School community raises $5,000 for local teacher who has cancer

Collinsville High School held a “pink out” night during the game against Belleville West High School on Friday to honor a teacher that has been battling cancer.
Collinsville High School held a “pink out” night during the game against Belleville West High School on Friday to honor a teacher that has been battling cancer.

The Collinsville High School community wanted to show its support of a teacher who has been battling cancer for 13 years — so it raised $5,000 for her in one night.

In honor of math teacher Kelley Liljegren, students and staff wore pink shirts to school on Friday and during a “pink out” basketball game at the high school that evening. The Kahoks boys basketball team took on the Belleville West High School Maroons.

During the game, Amber Ash, a cheer booster club parent, sold nearly 500 T-shirts and coordinated raffles. Belleville West also donated money to KAHOKstrong, a Collinville High School student organization that supports those in need.

Altogether, the event raised $5,000 for Liljegren and her family.

High school offering boutique of donated prom dresses

Collinsville High School is asking the community for donations of gently used prom dresses to help make prom more affordable for students.

The dresses will be “sold” for a $5 donation during a special Prom Dress Boutique from noon to 5 p.m. March 4 in the auxiliary gym at Collinsville High School.

Donated dresses, as well as shoes, new jewelry and makeup samples, can be dropped off at the high school to the attention of teacher Caitlin Pinney in room 311 until the end of February.

“You could be the reason someone gets to attend prom,” Pinney said. “Your donation may not seem like much, but it actually makes a huge difference.”

Students who donate dresses have a chance to win a prom ticket, and those who choose a dress from the boutique can enter a raffle to win complimentary hair styling for the prom.

Students heading to state championship for robotics

A local robotics team has qualified for the FIRST Tech Challenge Illinois State Championship, which will be Feb. 24-25 in Elgin, Ill.

OOPS! Robotics, a team of middle and high school girls from Belleville, Granite City and O’Fallon, won the Connect Award at the regional qualifying tournament on Feb. 11. The Connect Award is presented to the team that most connects with its local science, technology, engineering and math community.

Team members are Katherine Buchanan, Mary Buchanan, Mackenzie Butchee, Allie Huller, Kimberly Melton, Chloe Schlosser, Kailee Schlosser, Amber Smith, Leah Walton, Allison Zaiz and Megan Zaiz.

The team also qualified for the Missouri State Tournament earlier this season. That tournament will be March 4 in Rolla, Mo.

OOPS! Robotics is a Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois team.

Robotics teams’ projects help animal lovers, pets

St. John Neumann’s three robotics teams were challenged to complete a research project related to animals.

One team, Techno Turtles, built a “Pet Pantry” to serve pet owners in need of food assistance for their pets. Another, the Scrambled Gears, built a “Pet Box” to allow children to interact with their pets while in the hospital. The Lego Lordz Next Gen team built a portable “Bailey Chair” to assist dogs with Megaesophagus, or an enlarged esophagus.

The three teams of Maryville students in fourth- through eighth-grade compete in the FIRST Lego League.

Local performers move to semifinals in competition

Seven young performers from the metro-east have moved on to the semifinal round of this year’s St. Louis Teen Talent Competition.

The students have a shot at public appearance opportunities and more than $30,000 scholarships and other prizes through the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation contest.

The next round of judging takes place March 4 at Missouri Baptist University. Judges will include professionals from the St. Louis performing arts community.

The final 12 acts will perform April 8 on the Fox Theatre stage; this event is free and open to the public. Tickets for the finals will be available beginning March 5 through Metrotix and at the Fox box office.

Among the local teens remaining in the competition are:

▪  Rayna Campbell, Belleville East High School, opera singer

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

▪  Aly Gabriel, Edwardsville High School, singer

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

▪  Morgan Ladyman, Gibault Catholic 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

▪  Myckena Surber, Belleville East High School, dancer

Metro-east students raise money for needy children

Fifth-grade students at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School recently donated their unwanted toys, jewelry, crafts and movies for the Waterloo school’s annual Kids’ Rummage Sale. They raised more than $3,300 for children’s missions around the world.

All the money from the sale was given to organizations that help children in need.

The sale was organized by fifth-grade teacher Judy Haberl. She and the fifth-grade class cleaned, sorted and priced the items to get them ready for the sale.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes