Education

Prather Elementary School gives away books for now and later

Sweet Sarah Marie Photography

Every one of the 452 students at Prather Elementary School in Granite City recently took home 10 free books. Principal David Keel said Books 4 Kids brought five books at each student’s reading level to an evening event, and also provided five more books at a higher level for the parent to share with the child. About half of the school’s students could not attend the event on April 30 and took home their books the next day.

Toni Walling, of Books 4 Kids, is a retired reading specialist from the St. Louis Public School System. “She has a deep passion to get books in the hands of children, so they can become good readers,” Keel said.

Walling accepts donations and can be reached at toniwalling1076@gmail.com.

Keel said Books 4 Kids was created to get children from low-income homes a small home library, which should help with vocabulary and reading ability.

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Belleville and Waterloo seniors are two of the 2,500 Merit Scholars chosen by the National Merit Scholorship Corportation. The NMSC gave Laura K. Kern, of Belleville East High School, and Hannah E. O’Neill, of Gibault High School, each $2,500 toward their studies.

A committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors judged the 15,000 applications for the students academic record, including the subjects’ difficulty, scores on two standardized tests, an essay and more.

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Several metro-area students were recognized at the Do The Right Thing ceremony on April 22. They include: Xander Van Horn, Abraham Lincoln School in Belleville District 118; Connor Davis, Smithton School District 130; MaKayla Kelsey, of Marie Schaefer School, and Reagan Martin and Jack Robinson, from Delores Moye School, in O’Fallon District 90. Do The Right Thing encourages students to make good choices.

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“A Night for Kids” raised more than $384,000 for Lutheran schools in the greater metro area, and students from Holy Cross Lutheran in Collinsville made a musical contribution. Music Director Karen Shimkus led the students at the Lutheran Elementary School Association’s dinner gala on April 18.

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Three area students were picked from more than 1,600 applications for the 2015 Golden Apple Scholars program/scholarship. They are Mackenzie Escher, of Freeburg High School; Summer Tracy, of Triad High School; and Heather Jarvis, or O’Fallon High School.

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O’Fallon Township High School Senior Cristiano Cabrera earned his Eagle Scout award with a project for Edward A. Fulton Junior High School. Cristiano raised money for the materials to build acoustic panels for the junior high’s band room. A team of adults and children built more than 50 panels to hang in the band room. The junior high’s music program honored Cristiano at its spring concert on May 5.

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Every student and teacher is being recognized for their service learning programs at three area schools with tickets to the Gateway Grizzlies game. Three schools have been named winners for the “Home Run for Character” programs. Westhaven Elementary in Belleville, O’Fallon High School and Smithton School will be presented with banners from GCS Credit Union, in partnership with the Gateway Grizzlies and CharacterPlus. The “Home Run for Character” recognizes schools that made academic connections to community needs. The students and staff each receive a ticket to the May 28 baseball game.

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The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois hosted students from East St. Louis School District 189’s Century 21 after school program at Camp Torqua in Edwardsville on May 5. There, the East St. Louis students shot archery and roasted s’mores. The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois have been working with the students as part of the “Imagine Your STEM Future” program, funded by the Girl Scouts and AT&T.

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Members of the Granite City High School Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities program showed off their products or services at the CEO Trade Show at Southwestern Illinois College’s Granite City campus. The program has led students on business tours, introduced them to entrepreneurs, and taught them to write business plans and develop a small business. The students pitched their products to campus administrators.

The goal of the CEO program is to transform the way high school students look at business and their future. Students tour local businesses, meet and learn from entrepreneurs, write business plans and ultimately develop their own small business in the program. The CEO Trade Show offered the students a chance to showcase their work.

Those participating included: Jamesha McClain, who founded Stuffed, which has bears filled with candy; Hope Morlen, founder of We Be Jammin, a food company; Jamie Briagas, founder of Cooking Around the World; and Austin Hoskins, founder of Skate Guilty, a clothing line..

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Students at St. Mary-St. Augustine Catholic School gave the Belleville Area Humane Society a check for $1,602 during National Pet Week, as well as previous donations of pet supplies and bedding in the fall and spring. The students picked the humane society this year as its community outreach program. The eighth graders donated the proceeds of their technology project to the cause.

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Belleville West High School senior Danielle Miller received a $5,000 scholarship from the Rotary International District 6510 on Monday night at her high school’s award ceremony.

According to a news release, Danielle has a 3.8 grade point average and is in the school band, theater productions, choirs, the Interact Club and an orchestra. Her application was supported by Peter & Paul Community Services in St. Louis, where she volunteers in both the meals program and fund-raising efforts.

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Ellis Elementary School in Belleville donated $498 to the BackStoppers, the organization that financially assists families after the death of a police officer, firefighter or publicly-funded paramedic. Ellis raised money with hat days and recycling “a few hundred pounds of aluminum tabs,” said Principal Dave Deets.

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