Peabody Energy recognizes Belleville grade school teacher

News-DemocratFebruary 25, 2014 

Teacher Sandra Casson from Cathedral Grade School in Belleville was surprised with a Peabody Energy Leaders in Education award for the 2013-14 school year and a $1,000 check last week for her dedication and commitment to students.

As Cathedral's reading and English teacher, Casson's goal is to engage and excite her students about learning while helping them grow emotionally, socially and academically. She helped create a school-wide testing week kickoff event, where students and staff enjoy a pep rally, competitions and daily inspirational messages. She even organized a video that included messages from local politicians, business owners and staff to show students the community was supporting them through the state testing week.

In conjunction with her love of reading, Casson created a book club, which helps her students enjoy reading while increasing their comprehension and boosting confidence in their reading skills.

The Peabody Energy Leaders in Education program rewards dedicated education professionals. Award recipients are selected throughout the school year by a committee of top educators and business leaders.


Three students from the metro-east have advanced to the semi-final round of Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation's Fourth Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition. They are competing for a chance to perform on The Fabulous Fox stage on April 4 and win scholarships and prizes.

The metro-east students performing in the semi-final round Saturday are: Arerevure Lindsey, Cahokia High School; Kayla Thompson, Red Bud High; and Jada Wright, Edwardsville Senior High. The semi-final round is not open to the public.

In all, 37 high school acts will take the stage at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. A complete list of preliminary acts is posted online at


East St. Louis Senior High School students will have a chance to hear from Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas at 3 p.m. Sunday at New Life Community Church East St. Louis. Admissions counselor also will be on hand to take applications and start the process for all students interested in attending Western Illinois University. Application fees for East St. Louis residents will be waived. Scholarships are available for qualifying students.


Belleville West High School senior Kole Schlich won the state championship in original comedy at the Illinois High School Association State Speech tournament Feb. 21-22 in Peoria. This is West's first-ever championship in that event, and fifth speech event championship in school history, according to speech coach Adam Jenkins. Joining Kole on the awards stage were senior Da'Vyne Moncure, fourth in declamation, and junior Bethany Dain, sixth in extemporaneous speaking. West finished eighth out of 82 teams at the tournament.

Other metro-east students who placed were: Waterloo senior Ashley Munsell, second in impromptu speaking; Belleville East senior Anna Kurtz, fifth in radio speaking; and Granite City junior Marcella Miller, sixth in radio speaking.


A free, comprehensive seminar designed for special needs children, young adults and their families will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday at IMPACT CIL's East Room, located at 2735 E. Broadway in Alton. The event will provide attendees an opportunity to speak with presenters and sponsors.

Speakers will review a myriad of topics including: organizing school documents and beginning a care notebook; housing options and transition; employment transition and issues; and guardianship and special needs trusts.

All attendees will receive a Special Need Resource Guide, which lists local services, care providers, living options and assistance for special needs kids and their families.

Although this is a free event, a $5 per person donation is appreciated. All proceeds exceeding the event costs benefit the Madison Country Transition Planning Committee. Event registration is available online at Walk-ins are welcome to attend. Anyone unable to attend the workshop can contact event organizer Mandy Darr at 618- 659-4499 and request a free DVD of the presentations.


Belleville School District 118 will screen 3-and 4-and-a-half-year-old children in the following developmental areas: language skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, cognitive skills, vision and hearing. The screenings will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the following dates -- March 7, April 8 and 25, May 16 and June 11 -- at the Annex, located at 112 N. Second St. in Belleville. Parents must schedule appointments for the screening, which takes about an hour and a half. For an appointment, call 618-233-2515.


Two foundations based in Granite City -- St. Elizabeth Healthcare Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Madison County's It Starts Here Foundation -- joined forces and recently awarded $40,000 in scholarships to students in Madison County.

The 2013 scholarship recipients are:

* Katrina Cordova, who attends Southwestern Illinois College;

* Samuel Richey, who attends St. Louis University;

* Stephanie Swanson, who attends Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; and

* Amanda Wineburner, who attends SIUE.

The two foundation also established the Congressman Jerry Costello Scholarship, which was made possible through the funds raised at the 2012 event "An Evening with Congressman Jerry Costello" presented by the Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Madison County. The 2013 recipient of the $16,000 scholarship is Molly Etling, of Freeburg. She attends University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Columbia High School senior Ian Boyer-Edwards has been selected as a finalist for National Merit Scholarships to be offered for 2014. Ian has met all of the requirements necessary to advance to finalist standing from a field of 16,000 students. The merit scholarship winners will be announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation beginning in April, May and July.

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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