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MPACT’d presents: Road to Reality

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The members of MPACT’D (Miners Preparing And Caring for Teenage Driving) at Gillespie High School would like to invite everyone in the community to our “Road to Reality” event on February 17th from 11a.m.-2 p.m. at the high school.

This event will take you through several traumatizing scenes that demonstrate the consequences we all face when driving distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Reckless decisions, such as these, show the potential dangers we inflict on our own life and the lives of others when driving dangerously.

The scenes, put on by our members and other high school students, start at the main distraction that causes the accident and end with the reality that is death.

All visitors should park in the student parking lot and enter through the front doors to be further directed by a tour guide. We hope to see you there!

Sincerely,
The MPACT’D organization

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GHS News

Miners baseball has six on all-conference teams

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Tristen Wargo

The Gillespie High School baseball team had six players receive South Central Conference accolades, conference officials announced on Monday. The Miners had three named to the first team, two to the second team, and two to the third team.

Named to the first team included seniors Bryce Buhs as pitcher, Tristen Wargo as infielder, and Jesse Berry as outfielder. Wargo was also named to the conference’s second team as pitcher alongside sophomore Collin Griffith. Senior Jaydon Baker and junior Jack Kaylor were named to the third team as designated hitter/utility and outfielder, respectively.

Rounding out the conference’s first team included Nathan Matoush of Hillsboro in two places as pitcher and infielder; Marcus Payne, Rocky Darr and Hunter Newell of Southwestern; Carson Satthoff, Mathew Bywater, and Jake Gasperson of Litchfield; Aiden Hatalla of North Mac; Benjamin Hutchinson of Greenville; and Kale Konrad of Vandalia.

Joining Wargo and Griffith on the conference’s second team is Adam Hale, Colin LeMarr and Ryan Lowis of Southwestern; Carter Legendre and Dillon Pritchett of Staunton; Ethan Saathoff of Litchfield; Rowdy Sussenbach and Cohen Alstat of Greenville; Quinn Morrow of North Mac; and Andrew Kelly of Vandalia.

Third team honorees include Drake Curry, Cohen Alstat, Dominic Sanchez, and Hudson Alstat of Greenville; Carson Saathoff and Tate Dobrinich of Litchfield; Cade McCready and Collin Etter of North Mac; Ryan Karbach, Parker Moore, and Madyx Angel of Pana; Marcus Payne of Southwestern; Ayden Jones of Vandalia; and Noah Convery of Carlinville.

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CUSD 7 News

School board names new head football coach

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Members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education on Monday night voted unanimously to appoint Cory Bonstead as the Gillespie High School head football coach for the 2024-25 school year, replacing Dalton Barnes, whose resignation was accepted last month. In other action, the board voted to dismiss Assistant Varsity Football Coach Donnie Allen, and to not renew Allen’s appointment as the high school track and field coach.

The actions bring to an end several weeks of controversy related to the former head coach and assistant coach. Barnes resigned last month as both a high school physical education and social studies teacher as well as the head football coach after parents alleged he and Allen engaged in verbal and physical abuse of student-athletes. An online petition garnering more than 630 electronic signatures accused Barnes and Allen of “child abuse,” citing alleged “verbal abuse, physical abuse, influencing and coercing student-athletes to act against other student-athletes that have spoken out against the abuse, and attempting to limit the First Amendment rights of student-athletes with threats and manipulation.”

While Barnes submitted his resignation, Allen did not step down, precipitating Monday night’s actions to sever him from the district.

Bonstead was hired in July 2022 as a high school resource teacher. He has served as an assistant football coach for the past two years. Before coming to the school district, he was an assistant football coach for Galesburg’s Knox College, where he earned his degree. As a formality, the board also officially accepted Bonstead’s formal resignation as assistant freshman football coach and posted a vacancy for that position.

The actions to hire a new head coach and dismiss the assistant coach took place following a one-hour executive session to discuss personnel issues and other concerns. Upon returning to open session, the board voted unanimously to rehire a roster of certified staff members discussed in executive session.

The board accepted “with regret” the resignation for purposes of retirement of long-serving district custodian Jerry Balzraine, effective May 31, 2025.

Custodian Neil Balzraine, representing non-certificated employees, read a statement thanking Supt. Shane Owsley, Board President Mark Hayes and other board members for coming to an agreement with the union for a new contract covering non-certificated employees.

“Through night and weekends, we worked hard and got a lot done,” Balzraine said. “These meetings were most professional, cordial and productive.”

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Later in the meeting, the board voted unanimously to accept the new contract, which reportedly was ratified by union members Monday morning.

In other personnel action, the board reappointed winter coaches, including Casey Sholtis as GHS head boy’s basketball coach, Jake Kellebrew as assistant high school boy’s basketball coach, Anthony Kravanya as an unpaid volunteer assistant boy’s basketball coach, Jarrod Herron as scholar bowl coach for high school as well as seventh and eighth grade, Andrea Williamson as high school dance coach, Elizabeth Thackery as seventh-grade volleyball coach, and Celia Jubelt as eighth-grade volleyball coach.

Board members unanimously voted to accept the resignation of middle school paraprofessional James Bryant and to post a vacancy for the position. The board also approved a maternity leave request for BenGil Elementary School paraprofessional Kristin Schoen.

The board voted unanimously in separate actions to accept the resignation of Celia Jubelt as head high school women’s volleyball coach and post a vacancy for the position, and to appoint Matt Brawner as a GHS assistant women’s basketball coach.

Also in separate actions, the board voted to post job openings for a district head cook and a district kitchen employee. Board member Amanda Ross who moved to approve both actions pointed out the openings represent existing positions. “I want to be clear that we are not creating new positions,” she said.

SAFETY PROJECTS

On a motion by Peyton Bernot, seconded by Ross, the board green-lit three safety projects to be funded with proceeds of a COPS Federal Safety Grant.

PASS Security of Fairview Heights was the sole bidder for adding door access security for entry to the middle school/high school complex at a cost of $81,210.

Barcom Security with base offices in Springfield, Swansea and St. Louis, submitted the sole bid of $113,000 for an updated fire alarm system for the middle school/high school complex.

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Commercial Telephone Systems, Collinsville, also the sole bidder, will install an updated intercom system at the middle school at a cost of $62,769.

“The companies we hoped would submit bids did submit bids and the prices were what we expected,” Supt. Owsley told the board. The contracts call for the work to be completed by two days before the start of the 2024-25 school year.

FISCAL 2024 BUDGET

The board voted to place on file for public review an amended budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Owsley advised that some numbers in the tentative amended budget are likely to change for the board’s final approval next month. State law requires a 30-day review period, however, even though some data to be reflected in the budget is still being collected.

“I can tell this will change,” Owsley said. “I will have final numbers and a presentation for the board in June.”

Last month, the board directed Owsley to begin work on a tentative fiscal 2025 budget authorized operational expenditures for the period between July 1 and whenever the new budget is approved. Typically, the district finalizes a budget for the current fiscal year in September.

SURPLUS PROPERTY

Upon Owsley’s recommendation, the board declared two buses and one truck as surplus property. The three vehicles will be advertised for sale to the highest qualified bidders.

OTHER ACTION

In other words action, the board:

  • Approved a high school course description book for the 2024-25 school year. GHS Principal Jill Rosentreter said there are no major changes from the course description document the district used last year.
  • Approved a revised school calendar. Supt. Owsley said the only change is setting 12:45 p.m. as the dismissal time on days that have early dismissal. Previously, early dismissal times were staggered at 12:30 and 1 p.m. The change is precipitated by the district’s decision to start the school day as the same time for all three attendance centers.
  • Approved a district-wide job description list.
  • Approved a corrected school fees schedule. Owsley said the action was needed because the schedule approved last month was inaccurate due to a computer error resulting from merging fee schedules from the district’s three attendance centers.

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GHS News

High school announces 4th quarter honor roll

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Gillespie High School announced on Monday the students who achieved honor roll during the fourth quarter of the 2022-2023 school year.

Class of 2023

High honor roll

Bailey Cartwright, Jenna Clark, Adylin Drewel, Brayden Fee, Macy Fosnock, Hailey Hughes, Ethan LaRoche, Emily Schoen, Alyssa Schuette, Macy Shuey-Warford, Darci Wolber

Honor roll

Allison Andrews, Courtney Bertolis, Ian Brown, Harry Bultema, Keegen Bussmann, Reese Bussmann, Regan Bussmann, Joie Cox, Chloe Fellin, Shelbee Geisler, Zachary Haas, Chloe Hedden, Hayden Helmkamp, Chase Helvey, John Herron, Payton Horn, Jaiden Johnson, Eve Kaduk, Makayla Kirby, Erik Kravanya, Kamryn Link, Rueben McMillin, Ronald Monke, Peyton Montes, Alyssa Muir, Cadyn Oberkfell, Collyn Oberkfell, Harrison OBrien, Mason Osborne, Franklin Parnell, Megan Rife, Vincent Rolando, Ava Ronald, Cadence Schmitt, Ragen Sloan, Graycee Springmeyer, Viola Stangle, Xavier Steward, Benjamin Thompson, Lukas Trumpy, Hernando Walker

Class of 2024

High honor roll

Michael Bertetto, Alexia Emelander, Graciella Koch, Elizabeth Lambert, Kolton Lowry, Leo Page, Ryleigh Phillips

Honor roll

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Jaydon Baker, Isabelle Balzraine, Jesse Berry, Lauren Bertagnolli, Logan Bethard, Skye Boedecker, Lily Brown, Bryce Buhs, Mattelynn Clark, Cole Conner, Rebecca Crays, Trinity Curry, Ean Davis, Makayla Dunaway, Paris Friesland, Erika Gill, Emma Gipson, Rebecca Hill, Bryce Hohnsbehn, Jessika Hupp, Geonnah Johnson, Drew Koniak, Ryder Koniak, Ian Lewis, Kaeleb Lowry, Alicia Mason, Ethan McFadden, Dalton Overmeyer, Kacie Reisinger, Wrigley Releford, Isabella Segarra, Aliyah Smith, Travis Steward, Tristen Wargo, Daniel Wolber

Class of 2025

High honor roll

Quinn Beechler, Rhiannon Black, Bailee Borror, Kennedy Helmkamp, Landon Higginbotham, En Li, Haylie Otten, Braden Rauzi, Kaitlyn Spencer, Ellie Wilson, Macie Wright

Honor roll

Maria Alger, Madison Barrios, Owen Baugh, Zoey Bergen, Mia Brawner, Aidan Brennan, Ian Brennan, Alexander Clark, Gabriel Clotfelter, Reanna Compton, Landen Emelander, Corinne Fellin, John Halteman, Eva Hedden, Jack Kaylor, Haeden Kellebrew, Austin Klose, Rya Lewey, Emma Luckshis, Traegen Madeline, Mason Miller, Keegan Moles, Mckenna Montoro, Joseph Morgan, Owen Pau, Elissa Plasters-Cline, Christian Rife, Abby Robbins, Alex Savant, Rylan Schuette, Owen Schweppe, Andrew Sellers, Abigail Sharp, Caleb Siar, Gryffin Smith, Colin Snyder, Delaney Taylor, Vincent Tesio, Jack Voyles, Avery Young

Class of 2026

High honor roll

Emily Bergen, James Girdner, Madyson Grogg, Roadie Jackson, Lucas Rosenthal, Luke Schuckenbrock, Brody Shaw, Carter Sies, Hailey Young

Honor roll

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Anthony Amoroso, Jacob Baglin, Ceanna Bearden, Payton Bertolis, Edin Compton, Carson Cooper, Addison Cox, Jackson Crook, Brookelyn Crotchett, Brayden Enslow, Hank Fletcher, Marshall Garwood, Katherine Gerdes, Carson Hailstone, Sofia Hedrick, Hunter Hegel, Bryce Helvey, Jersey Helvey, Kayden Koelker, Kyle Kottman, Dawson Lancaster, Sophia Lewis, Aiden Manley, Jessalyn McElyea, Douglas Neverdowski, David Norville, Chaz Oberkfell, Tyler Palmer, Ava Parish, Kori Petersen, Zachary Phillips, Makayla Price, Ava Rakers, Paxton Reid, Sean Roach, Alexis Schardan, Ava Segarra, Brock Sherman, Sadie Sholtis, Sierra Steelman, Nevaeh Thomas, Whelen Walker, Claire Wallace, Teagan Welch

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