Honors & Awards,
Pilot program helps students
overcome barriers to success
NORMAL — Nine students recently graduated from Heartland
Community College’s pilot program called Business Essentials. These
dedicated individuals now have a sense of accomplishment and
confidence in their abilities that may not have existed before
enrolling at Heartland.
The graduation ceremony was at 10
a.m. on June 28 at Heartland’s Raab Road campus. Dr. Diana McCauley, a
well-known local volunteer, independent educational consultant and advocate for
education and equity for all women and girls, delivered the commencement speech.
The Business Essentials program
was designed to help economically disadvantaged community members overcome
educational, social and economic barriers to employment.
"I had no idea it would be so
difficult and stressful, or so rewarding," said Eleisha Whitney-Olson about the
16-week, 17-credit-hour program.
Pam Westerdahl, Heartland’s
director of workforce services, formed a partnership between the college, the
McLean County Chamber of Commerce, the University of Illinois Extension Service
and Mid-Central Community Action to develop and launch the project.
[to top of second column in this
are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified staff for
entry and midlevel positions. At the same time, many community
members face multiple barriers to employment due to a lack in
technical and life skills required for careers offering wages and
benefits that will support a family and promise opportunities for
advancement. This program brings these needs together for a positive
solution," explains Westerdahl.
Graduate Nessa Sacry says she now feels
qualified to compete for a living-wage position. "This was more than
I had expected. It was a lot of work in a short time period, but now
I know I can accomplish the goals I set for myself."
Community College news release]
Kids discover fun
new summer activity
[JULY 8, 2002]
Cathy Hawkinson, a third-grade teacher at Jefferson, has
once again tapped into her passion for gardening to promote
children’s excitement over reading.
teaching and gardening ideas began with a butterfly garden put
together by her 1999-2000 class. In 2001 her dream of an 1850s-style
garden with book-themed plots landed the school a $6,800 grant from
Barnes and Noble through the Illinois Literacy Foundation.
Now the garden,
across Sixth Street from Jefferson School, boasts several
book-themed plots, such as the "Petunia Goose" and the "Charlotte’s
Web" plots, as well as a sunflower house where classes gather for
special outdoor book-readings, a prairie garden, a butterfly bush, a
rainbow garden and several raised gardens surrounded by even more
flower beds. Also in the garden, a log cabin built by Pete
Fredericks houses the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" and gardening
tools. For the supplies, Hawkinson found many generous donors within
the Lincoln community.
She approached the
Lincoln Public Library about bringing their summer reading program
to the Jefferson School Children’s Garden. As a result, children and
parents gather on Wednesday mornings to sit and read for an hour in
the shade of the garden.
[Photo by Trisha Youngquist]
[Debby Simpson takes time out of her day to
sit and read with her daughter Katie. Katie has read more than 400
books this summer!]
librarian Linda Harmon brings a box full of books from the library
and spreads them out on the grass. Kids glance over the books and
hurriedly find a square of carpet to sit on and read. And when they
have finished one book, they quickly find and devour another. The
entire hour is spent reading one book after another. Parents who
accompany their children sit while their children read aloud to
State Farm Insurance
sponsors a midhour drink break. Agent Rick Hamm also brings safety
programs to the school during the year.
[to top of second column in
The library program
extension allows children who live in the neighborhoods near
Jefferson to participate in the reading program, since the school
lies within walking distance. Already this summer 15 kids have
participated at the location and filled out reading logs.
Kids write down in
their reading logs all the books that they read and use it to keep
track of their reading goals. Children set their own reading goals
in this program that has over 500 participants.
[Linda Harmon awards Amanda McCray a "Reading Rocks"
T-shirt for meeting her reading goal.]
them toward their personal goals. When a child reaches his or her
reading goal, the reward is a red "Reading Rocks" T-shirt. Weekly
prizes for children who have read the most during the week are also
given out. Area merchants have donated hundreds of prizes for the
weekly honors. An anonymous donor supplied the prizes for the
summer’s top readers.
At the library,
charts on the walls reflect individual progress as well as progress
by school. Schools compete in most books read for a trophy.
Jefferson has never won the trophy, but this year they appear to be
strong competitors, vying closely with Washington-Monroe for first
As Linda Harmon was quick to point out,
though, it would not be possible without Cathy Hawkinson. "She’s the
impetus behind the whole thing. I just bring the books."
New 40 & 8 scholarship helps
nursing students at Lincoln College
Lincoln College students who
are pursuing a nursing degree will have financial help available
with a new "Nurses in Training" scholarship. The assistance is made
possible through the generosity of the members of the Logan County
Voiture 985 of the Forty et Eight.
The $1,000 endowed scholarship will be
awarded annually to a student from the Logan County area and will
help defray tuition costs for students who have an interest in
nursing. The scholarship will be offered beginning with the fall
Forty et Eight members Bernard E.
Behrends and Paul Aper indicated the group decided to establish the
scholarship at Lincoln College to provide aid to local students in
need: "This ensures that our organization is helping young people of
the Lincoln/Logan County area and has left its heritage at Lincoln
[to top of second column in this
Paul Aper is the current president of
the program and Bernard E. Behrends is secretary. Both have been
Chef deGare of the Voiture 985 and have long been active in the
Nurse in Training program, helping some130 young people to fulfill
their dream of becoming registered nurses.
Eight, established in 1920, is recognized for service to the
American Legion and its programs. Since 1955 the national
organization has encouraged young students to become registered
[Lincoln College news release]
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At the corner of Woodlawn and Business 55
Community Theatre scholarship awarded
Lincoln Community Theatre’s 2002 scholarship has been
awarded to Kelly Dowling, daughter of Ed and Marcia Dowling of
Lincoln. Kelly plans to attend Lincoln College for two years,
majoring in the performing arts.
Washington-Monroe named a Golden Spike school
Washington-Monroe School was one of only 59 out of 920 schools in
Illinois to receive the honor of being named a Golden Spike school,
one which shows that students from low-income families can close the
At Wednesday’s board meeting,
Superintendent Robert Kidd read the following
letter from former State Superintendent of Schools Glenn "Max"
McGee commending the school for its achievement.
Rebecca Cecil, principal of
Washington-Monroe, said 75 percent of the students there met or
exceeded the state standards in reading and mathematics.
have much to do with it," Kidd said. "The achievement rests on the
shoulders of the principal, teachers and the support staff."
Lincoln District 27
S. Maple Street
Lincoln, IL 62656
With profound and enthusiastic
admiration, I am writing to commend you, your staff and, your
community for your truly remarkable accomplishments at
Washington-Monroe Elementary. The sterling record of
improvement the past three years has distinguished
Washington-Monroe Elementary as a "Golden Spike" school — a
school which has shown that the "achievement gap" can be
During the last six months I have
been conducting comprehensive research on elementary schools
that educate children from low-income families. Of the
approximately 920 schools in Illinois whose enrollment is
comprised of more than half of their students from low-income
families, only 59 met the rigorous criteria of achievement
and/or improvement the past three years, and your school is
one of that elite group. In other words, Washington-Monroe
Elementary is in the top 6.5 percent of high-poverty schools
in the state and, in my opinion, among the very best of all
schools in the country. I am not exaggerating when I tell you
that Washington-Monroe Elementary is truly an exemplary model
for all schools, and many lessons can be learned from your
success in providing the highest quality education for ALL
children, regardless of family income or background.
Please extend my highest
commendation to the principal and staff. They work
exceptionally hard, have a shared commitment to each and every
child, and fervently believe that ALL children can learn and
succeed in school. The many "extras" they provide truly
matter, as evidenced by the children's achievements. Also, I
want to let you know how much I appreciate and admire your
leadership. The vision, work ethic, energy level and passion
you bring to the position are inspirational. You are making a
lasting difference to children and to families. Knowing that
you probably have some long and tiring days, I hope that you
find some reward in remembering the profound impact you do
Once again, congratulations on
your "Golden Spike" school!
Glenn "Max" McGee
Senior Research Associate
NIU Center for Governmental
association awards scholarships
CHAMPAIGN — The Balloon
Association of Greater Illinois recently awarded $1,000 scholarships
to Michael Kinner of New Berlin and Kent D. Leesman of Atlanta.
A committee of Farm Bureau managers
from three central Illinois counties selected this year’s
recipients. The recipients are selected on the basis of scholastic
achievement and honors, participation in activities, community
involvement and professional goals.
Kinner, son of Tim and Cynde Kinner,
graduated in May from Lincoln Land Community College and will
continue his education at Western Illinois University in Macomb this
fall. His major is in agricultural science and agronomy.
Leesman, son of Kevin and Joyce Leesman,
recently graduated from Hartsburg-Emden High School and will attend
the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana this fall. He is
majoring in agronomy and agribusiness.
[to top of second column in this
Following graduation, both Michael
and Kevin plan to return to their family farms, continuing with
operation and production improvements, as well as involvement in
their respective communities.
scholarship was established in 1996 in appreciation to the farming
community for allowing hot-air balloons to launch from or land on
their property. Applications for next year’s scholarship will be
available after Jan. 1, 2003, at Farm Bureaus, high schools and
colleges in 20 counties throughout central Illinois.
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