June 10, 2014

Retiring Highland school secretary 'knows all 700 students by name'

Highland Elementary School secretary Betty Eilers was recently honored as an outstanding school employee by the Illinois Education Association.

Eilers was nominated for the award by Highland's association local President Tracy Frey. "As incredible as it seems, she knows all 700 school students by name," Frey said.

Eilers is a lifelong resident of Highland and a graduate of Highland High School. She has worked for more than two decades as a school secretary in Highland Community Unit School District 5.

With a wealth of knowledge about Highland Elementary, Eilers is the unofficial archivist for the district. She maintains the historic display of the building in the school lobby and conducts tours of the building for class reunions.

Eilers retired this year after working 22 years for the district.

Five others individuals were also honored during the IEA Region 5 Awards Banquet last month at the N.O. Nelson Center of the Edwardsville Lewis and Clark College campus.

They were Casie Bowman, Brownstown Education Association; Joe Buttitta, Southwestern Education Association; Tammy Frey and Amy Van Noose, Triad Education Association; and Marcia Schulte, Mount Olive Education Association. Those receiving awards were nominated based upon their commitment to their school, their community and their local association.

IEA Region 5 represents more than 2,000 public school teachers and non-certified staff who are employed in local school districts in Fayette, Bond, Clinton, Madison, Montgomery, Macoupin and Christian counties.


Richard Kincheloe, financial adviser with Edward Jones in Collinsville, recently sponsored and presented top reader "Reading Counts" awards to fifth-grader Carolina Lentz and sixth-grader Krysta Swartz at Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville. Both students read more than 1 million words during the 2013-2014 school year and were the top readers in their respective classes.


Nu Chi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity held its annual scholarship ceremony at the Clyde Jordon Community Center in East St. Louis last month. The scholarship recipients were as follows: Darren Johnson Jr., Belleville West High School; Christianna Belt, Belleville East High School; Brianne Lang, O'Fallon Township High School; Kailey Holt, O'Fallon Township High School; Collin McClellan, Althoff Catholic High School; and DeMarco Jackson, East St. Louis Senior High School.


The BASIC Youth Board's annual Teeter-Totter-Athon fundraiser yielded more than $6,500 for six local charities: Eden's Army in Belleville received $4,000; the Violence Prevention Center in Belleville $480; Interfaith Food Pantry in Belleville $480; LINC Inc. in Belleville $480; Don Bosco Center in East St. Louis $480; and Project Compassion in Belleville $480. BASIC stands for Belleville Achieves Strength in Character. Students from Belleville East and West high schools and Althoff Catholic High School organized the annual event last month.


The Lincoln School Alumni Foundation is sponsoring a fundraising dance - Saturday Night Live with The Dirty Muggs Band - at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 21. Tickets are $20 each, and all the proceeds will benefit the district's technology initiative.

Tickets are available at the following Edwardsville outlets: The Bank of Edwardsville at 330 W. Vandalia St.; the Edwardsville Public Library at 112 Kansas St.; RP Lumber at 514 E. Vandalia St.; and the Market Basket at 447 S. Buchanan St.

Those who cannot attend but wish to donate to the cause can send a check payable to the Lincoln School Alumni Foundation, PO Box 916, Edwardsville, IL, 62025. For more information, contact foundation president Herman Shaw at 618-659-0969.


The Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee will host the annual Backpack to School Day at Belleville West High School on July 30. The committee hopes to provide at least 1,000 backpacks for area school-aged children. The committee is still seeking sponsors. For more information, contact the chamber at 618-233-2015. Sponsorship deadline is June 24.


High school students and recent graduates can get an early taste of a business career by attending the Allsup Entrepreneur Academy July 28 through Aug. 1 at the Belleville Campus of Southwestern Illinois College.

The seminar is designed for students in grades 9-12 and recent high school graduates. Sessions are held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The $25 registration fee includes course materials, books, lunches and an opportunity to win cash prizes. The fee is returned upon successful completion of the program.

The program is sponsored by Allsup CEO Jim Allsup, who participates as one of the business leaders presenting to students. The instructor is SWIC Marketing and Management Professor Tom Bilyeu, a former FedEx and Venture business executive.

Register by downloading a registration form at and mailing a $25 check payable to the Allsup Entrepreneur Academy to: Ryan Crouse, Southwestern Illinois College, Business Division-IS 2100, 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville IL 62221.

For more information, call Ryan Crouse at 618-235-2700, ext. 5472, or go to Individuals must register by July 14.

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 @BND_JForsythe.

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