Shiloh 85 recognizes student award winners, discusses status of nonprofit foundation

Shiloh Elementary principal Tiana Montgomery recognized Noah Yates and Audianna Washington as Young Author award winners.(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

SHILOH – At the Shiloh District 85 meeting on Monday, April 15, Shiloh school administration recognized young authors, a racial harmony recipient and a finalist for the state science fair. 

Shiloh Elementary principal Tiana Montgomery recognized students Noah Yates and Audianna Washington for being Young Author winners. Student Kylie Sullivan was also recognized as a Young Author but was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting. 

Montgomery said they had the opportunity to go to this year’s Young Author Conference at Westhaven Elementary School on April 6. 

“They had a different format this year. They called each student by name — it was almost like a graduation,” Montgomery said. 

The conference theme this year was “Wild About Writing.” Each student had a book that revolved around the theme. 

“We’re very proud of their accomplishments and for being able to participate in this year’s Young Author Conference,” she said. 

SMS principal Darin Loepker recognized seventh grader Mckenzie Ballinger for her accomplishment as a Young Author winner and eighth grader Bella Durbin for being selected as the Illinois Principal Association (IPA) Middle School Student of the Year. 

Loepker said Durbin is a level headed and intelligent student. 

“I’ll always remember her leadership in the building, she leads by example,” Loepker said.  

Jalen Smith, a Shiloh Middle School student, was recognized as a Racial Harmony recipient.(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

Loepker then recognized student Jalen Smith as a Racial Harmony recipient. 

“Jalen is such a wonderful student and a leader in the building. He is one of the most well adjusted young men that I have ever had in school,” he said. “He is one of the most responsible boys I have ever had.”

Loepker finally recognized student William “Liam” Caraway, who is a finalist for the state science fair. 

Loepker said Caraway put a lot of time and effort into his project, which is about how age affects perception of others. 

“Liam, we are very proud of you,” Loepker said. 

Board member Ken Davis spoke at the Monday meeting on the status of District 85 becoming a fully functioning non-profit foundation. 

Davis said on April 5, Shiloh District 85 received a letter from the IRS designating the district as a public charity and non-profit. 

“All of us in this room as educators and board members, we want to provide the best educational opportunity for all of our students,” Davis said. “We do that because we love our jobs, we love what we do and we love the kids in this district.”

“This is an opportunity to reach out into the community and to really become partners in supporting education. I can sit here and talk about the budgets we get from the state and how inadequate that is — we have community members that really want to be a part of this and donate to education in our community.”

Davis said the foundation board is now in the process of setting up its first organizational meeting. After that, he said the board will get out to canvas the community and talk to businesses to gain their support. 

“I really encourage that we can make this work for every one in this system — the teachers, staff and kids in this district to be able to provide them with opportunity we all know they can have,” he said. “This was a labor of love. I’m just excited to be able to set up this foundation and have it be a generational opportunity for everyone in this system.” 

Sauer said the district will be able to save close to $10,000 in electrical lighting for the next year due to a partnership with Ameren and a federally funded grant. 

Lights in both school libraries, cafeterias, hallways and parking lots will be replaced with stronger LED lights. 

“It will be certainly be done by the next school year,” Sauer said.

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