Belleville East teacher Carol Harms has been named the recipient of the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Outstanding Speech, Debate, Theatre Educator Award for NFHS Section 4, which includes Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
“Carol is dedicated to the mission of interscholastic activities,” said Shaunda Brown, assistant executive director of Illinois High School Association, in a news release. “Her knowledge and skills, as well as the endless hours she works to help make debate a thriving activity in our state is commendable. We truly appreciate her commitment to high school activities and are excited to see her receive this well-deserved recognition.”
Nominations for the NFHS Outstanding Speech/Theatre/Debate Educator Award are solicited from each NFHS member state. When reviewing the nominations, the NFHS committee looks at a number of criteria, including: overall contributions, years of service both curricular and co-curricular, organization and continuance of an activity program, significant and ongoing contribution to the field, and contributions to the profession both in and out of the state.
A teacher and coach for more than 30 years, Harms has made contributions to high school speech and debate programs across Illinois. Her years of service include continued support of the IHSA state debate finals, including serving a stint as the manager of the IHSA debate finals. Her philosophy is simple, “Every school needs a dedicated teacher/coach to help students develop performance-related skills and talents.”
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Illinois State Board of Education Chairman James Meeks challenged the East St. Louis community to volunteer their Saturday mornings reading with third-graders to improve the students’ skills and prepare them for academic success. The “Read to Succeed” challenge begins Saturday and will run for six consecutive Saturdays through May 16.
“Studies have long shown that students who are not reading proficiently by third grade are at risk of not graduating high school,” Meeks said in a news release. “Many volunteers have already come together to support this district and I want to challenge more people to step up and help children at this critical age. We are asking for just two hours a week for six weeks, but hoping that the experience extends beyond this challenge.”
In order to meet the challenge, East St. Louis District 189 and the local faith community are collaborating to develop and implement the reading mentorship program. The Read to Succeed program needs 489 volunteer mentors to work one-on-one with the district’s third-graders at schools from 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday through May 16.
There will be a volunteer site coordinator orientation from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the East St. Louis District 189 Board offices, 1005 State St. Volunteers will receive their assigned reading locations from a site coordinator.
For his Eagle Scout project, Shane Douglas of Boy Scout Troop 323 installed grave markers, which honor the 99 Civil War Veterans that are buried in the City of Waterloo. On the 150th anniversary of the conclusion of the American Civil War — on Thursday — a dedication ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery. At the ceremony, speakers will include Shane and Waterloo Mayor Thomas Smith.
With the help of the Genealogical Society of Monroe County, Shane was able to identify 99 Civil War Veterans that were buried in the City of Waterloo; 98 Union soldiers and one Confederate soldier. With contributions made by businesses, organizations and individuals, Shane was able to order bronze markers to place near the headstones/burial sites of these soldiers.
Congressman Mike Bost visited two metro-east schools last week, leaving hundreds of books in his wake. Bost visited Katie Harper Wright Elementary School in East St. Louis, where he read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss and distributed more than 150 books donated by the Library of Congress. Bost also visited Twin Echo School in Collinsville, where he gave out more than 100 books.
Girl Scouts from across Southern Illinois were honored at the annual “All That Glitters” ceremony on March 28 in Whittington.
Nearly 20 girls from the metro-east earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in the organization. They included: Katie Albert and Megan Kraus, of Waterloo; Elizabeth Arend, of Highland; Lainey Brown, Kaylynn Clement, Alexandra Lloyd, Caitlynn Rosenberg, Tera Sparks and Krista VanDriel, all of O’Fallon; Kaitlyn Frick and Jordan Lorusso, of Edwardsville; Emily Fuhler, of Trenton; Tessa Miller, of Red Bud; and Kathryn Stacy, of Shiloh.
Kraus and Brown also earned Outstanding Graduating Girl Scouts Scholarships. Brown plans to attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Kraus plans to attend Truman State University.