Metro-East News

Education Matters: Father McGivney will get a special blessing

Kindergartener Audrey Essner sits with her eighth grade buddy, Hannah Gundlach, while they wait for outdoor Mass at the Saints Peter and Paul Church School fields in Waterloo.
Kindergartener Audrey Essner sits with her eighth grade buddy, Hannah Gundlach, while they wait for outdoor Mass at the Saints Peter and Paul Church School fields in Waterloo. Provided photo

Classes started at Father McGivney on Aug. 20, but come Monday those students will have their studies in a blessed space.

The Catholic High School in Glen Carbon moved from a shared space in Maryville to a newly constructed school this year in Glen Carbon. Bishop Thomas John Paprocki with the Diocese of Springfield will be part of the dedication ceremony, which includes blessing all aspects of the building and grounds. The open dedication is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the school, 7190 Bouse Road in Glen Carbon.

Father Brian Alford of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield said the school isn’t just for academics.

“Since it is a place that is part of our Catholic faith, and young men and women will grow not just academically but spiritually as well, it’s an opportunity to set it aside by blessing it,” Alfrod said.

The prayer service will begin outside and likely include song, prayers and scripture reading, he said. Then there will be a prayer of blessing for the campus, and then the bishop will walk through the building and over the grounds with holy water.

The dedication ceremony is open to the public and will include a school tour.

Alford said the most noticeable thing to him about the new building is the size, especially in comparison to its previous home.

“The size is much more conducive to a high school setting,” he said. “I think it’s an environment you can certainly see how a lot of attention has gone into making it a school that responds to the modern needs for learning and technology ... and a lot of attention and detail went into making (the chapel) a very prayerfully space.”


The five-county region of Illinois Principal Association will formally honor several principals at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Tavern on Main in Belleville. Administrators in Belleville, East St. Louis and Columbia received top honors. Honorees are:

▪  Elementary School Principal of the Year: Teresa Blomenkamp, Douglas Elementary, Belleville District 118

▪  Middle School Principal of the Year: Eric Harris, Lincoln Middle School, East St. Louis District 189. Harris was nominated by Gabrielle Schwemmer, the director of school improvement at the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education.

▪  High School Principal of the Year: Jason Dandurand, Columbia High School, Columbia District 4

▪  Assistant Principal of the Year: Natalie Lowe, Grant Middle School, Grant District 110

▪  Board of Education Member of the Year: Theresa Billy, Collinsville Community Unit School District 10

▪  Superintendent of the Year: Suzette Lambert, Signal Hill Elementary School, Signal Hill District 181

▪  Athletic Director of the Year: Jill Puckett, Dupo High School, Dupo District 196

▪  Herman Graves Award: Catherine Elliot, special education coordinator, Alton District 11

▪  Also, Belle Valley School nominated Chris Eckert for his work with the school to build bridges between businesses and schools.


Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Waterloo celebrated an all-school Mass on Aug. 24 with an outdoor mass.

Kindergartners sat with their eighth grade buddies for the event, first graders with seventh graders and preschool students with their fourth-grade buddies. The second, third, fifth and sixth grades sat with their classes.


Students with a 3 or higher on their Advanced Placement exams will be getting college credit from all Illinois public colleges and universities under a bill Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law earlier this month. The law applies to freshman entering Illinois public colleges in the fall of 2016.

Last spring, Cyndi Oberle-Dahm, a teacher at Belleville West, spoke to the District 201 school board urging the support of the bill, citing the 14 other states that already do so including Indiana and Wisconsin.

“Each school or university set their own limits,” she said, and a student with a 4 may not receive credit from one university, but a student with a 3 would at another university.

Oberle-Dahm said last year West gave 213 AP exams. “If the score is now a 3, we would have had 70 percent of all our students eligible to receive credit,” she said. Last year’s juniors will be able to take advantage of the new law, she said.


According to Facebook, Tuesday is Belleville West High School’s birthday. The school is a boy, according to the Facebook page, born on Aug. 25, 1966.

He has more than 3,100 friends, but as of 9 a.m. none had expressed birthday wishes.

Do you have an item for Education Matters or an education-related story tip? We want to know about it. Send your ideas to Mary Cooley at or 618-239-2535. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryCooleyBND.