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Lunch with the chief

[NOV. 15, 2002]  The two fifth-graders who left Washington-Monroe School at 11:30 a.m. Thursday with Police Chief Rich Montcalm hadn’t been doing anything they shouldn’t.

It was just the opposite. They’d been doing exactly what they should — showing leadership and taking responsibility — and their reward was to take part in a new program, "Lunch with the Chief."

Jeff Owen, in Kate Ewing’s class, and Chris Bernhardt, in Martha Holland’s room, left school with the chief of police to have lunch at Bonanza.   Chief Montcalm also gave the two boys black T-shirts that said “Lunch with the Chief” on the front and had a picture of a Lincoln police car on the back. He told them they were the only people in town with those shirts.

Jeff and Chris were the first two fifth-graders to be part of the new program initiated by the Lincoln Police Department, and Washington-Monroe School is the first area school to have its students recognized.


[Photo by Gina Sennett]
[(From left) Police Chief Rich Montcalm, Chris Bernhardt, Jeff Owen and Principal Rebecca Cecil.]

The police department is rewarding fifth-grade students who have shown leadership or great improvement in the classroom, said Principal Rebecca Cecil.

"Both boys have been very responsible in completing homework and assignments. They are maintaining high grades, A’s and B’s, and serving as models for other students."

She said fifth-graders are excited about the program, and parents are very supportive. Chris and Jeff’s parents were honored that the boys were chosen.

"We like involving the police in a positive way instead of as people who arrest other people. We like the proactive collaboration police have with us, and we really appreciate their support," she said.

The new program fits right in with the Washington-Monroe emphasis on values, too.


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Cecil and her teachers work hard to promote two academic values, reading and studying, and two character values, respect and responsibility. That includes respect for all other classmates and for teachers. The school also promotes a lot of parental involvement.

Classrooms compete to win the flag and trophy for the highest percent of homework completed each week, Cecil said. Winning classes in two categories, primary and intermediate, get to fly the flag outside their classroom.

"Students are very proud to get the trophy and fly the flag," she said.

Students also compete individually to be included in the "Party with the Principal," held every nine weeks. Winners, those who have completed all their work, get to play games, watch videos, and have treats and snacks. Cecil usually has about 100 students who qualify for the party every nine-week session.

The school has worked out a program for students in grades 3-6 to help them keep up with their schoolwork. For the past four years, these students have been keeping planners, writing down assignments each day and having parents sign their planners each night when they have finished their work.

"Parents like the program," Cecil said. "That way they know what the homework is."

Washington-Monroe also welcomes volunteers who can help students in the school setting. This year, AmeriCorps volunteers and National Honor Society members at Lincoln Community High School are coming in and working with students as mentors and tutors.

Even though more than half its students come from low-income families, Washington-Monroe has a record of academic achievement. Last year 75 percent of its students met or exceeded state standards in reading and mathematics, and the school won a Golden Spike award for showing that students from low-income families can close the "achievement gap." It was one of only 59 out of 920 low-income schools in Illinois to get the award.

[Joan Crabb]

Lincoln school presents workshop
at statewide conference

[NOV. 14, 2002]  NAPERVILLE — Parents and staff members from Washington-Monroe Elementary School were among teams from 15 schools from across the state chosen to present their effective school improvement strategies at the statewide "School-Family Partnerships Make a Difference" conference on Oct. 25 in Naperville.

The Washington-Monroe team included Principal Rebecca Cecil, teachers Leslie Singleton and Debbie Turner, and parents Crystal Alley, Dawn Frye and Candy Boulb.

The Washington-Monroe team jointly presented a workshop entitled "Focus on Literacy — Engaging all Family Members in Learning" with the Creal Springs Elementary School from Marion. The two schools discussed ways that families can foster their children’s reading at home to reap benefits in school. The presenters showed their workshop participants how to organize Family Reading Nights, Family Resource Libraries and out-of-school opportunities for families to complement school instruction. Both schools have successfully implemented the Solid Foundation parent engagement program for their kindergarten through fifth-grade families.

Washington-Monroe is also the winner of the Golden Spike Award for raising test scores three years in a row.


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The "School-Family Partnerships Make a Difference" conference was sponsored by the Academic Development Institute, the Illinois Family Partnership Network, and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The one-day symposium was designed to allow school and parent leaders to learn from other Illinois schools that have successfully integrated school-family partnerships and social and emotional learning to enhance the school and life success of their students.

[News release]

[Photo provided by Marty Ahrends]
[Left to right: parents Crystal Alley, Dawn Frye and Candy Boulb, Principal Rebecca Cecil, and Washington-Monroe teachers Leslie Singleton and Debbie Turner at the opening session of the Family School Partnerships Conference]

Sex, drugs and lies

[NOV. 8, 2002]  Two minutes after Dr. Stephen R. Sroka began speaking, Cindy Crawford could have walked across the stage and the students wouldn’t have noticed. OK, maybe they would have noticed. In fact, they did, as a stunning picture of Crawford in a sleek dress and Sroka with his arm around her waist illuminated the picture screen.

This guy really knows how to grab attention and how long he can hold it for, especially amongst young people. They hung on his every word, as unbeknownst to them, the high-energy guest speaker swept their thoughts and cleaned their thinking.

Sroka led the 900-plus LCHS voices chanting Thursday’s message:

My body

My choice

I am the power of one

He craftily picked them up using tried-and-true Madison Avenue strategies and pop culture messages and then deftly led them through the true realities using facts, examples and statistics on sex, drugs, alcohol and violence. Using an overhead projector and transparencies, he rapidly fired visual images, slowing down to gather the students’ thoughts and then speeding up as appropriate to lead them through less-than-pleasant real-life issues, ultimately leading them to healthier thinking.


[Photos by Jan Youngquist]

With the grace of a master, he grasps their minds and enters their hearts by telling stories and using humor. Recalling the story of a haughty young man wearing expensive, name-brand tennis shoes, he points out that "the power of you" is not the [brand] name on your butt or chest. Buy some reasonably priced shoes and put the price difference in a college fund where it will make a difference in who you are and will become. "Learn something, be something," he says.

Using the lyrics of sexually charged popular songs, he starts the lines, and in unison students finish them. In the last song he says, "It’s getting hot in here." "So take off all your clothes?" they respond.

Now they’re in the moment, and he runs sexually transmitted disease facts past them. It isn’t pretty. Eighty percent of the population has herpes. One-fifth of all teens are stuck with the lifelong disease. Forty-six percent of the girls get genital warts. He gives statistics that are teen-specific, not general population.

There’s no dodging truth about sex and its consequences. He makes it clear that oral sex is definitely sex and it carries all the disease dangers of intercourse. In fact there is no safe sex. A condom will not protect your real sex organ, the one between your ears: the brain. It won’t protect your reputation, and most importantly it won’t protect your heart.

The effects of drugs, alcohol, violence, sex and addictions are addressed, supported with facts and illustrated with familiar examples. He polls the students, and with not the slightest hesitation, they raise their hands high. Yes, many have seen the family member that used to be funny after a couple beers and a few years later has become belligerent after a couple. He asks, "Who knows someone in this room that has had sex?" The auditorium is instantly filled with raised arms.



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He interweaves stories and pictures of people, some first-time users of any substance — inhalants, ecstasy, meth, crank, heroine, steroids and over-the-counter stimulants. As we all know now, some can’t take them. They can cause heart attacks.

Early alcohol use leads to alcoholism, potential rape and violence within relationships.

Last year 1,800 youth committed suicide. One in 10 teens made suicide plans last year. The acronym "SUICIDE" acts as a guideline for friends to be aware of when someone may be in trouble.

Substance abuse

Undergoing a loss


Change in behavior

Ideas of suicide: If someone says they feel suicidal, do not dismiss it. Get them to help immediately.

Depression: They are acting sad.

Education: Be aware of the signs.

The national suicide hot line is 1 (800) SUICIDE.

Important life skills:

Can’t do drugs

If you see someone doing drugs, alcohol or violence, recognize these are all cries for help.

Get involved

Whether it is in sports, clubs, hobbies, art or bands, do things.

Call on a higher power

As in "see you at the pole." Practice a faith.

Practice stress relievers

Such as deep-breathing exercise with a steady pursed lip; release like you’re blowing bubbles.

Lighten up

Have a little fun from time to time.

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" Sroka asks. And the kids all replied, "Sponge Bob Square Pants."

This is from a TV cartoon, for those of you who might be a little behind the times.

Think first

Practice conflict management.

Sroka says that if we’re going to make it as a society, we’re going to have to stop the hate.

Another chant breaks forth in cadence:

Stop the violence

pump up the peace

Knowledge and love

for you and me

Sroka left the students with a final message to have awareness and sensitivity toward one another, especially when parting. You always want to be conscious of your words, as they could be the last that are spoken between you.

He showed them the strength that each and every one has to make healthy choices. Showed them that they hold the power to influence some one else. And drove home the message that you should always tell people you love them before parting.

Following his presentation students flocked around him to speak. They liked what he had to say. A group of boys all said, "Ya, I liked his presentation. He was good." They all thought they didn’t really hear anything new, but a couple liked the new perspective he brought to some of the issues. Another said, "I liked the statistics, especially the percentages." They put new meaning on things for him.

[Jan Youngquist]


Speaker addresses students
and community leaders

[NOV. 8, 2002]  Not your run-of-the-mill speaker, but the times call for not your run-of-the-mill actions. Shaken by the numbers of youth that have been involved in accidents and other destructive behaviors in the last year, our community leaders brought a nationally renown speaker and consultant, Dr. Stephen Sroka from Lakewood, Ohio, to town Thursday. Sroka spoke to students at Lincoln Community High School in the morning and at Lincoln Junior High in the afternoon. He took a couple of hours speaking with community leaders over the noon hour.

The father of three girls and a retired teacher from Cleveland Public Schools, Sroka has been a national and world leader in health education. As a visionary he has paved the way, writing about current health issues with today’s youth, and has spoken all over the nation. He has been called to consult in communities as both a preventative measure and to those in the recovery process.

He was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1996. He continues to teach at the School of Medicine, Center for Adolescent Health at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. He also serves as president of Health Education Consultants.


[Photo by Jan Youngquist]
[The Healthy Communities Partnership; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Task Force; Lincoln Community High School; Lincoln Police Department; and Dick Logan worked together in bringing Sroka to town.]

At the noon-hour community gathering Sroka shared perceptions of the LCHS student body and the responses he got from students following his talk. He said, "You walk into LCHS, and you feel respect in the building. The kids are well-behaved, and the teachers have discipline." He liked how teachers sat with students in the auditorium.

He was mobbed by kids following his talk. They told him they liked what he had to say. Some had tears in their eyes. He handed out about 50 cards with his name and e-mail address on them and expects he will hear some serious messages from some of the students

LCHS vice principal Todd Poelker said students and teachers liked the presentation at the assembly. Students said they liked the facts they got in short amount of time and he was entertaining. The most common response was about facts and stats on sexually transmitted diseases. Some were shocked at what is out there. They said they didn’t realize all of it.


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Sroka doesn’t hold back, much, in his talks. What he does hold back is only because adults usually have concerns about it. The kids want more. He grabs their thoughts, using the newest teaching and learning technique, brain-based thinking. He meets them where they are and then gives them the facts. You have to reach their hearts and then show them they have choices, he says. Kids need options.

He recommends building up clubs. One-third of the kids are going to choose right. One-third will choose wrong. It is the other one-third that sit on the boundary that can be reached if you offer them something to do.

One thing he wants to emphasize it that it is not up to the law enforcement or the schools to handle youth issues by themselves. It takes "total community immersion," all community agencies and families, every one working together on all sides of our youth.

He advises that when dealing with youth, "Treat them with the respect that you want to be treated with." And he encouraged, "Go out and do the best you can, every day you can." They will remember you all the rest of their lives if you make them feel special. "It’s not what you tell someone, it’s how you make them feel that does not change."

There were about 30 in attendance at the noon meeting, including Lincoln mayor Beth Davis, Logan County Board chairman Dick Logan, Lincoln DARE officer Tim Butterfield, LCHS and LJHS administrators, Lincoln Park District, Logan/Mason Mental Health Department, Logan County Health Department, Healthy Communities Partnership and others. The general consensus was that everyone would have liked more time to do more things with Sroka. Particularly having time for interaction and brainstorming. Kristi Lesson, prevention specialist at Logan-Mason Mental Health, said, "We hope to have him return for an open community forum." The public will be invited.

[Jan Youngquist]

Honors & Awards

Junior high speech competition results

[NOV. 21, 2002]  On Saturday, Nov. 16, the speech team from Lincoln Junior High School participated in state competition at Calvary Academy in Springfield. The team earned 21 first-place ratings and five second-place ratings.

First-place ratings for solos:

Kaleb Gordon

Noel Lopez

Cody Follis

Reid McIntosh

Kevin Kirk

First-place rating for improv solo:

Hannah Snyder

First-place duet ratings:

Hannah Snyder and Sonya Twist

Mallory Hinton and Mindy Malerich

Meranda Hale and Nickie Kodatt

Kelsey Dallas and Jessica Owen

Jaci Gandenberger and Rebecca Kasa

Mikel Frost and Max Pozsgai

Brittany Dickson and Meredith Laurence


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First-place improv duet ratings:

Katie Agostino and Lori Knollenberg

Brittany Dickson and Meredith Laurence

Hannah Snyder and Sony Twist

Mallory Hinton and Mindy Malerich

Mikel Frost and Max Pozsgai

Jaci Gandenberger and Rebecca Kasa

Nickie Kodatt and Meranda Hale

Kelsey Dallas and Jessica Owen

Second-place ratings:

Ashley Shook, solo

Tabitha Horney and Carissa Skaggs, duet

Lori Knollenberg and Rebecca Lowe, duet

Brittany Reves and Rebecca Lowe, improv duet

Jessa Raymond and Jessica Tieman, duet

The speech team is coached by Kathy Litherland, Karen Lee and Karolee Johnson.

Washington-Monroe honor roll

First nine weeks

[NOV. 20, 2002] 

High honors

Third grade — Grant Cooper, Haley Fry, Adrienne Alley, Clarissa Bess, Jamie Bone

Fourth grade — Morgan Barrick, Catrice Parke-Stacy, Nikki Taylor, Kaley Brown

Fifth grade — Elizabeth Laurence, Jeff Owen, Tanner Parrott, Caiti Wunderlin

Sixth grade — Cody Follis, Samara Shane, Dena Boyd, Andrew Brinkman, Shelby Mileham, Joseph Papesch


Third grade — Melyssa Cooper, Tate Gordon, Alexa Harbour, Taylor Manus, Ashlen Martin, Josiah Raymond, Tiffani Snider, Austin Vieregge, Kollin Washam, Alex Ferguson. Austin Kirby, Tara Shane

Fourth grade — Tiffany Boch, Candice Cabit, Cheyenne Duncan, Jonathan Jacks, Courtney Sutton, Ty Unger, Brendan Fitzsimmons, Rachel Horney, Mariah Kodatt, Zac Miller, Dylan Wilder

Fifth grade — Katie Gosda, Mason Musick, Chris Bernhardt, Michelle Brawdy, Ali Buck, Nick Everson, Kelsie Plummer, Chris Shawgo, Miranda Vieregge

Sixth grade — Sam Chon, Nichole Etcheson, Nate Kunkel, Allysa Mayer, Brock Satterwhite, Glodonna Hoyt, Kayla Hyde, Victoria Rufus, Jessica Tieman, Erica Wise


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Honorable mention

Third grade — Cady Crowell, Kaycee Huskins, Emily Ireland, Zach Lee, Cody Shull, Darrin Watkins, Christian West, Amber Battin, Megan Bishop, Kerry Hickey, Salena Matson

Fourth grade — Austin Hopp, Joshua Kershaw, Tyler Richardson, Meghan Cooper, Zach Everson, Jori Maxey, Bradly Nelson, Stephen Oney, Andrew Thomas, Ethen Vallejo

Fifth grade — Jordan Baker, Brooklyn Ferguson, Dalton DePoy, Jonathan Ingram, Amy Jordan, Hope Renfro

Sixth grade — Tasha Ackman, Nick Brown, Kayla Giles, Jessa Raymond, Jacob Shawgo, Colt Hickey, Kristina Bard

LCHS speech team at Normal West Invitational

[NOV. 12, 2002]  The speech teams from Lincoln Community High School participated in the Normal West Invitational Speech Tournament on Nov. 9.  The varsity team took second place; the novice team took first place.

"This weekend has been a wonderful morale booster for the entire team," said Carrie Schreiber, co-head coach for the LCHS speech team.  "The team worked very hard to prepare for the Normal West Tournament, and their hard work was recognized.  We look forward to the tournaments in the future so that we can see even more success for the team."

The speech team is also coached by Ed Jodlowski.

LCHS individual results

Varsity placement

Extemporaneous speaking — Tim Fak, first place

Prose reading — Ty Sank, first

Special occasion speaking — Ty Sank, first

Dramatic interpretation — Kathryn Muck, second

Radio speaking — Abrigail Sasse, second

Oratorical declamation — Abrigail Sasse, second

Impromptu speaking — Tim Fak, second

Verse reading — Erica Brickey, second

Verse reading — Tom Swanson, third

Dramatic interpretation — Betsy Buttell, third

Original oratory — Brian Welter, third

Prose reading — Erica Brickey, fourth

Oratorical declamation — Brandon Davis, fourth

Humorous duet acting — Kasey Pepperell and Ty Sank, fifth

Original oratory — Tom Swanson, fifth

Dramatic duet acting — Doug Rohrer and Julie Wood, fifth

Prose reading — Betsy Buttell, seventh


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Novice placement

Prose reading — Brittany Feese, first

Original comedy — Mallory Coons, first

Special occasion speaking — Lindsay Boerma, first

Humorous interpretation — Lindsay Boerma, second

Original oratory — Cynda Kleinman, second

Oratorical declamation — Erica O’Neill, second

Dramatic interpretation — Ruth Ohmart, second

Prose reading — Beth Boch, second

Humorous duet acting — Beth Boch and Corrine O’Donoghue, third

Verse reading — Audrey Beach, third

Verse reading — Ruth Ohmart, fourth

Dramatic duet acting — Erica O’Neill and Mirranda Merriman, fourth

Oratorical declamation — Amy Schumacher, fifth

Dramatic interpretation — Alex King, sixth

Humorous duet acting — Emili Moneyhun and Alex Davis, sixth

Radio speaking — David Mauhar, sixth

Verse reading — Brittany Feese, sixth

Dramatic interpretation — Cynda Kleinman, seventh

[News release]


Lincoln Elementary Schools


(Milk served with all meals)

Monday, Nov. 25 — Cereal, doughnut holes, juice

Tuesday, Nov. 26 — Trix yogurt, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grapes

Wednesday, Nov. 27 — Cereal, cinnamon toast, juice

Thursday, Nov. 14 — "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Friday, Nov. 15 — No school


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(Milk served with all meals)

Monday, Nov. 25 — Cinnamon applesauce, bread and butter, green beans

Tuesday, Nov. 26 — Hamburger on bun, french fries, carrot sticks, peaches

Wednesday, Nov. 27 — Turkey or ham roast, mashed potatoes with gravy, rolls with butter, pears in jello

Thursday, Nov. 28 — "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Friday, Nov. 29 — No school



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