In this teen contest, scholarships, chances to perform are at stake

© Jens Petter Kollhøj / NOGOJ

More than 20 performers from the metro-east could leave an upcoming teen talent competition with money for college, a free recording session or the chance to appear on stage at The Muny. And those are just some of the prizes at stake.

Starting next month, 130 acts from Illinois and Missouri will be judged by St. Louis-area actors, comedians, musicians, dancers and business managers in the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition.

The acts range from singers to color guard performers. Some metro-east teens will perform on their own; others are in groups of up to six.

The preliminary round kicks off Feb. 4-5 in Missouri at Ritenour High School and Logan University. Just 36 acts will move to the semifinals March 4 at Missouri Baptist University.

The final 12 acts will perform April 8 on the Fox Theatre stage; This event is free and open to the public.

Among the local teens entered in the competition are:

▪  Alycia Beard, of Cahokia High School, musical theatre performer as the “Beauty and the Beast” character Belle with Shawn Smith, of Cahokia High School, musical theatre performer as the character Gaston

▪  Nicolette Bedwell, of Civic Memorial High School, singer

▪  Audrey Beyersdorfer, of Althoff Catholic High School, singer and tap dancer

▪  Erin Brooks, of Mascoutah High School, singer and pianist

▪  Korinahe Bullock, of Cahokia High School, singer

▪  Rayna Campbell, of Belleville East High School, opera singer

▪  Julia Donato, Belleville East High School, color guard performer

▪  Aly Gabriel, Edwardsville High School, singer

▪  Jordan Hall-Streater, Belleville East High school, musical theatre performer

▪  Paige Hopkins, Belleville East High School, singer

▪  Greer Den Houter, Edwardsville High School, ballet dancer of Saint Louis Ballet School with Rebekah Apicello, Francis Howell North High School; Victoria Cunnane, Visitation Academy; Ruth Connelly, Westminster Christian Academy; and Abby Hernandez, Visitation Academy

▪  Cristina Jones, O’Fallon Township High School, singer

▪  Morgan Ladyman, Gibault Catholic High School, singer

▪  Molly Laut, O’Fallon Township High School, singer

▪  Sam Lyles, O’Fallon Township High School, bassist in “Rose” rock band with Luke Alonso, Parkway West High School, guitarist; and Makayla Jong, Rockwood Summit High School, singer

▪  Janay Imani McWilliams, Mascoutah High School, singer

▪  Dalton Morris, Collinsville High School, singer

▪  Grace Preciado, Belleville East High School, musical theatre performer

▪  Jordan Riney, Edwardsville High School, singer and musician

▪  Sophia Faith Sterzl-McMullen, Highland High School, singer

▪  Myckena Surber, Belleville East High School, dancer

The competition, produced by the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, is in its seventh year. Videos from the process will be available on the foundation’s YouTube and SchoolTube channels.

School to open bid process for new sports complex

In three months, Althoff Catholic High School has raised $1.6 million toward its plan to construct a new athletics complex and renovate its library, Principal Dave Harris said in a recent video about the campaign.

Althoff wants to build an outdoor athletics complex so its sports teams can practice and play on its campus instead of facilities across the region. The school is also planning to renovate its second-floor library to make room for a lab that would focus on science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math.

Harris said in an emailed update that the diocese recently granted permission for Althoff to open the bid process for the sports complex and to solidify its plans for the lab.

The school said in April that its fundraising goal was $2.5 million — today, it is more than half way there. The money raised so far came from 320 donors, according to Harris.

“Our goal is to raise another $800,000 between now and March 13,” he wrote.

Learn more about teachers’ pension issues

The public is invited to find out more about teachers’ pension issues in Illinois at a town hall-style meeting this month in the metro-east.

On Thursday, Dick Ingram, the executive director of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, will take questions and provide facts to teachers and the general public.

The meeting will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Collinsville High School auditorium, 2201 South Morrison Ave. in Collinsville.

The Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois is the 37th largest pension system in the United States, according to a news release from TRS. It serves 406,855 members, including teachers, administrators and other public school personnel employed outside of Chicago.

Congressman announces military academy nominees

Rep. John Shimkus, of Illinois, recently nominated eight metro-east residents to military service academies.

The four military academies that require congressional nominations are: United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.; United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo,; United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; and United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.

“As a West Point graduate,” Shimkus said, “I am very proud of these young men and women for considering an academy for their college choice and am grateful for the honor of being able to nominate them.”

Each academy will make the final decision about whether a nominee receives an appointment to attend military school. The Republican congressman said the academies will look at academics, leadership and physical fitness.

Shimkus’ local nominees for the class of 2021 are:

▪  Drew Brittin, of Centralia, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Military Academy (West Point)

▪  Ryan D’Antonio, of St. Jacob, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Naval Academy

▪  Tyler Higgins, of Highland, U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and U.S. Naval Academy

▪  Brett Korte, of Highland, U.S. Air Force Academy

▪  Adam McElligott, of Troy, U.S. Military Academy (West Point)

▪  Aften Richter, of Highland, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and U.S. Naval Academy

▪  Seth Terwilliger, of New Baden, U.S. Air Force Academy

▪  Tori Voyles, of Aviston, U.S. Air Force Academy

Explore metro-east Christian school at its open house

Parents are invited to learn more about a local private school for students in preschool through eighth-grade later this month.

Saint Paul’s Lutheran School in Troy is having an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Jan. 26, when parents can tour the facilities and talk with teachers and administrators. The school asks parents to RSVP by Jan. 23 by calling 618-667-6314.

Those who attend have a chance to win a drawing for $100 off the 2017-18 registration for kindergarten through eighth-grade.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes