Francis Howell alumni honored by local hall of fame
Two star athletes who also were Francis Howell School District students recently were honored by the St. Charles County Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.
Paul James was inducted into the hall after a successful baseball career.
In his youth, James dominated area baseball leagues and later played in Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers organization. At Francis Howell High, he played three years of varsity baseball as a pitcher and shortstop. He earned All-Conference honors all three seasons, and All-District recognition his senior year at the shortstop position.
James also earned All-American honors at Meramec Community College and played at the University of Missouri where he earned All-Big Eight honors as a starting pitcher.
Playing for Metro Collegiate and EMBA leagues in the summer, James was named a Metro All-Star, and pitched against the 1984 Olympic team. He became the first pitcher to face Mark McGwire in Busch Stadium in that game. In subsequent years, James played for the Rangers until an arm injury shortened his career.
Not forgetting his roots, James has come back to help Francis Howell players develop their skills.
Connor Flynn’s name is synonymous with Viking wrestling. His remarkable undefeated season this year led him to be honored by the Hall of Fame with an Outstanding High School Senior Athletic Award.
The Francis Howell High wrestling team finished ninth in the state, but they won second place in the GAC South, were the GAC tournament champions, were the St. Charles West Invitational champs, and the De Smet Jesuit tournament champs. Flynn went 46-0 on his way to the Class 4 title at 160 pounds, and won his final 74 matches as a high school wrestler.
He will be moving on to West Virginia University, where he’ll wrestle under Francis Howell School District legend and GAC Hall of Famer, Sammy Henson.
Youth Tour delegates visit U.S. Capitol
Ninety-seven high school juniors from Missouri participated in the 51st anniversary of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Youth Tour in Washington, D.C., June 12-18.
Local delegates were Hannah Baalman, of Dardenne Prairie; Alexa and Madison Jones, of O’Fallon; Alexandra Hudelson, of Old Monroe; Jessica Hoelting, of Moscow Mills; and Sarah Hoelscher, of Warrenton. The students were sponsored by Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, Troy.
The seven-day tour offered the students opportunities to learn firsthand what it is like to be involved in politics. Highlights included a special session on Capitol Hill with U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer to discuss the process of government, issues of the day and increasing their knowledge of cooperative electric utilities and American history.
“The Youth Tour students from Missouri demonstrated a true passion for learning about democracy and government. They asked some really tough questions on everything from education-related bills, health care to climate change legislation. It’s great to see high school students eager to learn and gain leadership skills. Building strong leaders out of today’s young people is essential to our nation’s future,” said Luetkemeyer.
Youth Tour delegates also visited with NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson in Arlington, Virgina Emerson, a former House member from Missouri, encouraged the delegates to take advantage of this exclusive learning opportunity.
“Each and every one of you can make a difference in the political process,” said Emerson. “The way that you talk about the issues will impress your leaders in Congress. It will give them hope that your generation understands how to lead and you are committed to doing so.”
Back to School Fair planned
The Wentzville School District will host its annual Back to School Fair on Saturday, Aug. 8 from 8 a.m.-noon at Holt High.
Over 90 vendors have signed up to participate and more than 1,700 bags of school supplies will be given away to children in need. Additionally the fair will offer games, breakfast (thanks to the Kiwanis Club of West St. Charles County) and plenty of fun activities – all free of charge. Families who attend are encouraged to give back by bringing a non-perishable food item that Operation Food Search will distribute to local pantries within the district’s boundaries.
Helping to supply the fair, was a $1,500 Operation Round Up Bright Future grant from the Cuivre River Electric Community Trust.
“The Fair has become a great community partnership with local businesses and organizations and a tremendous resource for our families,” said Community Relations Director Mary LaPak.
Helping to prevent injury from concussions
At its meeting on July 20, the Fort Zumwalt Board of Education recognized Dr. Brandon Larkin in appreciation for his years of service in implementing the ImPACT computerized neurocognitive testing program for thousands of high school athletes to help monitor students for concussion.
Beginning with football players in 2010, Larkin and the Fort Zumwalt team of athletic trainers began conducting baseline tests for freshmen and juniors. The following year all soccer players and cheerleaders were also tested.
“I think it’s a testimony to the progressive nature of the district that we have had this in place as long as we have,” Larkin said.
He explained to board members that the 25-minute computerized test looks at reaction time, memory, concentration and other components to set a baseline that is used should a player suffer a concussion. He also explained that it is re-administered before junior year to set a new baseline because of the brain development that happens in those two years as teens mature.
“Since 2010, we have baselined over 3,000 athletes and performed more than 600 individual tests,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’ve had 600 concussions; it means we administered that many tests. Some players undergo more than one test to be sure they are ready to play. I know you know that some players can be in a hurry to get back on the field.”
Larkin said the program isn’t a pass-fail system. The ImPACT test results are one indicator that a concussion victim has healed. “Just because their ImPACT is good doesn’t mean they get to play,” he said, adding that there are many levels to full recovery from such a brain injury and many factors to consider on a case-by-case basis.
“They happen in any sport and they don’t have to be in a game,” Larkin said of concussions. “It can be in practice. We’ve even had some we have caught in kids who suffered their injury in car accidents.”