Students in health careers
can apply for Zonta scholarships

[JAN. 20, 2001]  Zonta Club of Lincoln will again sponsor health career scholarships. Residents of Logan County who are enrolled in or accepted into a health care professional curriculum are eligible to apply. Scholarships totaling $4,500 will be awarded. The number of scholarships will be determined by the scholarship committee.

Each award is for one academic year and is contingent upon the student's sustained academic achievement. Former recipients are encouraged to reapply. Application forms are available from county high schools and colleges, several health care facilities and pharmacies in the county, and by request.

We encourage students to make application if they are considering any health career field, including veterinary medicine, sports medicine, physical therapy or pharmacy. Zonta Club of Lincoln has awarded health career scholarships since 1981, assisting 36 students from Logan County with 49 scholarships with a total value of $51,750. Last year Zonta awarded four recipients $1,125 each.

All completed applications, including references, are due to the scholarship committee by March 5. Applications and information are available by contacting Marilyn Weingarz, 1425 1307th St., Lincoln, IL 62656 or by calling (217) 735-1840.

[Zonta news release]

Books are one harvest from
Jefferson School garden

[JAN. 13, 2001]  When you plant a seed, you can’t be sure how big your plant will grow, how much you will harvest or how many other seeds it may scatter. The seeds planted in third grade teacher Cathy Hawkinson’s Jefferson School garden have produced other harvests, but none so surprising as the gift that is bringing the school about $8,000 worth of new books for its library.

[Click here for pictures]

It started with eggs of the monarch butterfly, which hatched into caterpillars that were raised by Hawkinson’s third grade classes and then released. Those butterflies in turn hatched the idea of a butterfly garden, which Hawkinson and her 1999-2000 class built on a corner of the school grounds at Fifth and Adams streets.

"The garden became an outdoor classroom," Hawkinson said. "Each class in the school contributed something. The children were nurturing the garden and loving it. They were proud of seeing something they’d planted grow."

The success of the butterfly garden soon had Hawkinson and her students thinking of another one, an 1850s theme garden that would be planted across Sixth Street from the school. Along with the historic theme, this garden could also help children make connections with the books they were reading, like "Little House on the Prairie" and others set in pioneer times. By planting native prairie grasses and flowers, the children would be able to actually experience the prairie while they were reading about it.


To help raise funds for the new garden, Hawkinson began looking for "Prairie Partners" who would contribute money, time or other gifts. She approached hardware store owner Pete Fredericks, who agreed to build a log cabin out of old utility poles to serve as a storage shed for the tools Hawkinson’s classes will be using. Pete is just waiting for the snow to melt so he can finish building the shed.

She also approached Lincoln Mayor Joan C. Ritter, who, like Hawkinson, is an enthusiastic gardener. Mayor Ritter quickly became an enthusiastic Prairie Partner as well, even accompanying Hawkinson to visit schools in other communities that were adding gardening to their curriculum.

For the last two years, Ritter has also been a member of the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board. A fellow member, Dr. Jodi Martinez, is deputy director of the literacy office for Secretary of State Jesse White. In Illinois the secretary of state is also the state librarian and as such appoints members to the Illinois Literacy Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the partnership of the corporate world and the private sector to provide literacy initiatives and programs.

One of the Literacy Foundation’s projects this year was a children’s literacy fund-raising drive. Each Barnes and Noble bookstore in the state was paired with a school or other organization for the promotion. Martinez was assigned to identify schools and other groups eligible to participate.

At a recent meeting of the Historical Records Advisory Board in Chicago, Mayor Ritter and Martinez sat together at lunch. They began talking about the various projects they were engaged in, and suddenly everything fell into place.

"The timing couldn’t have been better," Martinez told the Lincoln Daily News. "The night before, I had met with Barnes and Noble representatives. There are 24 Barnes and Noble stores in Illinois, and my assignment was to identify 24 recipients, one in each Barnes and Noble area. Then Mayor Ritter began telling me about the Jefferson School reading program."


Ritter told her about the way Hawkinson and other teachers were using the butterfly garden to encourage reading and about the plans for the 1850s garden, and suddenly Martinez saw "a good fit."

Jefferson School was paired with the Barnes and Noble store in Bloomington. When store patrons made purchases last December, they were asked if they would like to donate a dollar to a children’s literacy program. So many did that the Bloomington store collected $6,800, every dollar of which was given to Jefferson School. But because the store is also giving the school a 20 percent discount, Jefferson teachers will actually be able to purchase about $8,000 worth of materials, Martinez said.


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"This is truly a case of the private sector joining hands with the secretary of state and the Illinois Literacy Foundation. This is truly networking at its best," she said.

"It’s a win-win-win proposition," Hawkinson agreed.

This week, teachers at Jefferson School will "go on a shopping spree" to choose the new books they want in their library. Next week, a group which will include Hawkinson’s class, Mayor Ritter and Martinez will meet again at Barnes and Noble, and the children will select books they personally want to read from the list previously chosen by the teachers. Mayor Ritter will then take the group to lunch at a nearby restaurant.

"I’m going to ride to Bloomington in the school bus," Ritter said. "I’m so glad I was in the right place at the right time and knew what was going on in our schools."

Along with Pete Fredericks and Ritter, many other businesses and individuals have become partners in the Jefferson School gardening project. The Lincoln Elks Club has donated money and Lincoln city employees are donating time to build raised beds so special needs children can garden from their wheelchairs.


CEFCU donated a Christmas tree to replace the one lost in last year’s fire at the school, and children made natural ornaments by stringing popcorn and cranberries. The Logan County Soil and Water Conservation District is helping to develop the 1850s garden plan with advice on trees and grasses to be planted. The Logan County Farm Bureau and Salt Creek Nurseries will also help with donations and plants. Local stores R & H Farm Supply, Big R, Wal-Mart, Knox Greenhouse Outlet and Pete’s Hardware have donated tools, supplies, seeds and plants.

Dr. Lee Gurga, a Lincoln dentist, has contributed a white granite stone with his prize-winning haiku engraved on it to place in the butterfly garden. The poem is about butterflies.

Other Prairie Partners are Key Printing, Century Dental, Illico, State Bank of Lincoln, Guzzardo’s Italian Villa, YMCA, Edward D. Jones, Burwell Oil, Abbott and Associates, Keystone Risk Management, NAPA Auto Supply, Jane Wright’s State Farm office, Doug Knox Nursery of Beason, Mitchell Newhouse, Manley Monuments, and Bob and Joan Graue.

The contributions have made possible the purchase of grow lights, curriculum guides, science materials, worm composting equipment and supplies for the Jefferson Junior Garden Club, made up of the second and third graders at Jefferson School. But seeds from the Jefferson School garden project are sprouting in other places, too. Two workshops on school gardens have been held at Jefferson, one on butterfly gardens and one on literary gardens, and teachers from West Lincoln-Broadwell, Chester-East Lincoln, Carroll Catholic and all District 27 schools have attended. Hawkinson is thinking about teaching a junior gardener’s class at the YMCA this summer.

"The most important thing happening out of all of this is the community working together with the schools and the kids," Hawkinson said. "It’s amazing that so many people, through work, wisdom and wealth, have contributed so much to a project that is changing the way a school and a community can work together."

[Joan Crabb]


State Bank of Lincoln offers
scholarship competition

[JAN. 10, 2001]  State Bank of Lincoln has announced a scholarship competition that enables Illinois high school seniors to enter a statewide essay-writing contest. It is part of a program sponsored by Illinois community banks and the CBAI Foundation for Community Banking to increase public awareness of locally owned banks and their contributions to the community.

State Bank of Lincoln is a member of the Community Bankers Association of Illinois (CBAI), which formed the foundation in 1996. A scholarship in the amount of $1,000 per year for up to four years of higher education will be awarded to the author of the best essay submitted to the CBAI Foundation by a participating Illinois high school senior. Up to 12 additional $1,000 awards are available in each of the regions of the state. An additional $500 will be awarded to the high school of the overall winner.


The bank is working with Lincoln Community High School, Mount Pulaski High School and Olympia High School to invite seniors to submit short essays on this theme: "What new or enhanced products and services will community banks be offering in the 21st century?"


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William M. Hull, executive vice president, stated, "Any high school senior student in the area served by the bank is encouraged to participate. The past three regional winners have been submitted to the CBAI by the bank. Winners were from Lincoln Community High and Mount Pulaski High School."

Information on the contest is available at the high schools and through William Hull at the bank. Entries must be submitted to the bank by Feb. 14, 2001. The bank will then submit selected entries to the CBAI Foundation to be eligible for the statewide competition.

Based in Springfield, CBAI is a professional association that represents approximately 540 banks and thrifts throughout Illinois.

[State Bank of Lincoln news release]


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