Teacher earns award for using blog to educate

The Illinois Jaycees has recognized Katie M. Mense, of Mascoutah, for academic leadership. She is part of the Outstanding Young Person program, which annually recognizes those who excel in their chosen fields.

According to the Jaycees announcement, Mense, a teacher, uses her blog both for education and to raise awareness of medical conditions, and raised money to assist her students’ families with medical bills.

She and several others from around the state will be honored at an awards banquet on May 2 in Springfield. Tickets are available at for $40 each. The program recognizes those between the ages of 18 and 40. The nominees are nominated from not-for-profit organizations, volunteer organizations, professional organizations, individuals, businesses and government agencies. This is the 50th anniversary of the awards program.

The event is supported by friends and employers of award winners, local Jaycees organizations, Illinois businesses and the Illinois Jaycees Charitable Foundation.

The Illinois State Board Chairman James Meeks and State Superintendent Chris Koch will be part of a community forum at 6 p.m. Thursday. District 189 and community leaders will also be on hand at New Life Community Church, 1919 State St., in East St. Louis, to present plans for the district and to gather community input.

Four former students at Mascoutah schools will be honored Friday at the high school. They will be honored for their “outstanding professional achievement” or for a “positive impact on society.” They are:

Lt. Col. Gerald Francis Bramstedt, chief air traffic control officer for the Air Force. He was a student in Mascoutah from 1959 to 1972, and while participating in Operation Enduring Freedom was said to have “turned the tower chaos into an orchestra”.

John McCoy Hale, vice president of flight for American Airlines. He was a student in Mascoutah from 1960 to 1973, and now oversees an organization with a budget of about $15 billion.

Casey E. Hoercher, aerospace engineer, was a Mascoutah student from 1990 to 2003. She is an operations engineer during satellite launches, and has climbed Mount Whitney.

Darnell Williams, actor, was a Mascoutah student from 1969 to 1972. He won two Emmy Awards for his role as “Jesse Hubbard” on “All My Children.”

Several districts have preschool screenings planned:

Harmony-Emge School District 175 will screen on April 14 and May 18, in the new gym at Ellis, 250 Illini Drive. Students should be 3 or 4 years old as of September 1, 2015. Appointments should be made by calling Ellis School at 618-538-6114.

Mascoutah School District 19 will screen on March 20 and May 1 at St. John’s Church, 55 W. Church St., in Mascoutah. Students should be 3 or 4 by Sept. 1 and not eligible for kindergarten in the fall. Call 566-7414 ext. 3117 for an appointment, which takes about 90 minutes.

Belleville Public School District 118 will screen on March 20, March 31, April 30 and Mary 28 at 112 N. Second St. in Belleville. Students should be 3 or 4 years old by Sept. 1. Call 618-233-2515 for an appointment.

Belleville East student Matthew Grove is a semifinalist for the Washington Crossing Foundation Scholarship Competition. The awards are granted for presentations that include an explanation of why the student plans a career in government service.

The Foundation seeks to find and encourage young people who have the same sense of dedication and service demonstrated by George Washington and his soldiers who crossed the Delaware in 1776.

The Edwardsville High School varsity dance team placed in two categories at the National Dance Alliance championships in Orlando, Fla., in early March. Coached by Hilary Duncan and assistant Lisa Stark, the varsity team advanced to finals and took fifth place in jazz and tenth with their hip-hop routine.

A 2011 graduate of Freeburg High School has been awarded the Ruth C. Boyd Cook Memorial Scholarship at Eastern Illinois University.

The award to Ryan Eckert is based on excellence in art. Ryan is studying two-dimensional studio art at Eastern Illinois University. The award is given to an EIU student who has finished at least one year in the College of Arts and Humanities, specifically in painting. He is the son of Robert and Lynn Eckert.