Evans announces April Citizens of the Month

O’FALLON – LaVerna Evans Elementary School recently named its April Citizens of the Month. The following students displayed good citizenship: Carter Alexander, Eli Atkins, Alexis Aylor, Brandt Bennett, Blake Brewer, Chloe Bullock, Shane Carr, Kelond Coney, Chance Crogier, Derick Crogier, Alijah Davis, Sami Harris, Danika Heatherly, Greyson Hoffmann, Zoe Hoffmann, Izzy Howard, Will Karius, Elly Lee, Josiah Martin, Gabriel McGee, Yasmeenah Nijmeh, Charlotte Ramseur, Alexis Sarginson, Olivia Schaeffer, Stella Smallheer, Mara Taylor (Submitted Photo)

OTHS places at SWIC Computer Contest

O’FALLON – Students from O’Fallon Township High School recently participated in the High School Computer Contest at Southwestern Illinois College. The teams performed very well and placed in three categories.

A total of 100 students on 24 teams from five area high schools participated in the Software Applications, Computer Programming and Web Design categories of the contest held at the SWIC Belleville Campus.

Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Julie Knutson; students Paige Zywicki, Brigette McCormick and Sydney McAuliffe; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)

FIRST IN SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS – O’Fallon Township High School Team 2 students claimed first place honors in the Software Applications division of the 27th Annual High School Computer Contest sponsored by Southwestern Illinois College. Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Julie Knutson; students Paige Zywicki, Brigette McCormick and Sydney McAuliffe; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)

Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Julie Knutson; students Dominique Maddalino, Andrew Simmons and Coby Blaylock; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)

SECOND IN SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS – O’Fallon Township High School Team 1 students claimed second place honors in the Software Applications division of the 27th Annual High School Computer Contest sponsored by Southwestern Illinois College. Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Julie Knutson; students Dominique Maddalino, Andrew Simmons and Coby Blaylock; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)

Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Cheryl Clark; students Katie Storck and Amber Smith; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)

FIRST PLACE IN WEB DESIGN – O’Fallon Township High School students claimed first place honors in the Web Design division of the 27th Annual High School Computer Contest sponsored by Southwestern Illinois College. Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Cheryl Clark; students Katie Storck and Amber Smith; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)

Moye names May Character Students

O’FALLON – Delores Moye Elementary School recently named their Character Students for the month of May. The Character Word for May is Citizenship, making your community a better place to live by being a person of character. The following students were recognized for being good citizens: Ar’Qaya Smith, Ben Persons, Mark Maalouf , T.K. Schutt, Sam Livingston, Ryan Pfershy, Kylee Lemasters, James DeCicco, Mason Hoy, Rylee Callahan, Emily Scott, Aubrey Burrow, Claire Twenhafel, Carson Kaiser, Sam Hundley, Tyler Babcock, Xander Fields, Stevie Power, Mackenzie Kohlberg , Sarah Maalouf, Quinn Cornell, Olivia Pfershy, Alana Johnson, Analise Tydinco, Logan Farmer, Justin Hairston, Grace Ewing, Armani Shumpert, Elizabeth Millender, Rocklynn Best, Tyler Northcutt, Ian Dunn (Submitted Photo)

Central 104 Board swears in elected members, appoints officers

Newly elected board members David Swaney and Andrea Mouser were sworn into office at Monday’s meeting. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

O’FALLON – At the Central 104 Board of Education meeting on Monday, returning board members were sworn into office. 

Board members David Swaney and Andrea Mouser were sworn in at the May 13 meeting, continuing in their service to Central 104. 

Sarah Svoboda was re-appointed as Board president and DeWonda McComb was nominated and appointed as Board vice president. 

Superintendent Dawn Elser said the Apptegy App, which will serve Central students’ and their families and Central staff, “should roll out by the end of the month.”

Elser said there are currently 14 students signed up for the Central District 104 summer camp that will attend the duration of the camp and approximately 15 additional students who will come three to five weeks. 

Elser said there are ten committed students for the full day tuition preschool program that will be offered in the 2019-2020 school year. 

According to Elser, online registration has begun for the 2019-2020 school year. The first in-house registration date is June 4 from noon until 6 p.m. and the next registration date is July 10, also from noon until 6 p.m.

Graduation for JAMS students is May 23 at the OTHS Milburn campus at 7 p.m. and the last day of school for students is May 30. 

Estelle Kampmeyer names April Character Builder students

O’FALLON – Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School recently announced its Character Builder winners for April. The word of the month was Fairness. The following students exhibited fairness in April. 

Front Row: Cecilia Fiudo, Graham Hamm, Davis Downs, Christian Torbet, Jace Chadduck, Hano Morris, Harper Blazier

Middle Row: Hailee Lawrence, Jax Beil, Atticus Ward, Joey Prunty, Sidney
Benedick, Chase Lamar

Back Row: Merrick Buckingham, Cale Downs, Ian Rapini, Joey Goersch

(Submitted Photo)

District 203 board members sworn into office

By Nick Miller

O’FALLON – The newly elected members of the District 203 Board of Education were sworn into office at their meeting on April 23.

Members Mark Christ and Donna Johnson were re-elected to new terms and Martha Stoffel was elected to her first term.

Due to a revised oath of office issued by the State Board of Education, all of the members of the board opted to take the oath, even those halfway through their current term.

Following the swearing in ceremony, the board elected its officers for the next two years. Mark Christ was nominated for the Board President position by Lynda Cozad. No other nominees were named and Christ was named President unanimously.

Keith Richter was nominated and named Vice President and Donna Johnson was selected to serve another term as Board Secretary. 

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be held on May 23.

OTHS Special Education program transitions students into adulthood

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – There’s a very special place, nestled quietly in O’Fallon. 

The OTHS Special Education program and Transition House serves students with a range of abilities in the O’Fallon community. 

Martha Blackburn, O’Fallon Township High School Director of Special Services, said the Transition House, a separate facility that provides education to 18 through 22 year olds, serves many purposes in O’Fallon. 

Back in 2011, District 203 purchased a house across the street from the Smiley Campus that was once the pastor’s house for the Methodist church. 

“Dr. [Darcy] Benway and I were very much on the same page and that was wanting to have a separate facility for our older transition kids,” Blackburn said. “The pastor was moving so we had the opportunity to purchase the house.” 

Blackburn said the district then “gutted” the home, taking down walls and doors, in order to have an open space for students to congregate. The Transition House began operating in the fall of 2012. 

Blackburn said funding for the Transition House came from an “ARRA” grant.

Stacy Becker, who has taught special education at the high school since 2000 and at the Transition House since 2012, said that by federal law Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) students are allowed to stay in high school until the day before they turn 22. 

“Many of them were staying here on campus, but they had brothers and sisters who were graduating,” Becker said. 

Becker said the Transition House not only increases students self esteem, it also increases their ability to gain skills they wouldn’t if they stayed within the four walls of the Smiley Campus. 

Becker said students are still able to walk through the graduation ceremony after four years along with their peers. 

“Many of our students were doing that but were coming right back to the high school,” she said. 

Becker said that while her students may have received their certificate of completion after four years of high school, they would return to OTHS to be further educated on independent living and vocational skills in order to transition into adult life.  

“We serve a wide range of students with different ability levels and different things they are good at and things they need to work on,” Becker said. “Some of our students require a lot of support whether physical or educational support.”

Becker said some students in the Transition House may have high school credits still left to finish. “Or, they have all of their credits for high school and they are just ready to work on more independent living skills like how to cook for themselves, ride the metro, budget or do laundry.”

While there is no “typical” day at the Transition House, Becker said every student receives vocational training, life skills training such as cooking or cleaning, and partake in some form of recreation at the YMCA. 

Stephanie Copelin, a teacher at the Transition House, said it depends on a student’s individual plan for how long they stay in the program. However, a majority of the students stay until they age out at 22-years-old. 

The Transition House also aids in finding employment for its students. Several students work at Sodexo, a food services company that serves O’Fallon District 90 schools. Other students work in retail businesses throughout the community. 

“We try to get our students connected in different areas and jobs to see what they would be interested in and something they could maybe continue in,” Copelin said. 

Blackburn said the district’s “ultimate success” through the Transition House is seeing students get placed in jobs. “We feel like we have done a good job preparing our students for that.”

“Unfortunately, the use of adults with disability in the community is low,” she said. “We would love to see that increase.”

Blackburn said a future goal for the program is to create a business for the community that employs students from the Special Education and Transition program. 

The business, Blackburn said, would give students official job skills and also serve as an example “to show people that adults with disabilities can work in the real world and are a great support to any business.” 

Another future goal for the program is secure a larger facility for transition students. While there are currently 19 students in the Transition House, Blackburn said the number is projected to steadily increase in the next few years. 

Blackburn said it is already “tricky space- wise” at the Transition House with 19 students and additional staff. 

Next year, Blackburn said transition students will have to rotate schedules. While some are at the facility, some may be at their job or at the YMCA. 

As the 2019-2020 school year is Blackburn’s final year at the district before her retirement, it is her goal to have a place secured by the 2020-2021 school year. 

Before students enter the Transition House, they are meeting their individualized education goals at the Milburn and Smiley Campuses, according to Tiffany Niedringhaus, Special education coordinator.

Specialized classes for different intellectual abilities are offered at both the Milburn and Smiley Campus. Life skills training are integrated into every student’s education. 

District 90 Board of Education swears in new members, elects officers

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

O’Fallon District 90 swore in new board member Quennetta Chambers, pictured second to left, at a meeting on Monday, April 29. 

Chambers will be replacing board member Mary Baskett, who retired her position. 

Chambers received 1,511 votes and board members Becky Drury and Rebecca Huller will serve another term on the Board of Education. Drury received 1,720 votes and Huller received 1,644 votes. 

The board also voted on officer positions, re-electing John Wagnon as president, Becky Drury as vice president and Rebecca Huller as secretary. 

Central 104 to offer tuition preschool program for 2019-20

O’FALLON – Central School District 104 is offering a tuition based full day preschool program for the 2019-2020 school year. 

The program will be offered to any child between the ages of three through five residing within the O’Fallon community. Students must be three years old before the first day of school (August 14) to start. 

The full day preschool class is designed to provide a strong foundation of learning for young students prior to entering kindergarten. 

Studies indicate that children who participate in high quality early childhood development programs tend to have higher scores on math and reading achievement tests, greater language abilities, less grade retention, higher levels of school attainment and less need for special education and other remedial work in the future. 

The preschool program time goes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $620 per month with a $50 registration fee. The program will run 10 months from August through May with August prorated. There must be a minimum of 12 students enrolled to offer the program. 

If you are interested in enrolling your child in the tuition based full day preschool program, call Mrs. Cassy Shelton at 618-632-6336 ext. 161. 

Space is limited to the first 18 students who enroll.

To Infinity and Beyond: Mercury Project engineers presents to OTHS students

Former engineers who worked on the Mercury 6 project came and spoke to students at OTHS. From left: Dean Purdy, Norman Beckel, Jerry Roberts, Earl Robb. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef

Former engineers on the first human spaceflight program in the United States recently spoke to O’Fallon Township High School students of their experiences. 

Earl Robb, Jerry Roberts, Norman Beckel and Dean Purdy were the engineers behind Project Mercury — America’s first pursuit of space travel — running from 1958 through 1963.

Two members from the original “Mercury 6” panel were not present at the April 25 presentation. Bob Schepp died earlier this year on March 7. He was one of the original McDonnell Aircraft Mercury 6 engineers. 

Ray Tucker was unable to attend the presentation due to serious health issues. Tucker was responsible for the installation and checkout of the electrical group complex from the blockhouse to the spacecraft for both the Mercury and Gemini Projects. 

Earl Robb said he was hired by McDonnell Aircraft Co. (MAC) in August of 1952, immediately after he completed his college degree at SIU-Carbondale.

Robb said at the time he was hired, there was no “man in space type of activity” going on. He remained employed in Mechanical Design Engineering assignments with MAC and McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) for his entire 41-year career.

Robb’s first 6 years included jet airplane design including several fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft and a four-jet engine executive and commercial aircraft. Following the aircraft design experience, Robb was assigned to Manned Space related programs including the Mercury program. 

In late 1958, Robb was assigned to a group to help finalize the design configuration and theory of a “manned space satellite” to be proposed to the government. After MAC submitted the proposal, Robb was assigned to the Mercury Capsule production design group. He worked on structural design of the capsule pressure vessel, skins, shingles, hatches, windows and heat shields. 

Jerry Roberts, graduate of University of Arkansas, was a manned space vehicle and cruise missile Guidance and Control Systems (GCS) engineer at McDonnell Douglas for over three decades. 

Roberts was initially assigned to the Mercury Program followed by Gemini, Manned Orbital Laboratory and Skylab. He started each manned vehicle assignment with design and development in St. Louis and then transferred to Launch Operations in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

He was a valued member of the blockhouse crew for vehicle launch and recovery operations on each manned program. After Skylab, Roberts returned to St. Louis and was involved with GCS design and development for various cruise missiles. He finished his career as Chief Design Engineer and Design Department Manager in the Astronautics Division. 

Norman Beckel, graduate of Pennsylvania State University, joined McDonnell Aircraft February of 1958 and retired from McDonnell Douglas Corp. in March of 1993. He was initially assigned to the Communication, Navigation Identification Group on the yet to fly Phantom F4H jet aircraft and was reassigned to the Mercury Communications Group when McDonnell was awarded the Mercury Project. 

As part of the McDonnell crew assigned to test and launch the spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Beckel worked closely with the Mercury Astronauts in preparation for launch. 

After Mercury and Gemini, Beckel was assigned to Program HEXAGON, which was an unmanned satellite that provided photographs of virtually anywhere on Earth. 

Dean Purdy, just like his fellow engineers, joined the MAC team right after his college graduation from Indiana Institute of Technology in 1955. 

Over the next 39 years, Purdy worked on one Mach 2 jet fighter program, three missile programs and eight space programs including five manned space programs. He joined the Mercury team in early 1959 working in the electrical power and sequential systems design group, staying with the Mercury Program until completion. 

Purdy also took part in the Gemini Project electrical design team before he transferred to the St. Louis Gemini Operations team. He then went to the Manned Orbiting Lab to oversee the electrical design of the Heat Shield Qualifications Vehicle.

Subsequent space activity included Program Management of the last two Orbital Attitude Maneuvering System pods for the Shuttle program; the Modular Power Subsystem for NASA’s Multi-Mission Modular Spacecraft; Electrophoresis Operations in Space; and the Transporter Electrical Storage System and External Lighting Modules for the International Space Station.

Purdy was Director-Military and Space Electronics when he retired in 1994. 

Robb said public opinion at the time of the Mercury Project was vey wary of its goal, which was to put a man into Earth’s orbit and returning him safely. 

“There were a lot of experts saying man couldn’t exist in space,” Roberts said 

He described the astronauts in the Mercury Program as “very brave people.” 

18th annual Shiloh School District Art Show to take place May 3

The 18th Annual Shiloh School District Art Show at will be held on Friday, May 3 at Shiloh Middle School. 

The Art Show will begin at 6:30 p.m. and continue until 8:30 p.m. Art teacher Linda Johnson puts together the annual Shiloh art shows. 

“The halls of Shiloh Middle School will be filled with the creative endeavors of all the students in the Shiloh School District,” Linda Johnson said. 

The art gallery will feature work created in the art classes throughout the year. Every art student in the Shiloh School District will have at least one artwork in the show. 

Early childhood classes through the eighth grade have all contributed to the displays. 

“We have two-dimensional works as well as three dimensional sculptures,” Johnson said. “The students have drawn, painted, colored and sculpted creations that will make anyone proud of their accomplishments.” 

The walls of the middle school will feature over 1000 original art pieces from Shiloh students. 

In addition to the students’ work that will be featured, the art show will host a creative environment for children of all ages and adults to make and take art home. 

The art creative stations will feature activities such as flying dragons, inflatable bubble, stamping patterns, Native American rubbings, VIP name tag design, building blocks, airplane design, animal mask and origami fortune tellers.

Participants can make as may art activities as they would like, according to Johnson. “Each station has easy to follow directions to assist in the creation.”

 These interactive stations will be in the Shiloh Middle School cafeteria. 

“This part of the art show has been a favorite of students,” Johnson said. “They remember the activities year after year and look forward to creating these special activities during the show.” 

District 90 and the Weekly Present the April 2019 Student Service Award Recipients

The following students have been named by their principals in recognition for their efforts to make their school and community a better place.

Hinchcliffe Elementary 
Lucy Blankenship

Lucy is a future leader in the making! Whether it is leading by personal example or being the leader during group and project work, she leads by setting a positive example. As classroom leader, Lucy takes over as the teacher and continues on with a lesson if there is a classroom interruption. She hops up in the teacher chair and continues the lesson with her best “teacher voice,” asking students questions and giving out compliments and encouraging words to her classmates. Her teacher said, “One time during group work when a student was upset because he struggled reading a specific word, Lucy calmly and respectfully acknowledged his frustration, helped him calm down, and helped him use decoding strategies with the word. She has a genuine concern, kindness, and acceptance for others. Lucy Blankenship is very deserving of this award.”

Evans Elementary
Reagan Rettig

Reagan Rettig is a conscientious student who always puts her best effort into her work. She often goes above and beyond in her writing. Reagan likes to help others get along and encourages caring and being respectful to others. She will help students that need additional assistance with work or activities.  Reagan’s teacher said, “I heard Reagan explain to other students how sometimes you have to forgive and move on to get along with them. She is a great classmate and student here at Evans!”

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary
Juliann Neeley

Juliann Neeley shows great citizenship in everything she does! She is always caring and considerate to her classmates. Juliann is always willing to lend a hand to students and adults alike. She gives her best effort in her academics, and shows respect to EK School with both her actions and words. 

Delores Moye Elementary
Steven Markwardt

Steven Markwardt is a preschooler at Moye Elementary School. He is always willing to help his friends and help around the classroom. He is an extremely hard worker and is always excited to be at school. Steven is such a good friend. When we get new students, Steven is the first one to volunteer to show them around and make them feel welcome! We are so proud of Steven!

Marie Schaefer Elementary
Parker Kinney

Parker is always empathetic, thoughtful and helpful to others. His teacher noted a time when Parker ran over to help a fellow student after he fell playing soccer.  Parker made sure he was ok and helped him up.  When a classmate fell in the classroom recently Parker alerted his teacher and stayed by his side while patting his back.  He was so concerned that he kept asking if he could go check on the injured classmate. Parker then offered to gather all of his classmate’s belongings to take them to the nurse’s office, and made sure the class saved a birthday treat for him to have when he returned the next day. Parker also displays empathy and care for Schaefer’s Mr. Daren who is bravely battling cancer. Parker seeks Daren out daily to ask him how he feels, bring him a treat, and give him a hug.  It has touched Daren deeply that Parker and his family have shown him such great kindness and empathy. Parker also encourages his classmates and others daily to do their best. Parker’s teacher said, “I have known him to help the younger children when they have needed help in the hallway, or remind them of expectations. Parker definitely has a heart for others and is a true example of kindness and empathy!” 

Carriel Junior High
Kaitlyn Spinnie

Katie is and always has been an excellent student at Carriel.  She always enters the classroom with a positive attitude and helpful hand.   Her helpful spirit, reliability and hard-work make her a  student that teachers can trust to help with important tasks.  Katie is inspiring to others and has demonstrated strong leadership within the student community.  She is a Captain of the Dance Team and serves as an active member of NJHS. She has helped with numerous service opportunities including working the concession stand for basketball and volleyball games, helping the Little Panthers program with wrestling and lacrosse games, the Pennies for Pasta fundraiser, and tutoring at Moye.

Fulton Junior High
Chris Chaney

Chris Chaney is the recipient of this month’s Student Service Award due to his passionate participation in many activities at Edward A. Fulton Junior High School. Serving as an executive board member for Student Council, Chris recently represented Fulton at the state convention in Springfield. Beyond his service to Student Council, Chris is an active member of the Scholar Bowl Team, NJHS, and Boy Scouts (to name a few). Chris epitomizes the meaning of leadership and is an excellent example of everything a Fulton Panther should be!

JAMS announces April Students of the Month

Joseph Arthur Middle School recently named their April Students of the Month. The word of the month is Fairness, and the following students exhibited great fairness. From left: fifth grader Cheyenne Wells, sixth grader Courtney McCoy, and seventh grader Niko Melendrez. (Submitted Photo)