June 24, 2014

Local chapter of Sons of the American Revolution honors students

The Lewis and Clark chapter of the Illinois Society of Sons of the American Revolution recently presented scholarships and awards to 38 high school students, four Junior ROTC cadets and twin sister heroes.

The SAR chapter presented $400 scholarships and Outstanding Citizenship Awards to: Joel Brown of Mascoutah High School, Scott Nowak of Althoff Catholic High School and Jonathon Jahraus of South Central High School in Farina.

They were chosen from 21 students who answered five essay questions on American history. The chapter presented Sean Shaw of Waterloo High School a $500 scholarship provided by the family of Jim Lattig and administered by the chapter.

Junior ROTC detachments in the metro-east area designate their outstanding cadet to receive an SAR medal each year. Honorees this year were: Jeff Dixon of Dupo High School; Meaghan Nichols of Mascoutah High; Marlon Manuel Jr. of Cahokia High; and Jonathan Kaltenbaugh of O'Fallon High. In addition to medals and certificates, Jeff Dixon received $200 in the SAR essay competition.

Claire and Chloe Gruenke of New Baden were chosen to receive SAR Hero Awards for their outstanding show of sisterly love and sportsmanship in the State Junior High Track Meet in Carterville on May 10. In the 800 meter race, Chloe fell to the ground in pain. Claire picked her up and gave her a piggyback ride about 350 meters to the finish line.

The sisters attended the SAR awards ceremony at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Belleville with their parents Doug and Georgia Gruenke.

Each year the SAR Lewis and Clark chapter presents awards to high school students who exemplify the high standards of good citizenship. They are chosen by officials of the schools in the seven counties served by the Lewis and Clark chapter: St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Washington, Clinton, Marion and Jefferson. This year's recipients include:

* Scott Nowak, Althoff Catholic

* Nick Framsted, Belleville East

* Tyler Fedak, Belleville West

* Samica Odom, Cahokia High

* Ben Grapperhaus, Central Community High in Breese

* Ian Boyer-Edwards, Columbia High

* Rachael Reid, Coulterville High

* Aza Walker, East St. Louis High

* Jacob Homann, Freeburg High

* Brock McCorty, Gibault Catholic High

* Jacob Stauffer, Governor French Academy

* Daniel Pollard, Lebanon High

* Julie Foertsch, Marissa High

* Joel Brown, Mascoutah High

* Grant Camillo, Mater Dei Catholic

* Roger Lane Blake Jr., New Athens High

* Abby Rittenhouse, O'Fallon High

* Candace Shepard, Red Bud High School

* Sean Shaw, Waterloo High School

* Matthew Trimble, Wesclin High School


Sixteen schools in nine districts will launch comprehensive changes this fall as the latest schools in the state to earn federal Title I Section School Improvement Grants worth $62.7 million. These grants will help the selected schools and districts make significant changes to improve student performance and college readiness.

Brooklyn Unit District 188 was approved to receive $1.99 million in funding for Lovejoy Elementary School, and East St. Louis District 189 will receive $5.25 million for each of its middle schools -- Lincoln and Mason-Clark.

"We are extremely pleased to be named as one of nine districts that were selected to receive the SIG grant," Arthur Culver, superintendent of District 189, said in a released statement. "The SIG will allow us to extend the school schedule at both Lincoln and Mason Clark in order to provide increased learning time and increased time for staff professional development. Our academic intervention plan will include resources for college and career readiness and tutorial support, an academic Saturday Academy, peer mentoring and support for family engagement."

Agency staff at the Illinois State Board of Education, as well as State Board members, regularly visit school improvement grant schools to monitor progress. Grants are awarded for three years, pending re-application and state approval each year.


Harmony-Emge School District 175 school board is searching for a new Emge Junior High School principal.

Superintendent Pam Leonard said the former principal Kim Ray has relocated to Montana. "We are really going to miss her," Leonard said of Ray. "She did a great job. We are sorry to see her go."

Leonard said the school board hopes to fill the position soon. In the mean time, she said Ellis Elementary Principal Dave Deets and herself are filling in as needed.


The Belle Valley School District 119 school board approved raises for its top three administrators during its meeting last week. Superintendent Louis Obernuefmann, middle school principal Tamara Leib and elementary school principal Kathleen Goetter each will earn an additional $2,250. Starting July 1, Obernuefemann will earn $118,194 a year; Leib's new salary will be $109,058; and Goetter's salary will be $90,863.


U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis delivered a speech June 17 on the floor of the U.S. House to honor and congratulate Edwardsville School District 7 Superintendent Ed Hightower on his retirement.

"Thank you for your decades of service to our students, Dr. Hightower," Davis said in his speech. "Thank you for your leadership and your ability to always put the education of our children first in all of your decisions."

Hightower has been an educator for 40 years, serving as a teacher, a principal and an administrator. In 1996, he was hired as the first black superintendent in Edwardsville District 7's history.

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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