By DEANNE LEBLANC
with JONATHAN DUNCAN
Independence Elementary book drive
Leadership is hard to quantify but the students at Independence Elementary have found a way to put a number to their leadership. That number is 3,536 – which is how many books the Character Council collected during a recent book drive to support local schools. The Character Council is made up of around 20 students from the fourth and fifth grades, and is led by counselor Shannon Adam and Principal Emily Pavia.
“The students help with the many different Character Education initiatives within our school. They help teach lessons during our Character Connection time, and help with service learning projects,” Pavia said. “The Character Council Team reviews student survey data annually, shares the data with the rest of the student body during Character Connection time, and brainstorms solutions to help with concerns that our students have voiced through their answers on the survey.”
Amid the season of being thankful, the Character Council decided that there would be no better way to show their appreciation for their blessings than to help others with less, so they got the community involved and helped lead the project.
Character Council wrote scripts to share on the morning announcements, made posters to hang in the hallways, and sorted books, Pavia said.
“The teachers provided learning opportunities for the students in each grade level to tie in the curricular piece to make it true service learning,” she added. “They [the students] were especially excited to go on a field trip to the Normandy and Riverview Garden school districts to personally help deliver the books.”
Distinguished Foreign Language Educator named
The Foreign Language Association of Missouri has named Brian Santos, Francis Howell North teacher and Francis Howell School District Teacher of the Year for 2015, as its 2015 Distinguished Foreign Language Educator.
“I am humbled by this generous honor,” Santos said. “I am a proud product of world language education, and I’m so happy to be recognized for my efforts in providing those same opportunities to my kids. The award is also a reflection of my amazing department members who mentored me in becoming the teacher I am today.”
Santos teaches Spanish classes at Francis Howell North and holds a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and psychology, as well as a master of arts degree in secondary Spanish education from Truman State University.
He is in his ninth year teaching foreign languages at Francis Howell North and also serves as the instructional technology specialist for the school. Santos will soon represent all of Missouri as the nominee for the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Teacher of the Year, the winner of which will be announced in March.
Wentzville names new assistant superintendent
The Wentzville School District Board of Education has approved the hiring of John Schulte as assistant superintendent of administrative services, to replace Dr. Melody Marcantonio who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Schulte is a native of St. Peters and a graduate of St. Dominic High. He taught fifth grade at Twin Chimneys and Ostmann elementary schools [where he was named Teacher of the Year] in the Fort Zumwalt School District before being named administrative intern at Boone Trail in 2003. He has served as principal at Boone Trail since 2005.
Francis Howell takes second place in MICDS Tournament
The Francis Howell basketball team started the 2015-16 season with a championship – winning the Dec. 4 Troy Invitational. Then, over the holiday break, Howell competed in the Mary Institute/Country Day Invitational and won three of four games, coming up short in the championship game. The third-seeded Vikings fell to No. 5 seed Westminster Christian Academy 60-54 on Dec. 30.
“We had a nice tournament … [and] played well the first three games of the tournament,” coach Kurt Jacob said.
The Vikings rolled past Brentwood 77-41 on Dec. 23 in the first game of the tournament and then handled No. 1 seed Parkway South [71-58] in the quarterfinal round on dec. 26.
Brett Elifritz, who was voted to the MICDS Tournament All-Tournament Team, led the Vikings with 23 points. Logan Bush and Clayton Ambrose added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Next came a big win over a gritty Pattonville club as Howell defeated the No. 2 seed Pirates 69-51.
Colton White led four Howell scorers in double figures with 18 points. Zack Reader scored 13, Bush had 11 points and Ambrose chipped in 10.
That semifinal win moved the Vikings into the championship game against Westminster. Howell more than held its own with the athletic, and explosive Wildcats for the better part of 28 minutes.
However, in the closing moments, Westminster star guard Aaron Cook keyed a 16-11 surge that left Howell struggling for shots as the Wildcats held on for a 60-54 win. Bush led Howell with 11 points while Elifritz and Reader had 10 points each.
The loss did little to dampen what was a very successful holiday break and week for Howell. “We had a nice week and I’m really happy with what we were able to accomplish as a team,” Jacob said.
Fort Zumwalt South takes second in Christmas tourney
Fort Zumwalt South appeared primed to take home first place in the St. Dominic Christmas Tournament in the final week of December. But Sikeston spoiled the Bulldogs’ title hopes with a 58-43 win in the championship game on Dec. 30.
Fort Zumwalt South was led in that game by Kai Collier and Darious Thomas with 10 points each.
A day earlier on Dec. 29, the Bulldogs squeaked past Timberland with a 56-55 semifinal win. In that game, Drake Whaley led three Bulldogs in double figures with 16 points, 12 of them coming beyond the three-point arc. Thomas poured in 15 points and Collier added 11 points.
In the quarterfinal round on Dec. 28, the Bulldogs dispatched Lutheran St. Charles 78-61. EJ Bellinger led Zumwalt South with 28 points on 13 of 20 shooting from the floor. Drake Whaley added 18 points and Brandon Hinman scored 10.