Carriel and Fulton students spread holiday cheer to those who need it most

Cyleease Bean and Mason Cornell, sixth grade students at Carriel Junior High School, work on putting holiday cheer into cards for the project. (Photo by Katherine Murray)

An O’Fallon District 90 study hall teacher, Katherine Murray has asked her students at both Carriel and Fulton Junior High schools to help fill out Christmas cards that will be sent to people who need holiday cheer. The students are still working on their project, but the goal is to get to 500 signed cards distributed to local senior and nursing homes, homebound seniors, and homeless shelters, as well as seniors as far away as Indiana.

Murray came up with the idea last year and completed the project on a smaller scale.

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Fulton Jr. High announces September Students of the Month

Fulton Junior High School recently announced their students of the month for September. Pictured from left, seventh grader Sierra Sanchez, sixth grader Jackson Matthews, and eighth grader Courtney Connors.

(Submitted Photo)

EDITOR’S NOTE: In last week’s edition, we featured the August students of the month from Fulton Junior High School, but labeled them as the September students. We regret the error.

O’Fallon Marine and amputee motivates local students

Mayor Graham welcomes Van Etten and thanks him for speaking. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Mayor Graham welcomes Van Etten and thanks him for speaking. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – At Friday’s session of FAST Camp, United States Marine veteran and O’Fallon native Corporal Chris Van Etten was the guest speaker. Fitness and Sports Training Camp takes place at Amelia Carriel Junior High and is the brainchild of Carriel Physical Education Teacher Tracy Lauderdale. PE teachers and coaches from around the area come to help train junior high students three days a week for a six week program. The first hour is spent on fitness training, and the second hour of the day is spent on training for whatever sport or activity the students have an interest in.

“A lot of kids these days don’t practice, they don’t train, they just play games. They certainly don’t get fitness training which makes them faster and stronger,” said Lauderdale.

Lauderdale brings in fitness professionals to help with the fitness training, but also brings in motivational guest speakers on Fridays. “I want to solidify a sense of community involvement, and we try to bring in O’Fallon residents or natives when we can.”

Van Etten is a 2009 graduate of O’Fallon Township High School. He enlisted in the US Marines shortly after graduating. In 2012, three months after he was deployed to Afghanistan, as he was returning from patrol, two IED’s went off and injuring Van Etten and a few others, and claiming the life of one. Van Etten ultimately lost both of his legs. Ultimately deciding that he wanted to embrace his new life, Van Etten became heavily involved in fitness, and even models for various companies and photographers like Michael Stokes.

O’Fallon native Chris Van Etten speaks to junior high students about the importance of fitness. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’Fallon native Chris Van Etten speaks to junior high students about the importance of fitness.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

“I wanted to show people that I’m the same Chris. I wanted to stay fit and do things that people say that I can’t do. I work out, I play sports, I ride a motorcycle,” Van Etten said. “It’s so easy to get sidetracked with technology and sit in front of your TV or computer. I’m guilty of it, too. I like to play video games and binge watch Netflix, but you have to realize that if you don’t keep active and consciously make an effort everyday to make your life better, your body is going to deteriorate. You guys are here making an effort, and I admire that.”

Currently residing in San Deigo, Van Etten says he’s more active now than he ever was, and says “There are hard days, and I rest on those days and tell myself that it could be worse, but if I let myself slack, it’s harder to walk.” He uses multiple different prosthetics so that he can participate in all the activities he wants to.

Looking at fitness, Van Etten says he sees people get intimidated and give up. “Take baby steps. If something doesn’t work for you, alter it, or try something else,” something he has had to do for himself as he finds what activities and workouts he’s capable of doing. Wanting people to strive to make themselves better, he said “I don’t want people to look at me and feel sorry for me, I want them to look at me and be inspired.” Thousands of people follow Van Etten on social media, something he says is “amazing. I’m just a guy doing what I love, and for those people to support me is just humbling.”

Van Etten’s family lives in O’Fallon, and his two younger brothers, Cameron and Clint, both play lacrosse at OTHS. Van Etten is proud of their efforts to be fit and active and said the camp was a great concept for kids to encourage them to stay active and come together for a common goal without using social media as their only form of interaction.

Speaking before Van Etten was Fulton Junior High PE teacher Tony Hanson, who’s a United States Air Force veteran that was deployed four times. Hanson said the FAST program has “a tremendous impact on these kids. Most of them go home for the summer and become inactive. This keeps them moving.” A lot of the participating students are on sports teams, but Hanson says “Being in the camp doesn’t mean you’re on a team. You still have to work for it and tryout like everyone else.”

Chris Van Etten and Fulton PE teacher Tony Hanson. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Chris Van Etten and Fulton PE teacher Tony Hanson.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Hanson and Lauderdale both proudly discussed the triathlon that is the culmination of camp. “We hold it at Community Park, and they do a 500 yard swim, a two mile run, and they bike three miles. The whole thing takes about an hour, and it’s neat for them to experience. I’ve had former students come back to help with that, and teach at camp, and say they wished we had been running this program when they went through school, because it would have given them such a solid groundwork for their future fitness and sports goals,” said Lauderdale.

Junior high students can register next year for FAST Camp, which keeps it’s numbers low to allow students a good ratio when working with coaches and teachers. For more on Van Etten and his goal to inspire others to be healthy, he has a public figure page on Facebook and has Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Carriel Junior High School Graduation 2016

Graduation ceremonies held for Carriel and Fulton eighth grade students

Fulton Junior High Graduation 2016

A group of graduates at Fulton Junior High School. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Carriel Junior High School Graduation 2016

A portion of the graduates from Carriel Junior High School (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Jon McLean)








Last Wednesday evening, both Carriel Junior High School and Fulton Junior High School held graduation ceremonies for their eighth grade students. The eighth graders will move on to the O’Fallon High School Freshman Campus on Milburn School Road this fall.

   The following students graduated from Carriel Junior High School in 2016.

Davin Isaiah Asberry

Austin Brennan Balabas

Paul Michael Barnett II

Hannah Michelle Bennion

Makayla Esther Best

Nevan Christopher Bickel

Paige Marie Bickers

Brianna Grace Bierly

Rakia Janea Blue

William Michael Bardwell Boddy

Oscar Bossart

Kyle Anthony Boyer

Allison Karen Brantley

Alexander James Brown

Ayanna Cherie Brown

Isaac JT Brown

August Christine Burkett

Liana Janet Burkhart

Lluvia Rae Carpenter

Matthew James Carter

Morgan Renee Cates

Tyshira Tiara Ceasar

Jaylah Denise Chambers

Jematur Phoebe Chepkoit

Sophia Noelle Cherry

Noah Wesley Claghorn

Grace Anne Clinton

Jourmon Maurice Coleman

Carter Gedson Collins

Courtney Renee Conrad

Sarah Ann Cooley

Rayven Alexis Cornish

Benjamin Kelly Crockett

Adrian E Croissant IV

Claire Ann Crook

Madisyn Elizabeth Crouse

Jillian Justine Crowder

Noah Jeffrey Cutter

Madison Katherine Dalonzo

Kaitlynn Renee Danielson

Kimberly Rand Davenport

Shelby Elisabeth Davinroy

Jordan Gregory DeBourge

Jacob Riley Denley

Austin Andrew Dichsen

Sarah Elizabeth Diessner

Brenton Tyrone Armand Diggs

Denika Ashauna Dinkins

August E Doan

Chloe Jennifer Dobecki

Silas Latvelle Donaby

Jacob Mikel Douthit

Ashlee Faith Dunks

Kaitlyn V Dunn

Emma Kay Ellington

Danielle Alexa Elliott

Gianni Christian Falconer

Kelsey Lynn Farmer

Cale Emery Faulk

Anthony Joseph Federico

Bryan Robert Flowers

Sierra Amethyst Fowler

Cameron Patrick Frailey

Lillian Marie Franks

Thomas Joseph Fulford

Braden Martin Gaab

Brenden Tyler Gaines

Vincent Xavier Garcia

Leah Marie Geis

Grant Alan George

Blaine Michael Gittner

Jeremiah Lanard Glenn

Joshua Bernard Glenn

Isabella Claire Goerke

Clara Jayne Greenstreet

Delaney Shae Greene

Elise Renee Greer

Thomas Josef Grinnell

Jenna Delle Grissom

Kaylie Anne Grout

Taylor Arianna Guy

Thomas Glen Guy

Benjamin Eugene Haerr

Alaina Lucia Hager

Celena Joezelene Haight

Benjamin Allan Hall

Emilee Cathryn Hamm

Jonathan Michael Hardy

Makenna Beth Harris

Jordan Ann Heien

Braden Tyler Henson

Jonathan William Hentzel II

Deja Celeste Holloway

Ty’Rez Jerrel Holman

Jacob William Hopkins

Maalik Jacob Hopkins

Jordyn Lynn Hunter

Zechariah Nathaniel Ingram

Devin Anthony Isom

Elijah Mykal Jackson

Madeline Nicole James

Mikayla Ediger Jassem

Britney Nicole Johnson

Jaylon Malik Johnson

Katelen Rae Johnson

Kathryn Elizabeth Kalkwarf

Daniel Patrick Key

Evan Sinclair Kieser

Dabin Kim

Maisy Jordan King

Rayshawn King Jr

Sydney Reagan Kirchoff

Austin Wyatt Klemp

Ruth Nicole Lambries

Matthew Richard Lane

Logan Laut

Kiera Marie Leahy

Anthanie Nicole Lewis

Brianna Ashley Lindsey

Jacob Andrew Lipe

Juel Thomas Little

Nathan Shelby Lumas

Hayden McGwire Lundy

Rebecca Grace Lunn

Macnea Mackey

Sean Patrick Mahan

Rachel Nicole Mann

Marco Joseph Marchese

Jayden Lyn Martin

Jonathan Brett Mason

Serenity Ann McDonald

Zoey Taylor McDonald

Madeline Jordan McKittrick

Payten Lee McLean

Erin Sylvia McNary

Kayla Jean Miller

Seth Haydean Miller

Ian Andrew Mitchell

Brandon Michael Monson

Gwen Elizabeth Musenbrock

Madison Janae Muzzarelli

Nathaniel Thomas Nadler

Terrence LaVelle Nash

Hayden Dean Naumann

Lily Nguyen

Seth Steven David Nichols

Paige E. Nowak

Deanna Nicole Palmer

Vonner Mikeal Panek

Jordan Russell Peacock

Treyvoyn Perkins

Emily Rose Ping

Makenzie Jewel Pitts

Jonathan Judah Price

Mark Vidal Prozinski

James Xavier Pruneau

Wynne Victoria Radcliffe

Derek Edward Raschen

Grace Elizabeth Rauscher

Alicia Louise Reed

Nicholas Tyler Rice

Devin Cade Richardson

Rachel Patricia Roberts

Madellyn Grace Ruttenbur

Noleka Morgan Sandlin

Nicolas A Santillan

Steven Timothy Schaeffer

Catherine Rose Scherschel

Kendall Rose Schieppe

Drew Alexander Schoendienst

Erika Lynn Schuardt

Logan Michael Schweigert

Carolyne Paige Scrivner

Lesley Louise Velasco Sebree

Elijah David Sewell

Jacob Wesley Sexton

Makayla Louise Sharpe

Madison Olivia Signore

Daniil Alexandrovich Smirnov

Chasity Marshae Smith-Pedersen

Evan Hugh Smith

Regan Lizbeth Sparks

Melanie Elizabeth Spinnie

Jacob Michael Stallard

McKenna Rayola Stamper

Roman Han Steele

Emilee Elizabeth Steinkamp

Cleveland Stewart-Goodwin

McKayla Renae Stone

Tyler Jeffrey Stosberg

Mallory Elizabeth Stroud

Grayson Joel Stutzman

Camden William Suddarth

Cassandra Nichole Surrey

Mia Victoria Torres

Bryan Scott Trelow

Kaylynn Sierra Trice

Justin Stephen Turner

Nathan Alexander Vazquez

Rebecca Adali Villagran

Brock Wade

Hannah Elizabeth Wagnon

Jeremy Joseph Walker

Kaitlyn Rebecca Walker

Zoe Michel Wallace

Andrew James-Harold Walters

Chloe Nicole Watson

Kevin Latrell Watson

Kiera Nicole Webb

Makayla Marie Weiss

Bruce Alexander White

Kai McKenna Williams

Amarey Jacob Wills

Kevelle D Wilson

Jackson Douglas Winkler

Sofia Grace Wojtal

Ian Lawrence Wright

Kyle Christopher Yates

Tyler Jackson Young

Natalie Natasha Zaman

Mike Bushra Zamel

Nadia Nicole Zuniga

   The following students graduated from Fulton Junior High School in 2016.

MaaLik’ Abdus-Salaam

Alena Ackerman

Seth Aldrich

Mar’Nequa Allen

Aviana Arnold

Mason Baker

Ashijane Barlow

Chloe Baron

Kamiya Barron

Haley Bartimus

Cody Bauer

Elliana Beard

Kyleigh Beebe

Dionre Berry

Sophie Bitner

Christian Blue

Grace Braswell

Semaj Brown

Anteco Bryant

Emmett Burse

Julian Cabrera

Camden Capplletti

Michelle Chaplin

Logan Charbonneau

Alyson Clayton

Madison Closs

Cash Coffman

Jordyn Comeaux

Anna Correale

Brendon Creek


Joshua Dela Cruz

Caleb DiLoretta

Teonna Driver

Jonathan Faust

Ailayna Gaffney

Amber Germuga

Kale Gibson

Lucas Gilmore

Ebony Gipson


Kayla Gordon

Luke Goss

Austin Griffith

Riley Grissom

Baleigh Hall

Clayton Harris

Morris Harris, III

Brayden Hartmann

Natalie Helme

Dylan Hites

Peyton Hobart

Sydney Hobart

Cale Holan

Madison Holbert

Angelia Hooker

Matthew Hosman

Joseph Howell

Haley Hughes

Kaleb Humbert

Alec Jenkins

Deeona Jimerson

Kailey Johnson

Lucas Johnson

Jayden Jones

Heidi Kassab

Kelly Keirstead

Hayden Kingdon

Cole Klinger

Dylan Klomps

Benjamin Koenig

Natahn Kolb

Matt Kopp

Kendall Kreidell

Michael Laguna

Adria Lang

Daniel Larsen

Jessica Larson

Molly Ledford

Sarah Lewis

Alex Lieb

Alec Lightle

Danyale Lockett

Simoriah Longhorn

Conner Lynn

Yousef Mahmood

Adian Malloy

Achton Marable

Kaitlyn Marrs

Brooke Mason

D’Montae Mason

Stephen Mathews

Conner McGinnis

Brittney McHenry

Joshua McIntyre

Maydson McKethen

Calen McKinney

Grace Meade

Joseph Medley

Ethan Miller

Noah Miller

Alexis Mills

Grant Miner

Cimone Mitchell

Macyn Monegain

Sydney Morgan

Kyle Morrison

Connor Morton

Robert Palus

Milee Patel

Briana Pflugradt

Felecia Phelps

Cameron Prindle

Caelan Quick

Karmeron Rachell

Juhari Raines

Ian Ratajczyk

Keith Rice, II

Ryan Ritchie

Arienna Rogers

Jacob Samuelson

Johanna Sandheinrich

Ryan Sarten

Ryan Schmidtke

Ellie Schur

Ellie Schur

Cameron Shelton

Christopher Smith

Jaedyn Smith

Isabella Staley

Grace Stamps

Elizabeth Stater

Isaiah Steward

Jada Strong

David Tady

Madison Tallman

Mackenzie Taulbee

Janiece Taylor

Jameson Thibodeaux

Brooke Thomas

Walter Thomas-Patterson

Cameron Thrapp

Ethan Tinarwo

Hannah Tole

A’Niyia Tutson

Megan Vacarelli

Kristin Vallem

Jewell Vickers

Bethany Vivienti

Jacob Voelkerding

Devin Welch

Christopher Wichlac

Sophie Wichlac

Max Wiggins

Tyreace Wilbourn

Cole Williams

McKayla Williamson

Raigan Wilson

Aidan Wiltshire

Hyokun Yi

Dyontae Young

Jennifer Zhao

Michael Ziegler

Paige Zywicki

   The following students were named as class Valedictorians at Carriel Junior High School.

Austin B. Balabas

Liana J. Burkhart

Grace A. Clinton

Sarah A. Cooley

Madisyn E. Crouse

Noah J. Cutter

Kaitlynn R. Danielson

Austin A. Dichsen

Kaitlyn V. Dunn

Braden M. Gaab

Grant A. George

Blaine M. Gittner

Isabella C. Goerke

Kaylie A. Grout

Celena J. Haight

Emilee C. Hamm

Makenna B. Harris

Madeline N. James

Mikayla E. Jassem

Ruth N. Lambries

Brianna A. Lindsey

Madeline J. McKittrick

Seth H. Miller

Brandon M. Monson

Deanna N. Palmer

Vonner M. Panek

Mark V. Prozinski

Wynne V. Radcliffe

Rachel P. Roberts

Melanie E. Spinnie

Emilee E. Steinkamp

Hannah E. Wagnon

Makayla M. Weiss

Sofia G. Wojtal

   The following students were named as class Valedictorians at Fulton Junior High School.

Haley Bartimus

Baleigh, Hall

Cale Holan

Simoriah Longhorn

Milee Patel

Ryan Schmidtke

Sophie Wichlac

A Note from Carrie Hruby – District 90 Superintendent – Congratulations to Carriel and Fulton graduates

Carrie Hruby - Superintendent, District 90

Carrie Hruby – Superintendent, District 90

On May 18 District 90 celebrated our eighth grade graduation ceremonies for Carriel and Fulton Junior High Schools.  I was honored to provide a few closing remarks that night.  I shared a quote from author Fred Devito who said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”  His quote reminds us that challenges can help us become the best versions of ourselves.

I encouraged our junior high graduates to consider this quote when looking forward to their high school years.  There will be challenges.  From the first day, as they make their way around a new school campus, to the new friends they will make as they find ways to fit in, to the final exams for which they will study.  These challenges, and even the times they feel they may have failed, will help them grow if they focus on growing and learning from each challenge.

Devito’s quote is a good reminder to us all.  Challenges help us grow if we are able to reflect upon the situation and use it as rung in our ladder to success.  As long as we remember to celebrate success along the path, we can always find ways to turn our challenges into opportunities.  Made popular by author Carol Dweck, this type of growth mindset teaches us that every mistake we make is progress.  Growth mindset allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

As I drove home from two wonderful eighth grade graduation ceremonies that night, I thought about Devito’s quote and how it applies to the challenges District 90 faced in the past.  The District grew from some tough financial times, and has since exceeded expectations.  Our curricular and extracurricular programs continue to have outstanding reputations, but we have also tightened our belts financially and begun to rebuild fiscal health.

Not a day goes by that I don’t feel overwhelming gratitude to be here, in this community, with this District.  There will always be challenges.  How we approach them and what we do after we face them is our choice.  The only person we should try to be better than is yesterday’s version of ourselves.

We congratulate our graduates on their many accomplishments, and wish them the very best!