Interacting with Malawi: OTHS’ Interact Club Building a Library in Africa

O’FALLON –The Interact Club of O’Fallon Township High School, which is a community service-based club through Rotary International, is collecting 1000 books and $500 to ship them to start a library in Malawi as part of the African Library Project. 

The club is collecting books and funds at O’Fallon Township High School- Smiley Campus until May 1 and auctioning off four graduation tickets on April 24 and 25 to raise money. They are working hard to share the gift of literacy with individuals who do not have that opportunity.

Alayshia Baker, a senior at OTHS, says, “It is a great learning experience to help those in need and nice to know we can pass on our books, which we have so many great memories with, to others who are less fortunate” 

The African Library Project has mobilized volunteers from across the United States to start 1,825 libraries in 11 countries over the past 10 years. A volunteer-based organization headquartered in Berkeley, CA, ALP helps Americans work with African partners to create libraries in communities with little or no access to books. “We couldn’t do it without the dedication and creativity of book drive organizers,” says Chris Bradshaw, founder of the African Library Project.

Interact Club is requesting donations of books in English at a pre-k to 8th grade reading level, but all types of books will be accepted. Books or monetary donations can be dropped off at 600 S. Smiley St. O’Fallon or mailed to OTHS c/o Jessica Day.

Interact Club would like to bring together the whole community to help a community in Malawi. Please e-mail Dayj@oths.us for more information or additional ways to help.

Moye names March Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Delores Moye Elementary School recently named their March Character Education Students. The Character Word of the month at Moye Elementary is Patience – willing to wait without complaining. 

The following are students who are being recognized for being patient: Ryker Cadotte, Noah Allen, McKenzie Lemasters, Nori Lanier, Dria Wolford, Makynna Chaplin, Arden Stock, Arianna Rodriguez, Adrian Johnson, Mila Jayawardena, Aubrey Sunnquist, Tiago Lanier, Angela Parram, Logan Musser, Daniyal Chaudhry, Drew Bettis, Alaina Fields, David Acosta, Daniel Ellard, Ashtyn Arriaga, Mae Naveira, Michael Tame, Mia Lieberman, Colby Lehde, Riley Burkhalter, Christian Long, Carter Schilling, Carter Hoyt, Caleb Holloway, Alexandra Lehmen, Wyatt Schardan, Kaylynn Schneidewind(

O’Fallon Library to host preschool fair for caregivers and parents

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – Leaving your child to be watched by caregivers can be a stressful process to overcome. The O’Fallon Public Library hopes to make the process easier by hosting their third annual Preschool Fair. 

For the past several years, the fair has had a good response and they have hope that this year will be no different. This year the event will be held on Monday, March 11, in the Library Community Room, from 6:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

“It is a great opportunity for the parents to have all of the schools together under one roof. That way, they can compare the information and get to meet the individuals who will potentially be working with their children,” Teri Rankin said, Youth Services Manger at the library. 

The library hopes to put on this event for years to come, as long as the schools and parents are interested. The library is always looking for ways to be able to help and provide this service for families in the community. 

So far there are six schools that are expected to be in attendance for the event. The library anticipates that a few more will be there on Monday night. Sylvan Learning Center will also be there to talk about tutoring help. 

“We are passionate about kids, education and community, so this is a perfect program to bring everyone together,” Rankin said.

District 90 to seek approval for land acquisition from April voters

O’FALLON – As O’Fallon District 90 moves forward with purchasing land for future use, the Board of Education wants the community to be informed and have a say in the potential 80-acre land acquisition. 

Officials say that land is being acquired in part due to growth in O’Fallon and the increase in recent years of District 90 student population.

Board president John Wagnon said the land purchase will mean that the district will get to “lock in a great parcel of land in a prime location where significant growth in O’Fallon is happening today and will continue to happen for the next several years.”

The 80-acre parcel is near Milburn School Road in the Northwest section of O’Fallon. The OTHS Milburn Campus is east of the tract of land. 

“With this land, we will have the ability to build a school in the future if our student population continues to grow like it has over the past several years,” Wagnon said. 

Wagnon said based on recent growth patterns in O’Fallon and future projections from city planners, the District 90 Board believes the land will be invaluable when they would need it in the future for building expansion purposes. 

“We aren’t building a school right now, but we want to position ourselves in the event we need to build a school in the future,” he said. 

In a recent informational video on the O’Fallon District 90 Facebook page, Wagnon said there are communities and subdivisions in the Northwest portion of O’Fallon that are continuing to grow and develop. However, there are no District 90 school’s in this sector. 

Some of the developing subdivisions near the land parcel are: Reserves of Timber Ridge, Windsor Creek, Bethel Farms, Savannah Hills and Milburn Estates. 

While there is significant mine subsidence throughout O’Fallon that affects building and construction, Wagnon said it doesn’t present a problem in the proposed land acquisition.

Wagnon also said infrastructure surrounding the parcel of land is solid for potential school construction.

Because the tract is currently farmed, Wagnon said it could continue that way with any rent income from the farm offsetting the cost of owning it.

Enrollment numbers are steadily increasing in District 90 school’s, according to Wagnon. There are currently 3,717 students in the 2018-19 school year. 

As a way to involve the community in the land acquisition process, District 90 is asking voters to decide in the April election.

Wagnon said while District 90 is not immediately building a school on the land currently, it’s something that could take place in the future. 

“Right now, we are buying land to set us up for the future,” he said. “If we don’t get it now someone else will buy it.” 

District 90 would pay a total of $2.2 million for the 80 acres of land. 

Superintendent Carrie Hruby said architects have relayed that the potential school construction would need between 20 and 40 acres of space. 

“The reason there is that span is because it depends on your green space — it depends on how the parking lot is laid out, what land it’s on and how you lay the building out,” Hruby said. 

Hruby said at this point, there are still “a lot of unknowns.” “It’s far out,” she said of a school construction. 

At the Feb. 19 District 90 BOE meeting, the board discussed the land acquisition. They clarified that the district won’t be needing all of the 80 acres of land. Once a school is built in the future, the value of the property would increase and the district could sell any of the land to offset any outstanding debt.

A Note from the Superintendent’s Desk: Planning for the Future

Carrie Hruby Superintendent – District 90

City growth projections show O’Fallon is expanding and the day is coming when a new school in District 90 will inevitably be needed. In their visionary leadership role, the District 90 Board discussed the fact that they can be proactive and search for available land now or scramble when the time comes and be limited to the parcels (and prices) that are available at that time.  We believe timing is important based on the amount of acres needed, the need to not have mine subsidence and the need for the parcel to be in the area of the District that has exponential residential growth with no existing elementary school.  Those needs line up to a piece of property currently available near Milburn campus.  It’s not likely we will find a match for all of those needs again in the future, as available land parcels are purchased by developers over the next several years, so we are asking District 90 voters to weigh in on this topic on April 2.  

With the help of City officials, District 90 has been closely monitoring residential growth patterns.  Residential growth projections suggest we evaluate enrollment patterns for 8-10 years from now.  Some of our existing schools have a few empty classrooms, but a few rooms are not sufficient to accommodate the growth expected over a longer term.  We look to the location of this parcel for future growth, as a longer term need. The majority of the community’s residential subdivision growth is in its northwest corner.  This is also the one area we do not have an elementary school, which increases the cost of transportation as students are farther away from their homes.  

Are we building a new school soon?  The current projections lead us to believe our community will need an elementary school in approximately 8-10 years.  At this time we are only asking voters to secure a parcel which will give us the option to build sometime in the future years.  If and when the District would plan to build a new school, we would then be required by law to again ask voters for permission to do so.  This opportunity would secure a piece of land that then provides the option to build when the need arises in the future.

We’ve shared some information on our social media pages, and a few of the frequently asked questions are:

If area districts were to consolidate in the future, would this still be necessary?  If there is a future consolidation of two or more area districts, there still isn’t enough room in the current facilities to house the projected growth.  

Rather than purchasing land, why wouldn’t the District simply add on to our existing schools?  There is a cost to adding on to older facilities, as they must be brought up to new Code requirements when under construction. While additions can provide some relief, they usually only offer a limited number of classrooms per addition. Existing schools are limited by the space available in common areas (lunchrooms, gyms, nurses’ offices).  While classrooms could be added onto a wing, it is difficult to increase the size of common spaces to accommodate a large increase in a school’s total enrollment.

How would this land purchase impact my taxes?  Many factors impact the tax rate of a home, including other taxing bodies.  Assuming all other factors remain consistent, the cost per year of this land is approximately $3 per $100,000 of the market value of a home.  The bonds would be paid over a 12 year period.  

If you have any questions about the land purchase or any other topics, please don’t hesitate to contact me at chruby@of90.net or (618)632-3666.  

EK recognizes Young Author winners

(Submitted Photo)

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School recently congratulated its Young Author winners and runner-ups from each grade level.

Pictured from left, front row:  Naomi Willis, Morgan Zickus, Beckham Williams, Penelope Martinez, Lillian Houston, Lyla Thoma. Back row: Megan Urso, Madelyn Tomasovich, Emma Prunty, Grace Cox, Grace Warma.

District 90 and the Weekly Present the February 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 
Cash Broyles

Cash is a second grade student in Mrs. Jackie Deters classroom. Cash is a wonderful addition to Mrs. Deters classroom, and he is a very caring student with a sweet and kind personality. Cash and his family do a lot to support Safe Families. Safe Families for Children is a movement fueled by
compassion to keep children safe and families intact. His family donated their Christmas gifts to the families in need and dressed up as elves to deliver their gifts. Nurse Dana also sees Cash daily and says Cash comes into her office twice a day with the biggest smile on his face despite his many medical obstacles. His enthusiasm for life is demonstrated by his daily stories of what they are talking about in school or his next project or homework assignment he did the night before. Cash is a standout student with his big smile, manners and makes friends easily.

Evans Elementary
Tyler Boedeker

Tyler Boedeker is a third grade student at Evans Elementary. Tyler is conscientious student who excels in all subjects. His favorite subject is Math. He takes pride in knowing his math facts and using problem solving techniques for solving word problems. Tyler is responsible, respectful, and makes right choices throughout the school day and he is always willing to assist others. Our school is a better place because of students like Tyler Boedeker.

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary
Gavin Cluck

The second grade team would like to nominate Gavin Cluck from Mrs. Willis’s class for student of the month. Gavin is a very caring student who is always helping others in various ways. For example, he donated a generous amount of his own money to the Pasta for Pennies program that is currently going on at EK school. Gavin is also willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs it in the classroom. He is a great student and friend.  

Delores Moye Elementary
Quinn Cornell

Quinn Cornell is an excellent student and classmate.  She sets a great example for her fellow classmates by showing kindness to everyone, coming to school with her homework complete, and a ready to learn attitude each day.  Quinn is a joy to have in class, and she deserves recognition for all of her hard work. 

Marie Schaefer Elementary
Gwendolyn Wolf 

Gwendolyn Wolf is a third grad student that goes above and beyond in multiple aspects of her life.  She is an outstanding student who consistently works to reach new goals and push herself.  She is part of numerous enrichment groups and strives to master new math skills.  Gwendolyn is also an excellent model for peers in her classroom, utilizing patience and understanding to help support them.  Outside of the classroom, Gwendolyn is a wonderful, kind, and caring friend to all.  Twice this year she has shown leadership by working out conflict between peers to achieve resolution before escalating the issue to an adult.  Gwendolyn received Student of the Month recognition for the character trait of respect.  Whether with peers, teachers, supervisors, or other adults, Gwendolyn has nothing but respect and politeness to show others. Gwendolyn can manage all of this and still be a great big sister to her siblings and an extra help to her mom while her dad has been deployed since October.  

Carriel Junior High
Aidan Cutter

Aidan Cutter is a fantastic student at Carriel Junior High School.  He is super respectful in class and very caring to his classmates.   He was a leading force on the cross country team, and an integral part of their success at state. Running for three seasons, Cutter set himself apart as a leader. He was never afraid to push faster and harder, and could be heard pushing others to excel.  In addition to his academic and athletic success, Aidan is a dedicated member of NJHS, Scholar Bowl, FCA, First Priority, and Symphonic Winds playing the euphonium. Outside of the school day, he shares his musical talents by playing at church as well as volunteering to help 5th grade students who are learning to play trombone and baritone.  Other volunteer activities include Vacation Bible School, Altar Server, O’Fallon Food Pantry, providing books and necessities to students in need in St. Louis through the Little Bit Foundation, Marie Schaefer Math Night and mulching the Marie Schaefer campus. 

Fulton Junior High
Chris Chaney

Fulton is proud to recognize Chris Chaney as the February O’Fallon Weekly/District 90 Student Service Awardee.  Chris is involved in many school activities including Student Council and Scholar Bowl.  He is responsible, hardworking, and eager to tackle challenges. Whether it’s Boys Scouts or NJHS, Chris exemplifies what it means to be a young leader. He is dedicated to serving Fulton and the greater O’ Fallon community. Thank you, Chris, for your dedication!   



Local students recognized at Racial Harmony Awards event

Local students from District 90 and Central 104 were recognized at the annual Racial Harmony Awards. 

Alyssa is pictured with Central Elementary School Principal Jayson Baker and Superintendent Dawn Elser.

Alyssa Belvin was the recipient of the Racial Harmony Award for Central Elementary School. Alyssa’s friends and teachers describe her as a peacemaker and a quiet leader. Central 104 is proud of Alyssa and is grateful for her leadership at Central Elementary School.

Pictured from left: TaJa’jah Baker from Fulton, Aaron Fowler from Evans, and Taylor Bowman from Carriel.

District 90 is proud of its Racial Harmony Award Recipients for their outstanding character. Their principals describe them as kind to and accepting of all students, and genuinely considerate of others.

JAMS announces January, February students of the month

Joseph Arthur Middle School recently announced their Students of the Month for January and February. 

In January, the character trait highlighted was Self-Control. Pictured from left: fifth grader Katherine Prothro, sixth grader Katia Guerrero, seventh grader Armani Parker, and eighth grader Stephanie Diaz.

In February, the character trait highlighted was Honesty. Pictured from left: eighth grader Charlise Wilhelm, seventh grader Jordan Haney, fifth grader Jahzara Singleton, and sixth grader Edie Huff.

(Submitted Photos)

OTHS excels at SWIC Academic Challenge

(Submitted Photo by SWIC, James Bressendorff)

O’Fallon Township High School students recently won first place in the Unlimited Division of the regional Academic Challenge held at the Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Campus. 

O’Fallon team members who participated include, front row from left: Sara Rizzoli, Hannah Caraway, Stephen Monson, Lucas Biehn, Nick Spihlman, David Hur, Blaine Gittner. Back row: Grant George, Milee Patel, Kathryn Kim, Jen Zhao, Connor Bleisch, Julia Gundlach and James Kelly. 

Biehn won first place in Chemistry and second place in Physics. Bleisch won first place in Engineering Graphics and tied for first place in Computer Science. Carraway tied for second place in Chemistry. 

George won first place in English and Mathematics. Hur won second place in Computer Science and third place in Physics. Kelly won third place in Mathematics and tied for first place in Computer Science. 

Kim tied for third place in Chemistry. Monson won first place in Physics and third place in Biology. Patel won second place in Mathematics and third place in English. 

Rizzoli won second place in Biology. Zhao won first place in Biology and tied for second place in Chemistry. 

Students competed in timed tests in Math, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Engineering Graphics and Computer Science. 

EK names February Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School recently named its Character Builders for the month of February. The Character word for February is Honesty.

Pictured from left, front row: James Lugge, Oliver Coussens, Gavin Abshire, Blake Heckler, Luke Wellinghoff, Penelope Martinez. Middle row: Madelyn Tomasovich, Mikealla Moreland, Isaiah Spires, Brooklyn Owens, CJ Merriweather, Aaron Warhoover. Back row: Abram Vetter, Norah Willis, Ben Lown, Matthew Chaplin.

OTHS students show off talents at annual February Frolics

O’FALLON – The students and teachers of O’Fallon Township High School showcased their talents at the annual February Frolics this past weekend. Through a variety of filmed and live skits, musical performances, and more, attendees left the show highly entertained.

The show was concluded by two songs performed by a band consisting of teachers and administrators.

OTHS to hold Skilled Trades & Career Fair

O’FALLON – O’Fallon Township High School will be holding its first ever Skilled Trades & Career Fair. 

The fair will be held on Thursday, March 7, from 8 a.m. to noon in the South Gym located at the Smiley Campus. Over 20 programs will be in attendance to meet and discuss post high school opportunities with students. Students will have a chance to discuss career opportunities with individuals currently working in fields where jobs are in high demand. 

The fair is geared towards students who are looking to pursue a trade or certificate program out of high school or those who show a talent and interest in technical programs. Senior and junior classes are signed up to attend the fair as part of their classroom instruction. Many of the CTE classes have also opted to attend. Students are also able to sign up for an individual pass in guidance. The fair is open to all OTHS students at the Smiley campus. 

The fair is being organized by Christina Buehler, of the Special Education Department, and Tiffany Lugge, Guidance Department Chair. If you are aware of any programs interested in participating please contact Christina Buehler at 618-632-3507 extension 629. 

• Programs Attending: 

• Illinois Laborers & Contractors JATP

• Local 309 Electricians

• BSNSF Railway

• Paul Mitchell

• Universal Technical Institute

• Southern Illinois Builders Association

• Southern Illinois Carpenter’s Joint Apprenticeship Program

• Premier CDL School

• Ranken Technical Institute

• Illinois Department of Corrections

• Kaskaskia College Cosmetology and Nail Technician 

• O’Fallon Emergency Medical Services

• Building and Construction Trades Council of STL 

• Ameren Apprenticeship Program

• Department of Rehabilitation Services

• Southwestern Illinois College Programs in the following areas:

• Admissions

• Industrial Technology

• Aviation Mechanics

• Pilot

• Paralegal Studies

• HVAC

• Health Services

• Sign Language Studies

• Music Education

Central Elementary names January Students of the Month

Central Elementary recently named their Students of the Month for January. Pictured in the front row, from left: Bryce Castillo, Dean Claus, Kiersten Boyd, Angus Li, Abby Ballard, Skylar Jones, Milayah Green, Gregoria Lee. Second row: Maximus Barr, Ava Carr, Gabby Fulton, Julian Miller, Noah Judisak. Back row: London Clark, Soham Patel, Lydia Turcios. Not Pictured: Juliana Sexton  (Submitted Photo)

Central Elementary recognizes January Students of the Month

Central Elementary names Students of the Month for January

Central Elementary recently named their Students of the Month for January. 

Pictured from left to right:

Front Row: Bryce Castillo, Dean Claus, Kiersten Boyd, Angus Li, Abby Ballard, Skylar Jones, Milayah Green, Gregoria Lee

Second Row: Maximus Barr, Ava Carr, Gabby Fulton, Julian Miller, Noah Judisak

Back Row: London Clark, Soham Patel, Lydia Turcios

Not Pictured:  Juliana Sexton