Education Matters: Belleville school collects gear for Community Interfaith Food Pantry

The first and second-graders sing Christmas carols at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School concert in December.
The first and second-graders sing Christmas carols at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School concert in December.

Students at Westhaven Elementary in Belleville collected more than 350 hats, scarves, mittens and gloves as part of its latest service learning project. The 35 members of the Junior Optimists Club decorated a tree with the items before packing them up to give to the Community Interfaith Food Pantry in Belleville.

“People were very generous,” said teacher and club sponsor Marie Davis. “We celebrated with pajama day on Dec. 18.”

She said the club will continue its recycling efforts and likely will sell lolly-grams for Valentine’s Day as another fundraiser. “We have to vote on what we want to do with that, it won’t be a super amount because we’re trying to keep the cost reasonable for the kids.”

Ice cream party for the win

Prairie Farms ended the Caps 4 Kids program, where each milk cap redeemed was worth 10 cents instead of 5 cents each, on Oct. 31. Between Sept. 16 and Oct. 31, more than $3,100 was awarded to schools.

Two schools in Troy gathered the caps for the Troy Elementary Schools PTO, and celebrated their win of getting the most caps in December with an ice cream social at C.A. Henning and Silver Creek Elementary schools. Our Caps Your Cause supports several programs at the schools.

“The funds we receive through Our Caps Your Cause are used to support school programs, including Bus Safety Week, class magazines, Young Author’s Breakfast and current and future playground recess equipment. We have also updated the technology in both schools to include Google Chromebooks and Promethean board for classrooms,” said Troy Grade School PTO Treasurer Katy Little.

Because of the Caps 4 Kids boost, the school earned 6,568 additional bonus caps.

Christmas concert

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School’s annual Christmas Concert in December included every grade. The Early Learning Center began the program with “Little Snowflake,” and young elementary students sang carols. The third and fourth-graders sang “Feliz Navidad” with Spanish teacher Marina Palmieri, and the seventh and eighth-grade chorus sang under choral director Judy Haberl. The band also played Christmas songs under Band and Elementary Music Director Bryan Mueller.

School selling raffle tickets

St. Teresa Catholic School in Belleville has a goal to raise more than $100,000 for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education programs the school has already started.

St. Teresa is selling online raffle tickets at $100 each to win a grand prize of $15,000; another $15,000 will be awarded in smaller amounts.

The school’s goal is to sell more than 1,500 tickets. For more information, contact Lisa Elbe at

Girl Scout cookie sales starting

Girl Scout Cookie Sales start this weekend and last through Jan. 30, with additional Cookie Booth Weekends Feb. 26 through March 13 for those who miss the chance to order.

Find a Girl Scout for pre-orders by calling 800-345-6858 or going to After sales, find a cookie booth by going to

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country, according to the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. Proceeds go to troop activities as well as providing financial assistance so that Girl Scouting is available to all.

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois serves 13,000 girls and 4,500 adult volunteers in more than 40 counties in southern Illinois. Go to for more information.