Will Bautz wins St Clare spelling bee

Will Bautz (left) is pictured with his twin brother Luke (right), who he competed against in the spelling bee finals. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON –Last week, St Clare Catholic School held its annual fifth through eighth grade spelling bee. The finals were held on Friday, February 8, with sixth grade twin brothers Luke and Will Bautz heading into the third and final round of competition as the two finalists. This is the first time the school has had a set of twins compete against each other in the final competition.  

Will Bautz was declared the winner after correctly spelling the word “juxtapose”. His brother Luke was named the runner up. Will will go on to compete in the McKendree University Spelling Bee on Saturday, March 9. 

Laverna Evans students raise money for Special Olympics

(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Students at Laverna Evans Elementary raised money for Special Olympics on Friday, Feb. 8 by donating $1 to wear pajamas for the day. 

Evans students raised over $330 and presented a check to O’Fallon Police Department as a joint effort to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics. 

(Submitted Photo)

“This was a fun event for the students and staff as everyone had the opportunity to dress in PJ’s and donate to a great cause,” Evans principal Ryan Keller said.

(Submitted Photo)

“Our students, parents and staff are very gracious with donations and supporting the many great causes in our community,” he said. “It is rewarding to see everyone in our school community pulling together for the common good.”(

Central Elementary kindergarteners celebrate 100th day of school

Kindergarteners at Central Elementary decorated shirts to commemorate the 100th day of school

Kindergarten classes at Central Elementary celebrated their 100th day of school on Monday, Feb. 4 with various activity stations. 

Central kindergarten teacher Dana Mueller said some of the activities included stacking 100 cups, painting 100 spots on a caterpillar, putting together a 100 piece puzzle, along with other activities. 

Prior to the 100th day of school, students worked with their families to decorate a shirt commemorating the 100th day event. 

Kindergarten classes at Central Elementary came together to celebrate their 100th day of school with different fun activities

“The kindergarten teachers would like to thank all the many parents that volunteered their time during this celebration,” Mueller said. “It was a great day.” 

Moye Elementary names February Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

Delores Moye Elementary School recently named its February Character Education Students. The Character Education word of the month at Moye for February is Honesty, being truthful with your words and in your actions.  The following are students who are being recognized for their honesty.

Silvy Schwierjohn, Carter Lenox, Sophia Watson, Brody Crabtree, Dylan Thompson, Doc Bridgewater, Landon Stoker, Cadyn Caldwell, Aiyanna Crawley, Dylan Schiefelbein, Lyla Keller, Jim Edwards, Aubree Heavens, Maggie Dettman, Mika Challe, Landyn Dunderdale, Jayden Bowen, Cole Stock, Naytin Sova, James Schiffner, Kate Ellard, Abby Scott, Molly Dorgan, Madison Lay, Justice Edwards, Christian Lloyd, Sophia Jurak, Caden Feeley, Kylie Roberts, Perry McPeek, Jude Smith

O’Fallon teacher selected as a finalist for Golden Apple Award

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – O’Fallon Township High School is pleased to announce that one of their Spanish teachers, Libby Magee, has been selected as a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. Magee was chosen, along with 31 other high school educators, out of 550 nominations, throughout the state of Illinois. 

“To meet the increasing demand for recognition of teachers and leaders, we are thrilled to expand our prestigious awards throughout Illinois to highlight the importance and lasting, positive effects of highly effective educators, master teachers, and exemplary school leaders.” said Alicia Winckler, CEO of Golden Apple. 

Golden Apple is one of the leading nonprofits in Illinois, who are committed to recognizing educators who are leading their students into the future. The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching is given to a group of teachers who are having positive effects on their students’ lives. These teachers are helping their students grow and learn for the future. Teachers may not nominate themselves, however fellow coworkers, parents and students, along with community members may nominate them. 

“One of the things I love about my students is, when I give them an assignment, they all will bring me something different, because they are all unique individuals, so I like to see how they personalize their work to fit the curriculum,” Magee said.

On Saturday, February 23, all award finalists will be honored at the Golden Apple Celebration of Excellence, held at the Tinley Park Convention Center. The educators who will be receiving the 2019 Golden Apple Award will be notified by surprise visits to their classroom, in the spring. 

OTHS Endowment Fund provides opportunity to students, teachers

The OTHS Endowment Fund has helped pay for a variety of things, including new
computer equipment at the school. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Endowment Fund has continued to turn the aspirations of students and teachers of O’Fallon into reality. 

Operating as a nonprofit organization independent from the OTHS Board of Education, the Endowment Fund provides funds at Milburn and Smiley campuses with extended educational activities not provided by the school district. 

It was established in 1999 to give alumni, community members, businesses and others an opportunity to enhance the quality programs offered to students at the high school. Funds contributed provide OTHS students with scholarships, computer software, hardware and other resources. 

Dan Jackson, current president of the Endowment Fund Board, said school districts often have limited resources due to decreasing government funding within the last decade. 

“What we try to do is to provide additional resources to ensure that OTHS is able to offer the quality education it has always had,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the biggest fundraising event for the Endowment Fund is the annual golf tournament that takes place the first Saturday in May. There is also the brick walk at the entrance to the OTHS Smiley campus. Individuals are able to purchase bricks for a sum of either $100 or $200. 

“OTHS is a public school and people are probably surprised to hear that we do have an endowment,” he said. “A lot of public schools aren’t as fortunate.” 

Today, the Endowment Fund generates more than $40,000 annually for classroom grants. 

An original Endowment Fund board member Doug Distler said that grant funding through the endowment is growing “leaps and bounds.” He said the purpose in creating the Board in 1999 was to provide additional financial resources for the high school with funds that weren’t available through the budget process.

“A lot of it has been technology, but there has been a variety of different programs we funded,” Distler said. “It’s important in this day and time, with budget cutbacks and cutbacks in funding from the state that there is something like the Endowment Fund that can fill the gap or need.”

Distler said there is a donor board near the entrance to the Smiley campus — it’s purpose is to recognize large donors to the fund. 

“We have seen the endowment fund grow. All of the contributions made to the endowment fund — the only money we use for grants every year is the income dividends — it keeps growing year after year.”

The current balance of the OTHS Endowment Fund is a figure of $1,573,000. 

“The more we can grow it, the more that we can do.”

Erin Baskett, who served as the Endowment Fund Board president from January of 2011 to January of 2019, said that as an alumni of OTHS, it is exciting to see the high quality of education that is still offered at the high school. 

“It is extremely rewarding to help give back to future graduates,” she said. 

“You can help support the Endowment Fund by buying a brick for the brick walk outside of the OTHS Smiley campus or by participating in our nine hole golf scramble coming up on May 4th at Tamarack.” 

Dr. Martha Weld, who is the OTHS assistant superintendent and also the Endowment Fund Liaison, said the philosophy of the Endowment Fund is “truly to focus on improving the academics and the opportunities of the students of OTHS.” 

Weld said the Endowment Fund board is “a group of people that just donate their time and work really conscientiously and with passion and full heart.”

“They really want to make a difference in the lives of kids,” she said. 

Weld said the Endowment Fund has proved to be of importance in times of economic crisis. 

“When 2008 hit, our funding went down from both the state and the community. The Endowment Fund stepped in and they were giving grants to our teachers.”

“We weren’t able to continue to buy lab equipment. All supplies were cut,” she said. “The Endowment Fund was allowing us to continue to buy supplies to meet the needs of our students by giving grants to the teachers. That was putting supplies directly in their hands.”

“It was a very powerful and heartwarming time for me. It was so hard but they were right there.”

Weld said the Endowment Fund philosophy reaches many facets of education programs at the high school — from music, library services, math, science, at risk students and high achieving students. 

“They really try to make sure that the grants they award cover all aspects of students at OTHS, not just one end or the other.”

Sunset Rotary donates money to District 90 for security upgrades

DI(Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – District 90 recently was proud to accept a $3,000 donation from the Sunset Rotary Club of O’Fallon. The funds will be used to purchase additional security cameras for area schools as an enhancement to the Phase I Security Project. The District would like to thank the Sunset Rotarians for their continued support of our community.

Central District 104 recognizes employees of the month

For the month of January, Central District 104 recognized Kevin Johnson, Laticia Gettis, and Brianna McNamara as exemplary employees. 

According to Joseph Arthur Middle School Principal Tron Young, each individual helps to create an environment at Central 104 that is “student- centered.” 

“Kevin was recognized for going above and beyond.  He greets our students every day at the front entrance with a smile and is always willing to help out whenever asked.”

“Laticia develops positive relationships with the students.  You will often see her with a group of students talking about how their day is going or asking her to assist them with work.  She actively seeks out how she can help in the building whenever possible,” Young said. Young is pictured with Kevin and Laticia above at right. 

“Brianna McNamara is our new social worker.  She is an excellent addition to our multi-tiered systems of support.  She is actively involved in each school building connecting with students and finding ways to support them inside and outside the classroom,” he said. Brianna is pictured above at left with Young and Central Elementary School Principal Jayson Baker

“We thank them for all they do on a daily basis for our school and our students.”

District 90 and the Weekly Present the January 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.

Delores Moye Elementary
Molly Sue Baskett
and Whitney Milner

Molly Sue Baskett and Whitney Milner are very deserving of recognition for their terrific character. They came up with an idea to collect holiday cards to give to people at local hospitals and nursing homes. They presented the idea to their fellow fifth graders at Moye, and throughout the month of December, collected and organized cards to give to people to help brighten their holidays. Both girls are always observed making right choices and being a friend to everyone. Way to go, Molly and Whitney! We are so proud of you!  

Evans Elementary
Hannah Jenkins

Hannah Jenkins is a third grade student at Evans Elementary. Hannah is a great help in her kindergarten classroom. She assists with filing papers and returning papers, stapling papers and counting and labeling items. Hannah has been a great help in the school PBIS rewards store as well. She has helped to set up the store as well as tidy it up. Her positive attitude and friendly smile make her a real treasure and asset to any classroom.

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary
Audrey Harkins

“New Year! New Me!” stated this happy-go-lucky little girl as she  walked into her Kindergarten classroom this year. Little did she know she truly blossomed into a “New Me”! Audrey’s progression with her academic skills from 1st quarter to 2nd quarter are amazing. Audrey exemplifies a stellar student. Even when she is aware that academics offer challenges, she smiles as she learns and works through the challenge. Her response with a grin is, “I got it!” Audrey’s hard work and determination show the wonderful progress she has made this quarter. Audrey gives each day her best and her teachers are very proud of her!   

Hinchcliffe Elementary 
Riley Lewis

Riley Lewis is not only an all-around outstanding student, but she is also a friend to everyone, a role model to all, and a truly genuine person. As a second grade student, Riley is mature beyond her years and she posses qualities that are inspiring and admired by others. Riley is able to show empathy when needed, compassion when necessary, humor when appropriate and she has a passion for life always! Besides being organized and efficient, Riley has a bubbly personality that is contagious to everyone she meets. She has a smile that matches her personality, and Riley will never be heard speaking negatively about a situation or person. Riley puts the feelings of others first, and is considerate and understanding. Riley loves her big brother Roby and sharing time with her family. She is always able to find  a positive twist on anything she is confronted with, and she pulls out whatever piece of optimism she can find and uses that to rise above whatever hurdle comes about. Her teacher says, “At 8 years old, Riley has already shown us what an inspiration kids can be, and I can’t wait to watch her grow through the years. She is really going to make a difference!”

Marie Schaefer Elementary
Emma Tate

Her teachers say Emma Tate is a super sweet girl who comes in the classroom every day with a smile on her face and is pleasant attitude toward everyone. She always does her best work and is ready to help others at a moment’s notice. She never complains and is enthusiastic about every new topic introduced in class. Emma is a complete joy to have in class!  

Carriel Junior High
Zachary Horsens

Zach is a model student at Carriel. He comes to class prepared every day with a smile on his face and is always eager to accept a challenge. Beyond the classroom he is often observed in the hallway saying hi to every person he sees, helping his peers with their lockers and cleaning up stray items and trash from the floor to keep our school looking great. He will stop by different classrooms to check to see if the teachers need help with anything even though he may not have that teacher. In addition to his excellent academic work and other extracurricular activities, Zach is instrumental in facilitating First Priority, a student-led group at Carriel.

Fulton Junior High
Bela Sanghavi

Bela has taken on an active role as a member of the Fulton Robotics Team.    Consistently she has gone above and beyond her duties to secure the best research for her team, many times staying thirty minutes late after every practice to make this happen. Currently, Bela has spearheaded a donation drive to the Spencer Pet Rescue. Those who work closely with Bela always appreciate her positive attitude and willingness to take on any given task with a smile.



EK names January Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School recently named their Character Builder students for the month of January. The character trait for January is Self-Control. The following students demonstrated excellent Self-Control.

Front row, from left: Everett Buckingham, Lucas Ondra, Marley Cronan, Jack Street, Cooper Moore, Jenna Rose, Jason Clark. Middle row: PJ VanderVen, Jacob Gendron, Cameron Werner, Luke Lukens, Kipchumba Chepkoit, Cora Kelly. Back row: Ryan
Bollinger, Gwen Abshire, Andy Carlson, Aubrey Miller

District 90 honors January Teacher and Support Staff Member

Ms. Alyssa Bengtson was honored as the January 2019 Teacher of the Month by the District 90 Board of Education at their last meeting (Submitted Photo)

The District 90 Board of Education recognized the January 2019 Teacher and Support Staff of the Month at their recent meeting. This month’s staff recognition program was sponsored by Todd Stonewater, Edward Jones.

Ms. Alyssa Bengtson was recognized and applauded as the D90 Teacher of the Month for January 2019. 

Alyssa strives to make a difference in the lives of the students she teaches. Her lessons, activities, and plans are creative yet challenging. Her assessments are thorough yet individualized, and her conversations are kind yet honest. Alyssa strives to always become better as an educator. She participates in the preschool-level improvement planning (including presenting and participating in professional learning communities), is an active member of school committees and enrichment programs, and collaborates with other school staff to ensure the needs of the children are always a priority. 

Director of Early Learning, Gina Harding said, “I have had the opportunity to support Ms Alyssa during challenging conversations with tearful preschool parents. She shares obstacles and road blocks for learning in a compassionate manner that empowers parents and alleviates anxiety- as they worry about their child and what is to come. We are lucky to have Ms Alyssa as a member of our District 90 team as she builds the foundation for our youngest learners!”

Ms. Tracy Kerr was honored as the January 2019 Support Staff Member of the Month by the District 90 Board of Education at their last meeting (Submitted Photo)

Ms. Tracy Kerr was honored as the D90 Support Staff Member of the Month for January 2019.

Tracy is an individual who goes above and beyond each day for Carriel Jr. High School. She is often one step ahead, helping students remain organized, ensuring proper communication between students and teachers as well as communication home by way of the student agendas. In addition to her classroom responsibilities, she goes above and beyond by serving on the PBIS Tier 1 team to promote positive behavior school-wide. Her involvement is truly a reflection of her passion to bring positivity to our students, staff and school. 

Tracy has been instrumental in carrying out our school theme this year. We are truly able to “Rock this Year” with her reminders throughout the building. She took it upon herself to use positive song lyrics from various artists to display around the building as a constant reminder of positivity. Using her top notch decorating skills, she put forth the extra effort to decorate the entire sixth grade wing with various musical reminders. Tracy also devotes time to maintaining our school store where students can purchase items using Cougar Coupons earned from positive behavior. 

Principals Hays and Brokering say, “We appreciate Mrs. Kerr’s pride in our school and the efforts she devotes each day to bring positivity to Carriel!”

District 85 Supt. says firm has been selected to conduct area school consolidation study

SHILOH – At the Shiloh District 85 meeting on January 23, Superintendent Dale Sauer said an agency has been selected to conduct a consolidation study on local districts. 

Sauer said the O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce is serving as a non-partisan party to see if consolidation is feasible. 

“At this point, they have found the appropriate agencies to conduct the study. We hope to name them within the week. The intent is to work through the spring and to have some semblance of a product by the end of June,” Sauer said. 

Sauer said that District 85 has not committed money to the project but has been “cooperative and helpful.”

“We do want a clear study done,” he said. “We want our public to have good information. Over the next several months, our office will be providing financial data and other data to this agency.”

According to Sauer, the city of O’Fallon has contributed $7500 and the Village of Shiloh has contributed $5000 to the consolidation study. The study will be taken “as a whole” and not on an individual district case study. 

At the Jan. 23 meeting, the Shiloh board approved a motion to approve Michelle Rensing as Shiloh School Treasurer. 

Michele Tiberend, Shiloh School Treasurer and Secretary, is retiring after two decades of service to the district. 

“If you know her, she is very dedicated, very dignified and very professional,” Sauer said. “She has put two kids through the system, served on the school board before she took up the role of 25 years as board secretary and treasurer. She has done phenomenally. I have yet to meet a person who takes their job so personally.” 

While it is customary for Shiloh to purchase a plaque for a retiring member of the district, Tiberend requested that the money for the plaque be used to pay off lunch fees for Shiloh students. 

“That is what we will do in honor of her,” Sauer said. 

At the Wednesday meeting, Shiloh Middle School principal Darin Loepker recognized Mr. Sauer during the meeting and spoke of his “selflessness.” 

“He’s always putting other people in front of his needs. He’s thinking of other people and it’s a testament to his character and his thoughtfulness that he is on the regional board of directors of the American Cancer Society. I wanted to acknowledge that and make sure that we all knew that.”

Shiloh District 85 board discusses consolidation study, appoints new school treasurer

Shiloh board discusses new consolidation study, appoints school treasurer

SHILOH – At the Shiloh District 85 meeting on Wednesday, Superintendent Dale Sauer said an agency has been selected to conduct a consolidation study on local districts. 

Sauer said the O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce is serving as a non-partisan party to see if consolidation is feasible. 

“At this point, they have found the appropriate agencies to conduct the study. We hope to name them within the week. The intent is to work through the spring and to have some semblance of a product by the end of June,” Sauer said. 

Sauer said that District 85 has not committed money to the project but has been “cooperative and helpful.”

“We do want a clear study done,” he said. “We want our public to have good information. Over the next several months, our office will be providing financial data and other data to this agency.”

According to Sauer, the city of O’Fallon has contributed $7500 and the Village of Shiloh has contributed $5000 to the consolidation study. The study will be taken “as a whole” and not on an individual district case study. 

At the Jan. 23 meeting, the Shiloh board approved a motion to appoint Michelle Rensing as Shiloh School Treasurer. 

Michele Tiberend, Shiloh School Treasurer and Secretary, is retiring after two decades of service to the district. 

“If you know her, she is very dedicated, very dignified and very professional,” Sauer said. “She has put two kids through the system, served on the school board before she took up the role of 25 years as board secretary and treasurer. She has done phenomenally. I have yet to meet a person who takes their job so personally.” 

While it is customary for Shiloh to purchase a plaque for a retiring member of the district, Tiberend requested that the money for the plaque be used to pay off lunch fees for Shiloh students. 

“That is what we will do in honor of her,” Sauer said. 

At the Wednesday meeting, Shiloh Middle School principal Darin Loepker recognized Mr. Sauer during the meeting and spoke of his “selflessness.” 

“He’s always putting other people in front of his needs. He’s thinking of other people and it’s a testament to his character and his thoughtfulness that he is on the Regional Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society. I wanted to acknowledge that and make sure that we all knew that.”