Bement graduation plan finalized, Scott retained as board president

Bement High School graduation will be held in-person this year following a decision by the administration and presented to the school board at their regular meeting on Wednesday, April 14.

High school graduation will take place at 7:00 pm on Friday, May 28. Each student will be given 15-20 tickets and the ceremony will last approximately 30-35 minutes.

Immediately following the graduation ceremony, the popular post-commencement parade of graduates will take place through town.

All scholarships will be awarded at high school Honors Night on Monday, May 24. Exact time will be announced at a later date. This will also be an in-person event.

Eighth grade honors night will take place at 7:00 pm on Thursday, May 27 in the gym. The students will receive their graduation certificates, department award, and extra-curricular activities will be recognized. Dress code this year will be casual in matching t-shirts.

Election of school board officers was held, and Todd Scott was re-elected as president. Also elected were Denise Strack, vice-president, and Janice Fogerson as secretary. These are 2-year positions.

Principal Doug Kepley reported on Homecoming that was held on Friday, April 19. Jessee Quick and Hailey Gadbury were crowned king and queen. He thanked the staff and students for their flexibility and student council sponsors Jill Clodfelter and Stephanie Eccles for all their hard work.

Kepley gave an update on BHS Hall of Fame inductees for 2020 and 2021. Peggy Wells and James Fendley, recipients for 2020, will be inducted with the two chosen for 2021.

Bill Prather, representative for Berners-Schober, the new architect firm for BHS, was present to discuss the bid process for the new boiler system and timeline for its completion. Approximate estimated cost will be between $250,000-$300,000 for the new system. Timeframe for completion will be 12 weeks. Bids will be presented at the board meeting on May 12.

Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Steve Kline presented to the board the pricing for new uniforms to include middle school volleyball, girls and boys basketball, baseball, softball, middle school/high school cross-country and track. Total cost of the new uniforms, split 50/50 with Cerro Gordo, will be $16,862.40. Also included in his report was the cost for an indoor pitching mound for $1,400.00, also split with 50/50.

Superintendent/Elementary Principal report:

Donna Techau, Librarian of the Bement Public Library, was commended by Sheila Greenwood for her willingness to work with the staff and obtaining books and material for the students. She is also working on a summer program where the kids can come and spend some time at the library while they are not in school.

Third grade teacher Ashleigh Sterkel has proposed a plan with the other elementary teachers to do a program called “ABC Countdown to Summer”. This program started on Monday, April 19 with a theme along with the letter of the alphabet.

Christy Sweet, the new PK-5 Principal for next year visited Bement on the Friday of Homecoming and brought each child a complete set of Dogman books. She also delivered several sets to the classrooms, the school’s library, and the Bement Public Library. There was a semi wreck near West Washington County Community Unit School District in Okawville where she currently teaches, and the tow-truck driver called telling her they were going to pile them up and burn them. She and some of her colleagues drove to the site and loaded up hundreds of sets of books for their students and extras for the Bement students.

Dave Remmert from the Dewitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department emailed the school asking for the number of students that were 16-years of age and older. Close to 60 BHS students were given the opportunity to receive the Pfizer vaccine, the only one eligible for children under 18-years of age. Sixteen students returned their consent form to receive the free vaccine and will be administered at the school. Bement had the highest percentage of schools in the area to take advantage of the opportunity.

Greenwood may decide to put the high school window replacement project on hold until a new superintendent is named. She will however be looking into cameras as well as motions lights due to vandalism two months ago at the baseball diamond and just recently at the football field.

Approximately 100 new Chromebooks have been purchased this school year. Sheila Greenwood stated in the meeting, “It is hard to believe, but it is time for the next phase of our 1:1 technology plan. Our current Chromebooks are being phased out and we have certainly got the maximum use out of them over the past five years. They are only supported for five years and that is and that is about the maximum time we would expect to get out of the mobile devices anyway. Students are carrying them from class to class now, which is a change and the students have been very careful with them.”

She added, “Each classroom has its own charging car now, which is a big step up from having three total on campus. It seems just like yesterday that we were taking donations and writing grants to kick-off our program and look where we are now.”

In other action the board:

•Was told middle school students of the quarter were Anna Block, Cassandra Block, Will Fuson, and Gabrielle Block

•Informed high school student of the month was Hailey Gadbury

•Told PreK and Kindergarten screenings will be May 7

•Heard the juniors took the SAT on April 13

•Informed middle school/high school spring concert will be held on Sunday, May 16 at 2:00 pm in-person

•Approved renewal of the school district’s membership in both the Illinois Elementary Association and the Illinois High School Association

•Accepted the resignation of Herb Wittig as full-time custodian

•Hired Sharon Gregory as full-time custodian

•Approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the addition of stipends for middle school softball head coach 8%, middle school assistant softball coach 4%, middle school head baseball coach 8%, and middle school assistant baseball coach 4%

•Approved the 2021-2022 board meeting dates

•Approved the intergovernmental agreement with Deland-Weldon to share Speech Language Pathologists services for the 2021-2022 school year

•Approved Angie Corum’s dock day absence on May 25 request

•Approved boiler bid documents from Berner-Schober architect firm

•Approved the proposed 2021-2011 school calendar

Next meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 12.

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