Metro-East News

Principals honor dozens of top metro-east students

Alyssa Bartle, left, and Madeline Barton at the soccer practice that Belleville East’s team had with the H.O.P.E. club in April. H.O.P.E. stands for Helping Other People Excel.
Alyssa Bartle, left, and Madeline Barton at the soccer practice that Belleville East’s team had with the H.O.P.E. club in April. H.O.P.E. stands for Helping Other People Excel. Provided photo

More than 120 students were honored for their leadership skills, character and academic performance by Illinois principals in April.

The annual Illinois Principals Association’s Student Recognition Breakfast on April 15 at Collinsville’s Gateway Center had more than 500 attendees, according to Dave Deets, the regional director of the association. Deets is principal of Ellis Elementary School in Belleville.

Principals in Monroe, Madison, St. Clair, Jersey and Randolph counties chose students based on their strong leadership skills, outstanding character and academic performance.

Students honored included:

▪  Belle Valley District 119: Luke Andrew Freppon and Jazlyn Taylor

▪  Belleville District 118: Dominic Smith, Wendy Doolittle, Julia Beltran, Jadyn Riggle, Sam Segerstrom, Raegan Grawe, Jada Judy, Kristin Kurtz and Kinzi Johnson

▪  Belleville District 201: Brandon Brocksmith, Laura Kern, Carly Tribout and Justin Buettner

▪  Collinsville District 10: Alicia Swartz, Thomas Boyer, Kaitlyn Carlson, Chase Counton, Eden Gruchala, Alicia Markovich, Curtis Schaaf, Georgia Cox, Brandon Campbell, Hailey Clay, Grace Nagel and Madeline Eversmann

▪  Columbia District 4: Cory Myers, Elaina Vitale and J.T. Iorio

▪  Coulterville District 1: Hayley Strotman and Emily Little

▪  East St. Louis District 189: Cynthia Cutler-Taylor and Benjamin Cole

▪  Edwardsville District 7: Meera Bharati, Edward Noonan, Puja Patel, Taylor Tarter, Spencer Sundberg, Luci Klingensmith, Allyson Grotefendt, Sophis Surheyao, Kiara Delgado, Matthew Stopka, Ethan Miracle, Kylea Dietz, Madison Kolakowski, Jackson Weaver, Tarielle Cook and Danielle Huene

▪  Freeburg High School: Emily Vahlkamp and Carter Bonta

▪  Grant District 110: Jaida Adams and Evan McGibney

▪  Granite City District 9: Triskaya Augustin, Laraeli Barron, Ian Wonders, Ilaina Novocich, Alex Weaver, Kaylyn Wiley, Ivan Hernandez, Gretchen Kujawa, Kira Brown, Tramel Ellis, Paige Faulkner and Darrell Miller, Jr.

▪  Harmony District 175: Winifred James, Connor Lynd, Joseph Barry and Alyssa Meyer

▪  High Mount District 116: Matthew Little and Lainey Goodrich

▪  Highland District 5: Lauren Townsend

▪  Madison District 12: Gabriel Paulette, Jr. and Meliyah McGee

▪  Father McGivney Catholic High School: Danielle Villhard and Morgan Wagner

▪  Mascoutah District 19: Kalli Morris and Virgel Caval

▪  O’Fallon District 90: Allyssa Corso, Brendan Krell, Rachael Dziaba and Jessica Nguyen

▪  Red Bud District 132: Andrew Luthy and Madison Baum

▪  Signal Hill School: Mary Nester

▪  Smithton District 130: Molly Delaney and Riley Blankenship

▪  Triad District 2: Ali Barisch, Jared Speer and Madisen Thomas

▪  Waterloo District 5: Ellie Schwehr, Rylee Diekmann, Anthony Gant, Max Shrader and Kaleigh Dickneite

▪  Whiteside District 115: Ean Dipasquale and Tiffany Patton

▪  Wolf Branch 113: Madeline Patton and Alexandra Mueller


The superintendent of Grant Community District 110 has been honored by the state’s Association of School Board Administrators. Matthew Stines is one of the state’s “Superintendents of Distinction” and was selected by his peers based on leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement. Winners were honored at the Governor’s Mansion on April 21.


Applications for the Chad Wood Memorial Scholarship are due May 22. The Swansea Rotary funds the scholarship every year with its 5K and expects to award three $1,500 scholarships. Applicants must reside in Swansea; other requirements are on the application. Download it at

Chad Wood died in 2005 in a car accident while he was a student at Belleville East. His father was the Charter President of the Rotary Club when it was formed in 2002. The three scholarship winners will be awarded their scholarship check at the June meeting of the Swansea Rotary Club.


The Illinois Center for Autism hosted a “Money Smart Kids Read” program on April 17, a day earlier than the larger metro-area celebration. Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour read “Lemonade for Sale” to the 42 students in the center’s elementary program. Mayor Mark Eckert conducted a game afterward. Pasta Fare, a restaurant by the Illinois Center for Autism, provided refreshments.


Belleville East girls soccer coach Erika Baptist invited students from the school’s H.O.P.E. club to practice soccer together on April 18. H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Excel) is for individualized education students, and events like the practice help them and regular education students socialize in a different setting. Sarah Keim and Anne Brown are in their fourth year of sponsoring the club.

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