She raised $3,000. 15 girls got a year of education in Ecuador.

Hannah Redinger
Hannah Redinger

Hannah Redinger decided she’d like to help high school girls in third world counties continue their education.

The Columbia High School graduate raised more than $3,000 toward that mission, which was enough to send 15 girls through a year of high school in Quito, Ecuador. She also collected about 2,000 items — school supplies and toiletries — for the girls.

Hannah went on a mission trip to Ecuador in July and was actually able to meet the girls she helped.

Her efforts earned Hannah the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive: the Girl Scout Gold Award. She is a 13-year veteran of the organization.

She didn’t bring awareness to the issue alone; Hannah worked with the Illinois South Conference United Church of Christ Ecuador Partnership Committee, which partners with the Chuquiraguan Women’s Kiwanis Club.

“I learned that if you are passionate about a cause and are willing to share your passion with others, people will support you and your cause,” she said.

Another Girl Scout Gold Award winner, Lauren Lundy, wanted to bring music to the lives of infants in a maternity shelter.

She brought together a community of musicians to produce 100 lullaby CDs and donated 30 baby books to the children at the shelter.

Lauren, a senior at Notre Dame High School, hopes to become a musician herself someday.

“The first question I get when I tell people I want to be an opera singer is, ‘What is your backup plan?’ This project reaffirmed that I can be a musician with the power to change other’s lives through music,” Lauren said. “I learned that my talents can be used for a lot more than entertainment.”

Like Hannah, Lauren is a veteran Girl Scout. She’s been involved in the organization for 12 years.

There can only be one Super Regional Champ

Over the weekend, three local high schools will compete in one of the nation’s most prominent marching band championships.

The Music for All’s Bands of America Super Regional Championship will take place at The Dome at America’s Center, 901 N. Broadway, St. Louis. The 65 participating bands are coming from 16 states.

Bands from Collinsville High School, Belleville East High School and O’Fallon Township High School will perform on Friday. The young musicians will be evaluated by a panel of nationally-recognized music educators and marching band experts.

The top 14 bands will advance to the finals competition, and one will be named the Super Regional Champion.

The preliminary competition runs from 10:30 a.m. until 8:45 p.m. Friday and from 7:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. Saturday. Performances in the finals will begin at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. Any changes to the schedule will be updated on the event’s website,

The cost to watch the preliminaries is $18 on Friday and $20 on Saturday. For the finals, the cost is $24. Children 10 and under can attend for free. College students with an ID, military members and spouses with military IDs and patrons between the ages of 11 and 18 or 62 and over are eligible for a $5 discount.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate, online or by calling 800-848-2263.

Teens vote in mock election. Winner isn’t Clinton or Trump.

The votes are in, and by a narrow margin, Collinsville High School students picked Libertarian Gary Johnson to be the next president in their recent mock election.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was close with 135 votes. And Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, wasn’t far behind with 122 votes. But Johnson took the win with 149 votes.

The day before the mock election, students represented Clinton, Trump and Johnson in a mock debate. They were tasked with speaking about the candidates’ positions on topics including the economy, immigration, campaign finance reform and relations between police and the community.

Questions from their classmates ranged from minimum wage to terrorism, and from political experience to North Korea. The debate was moderated by Arthur Lieber of Civitas Associates-St. Louis.

Students cast and counted their votes using official booths, ballots and tabulators from the Madison County Clerk’s office.

The candidate for U.S. Senate with the most votes from the high schoolers was Republican Mark Kirk with 179. Another Republican took the win for state representative in the 13th Congressional District: Rodney Davis, with 212 votes.

The students who will turn 18 years old by Nov. 8 were also given the opportunity to register to vote in the real election during the event.

District gets grant to help students make sense of math

Mascoutah Unit 19 School District was recently awarded a five-year grant for a little more than $1.4 million.

It comes from the Department of Defense Education Activity. The district was eligible because it serves students whose parents live or work on Scott Air Force Base.

The goal of the Making Sense of Mathematics and Teaching grant is to improve students’ achievement in math classes and to support parents’ ability to help their children with math at home. The district will use the grant to provide professional development to math teachers; to put more focus on tutoring and virtual learning; and to increase parents’ understanding of current methods of math instruction.

“This will equip our students to not only be curious learners and problem solvers but to be career and college ready in a mathematical world,” said Craig Fiegel, superintendent of Unit 19, in a news release.

The grant will benefit students from kindergarten through eighth grade at Scott Elementary School, Mascoutah Elementary School, Wingate Elementary School and Mascoutah Middle School.

Governor helps teen ask his date: ‘Homecoming?’

John Sheedy, a senior at New Berlin High School — about two hours north of Belleville — took his girlfriend to homecoming with a little help from Gov. Bruce Rauner.

John’s parents met Rauner and asked if he would star in a short video to help John ask Madelyn Fornoff to the dance, Rauner wrote in a post to his Facebook page.

“Hi Madelyn, this is Gov. Bruce Rauner,” he says in the video. “I hope you go to homecoming with John. You guys will have a blast. Go for it.”

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes