Alton school board honors award winning students

ALTON – The Alton school board held its monthly meeting Tuesday where several student of the month recipients were recognized for their work in and outside of the classroom.

Xavier Carter and Kennedy Stephens were named Alton Godfrey Rotary Club Students of the Month for September. Both were acknowledged by principal Mike Bellm and had the opportunity to address the board.

Carter is No. 1 in his class at this time, according to Bellm. He has a GPA of 4.782 and has taken 42 hours of dual credit so far. He has been on the varsity tennis team for four years and currently plays as team captain. He is the president of the Robotics Club, and a member of the Physics Club, Math Team and Drafting Club. He has volunteered to set up for the Class of 2022 graduation and helped prepare chrome books for the incoming students.

Carter plans to major in engineering and work with 3D modeling and computer software.

Stephens is in the top 3% of the Alton High School 2023 graduating class with a 4.558 GPA. She has taken both honors and AP classes and plans to major in Engineering.

Stephens is a member of several honor societies and plays for St. Louis Scott Gallagher soccer club, Alton High School varsity soccer and varsity cross country.

“The biggest thing about her is that she’s a student athlete here at Alton High School,” Bellm said. “Obviously a first student, but she is a great defender on the soccer team if you’ve ever seen her play.”

Stephens is also a member of Pathways to Womanhood, Physics Club, Empowered to be Me, National Honor Society and is secretary of Minority Excellence and Mu Alpha Theta. She also volunteers outside of school.

Stephens plans to attend Howard University in Washington DC where she wants to major in civic engineering to pave the way in STEM for young girls, especially young women of color, she said.

Alton Middle School Principal Cindy Inman introduced the September Optimist Student of the Month Michael Henry Jr.

“First of all, if you haven’t got a chance to meet Michael Henry, or Big Mike as he’s referred to, you need to get a chance to meet him. He is an outstanding student of character, motivation and athletic ability and knowledge. “Inman said.

Inman said Henry is an excellent student and a caring young man who strives to lead by example. Henry is a high honor roll student and also participates in football and basketball. Outside of school he volunteers with his father at the Dunbar Lodge Masonic Organization and helps younger kids in his neighborhood learn to play basketball and also helps them with their schoolwork.

Henry donated his $25 to the Alton Boys and Girls Club.

North Elementary School Optimist Student of the Month is 5th grade Jayden Connors.

“Jayden is a student who has followed our expectations every year that he has been with us,” Principal Heather Johnson said. “He said he works hard to be ‘so happy.’ He smiles all the time and he wants to help others all the time.”

Johnson said Connors attributes his love of helping others to his mom and dad. His favorite subject is reading and he loves to play kickball.

Connors gave his $25 donation to 5A’s Animal Shelter.

“Because, Mom, he really would love a cat, even though she says no. He says at least I can help in any way I can,” Johnson said.

Also recognized at the board meeting were Alton High School FCCLA National Convention Award recipients Michael Collman, Summer Collman and Lucy Thomason. The students represented Illinois among 7,000 students in San Diego, California in July and placed in the top half at nationals.

Michael Collman competed in public speaking and received a silver medal, Thomason competed with a community service project and Summer Collman promoted and publicized FCCLA. Summer Collman is also one of six state officials for Illinois.

The board also acknowledged the lifesaving efforts of Cara McFarlane during the meeting.

McFarlane was unable to attend the meeting. Inman addressed the board on her behalf to explain the event.

“It was probably the second or third week of school in the 8th grade annex building and we were just getting lunches down pat, the kids knew exactly what was going on when one of our students started choking on his lunch,” Inman said. “Cara McFarlane was paying attention, doing exactly what she was supposed to do.”

Inman said McFarlane asked the student if he could breathe and when he said no she started performing the Heimlich maneuver. She was able to dislodge the food and help the student out of the cafeteria without drawing any attention to the situation.

“She did it so quietly and so respectfully that even the students who were sitting at the next table did not even realize that the student was choking,” Inman said.

Also at the meeting the board approved:

• Pay increases including certified substitute rate increase to $125 per day, parking to $25 per hour, score keeper to $25 per hour ticket supervisor to $25 per hour and ticket taker $25 per hour.

• The district’s 2022-2-23 Fiscal Year budget.

• The retroactive transfer of $116,472.91 from Operations and Maintenance Fund to the Debt Service Fund.

• The asbestos abatement bid for the Early Childhood Center to ALLOY for $241,100

• The second reading of policy updates.

• A number of resignations, retirements, employments and substitutes, as well as a notice to remedy to a teacher.

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