions.org.


Zion Lutheran School in Belleville invites the community to an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the school, located at 1810 McClintock Ave. in Belleville.

Zion Lutheran School provides a Christ-centered approach to education that nurtures the child's faith. Additional information regarding the school curriculum, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities will be available during the open house.

Both the pre-school and school, kindergarten through eighth-grade, programs will be open to the community. For more information, visit the school's website at www.zionschoolbelleville.org or contact the school office at 618-234-0275.

Two Lutheran schools in Collinsville also will have open houses from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday -- Good Shepherd Lutheran, 1300 Beltline Rd., and Holy Cross Lutheran, 413 S. Seminary St.


A town hall meeting on the Grant School District 110 property tax referendum will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Caseyville Township Senior Center. The district is asking voters to approve an 85-cent tax rate hike, bringing the rate from $1.42 to $2.27 per $100 of assessed valuation. For the owner of a $100,000 house, Superintendent Matt Stines said the tax increase would cost about $8.25 a month. For more information on the referendum, check out the Facebook page by searching Grant District 110 -- Referendum.


The Belleville East ROTC Club/Military Connections is holding a Military Career Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 12 in the school's cafeteria. It is an opportunity for students to look into serving in the military whether it be through an academy, college ROTC or enlisting. Representatives from West Point, Air Force, Naval and U.S. Coast Guard academies will be available along with St. Louis University Air Force ROTC and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Army ROTC. Recruiters from Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and U.S. Coast Guard will be in attendance as well.


Registration for Millstadt Community Consolidated School District 160 kindergarten students for the 2014-15 school year will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13 at the Millstadt Primary Center. Call the school office at 618-476-7100 to schedule an appointment. Registration is for children who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 and reside in the district.


The Air Force Junior ROTC instructors and cadets of Dupo and Columbia High Schools in Dupo earned an overall unit assessment score of "Exceeds Standards" -- the highest rating attainable during their rated unit evaluation late last year. Major Mike Conley and SMSgt John Solomon created a dynamic and supportive learning environment coupled with an excellent community outreach. The instructors were providing outstanding leadership in administering the cadet centered citizenship program, according to the evaluation.


The metro-east students recognized with "Do The Right Thing" awards on Jan. 29 at St. Louis Police Headquarters were: Alexandra McGee from Douglas School in Belleville District 118; Jacob Nicholson from Westhaven School in Belleville District 118; Hannah Parke from Smithton School in Smithton District 130; and Callie Lawrence from North Elementary at Mark Twain in Alton School District. Do The Right Thing is a program that recognizes St. Louis-area students for exhibiting positive character traits.


U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart announced the names of the students he nominated to the United States service academies. The academies to which Enyart has submitted nominees include, the U.S. Military Academy (West Point), the U.S Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The nominees include:

* U.S. Military Academy (West Point): Samuel Braunseis of Waterloo, son of Russ and Teresa Braunseis; Anthony Scinta of O'Fallon, son of Samuel Scinta; Benjamin White of Belleville, son of James and Kendra White

* U.S Naval Academy: Aaron Albrecht of O'Fallon, son of Keith and Michelle Albrecht; Karmeen Powell-Childress of East St. Louis, daughter of Debra Powell-Childress; Addison Ferry of Millstadt, son of Clark and Patricia Ferry; Dirk Husemann of O'Fallon, son of Wayne and Kathy Husemann; Dan Lindauer of Smithton, son of Scott and Leslie Lindauer; Jacob Lochmann of O'Fallon, son of Adam and Marcia Lochmann; Paul McClanahan of Columbia, son of Jeff and Lori McClanahan

U.S. Air Force Academy: Jon Hobbs of O'Fallon, son of Jon and Cheri Hobbs; Alex Shelton of O'Fallon, son of Mason and Krista Shelton; Veniece Gomez of Mascoutah, daughter of Jose and Laura Gomez; Aaron Peters of Belleville, son of Mark and Sarah Peters; Henry Wavering of O'Fallon, son of Kenneth and Kelly Wavering; Taylor Sharpsten of O'Fallon, daughter of Christopher and Gail Sharpsten; Nicholle MacKeen of Millstadt, daughter of Richard and Mary MacKeen; Athena Eccher of O'Fallon, daughter of Richard and Euphrosyne Eccher


Angela Kuchnicki of Lovejoy Elementary in Alton was named a Peabody Energy Leader in Education for the 2013-14 school year, and awarded $1,000 for her dedication and commitment to students.

Kuchnicki, a speech language pathologist, believes in sustaining a great relationship between the school and the community. This past year, she organized a fundraiser to raise money for the local police department so the force could buy a K-9 unit. She oversees a family adoption during the Christmas season to purchase gifts the family cannot afford. Kuchnicki is the chairperson of the school's Parent Involvement Team and co-chairs Lovejoy's Response to Intervention team.

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 education@bnd.com or call 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BND_JForsythe.

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