FOURTH ANNUAL GRAND RAFFLE WINNER: LORI VALERIO OF GILLESPIE

And the winner is ... Lori Valerio.  Lori won the $5,000 Grand Raffle prize at the conclusion of the fourth fund raiser for The Partnership for Educational Excellence.  All 500 tickets were sold, thanks to the interest and assistance of the education foundation’s volunteer directors and especially many CUSD7 teachers.

At the conclusion of the Ben-Gil Elementary School’s annual spaghetti dinner, Shelbee Geisler, and 8th grade student at Gillespie Middle School, reached into a bucket and pulled out the winning ticket. 

Pictures are CUSD7 student volunteers who waited tables at the spaghetti dinner and three of The Partnership’s volunteer directors.

Front row from left to right: Emily Schoen, 8th grade; Jenna Clark, 8th grade; Shelbee Geisler, 8th grade; Partnership treasurer Rose Tebbe (holding the bucket); Kamryn Link, 8th grade; Phoeobe Savant, 8th grade; and Lexi Emelander, 7th grade.  In the back row: Mark Cunningham, 12th grade; Lindsey Miller, 12th grade; Carole Scheller, Partnership director; Don Throne, Partnership director; Jack Jarman, 12th grade; and Chance Reineisch, 12th grade.

Front row from left to right: Emily Schoen, 8th grade; Jenna Clark, 8th grade; Shelbee Geisler, 8th grade; Partnership treasurer Rose Tebbe (holding the bucket); Kamryn Link, 8th grade; Phoeobe Savant, 8th grade; and Lexi Emelander, 7th grade.

In the back row: Mark Cunningham, 12th grade; Lindsey Miller, 12th grade; Carole Scheller, Partnership director; Don Throne, Partnership director; Jack Jarman, 12th grade; and Chance Reineisch, 12th grade.

Shelbee Geisler and Rose Tebbe hold Lori Valerio’s winning ticket. Carole Scheller and Don Throne, both Partnership directors look on.

Shelbee Geisler and Rose Tebbe hold Lori Valerio’s winning ticket. Carole Scheller and Don Throne, both Partnership directors look on.

FOR THE LOVE OF EDUCATION TRIVIA NIGHT & GRAND RAFFLE KICKOFF

The Partnership for Educational Excellence is gearing up for an exciting trivia night on Saturday 2  February 2019.  

The evening will help fund Partnership programs that benefit CUSD7 students through annual school grants and academic tuition scholarships of $1,000 per student!

The “For the Love of Education” Trivia Night will be held at the Gillespie Civic Center, 115 North Macoupin (behind the firehouse).  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the competition begins at 7:00 p.m.  Mulligans will be for sale; lightning rounds will keep the evening lively; and a variety of door prizes will be awarded.

A highlight of the evening will be the kickoff of The Partnership’s Fourth Annual Grand Raffle.  Ticket sales will begin that night, and two early bird prizes of $100 each will be awarded.  The winners’ tickets will then be returned to the “pot” for a second chance at the grand prize.

The grand prize of $5,000 will be awarded on Palm Sunday (14 April 2019) during the annual spaghetti luncheon at Ben-Gil Elementary School.  Only 500 tickets will be sold; ticket price is $20.  Previous winners include Elaine and Kevin Gray, Julie and Tim Wargo, and Sally and Peter Seraphin, all families of alumni and/or local residents.  The Gray’s and Wargo’s children have also been awarded Partnership scholarships.

Trivia contestants are invited to bring their own beverages and snacks.  Alcoholic beverages are permitted with a photo I.D.  

The fee is only $100 per table, up to 10 people per team. 

To register: e-mail us at info@thepartnership7.org; or visit www.thepartnership7.org to register online or to print out a mail-in form; or write to The Partnership, P.O. Box 125, Gillespie IL 62033.


Former Partnership Grant Recipient Bio 48

Now that the 2018-2019 school year has begun, The Partnership for Educational Excellence is wrapping up its mini-biographies of some (12 percent) of its past scholars who have volunteered their information and reflections on the role of post-secondary education in their lives.

The final three bios are a celebration of its three very first scholars. Matt Herman, John Heyen, and Tracy Mathis (in alphabetical order) graduated in 1993. They each received $250 – all that The Partnership could afford – as they set off for college.

Today The Partnership offers $1,000 scholarships, and in 2018 awarded them to 21 Gillespie High School graduates, nearly 30 percent of the graduating class. This education 501(c)3 foundation in Macoupin County CUSD7 has invested nearly $800,000 in district children to date.

Traci Mathis Kennebeck

Traci Mathis Kennebeck

Traci Mathis Kennebeck graduated from Gillespie High School in 1993, winning a $250 Partnership for Educational Excellence scholarship.

Traci earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from St. Louis University in 1997. The next two years she worked to obtain a Master’s degree in social work from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

“I worked in the social work field for years with positions in women’s health research, foster care and adoption, and supporting adults with disabilities to live independently in their communities,” she says.

“I then became a certified birth doula and worked as an on-staff doula at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville from 2009 to 2011,” Traci recounts. In addition, in 2010 she started a private doula collective called Purple Lotus Doulas with several business partners. Purple Lotus continues to provide birth and postpartum doula services, including lactation support and placenta encapsulation, in St. Louis and surrounding areas.

Traci has also trained in the field of aromatherapy, gaining several certifications. “I have built a thriving holistic health business (Purple Lotus Oils), focusing mainly on providing education and support in the use of essential oils. I enjoy traveling all over the country to teach, and I love the opportunities I get to not only support others in their quest for better health and comfort, but also to provide mentorship for others in the field who are building their businesses,” she says.

An active volunteer throughout her life, Traci now holds a goal of establishing a charitable arm of my current business. “My heart’s vision would be to found a not-for-profit that would help provide birth support and education to pregnant teenage girls in the foster care system,” she says. Traci lives in St. Louis with her husband Jack and two sons, Trent and Dominic. She enjoys

volunteering at their schools and being involved in their soccer and hockey activities. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, camping, hiking, fishing, and playing hockey with her family. “I also enjoy learning new things and adding items to my skill set” from crafting to home improvement, she says. Currently she is studying the Scottish Gaelic Language independently and with distance learning courses through an organization in Scotland.

“As for the role The Partnership played in my life, I remember the sense of relief that was provided by knowing the money I received would help move me toward my envisioned life goals,” Traci recalls. “My career goal has always only been to help people, which is why I was drawn to the field of social service. I would never have envisioned myself as a future business entrepreneur. In my current career path, however, I feel that I am in a position to h help empower people and serve them more than when I worked in direct contact in the social service field. It has allowed me to develop and grow more on a personal level as well, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities which have come my way.”

Traci is the daughter of Mike and Janice Mathis of Gillespie.

Former Partnership Grant Recipient Bio 37

Maura Kluthe graduated from Gillespie High School in 2011, earning a $500 Henry Marcacci Memorial Scholarship from The Partnership for Educational Excellence.

Maura graduated from Gillespie High School (GHS) in 2011. She then attended Blackburn College in Carlinville where she majored in biology and minored in environmental science. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2015.

“Blackburn College fit me well. It’s a smaller college, and everybody knew one another and helped each other,” she recalls. “You had a close relationship working with your professors. They helped us decide on post-college options and prepared us for those choices.”

She says she plans to continue her education with graduate school, but has no immediate plans.

After Blackburn, Maura took a job at Washington University in St. Louis where she works in the fields of neurology and immunology/pathology as they relate to Alzheimer’s Disease. She is dedicated to helping find and support cures for diseases.

In her leisure time Maura enjoys cooking, reading, bicycling, camping, hiking – “anything outdoors” that relates to nature, the environment, and animals.

Regarding her scholarship, Maura says, “I worked in the ‘Work Program’ at Blackburn, which taught me the responsibilities of holding a job. I learned many different jobs, and earned part of my tuition. That made me feel like I participated in paying for college.” But The Partnership scholarship was “very generous,” she says. “It helped me obtain my degree. I am so thankful for it.”

Maura is the daughter of Steve and Judy Kluthe of Gillespie.