Four Belleville West students and three from O’Fallon Township High School were in Springfield this spring as part of the 66th Annual Illinois YMCA Youth & Government assembly.
More than 900 students took over the state’s capital and supreme court as legislators, attorneys, press, legislative assistants and lobbyists. Zach Hanusek, a junior from Belleville West, was elected and served as the Chaplain of the Senate.
McKenzie Chamberlain, a freshman from O’Fallon, was a legislative assistant with Emily Johansson, a senior from Belleville West who was acting as a senator.
Student legislators researched and wrote bills to propose changes to Illinois law. Current issues they targeted included a “right-to-die” bill inspired by Brittany Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer and ended her own life, and a mandatory drug testing program for candidates and elected officials inspired by the drug scandal surrounding former judge Michael Cook in St. Clair County.
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Circuit Court Judge Stephen McGlynn attended a delegation meeting before the assembly to give feedback on the students bills and ideas for promotion.
Hanusek and Tori Cheffer, also from Belleville West, sponsored the mandatory drug testing bill. It was signed into law by the youth governor.
Next year, the Southwest Illinois YMCA expects to continue its delegation from Belleville West and O’Fallon. The YMCA is working with The Governor French Academy, Belleville East High School, Cahokia High School and East St. Louis High School to join the seven-month program that ends with the three-day assembly in Springfield.
Any high-school aged student in the area may join the program by contacting Will Welsh at the YMCA at 618-233-1243 or by email at email@example.com.
Belleville’s high schools administrative offices have a new name: the K. Lane and Anna Miller Administrative Center. It will be commemorated at 10 a.m. Friday at the administrative center, 920 North Illinois St. in Belleville.
K. Lane Miller was Belleville Township High School’s principal in 1963 and became superintendent in 1967. He retired in 1985 after 22 years with the district. According to a news release, Lane and his wife, Anna, have provided scholarships for an East and West graduate for 30 years.
Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville is celebrating its 50th anniversary with several events this weekend. The school has named 50 distinguished alumni and rising stars, and will host a blue and gold game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at GCS Ballpark. The honoree reception starts at 6 p.m. at the ballpark, and the Gateway Grizzlies play at 7:05 p.m.. Go to https://www.crowdrise.com/AlthoffCatholics50thBirthday/fundraiser/jennlyke for more information and tickets.
Masses will be at St. Henry Catholic Church at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. on May 31; and the “Hall of Inspiration” will be unveiled at 9 a.m. and noon.
The Imagine-Me summer program for girls has online registration this year. The program, operated by the nonprofit organization Project Compassion, is intended as an empowering, inspiring and encouraging atmosphere.
The workshops are for girls ages 12 to 16, or who have just completed grades 6 through 10. The program is $75 for 8 weeks, starting June 8. Register online at www.projectcompassionnfp.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This year’s Project Compassion meets at First United Presbyterian Church, 303 Royal Heights Road in Belleville.
Register a child or an adult at the Girl Scouts event in Mascoutah on Monday and get a coupon for a free ice cream cone at McDonald’s.
The Girl Scouts is hosting an open registration from 4 to 8 p.m. at McDonald’s in Mascoutah, 7212 N. Jefferson St. The Girl Scouts accept girls in grades kindergarten through 12th. The registration fee is $15.
In addition to registering for a Girl Scout troop, organizers will have information on the Girl Scout’s day camps, STEM programs and outdoor experiences. For more information, email email@example.com or call Nikki Labbee at 618-225-2207.
Scouts are also looking for adult volunteers and leaders for newly-formed troops.
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School held its kindergarten graduation on May 20 at the church. Besides pomp and circumstance, the students sang “Learning to Read,” “Be the Best that you Can Be,” and “This Little Light of Mine.” Kindergarten teachers were Becky Lowe and Lynn Dugan; Principal Lisa Buchheit handed out the diplomas.
The Belleville District 201 Color Guard, new this year, had its first public appearance at the Gateway Grizzlies opening night on May 15. The guard is made up of students from both Belleville East and Belleville West high schools.
The new guard also presented and posted colors at the Belleville East graduation, accompanied by four U.S. Marines.
District 201 Color Guard was first trained by the Air Force’s Senior Airman Kenny Mate and has since trained on its own.