Education Matters: Nine students take thousands in scholarship winnings

Joseph Early, right, accepted his scholarship award from Jen Blair at the Millstadt Civic Club’s annual banquet. This year, the club is awarding two $1,500 scholarships to students entering college in the fall.
Joseph Early, right, accepted his scholarship award from Jen Blair at the Millstadt Civic Club’s annual banquet. This year, the club is awarding two $1,500 scholarships to students entering college in the fall.

Seven area students were to be recognized at the New Life of Christ Church in O’Fallon with scholarships totaling $21,000. It’s the 12th year of the program, which is approaching $200,000 in awards.

“We consider the monetary awards an educational investment that provides an opportunity for these seven young people to achieve success by pursuing their goals and dreams,” said Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley, Sr., in a news release prior to the awards.

Awards are based on academic achievement and demonstrated “love for servicing others as well as their communities,” the release said.

Winners are:

▪  Brian Brown, of East St. Louis Senior High School. He will attend Howard University with a $5,000 Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley, Sr.

Pastoral Scholarship of Excellence

▪  Brandy Brown, of East St. Louis Senior High School, will attend the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff with a $5,000 John H. McCants Hope Scholarship

▪  Taylor Zarbano, of Mascoutah High School, will attend South Plains College with a $2,500 Bishop Leamon and Ida Dorothy Dudley Memorial Scholarship

▪  Lindsay Smith, of Belleville East High School, will attend Kenyon College with a $2,500 Minister Sheila Renee Swygert Memorial Scholarship

▪ Myles McCants, of Belleville East High School, will attend Texas Southern University with a $2,000 NLICIC Life Changer Scholarship

▪ India Hunter, of Belleville East High School, will attend Saint Louis University with a $2,000 NLICIC Life Changer Scholarship

▪  Rebekah Sanders, of Belleville East High School, will attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a $2,000 NLICIC Life Changer Scholarship


The Millstadt Civic Club has named two scholarship winners.

Joseph Early, son of Kevin and Karen Early of Millstadt, received his $1,500 scholarship at the Civic Club’s May meeting. He plans to major in chemical engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. During high school, Joseph was a member of the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Club, National Honor Society, Math Team, German Club/German National Society, West Jazz Band, Boy Scouts/Eagle Scout and traveled to Germany as a student ambassador with the Millstadt Sister Cities program.

Michaela Baldwin, daughter of Troy and Penny Baldwin of Millstadt, will receive her $1,500 scholarship at the club’s June meeting. She will attend Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to major in Biological Sciences. Michaela was on the swim team, as well as a member of the Scholar Bowl, Marching Band and Orchestra and National Honor Society. She volunteers at the Belleville Humane Society.


O’Fallon Township and Waterloo high school students were among hundreds of students across the state who earned the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy, the first year the distinction has been awarded.

“Multiple language skills are of great benefit in today’s global economy and are also very important in our own diverse communities,” said Tony Smith, the state’s superintendent of education.

Of the nearly 800 students statewide who were to earn the seal, more than 600 were for Spanish. Other languages learned were French, Chinese, German, Italian, Polish, Malayalam, Russian, Tagalog, Lithuanian, Albanian and Gujarati.

Eight students from Waterloo and 20 from O’Fallon Township high schools earned the seal.

Yet more students were expected to earn the State Commendation toward Biliteracy, which demonstrates progress toward full biliteracy.

Program participation is voluntary for districts.


Olivia Gregory is to sing the the Star Spangled Banner at the Gateway Grizzlies game July 31. The 16-year-old from Troy will be a junior at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville, and has performed with the St. Louis Children’s Choir Chamber Singers in the Fabulous Fox Season Showcase.


Summer school classes are planned for adults interested in preparation classes for the GED. The Southwestern Illinois Community College will hold free classes at the three campuses and at the Cahokia Library. Reading and placement scores from a mandatory preregistration session will help determine where and when one takes the classes. Call 618-235-2700 ext. 5525.

Monday through Friday classes start July 6 and run through July 30, either 9 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. at SWIC Belleville, SWIC Granite City and the East St. Louis COmmunity College Center.

Another class will meet from 10 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 6 to Aug. 6 at the Cahokia Library.


A rising senior at Dupo High School will join the Four Star Leadership program in July in Oklahoma City.

Caitlyn Brizzi, 16, of Dupo, was chosen for her demonstrated leadership skills and character for the nationwide program, which takes 50 students and offers them leadership training, ethical deliberation, speech competition and scholarships and the chance to meet and engage with national and international leaders.

Brizzi is a member of NHS, Student Council, AFJROTC, WYSE team, Big Brother Big Sister program, class representative, volleyball, softball, and is a manager for the basketball team.

General Tommy Franks will host the camp. Guest speakers at the camp include a retired major general and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

The Four Star program has educated almost 350 national and international high school students since 2008. Sessions feature team-building exercises, collaboration, spontaneous problem solving and competition all to develop leadership skills and challenge the students.

The Four Star Leadership with General Tommy Franks is an all-inclusive program that is free to the selected students. For more information, go to


The Home School Legal Defense Association is holding “Generation Joshua’s iGovern Summer Camp” at three locations nationwide. The camp, for students age 14 to 19, provides leadership and character development by having campers draft and pass legislation, balance a budget and run for political office. The Christian-based camp also intersperses lectures, discussion, and games to foster good teamwork, friendship, and grow the camper’s faith.

The weeklong camp costs $695. Go to for more information.

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