Saturday, August 24, 2019

12 area students earn UofI degrees

Twelve St. Joseph-Ogden High School students were name among 6,394 Illinois residents who earned degrees from the University of Illinois this past spring. Three of the 12 former Spartans who received bachelor degrees obtained their diplomas with exceptional academic laurels.
LaRyssa Randall
Former SJO cheerleader LaRyssa Randall smiles during a photo shoot with fellow cheerleaders in 2011. Randall, from St. Joseph, graduated this past spring from the University of Illinois with Highest Honors with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

LaRyssa Randall, from St. Joseph, was bestowed Highest Honors recognition after completing coursework for her Bachelor of Science in Community Health from the College of Applied Health Sciences.

Students at the University of Illinois who are awarded Highest Honors have achieved outstanding performance in their courses as well as participated in supplementary activities of an academic or professional nature. This honor generally requires completion of an undergraduate thesis or a special project of superior quality within most university departments. Highest honors are also awarded to students upon recommendation of his or her department.

Randall, from the Class of 2012, was a Spartan cheerleader at SJO.

Danielle Kaiser and Whitney Setterdahl also earned high academic recognition for their undergraduate studies.

Kaiser, from St. Joseph, earned High Honors recognition after with her degree in Speech and Hearing Science from the College of Applied Health Sciences. High honors students must have a cumulative grade point average at least 3.80 at graduation.

Setterdahl, from Ogden, graduated with Honors with a degree in Finance from the Gies College of Business. To receive a honors designation students must possess a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.50.

Two graduates in our area earned advanced degrees from University of Illinois.

Former Spartan distance runner and Ogden native Beau Barber, who has been active in plant research at the university since 2014, received his Master of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering in Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

Angela Mock earned a Master of Social Work from Illinois' School of Social Work. Mock did her internship at Urbana School District #116 and prior to that spent two years as a teacher at Robeson Elementary and editor at the university.

The remaining area students earning bachelor degrees from the University of Illinois include:

Ryan Allen, St. Joseph, Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology / Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Amie Bott, Ogden, Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology / Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jessica Kassuelke, Ogden, Major: Food Science and Human Nutrition / Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition

Kimberly Newman, St. Joseph, Major: Communication / Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Matthew Rabb, St. Joseph, Major: Agricultural and Consumer Economics / Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Hailee Robbins, St. Joseph, Major: Elementary Education / Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

Hannah Zalaker, St. Joseph, Major: Kinesiology / Applied Health Sciences


It has come to our attention that several area SJO graduates were omitted from this article at the time of publication. Names that did not appear in this story were not included due to those students providing a campus address as their home address to the university. Our logic in compiling this list was apparently flawed in assuming that graduates in a list provided by the university News Bureau with a 61859, 61871 or 61873 zip code attended SJO. We will address that in future graduation stories. In certain instances, graduates may not have been appeared in this story because graduates were added to the official campus list after June 24.

The original headline to this story, 12 SJO alumni earn UofI degrees, was changed to 12 area students earn UofI degrees and certain instances of SJO alumni has been changed to area students or removed from the story.

Are there other omissions? Click here to submit information for corrections.

Friday, August 23, 2019

16 area U of I students earn Dean's List recognition

Matthew Raab sprints the remaining yards to the finish line and a 22nd place finish in the Men's 14 - 18 division at the 2014 SJO 5K. Raab was one of 16 area students named to University of Illinois spring 2019 Dean's List. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Sixteen area St. Joseph-Ogden graduates now attending the University of Illinois earned recognition for their outstanding academic performance during the spring 2019 semester. Three of the academic achievers hail from Ogden and the remaining 13 listed are from St. Joseph.

Students named to the Dean's List are in the top 20% of a student’s college class or curriculum. To be eligible, students must complete at least 14 academic semester hours taken for a letter grade at Illinois. This semester, 7,025 U of I students earned that recognition. Among them, 5,048 of the awardees are from Illinois.

Members of this semesters Dean's List from Ogden include Nicholas Cagle, who is a freshman currently in General Curriculum studies, Carly Frerichs, a senior in Kinesiology and Jessica Kassuelke, who is a senior in Food Science and Human Nutrition in the College of ACES.

Freshman Camryn McKee (Political Science) and Emily Bluhm (Agricultural and Consumer Economics) along with sophomores Allison Place (Crop Sciences), Claire Smith (Agricultural Communications), Evan Hawkins (Advertising) and Mason Housenga (Physics) make up the group of underclass scholars from St. Joseph.

Juniors Casey Modglin (Agricultural and Consumer Economics), Hailey Collum (Architectural Studies), Lauren Gherna (English), Matthew Weyer (Information Systems) and Mira McLain (Integrative Biology) and two seniors, former three-sport athlete Jake Pence (Finance) and Matthew Raab (Agricultural and Consumer Economics), who was a distance runner for the Spartan cross-country and track program, round out the list of area recipients this semester.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

CASA receives state funding

After 26 years of operation, the Illinois Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program will receive $2,885,000.00 in State funding.

CASA is not-for-profit organization which recruits, trains, and monitors volunteers who serve as advocates for abused and neglected children. Their services are also used in Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) cases and sometimes in adoption proceedings. Trained volunteers work to ensure the welfare of the children under their care is closely monitored and make independent recommendations to the court system advocating in their best interest.

In Illinois there are 31 CASA programs with nearly 2,500 volunteers who in 2018 advocated for the best interests of 4,184 child victims of abuse and neglect.

"This funding means that more children across Illinois do not have to go through the court process alone," said Mari Christopherson, Executive Director for CASA. "We applaud the Governor in supporting a program that works."

According to the statement issued this week, the funding will distributed to the current local programs with the goal of expanding their ability to protect the interest of minor children who have experienced abuse or neglect with a Court Appointed Special Advocate. The funds will also be used to expand CASA into other communities to help an estimated 2,000 or more children who do not have access to volunteers and service in their area.

The local branch, Champaign County CASA, is located at 301 S. Vine, Suite 210, in the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana.