By DEANNE LEBLANC
Jumping for health
The Fort Zumwalt School District has something to jump for joy about this year.
The district was named the top fundraising district in the state of Missouri for the Jump Rope for Heart event and presented with a plaque recognizing its accomplishment at the August Board of Education meeting.
Last year, Fort Zumwalt students and staff joined with its community to raise more than $131,000 to promote heart-healthy living. That community effort is just one factor that consistently keeps St. Charles County ranked as one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest, county in Missouri. (www.countyhealthrankings.org)
Registration opens for the 2016 Teen Talent Competition
Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation (FPACF) has opened registration to all high school students in the St. Louis metropolitan area for its 6th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition to be held in spring 2016.
The event will follow a competition format with students vying for scholarships, special awards, prizes and the opportunity to compete in the finals onstage at The Fabulous Fox Theatre on Saturday, April 23. Interested candidates must attend a high school or be home-schooled within a 50-mile radius of the Gateway Arch and must complete the requirements for entry by Nov. 20.
Performing arts categories include, but are not limited to, singers, dancers, actors, musicians, comedians, rappers, ventriloquists and circus skill artists. Contestants may perform with original or published material.
In addition to scholarships and prizes, finalists will be provided unique performance opportunities within the St. Louis area arranged by FPACF and by request. Finalists from the past five years have performed at The Muny, Sheldon Concert Hall, Shakespeare Festival Green Show in Forest Park, Six Flags – St. Louis, Taste of Maplewood, Let Them Eat Art, and Fair St. Louis and with the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis and Winter Opera.
For more information or to register online, visit www.foxpacf.org.
Supporting students with special needs
The Developmental Disabilities Resource Board of St. Charles County has collaborated with the Francis Howell School District since 1991.
This year, the district is one of just four local organizations to receive the “Outstanding Community Partner Recognition” award from the DDRB. The recognition is a sign not only of the outstanding reporting done by district staff members Jill Orr and Jessica Hellebusch, but also a testament to their hard work and dedication to seeking the best supports for students with disabilities.
DDRB provides grant money to assist students in Francis Howell’s tuition-based programs. Last year, the grant supported 60 students in preschool, Vacation Station and Quest, providing quality programming for all. This year’s grant totals $394,119.
For many years, Orr, who is the Vacation Station program administrative assistant, has been the leader in preparing and submitting the documentation for the program, and overseeing the budget and staffing for the grant. Hellebusch, a Vacation Station coordinator, manages staff training and reports.
Fort Zumwalt musicians named to Metro 8 District Orchestra
The following musicians will represent the Fort Zumwalt School District in the Metro 8 District Orchestra when they perform at Fort Zumwalt East on Saturday, Nov. 7: From East High, on violin, Janae Ashford, Abby Held and Lydia Roesler; viola: Shelby Johnson, Megan Scharfinski and Rachel Jordan; cello: Dominick Cancila, Jacob Franke and Jeffrey Han; and bass: Jeff Howard; from North High, on violin: Madison Ilseman, Noah Mikulin and Justin Williams; and cello: Alicia Powers; from South High, on violin: Unsun Lee and John Reisch; viola: Grace Conrad; and cello: Emily Harrelson, Hunter Schockley and Ellen Tomko; from West High, on violin: Safia Amerin, Aliyah Amerin, Jane Kim, Julian Lema, Monica Marlett, Rachel Sengl, JiYu Son, Seokju Son and Emily Vago; viola: Kayla Cunningham, Anna Hutnyk, Keaton Immekus, Edward Scalise and Jordyn Sengl; cello: Chrissie Clauson and Tanner Tipton and bass: Tommy Dailey, Tyler Hoffmann, Malia Johnson and Chase Mueller.
Eighth-grader Seungju Lee, a violinist from South Middle, also was named to the Metro 8 All District Orchestra.
Twin Chimneys’ Walk-A-Thon is monstrously successful
Instead of doing multiple fundraisers, the school decided to do one monster Walk on the Wild Side walk-a-thon. Each week leading up to the big event, Twin Chimneys conducted a raffle drawing and classroom door decorating and monster naming contests.
On the day of the walk, parents and guests were encouraged to cheer on or join their sponsored students. Many teachers and staff got into the festive spirit by dressing up and walking with the students. The PTO set up the event in race fashion, complete with prizes, snacks and water bottles.
“The walk-a-thon was a huge hit, raising $23,000,” Twin Chimneys Principal Jessica Trost said. “The kids really loved it.”
Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used for new computers and other classroom needs.
Francis Howell teachers receive Emerson Excellence Award
Two Francis Howell teachers have received the annual Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award, an honor that is bestowed on a select number of educators in the metro area each year.
The award honors teachers who excel in their field.
Sally Black and Matthew Riffee were this year’s award recipients.
Black has been with Henderson Elementary for 13 years and is described as “a wonderful example of what the award is truly about.” Black develops the skills of students with special needs, oversees student goals, and keeps track of hundreds of students and their progress. She also joined The Leadership Program for Aspiring Principals and helps other teachers across the district with their professional development.
Riffee is a science teacher at Francis Howell North. His excitement for learning and the love of integrating technology when teaching biomedical science, anatomy and physiology is what puts him in the academic spotlight. Riffee also is in the process of becoming a Google-certified teacher.
Watershed education program provides hands-on experience
Students from Wentzville Middle got their feet wet in environmental science when they worked to actively address water quality issues in Peruque Creek near the local General Motors plant.
“It’s critical that today’s youth are connected to their local communities and the environment,” said Jamie Paige, stormwater management coordinator at the city of Wentzville.
The city has facilitated the GM GREEN program for 12 years with local schools.
GM GREEN (the General Motors Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) encourages a community-wide approach to help youth better understand their impact on local watersheds. The program builds students’ environmental literacy to enable informed decision-making necessary for community resilience around environmental changes and challenges.
“GM GREEN nurtures collaborative environmental stewardship and exemplifies the best in STEM education and our commitment to serve and improve Wentzville,” said Nancy Laubenthal, plant manager at General Motors Wentzville Assembly. “Access to clean water is essential to all communities, and this program encourages students to be leaders in advancing water quality and conservation.”