Governor French initiative helps school save energy

The Governor French Green Team in Belleville is already saving money while gaining Energy Star status for the school. The status means the school performs in the top 25 percent of similar schools nationwide for energy insufficiency and meets other strict performance levels.

As part of the initiative, school officials shut off utility service to an unused building, a move that saved more than $1,000 a year. They plan to replace lights with more energy efficient models with the savings.

The Green Team will teach the junior high class how their plans and Green Budget worked; and also created a lesson plan for the elementary students to learn how to use the EPA’s calculator.

Caroline Keefe, of Immaculate Conception School in Columbia, was among the top winners for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s annual contest. Fifth and sixth grade students across the state submitted entries to the agency’s 28th annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest, and winners were announced on Saturday. This year’s theme was “Transportation and Air Pollution ... What Are the Green Solutions?”

“This year’s theme challenged students to look at the cleaner options available in the transportation sector, something we all rely on daily,” said Director Lisa Bonnett. “Through this program, we hope to encourage these young minds to be active in creating a healthy environment.”

Caroline’s was among the top six Poetry/Prose winners.

Mary Lynn Elliot, of Collinsville Middle School, is the local My Favorite Teacher in the Barnes & Noble contest. Students nominated their favorite teachers with some form of writing – essays, poems or thank-you letters – that explained how the teacher was influential and why the teacher earned appreciation or respect.

Drake Tarrant nominated Elliot by writing, “Ms. Elliott is a great teacher and she really knows how to teach and tell students what to do. I think her class is the best out of all of them. Everybody loves her and will always. She influenced me by teaching me self-esteem and I have become a better student because of her.”

According to Barnes & Norble, entries were judged on the compelling nature of the teacher’s qualities, the sincerity of the student’s appreciation, and the quality of expression and writing.

Elliot was recognized at the Fairview Heights store on April 11.

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School’s fifth-graders graduated from the D.A.R.E. program on April 9 instructed by Officer Dave Midkiff of the Waterloo Police Department. Fifth graders Ella Range, Elayna Hermanns, Joely Garner and Aidan Karsten read their essays at the graduation ceremony.

Belleville West presents “Cabaret” April 30-May 2 with performances at 7 p.m. each night at teh school’s Performing Arts Center. The school’s website says the show may not be suitable for young viewers. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for students. Premium on-stage seating is available for $8, email for the limited seats.

Students at Abraham Lincoln in Belleville were rewarded for their efforts on a service learning project with a trip to McKendree University. The sixth grade students had long been in contact with the McKendree students, to build up the idea of college and careers.

The sixth graders collected more than 3,000 school supply items in conjuction with a class from McKendree. The university students delivered the supplies to six schools in Jamaica during their spring break. The sixth graders recently toured McKendree with the university students and saw a presentation about their trip to Jamaica.

The Rotary Club of Swansea announced Student of the Month honors at its April meeting. Each student receives a $50 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. The students are recognized for their work in academics, civid and extracurricular activities. April winners are eighth graders Cory Erickson, of Wolf Branch, and Jonah Sauer, of High Mount.

The Girl Scouts have named the top cookie sellers for the year for several areas in the metro-east. They include: Sloane Gottlob, of Godfrey, Jillian Kreiter of Belleville, Janessa Raines, of Moro, Elise Thomlinson, of Collinsville, Katelyn Long, of Edwardsville, Erin Connor of Washington Park, Katie Reagan, of Granite City, Emmah Reppond of Highland, Alexandria Kampmeinert, of Dupo, Chelsea Sinn, of Freeburg, Kamaria Foluke of O’Fallon, Jazalyn Whaley, of Scott Air Force Base, Lynn Shirley, of Summerfield, and Isabella Schuchardt, of Waterloo.

The Girl Scouts say the sales help girls gain five skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

Gibault Catholic High School student Kelly Fletcher painted “No H8” in acrylic to win the Southwestern Illinois College 2015 High School Art Show. Kelly was awarded the Grand Prize in the Congressional Art Competition, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, in March. Her painting will be displayed at teh Congressional Institute in Washington D.C. for the next year.

According to SWIC, more than 650,000 students have competed in the regional congressional art competition since 1982. Jason Miller, of Carbondale Community High School took second place with his photograph titled “Girl”, which will be on display at Bost’s Belleville office for the next year. Kevin Rich, of Marion High School, will also have his third-place photograph, Looking Back at the Past ,” displayed at Bost’s office. Kristen Schell, of Belleville West, and Summer Brooks, of O’Fallon Township High, won honorable mentions for their work.

O'Fallon Knights of Columbus’ Squire Circle No. 4682 has won the Circle of the Year for 2015. The Columbian Squires is the official youth organization of the Knights of Columbus for boys age 10 to 18. They are involved in church and community programs as well as recreational and social activities. The Squires are Jacob O'Neill, Charlie Eccher and Clayton Ettling.