Belleville principal retiring at end of the school year

In this 2012 file photo, Belle Valley School student Michai Hubbard gets a hug from his principal, Kathleen Goetter, at the Racial Harmony Awards. Goetter will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year.
In this 2012 file photo, Belle Valley School student Michai Hubbard gets a hug from his principal, Kathleen Goetter, at the Racial Harmony Awards. Goetter will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year. News-Democrat file photo

Students in Belle Valley District 119 will say goodbye to two of their administrators at the end of the year.

It’s Kathleen Goetter’s last year as principal at Belle Valley Elementary School and Louis Obernuefemann’s last year as superintendent in the district. Both of the school leaders are retiring.

Goetter said she has called Belle Valley home for the past 12 years.

“Over the years, I have witnessed colleagues giving tirelessly of their time, tears and talents to help students and their families,” she wrote in a statement. “I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and memories that will continue to shape me in the years to come.”

For her retirement, Goetter said she plans to work part time, travel and stay in touch with friends and family.

Assistant Principal Cindy Callahan will take over for Goetter in the next school year. Obernuefemann said the district is currently looking for Callahan’s replacement.

Along with Goetter and Obernuefemann, District 119 is also losing fifth-grade science teacher Alycia Obernuefemann to retirement at the end of the year. The Obernuefemanns, who are married, plan to have more time for scuba diving and collecting rocks, minerals and fossils in their retirement.

I’ve had so many wonderful experiences and memories that will continue to shape me in the years to come.

Kathleen Goetter, Belle Valley Elementary principal

Louis Obernuefemann’s replacement is a superintendent who currently works in Clinton County. R. Dane Gale will leave his position is administrator at Bartelso Elementary District 57 to return to Belleville, where he started his teaching career.

Get ready for kindergarten registration at local school

Wolf Branch Elementary School will offer kindergarten registration for the 2017-18 school year starting next week.

The registration will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 7; from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 8; and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 9.

Students who are 5 years old by Sept. 1 are eligible for registration. Parents need to bring their photo IDs with current address; their child’s birth certificate; a utility bill; and real estate tax bill or homeowners or renters insurance declaration page.

For more information, call 618-277-2100.

High school student earns first place in speech tournament

Belleville West High School’s Tiffani Volkman came home from the recent IHSA State Speech tournament with a first-place win.

The high school senior was named the state champion for radio speaking. English teacher Adam Jenkins said Tiffani is the sixth speech team student to win a state championship in school history.

Five area students earn Girl Scouts’ highest honor

Several local students’ service projects have earned them the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest award a Girl Scout can receive.

Among the recent award winners are:

▪  Lauren Carter, of Collinsville High School, for her project called Nursery Reboot. Lauren worked with her church to improve and remodel its nursery.

She removed and replaced broken furniture and toys; installed new carpet and a thicker pad to protect the children if they fell; scheduled a CPR class for nursery staff and other church members; updated the church nursery policy manual and set up a check in and out policy for the nursery.

“I learned that you can’t let the bumps in the road get in your way while trying to get something accomplished,” Lauren said. “You will always have bumps along the way in life, but they shouldn’t stop you from getting to your goals. You have to work around them and find a way to solve the problem yourself.”

▪  Caroline Stewart, of Governor French Academy, for her project called Washington Park Good Samaritan Center Playground. Caroline constructed an urban playground at the Good Samaritan Center in Washington Park.

The new playground was built from recycled materials. A basketball court was also installed, paid for through grant money.

“I learned time management, better interpersonal communications skills and how to ask for help when I needed it,” Caroline said.

▪  Kelsey Weatherford, of Columbia High School, for her project called Blooming Butterflies. Kelsey planted five butterfly gardens in Columbia, where migrating butterflies can rest, eat and nest on their trip to Mexico.

Kelsey said her Girl Scout Gold Award project was important because Monarch butterflies play a key role in the environment as pollinators. “Without pollinators like the Monarch butterfly, we wouldn’t have the vast variety of crops that we have today,” she said.

▪  Elizabeth Burr, of Collinsville High School, for her project called Camps in Motion. Elizabeth produced four promotional videos that Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois can use to share information about its camp properties.

Elizabeth visited all four of the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ camps and filmed the camp properties and facilities as well as girls enjoying various programs and activities held at camp.

“I’ve always had a passion for film making,” Elizabeth said, “and I thought I would combine that with my passion for camps to complete my Girl Scout Gold Award.”

▪  Jordyn Thompson, of O’Fallon Township High School, for her project. Jordyn organized a LaVerna Evans Elementary School Fall Fun Fair and Fall Book Fair in O’Fallon.

She worked with her local school officials to revive the Fall Fair and design new games and activities for parents and students who attended the event.

“In completing my project, I learned how to be a leader, and I learned organization skills and that when directing people, to have good communications skills to be effective,” Jordyn said.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes