From the Mayor; Share those welcoming smiles

Dear Village of St. Joseph Residents,

Over the last three months our community along with the rest of the world has experienced something that none of us could have ever imagined. Each of us will remember this time in different ways.

For some it’s been a time to reflect on where our life priorities should be and may have been able to enjoy the time to slow down their pace of living, but for others it’s been a troubling time either for health, financial, business survival, or concerns of living in a free society. As we navigate our way through the next few days, weeks, and months ahead please be patient with each other.

You will begin to see many things begin to open to the public. To allow some of our businesses to take advantage of the Governor’s announcement to move into Phase 3, the village has worked out a plan to give them some space temporarily in our downtown.

Unfortunately, our downtown has limited parking, but accommodations have been made to try and make the best of the situation. Please take extra precautions as you drive through the downtown on Lincoln Street. This portion of Lincoln Street will remain one way while we allow outdoor seating for those businesses. Our community has done a great job so far to give the village’s businesses their support.

I encourage you to continue to shop local, support the curbside services, take advantage of some outdoor dining and be sure to thank those business owners for doing an extraordinary job serving our community during this time. St. Joseph is fortunate to have every one of them. The Village is continuing to monitor the guidelines set forth by the State of Illinois to open the parks slowly and safely.

Beginning next week, we can allow practices at the ball fields, the tennis courts will be open and within the week we will open the restrooms. The pavilions and picnic tables are available for use, but large gatherings and the playgrounds are still prohibited. The Municipal Building will open to the public during regular business hours but renting the meeting room will still be limited.

We encourage our community to continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the State and Local Public Health Departments. I also wanted to thank our village residents for taking the time to complete your Census response. The Village of St. Joseph has a comfortable lead in our response rate. Currently we hold the lead at 81%, the best in the County. Great job, St. Joe!

Thank you for being such a great group of residents. Continue to share those welcoming smiles, lending a helpful hand, saying a kind word and please work with us as we make those steps to bring our lives back to a healthy and safe normal. God Bless and Enjoy your summer.

Tami Fruhling-Voges, Village President/Mayor

79 freshman earn honor roll status, strong finish by 2020 SJO seniors

Seventy-six St. Joseph-Ogden High School seniors earned honor roll recognition in the final quarter of the year. Of that number, 50 students were awarded earned High Honor Roll status.

Students who earn a grade point average of 3.25 or higher on the school's 4.0 scale are recognized as Honor Roll students. Those whose GPA soared above 3.74 are receive High Honor Roll recognition.

Click on individual names to discover more Sentinel articles about each Honor Roll student.

High Honor Roll Freshmen

Alyssa Acton, McGwire Atwood, Kaytlyn Baker, Olivia Baltzell, Tyler Burch, Maddux Carter, Yamilka Casanova, Ariana Chambers, Cale Coursey, Morgan Cramer, Aiden Cromwell, Zachary Dahman, Emily Elsbernd, Joselyn Frerichs, Alex Funk, Kennedy Greer, Andrew Guelfi, Mikyla Haley, Hallie Harms, Maya Hewkin, Taylor Hug, Peyton Jones, Cameran Kelley, Jacob Kern, Hunter Ketchum, Aaron Lane, Collin Livesay, Haleigh Maddock, Aidan McCorkle, Kyle Meccoli, Teagan Miller, Allegra Pearman, Ty Pence, Jack Robertson, Kirsten Schaefer, Johanna Schmitz, Jack Setterdahl, Isabel Sexton, Paige Siegmund, Trinity Tapia, Taylor Voorhees, Alayna Wagle, Mallory Wagner and Maggie Ward.

Freshmen Honor Roll

Madison Adams, Canyon Alwes, Sylvia Bills, Owen Birt, Ethan Blackburn, Kaylee Brown, Taylor Burch, Payton Carter, Gwen Chatterton, Bryce Collins, Madelynn Cook, Aleah Dial, Abigail Dow, Leah Finley, Spencer Fitch, Grace Flessner, Jessica Gadbury, Joseph Gherna, Kylie Greer, Connor Hale, Hayden Henkelman, Shayne Immke, Emily Jeffries, Eleni Krall, Carter Mabry, Katherine McDermott, Blake Morgan, Courtney Myren, Jacob Newman, Ava Northen, William Page, Emma Rydell, Katharine Short, Olivia Terven, Emma Ward, Rebekah Weinmann and Jackson Wetzel.

High Honor Roll Sophomores

Addison Allen, Tyler Altenbaumer, Kailyn Anderson, Ella Armstrong, Madison Atwood, Abigail Behrens, Ella Besson, Andrew Beyers, Brandie Bowln, Mara Burkhalter, Kennedi Burnett, Angela Chahine, Braden Clampitt, Anastasia Conerty, Deanna Cummins, Benjamin Cunningham, Sidney Davis, Zander Dressen, Ashley Eldridge, Jared Emmert, Hannah Fox, Zella Fuqua, Brennan Haake, Liam Hamer, Alyssa Hamilton, Lauren Harper, Claire Huffman, Payton Jacob, Alison Kearney, Ava Knap, Ashlyn Lannert, Wyatt Loghry, Kelsey Martlage, Sophia McDade, Coby Miller, Conrad Miller, Elijah Mock, Jett Morris, Jessica Palmer, Emma Parkinson, Jackson Place, Hope Rajlich, JoLeena Reynolds, Kendra Riddle, Taryn Sexton, Alyssa Shoviak, Luke Stegall, Rebecca Steinbach, Mackenzie Trame and Taylor Wells.

Sophomore Honor Roll

Nicolas Anzelmo, Alanna Bensyl, Allison Burnett, Matthew Falls, Mackenzie Fulk, Hailey Gaines, Avian Gerdes, Nolan Grindley, Kennedy Hudson, Kailyn Ingram, KayLeigh Kamphaus, Olivia Klotz, Jacey Lewis, Braden McElroy, Ava Meyer, Ava Miller, Keaton Nolan, Jonathan Poulter, Griffin Roesch, Malorie Sarnecki, Grace Schmitz, Anna Snyder, Regan Uden, Ethan Vanliew and Cole Weinmann.

High Honor Roll Juniors

Isabelle Brooks, Crayton Burnett, David Bytnar, Taylor Campbell, Raegan Crippen, Kylie Duckett, Makayla Duckwitz, Jacob Dywer, Hanna Eastin, Nadirah Edwards, Emily Fisher, Dakota Franzen, Emily Froman, Atleigh Hamilton, Emmy Houston, Lukas Hutcherson, Logan Ingram, Cailer Kellenberger, Shelby Kofoot, Spencer Lahners, Ethan Lane, Aiden Livesay, Alyssa Maddock, Tyson Madsen, Sophie Martlage, Flannery McCorkle, Garren Meeker, Abigail Moberg, Samantha Naylor, Alec Painter, Erin Patton, Aidan Roberts, Indira Robinson, Mazie Ronk, Evan Schmitz, Max Shonkwiler, Tessa Smith, Payton Vallee, Nora Walden, Brayden Wendt and Logan Wolfersberger.

Junior Honor Roll

Makenzie Barron, Dylan Batty, Hunter Brooks, Brady Buss, Rylee Clements, Britney Evans, Alexandra Frerichs, Isabella Getty, Izabellah Innes, Madigan Loman, Brandon Mattsey, Jackson Rydell, Mitchell Whitlock, Rachel Wilson and Jonathan Wooten.

High Honor Roll Seniors

Lindsey Aden, Jenna Albrecht, Mallory Ames, Kendall Ayers, Taylor Barnes, Katelyn Berry, Emily Bigger, Kaylee Blackburn, Ross Booker, Ginny Bytnar, Payton Cain, Austin Carnes, Trevon Carr, Payton Clements, Brendan Cooperider, Kristen Costa, Drew Coursey, Kathryn Cramer, Andrea Cunningham, Faith Dahman, Bailey Dowling, Hannah Dukeman, Clayton Frederick, Jaiden Freeman, Bode Gebbink, Payton Grimsley, Lucas Grindley, Erica Guelfi, Emily Hardimon, Cody Johnston, Lacey Kaiser, Danielle Kelso, Nathan Maier, Ava Mills, Carson Mills, Allison Monk, Nolan Peacock, Eric Poe, Hannah Rajlich, Jenna Schaefer, Joshua Sexton, Rylee Stahl, Kenly Taylor, Stephanie Trame, Anna Tranel, Isabelle Vliet, Brayden Weaver, Samuel Wesley, Karsyn Wetzel, Zoey Witruk and Jackson Wooten.

Senior Honor Roll

Joseph Acton, Michara Allen, Kolton Batty, Erin Bridgewater, Blake Dable, Caleb Evans, Asjah Fonner, Tristan Fuqua, Samantha Gonzales, Brayden Grimsey, Bradley Harrison, Ethan Hinrichs, Conner Hodge, Chance Izard, Aubrey Kern, Eliza Lewis, Keegan McCarty, Mason McLain, Alivia Norem, Taddy Pettit, Dyllan Price, Lexi Ribbe, Joshua Vice, Anna Wentzloff and Joel Wilson.

Senior Spotlights on SJO's Paige DeMay, Nick Copeland & Isabelle Vliet

Paige DeMay

Clubs & Activities
Track and Field (3 years)
Soccer (1 year)
Maroon Platoon, Band, FFA

St. Joseph

Older brother

Running, being around pets, and working at Red Lobster

Favorite SJO memories:
She really appreciates the tight knit community and the overall positive classroom setting at SJO. She has enjoyed all of the fun times with her friends.

Favorite classes:
Any class with Mrs. Kelly Steffen, Mr. Don Beckett, and Mr. Marshall Schacht.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. James at St. Joseph Grade School, Mrs. Stone at St. Joseph Middle School, and Mr. Beckett at SJO.

Illinois State University, majoring in Veterinary Medicine

Advice to future SJO students:
Keep parents in the loop all four years of high school, learn time management skills, and to be involved in as many activities as possible.

Latest business news about SJO graduates and area residents

Nick Copeland

Clubs & Activities
Maroon Platoon

St. Joseph

A younger brother and younger sister

Bowling and hanging out with his friends

Favorite SJO memories:
He enjoyed being in the Maroon Platoon, especially during all of the IHSA State games and rivalry games as well as all of the Homecoming dances each year at SJO.

Favorite classes:
Ag Construction with Mr. William Billman, American History with Mr. Marshall Schacht, and Chemistry with Mr. Kevin Simondsen.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Steele and Mrs. Stierwalt at St. Joseph Grade School; Mr. Risley, Mr. Steele, and Mrs. Becky Ford at St. Joseph Middle School; and Mr. Billman, Mr. Richard Vetter, Mr. Simondsen, Mr. Schacht, Mr. Jeff Kieffer, Mr. Kiel Duval, and Ms. Susan Pensinger at SJO.

Parkland College, majoring in Construction Management. After Parkland, his plan includes a transfer to a four-year Architecture program.

Advice to future SJO students:
Do all of your homework and to enjoy high school while you can because it will be over before you know it.

Isabelle Vliet

Clubs & Activities
Student Council, SADA, Maroon Platoon, Maroon Platoon Leader, Spanish-Hacky Sack Club, Food Pantry Helper

St. Joseph

Four sisters: one older sister and three younger sisters.

Hanging out with her sisters, hanging out with her friends, working on arts and crafts, and practicing photography.

Favorite SJO memories:
She enjoyed going to prom as a freshman, and she has really enjoyed being a part of the Maroon Platoon. As a big time Spartan fan, she enjoyed being a part of the IHSA State Volleyball Championship Game during her freshman year, the IHSA State Girls’ Basketball Third Place Game her junior year, and the IHSA Volleyball Super-Sectional Game at Palos Heights when the Spartans won in three sets.

Favorite classes:
All of her Spanish classes with Senor Zak Sutton; U.S. History, Economics, and Civics with Mr. Marshall Schacht; and art with Mr. Jake Beccue.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Camp at St. Joseph Grade School; Mrs. Becky Ford and Mrs. Jeffers at St. Joseph Middle School; and Mr. Schacht, Mr. Beccue, Senor Sutton, and Senora Nelson at SJO.

Parkland College, majoring in Nursing. Inspired by her mother, she plans to attend a four-year university and eventually earn a Master’s Degree.

Advice to future SJO students:
Get involved in the Maroon Platoon and to go to Homecoming, prom, and post prom.

Text & photos provided by St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

A mission to help others, Spartan spotlight with senior Anna Wentzloff

This fall, Anna Wentzloff plans to attend Parkland College and eventually transfer to the University of Illinois where she will major in human and family development. The senior's goal is to become a Certified Child Life Specialist.

Pediatric oncology, the study and treatment for cancers that develop in infants, adolescents, and teens, need these clinically trained specialists to help young patients and their families navigate the often traumatic uncertainty during cancer treatment. It takes a person with strong moral character, compassion and a strong, loving spirit to help families cope with the unsure road ahead of them.

For Wentzloff, a three-sport athlete all four years at St. Joseph-Ogden, joining the growing number medical professionals in this relatively new field became her mission in life after receiving the life-altering news in August of 2018 that she had Hodgkin Lymphoma. Now, after winning her battle, she wants to help others through the stress and uncertainty that she experienced first hand.

"It was a very scary and emotional time," she said. To this day, she appreciates the way the community rallied behind her during her treatment. "The love and support I received from the community on my road to recovery was very humbling."

One her best memories from high school was the volleyball team's fundraising benefit that fall to help her family with with medical expenses. The four-year veteran volleyball player is very thankful for all of the support from students, teachers, teammates, and the community during that tough time.

"From the fundraising for medical expenses, to making sure I was represented with the team by putting my jersey on the bench when I couldn’t be there, to the cards I received daily, it is really what helped me get through it."

Wentzloff, who lives in St. Joseph with her mother and sister, also played basketball, her favorite sport, for four years at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

"If I could be a professional athlete I would play women's basketball. I have always loved the sport," Wentzloff explained. "Basketball is one of the very first sports I ever played. I have always enjoyed both watching and playing. I love being a part of the team and have made some great memories in the sport."

She is the only senior graduating this year at SJO who a member of a Final Four team in two different sports, basketball and volleyball, that made trips to the IHSA state finals at Red Bird Arena. She also threw shot and discus for four years on the Spartan track team.

When she wasn't practicing or competing in one of her three sports, Wentzloff could be found cheering on fellow students as both a member and leader of the Maroon Platoon. She even found time to be a part of Spanish Club, FCA and SADA while at SJO. Among other things, she also likes to watch Netflix and spending time with her family and friends.

If she could have an elegant dinner with three famous people, she said one of them would have to be Anthony Rizzo.

"I am a huge Cub’s fan and Anthony Rizzo is my favorite player. He was also diagnosed with the same cancer, Hodgkin Lymphoma, when he was 18 years old at the beginning of his baseball career," she said. "It is very inspiring to see what he has accomplished after going through his own diagnosis and treatment."

Knowing Rizzo's story and seeing the success he has enjoyed is an inspiration for Wentzloff. She feel like she can also accomplish anything she sets her mind to accomplish.

"I also love how he gives back through his foundation, helping kids and their families. This is something I hope to do in my future."

Her second guest would be Ellen DeGeneres. She started watching Ellen’s show often while she was undergoing her treatments.

"She is really funny and would make me smile and laugh. I love how her mission is to spread kindness. I also love how she has real people on her show and tells their stories," she said. "There are a lot of amazing people out in the world and I’m glad that she uses her show to spotlight them."

Her last guest would be award winning author J.K Rowling.

Rylee Stall (left) and Wentzloff pose with the rest of the volleyball seniors and their parents on senior night back in October of 2019. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

"I really like her stories and I am inspired by her own personal story," she said. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter series. "It is amazing how she really had nothing but worked hard and is now one of the most influential authors of all time whose stories are loved by children and adults."

More than likely she would have her posse with her. The pair, sisters Atleigh and Alyssa Hamilton, never fail to put a smile on her face.

"[They] are both really good friends of mine. They are great people, awesome athletes and so much fun to be around," Wentzloff said. "I will miss them like crazy next year."

If life returns to pre-Covid normalcy, the SJO graduate admits she won't miss remote learning.

"E-learning has been an adjustment and has taken some getting used to," she said. She added that she tends to be a more of a hands-on student. Her math classes with Mrs. Lianne Rash, Mr. Kiel Duval, Mrs. Ashley Krisman, and Mrs. Kelly Steffen were among her favorite in high school. "I would prefer to be in the classroom but it prepares me for the future the experience is definitely beneficial.

"My suggestion to students to make E-learning better is to communicate to your teachers. They are there to help and want you to be successful so don’t be afraid to reach out to them."

"My favorite teachers at SJO all care about their students so much and support them in so many different ways both inside and outside of the classroom," she said. Over the years, Anna’s favorite teachers include Mrs. Kinney, Mr. Risley, and Mrs. Bayles.

She is especially grateful for the support and strong shoulders of one teacher in particular that helped her while she persevered through the rigorous academic challenges in the classroom and cancer treatment.

"One of my favorite teachers, Mrs. [Jennifer] Brooks, who has always helped me with my academics, was also there for me during my cancer treatment and recovery," Wentzloff said. At school, she looked forward to her study hall time with Brooks. She shared one memory:

"About a month after I had been diagnosed, I was really losing my hair. I was very emotional about it and was having a hard time transitioning to what was happening. I also had homecoming and other events coming up. Mrs. Brooks along with one of her good friends was able to get me a wig in a very quick amount of time."

Brooks' kindness and compassion was magical.

"This helped me as I transitioned and gave me the confidence I needed and helped me feel better. She really went above and beyond and I am very grateful."

Wentzloff has yet to travel outside of the US. However, on her list of places to visit are Israel, Australia and France.

"I would like to travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and try some of the amazing food there," she said. "I would also like to go to Australia to see the Great Barrier Reef and to the Holy Land to walk where Jesus walked."

The Class of 2020 grad has a few words of advice for the incoming class of students at SJO. "Get involved," she stressed. "Enjoy every minute, and do not take anything for granted."

Big Picture: Spartan baseball team shuts out GCMS in road win

Today, the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team would have been playing for a regional title. Against who, it didn't matter. They would have won it. Though they never swung at a pitch this season, the Spartans will always be winners in the 2020 season.

On a windy, heavy overcast day on April 23 last spring, SJO tallied five runs in the final frame to blank Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley on the road, 11-0. The Spartans opened up firing on almost all cylinders taking an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. The Falcons could not muster enough bat to position themselves to challenge the Spartans in the remaining six innings.

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Under the spotlight with SJO seniors Tom Nichols, Jaiden Freeman & Payton Clements

Tom Nichols

Clubs & Activities
Cross Country, Chorus, Maroon Platoon

St. Joseph

Two older brothers and a younger sister

Bike riding, bird watching, and playing video games

Favorite SJO memories:
His greatest memories at SJO revolve around cross country. He enjoyed being a part of the team and the overnight trips for some of the invitationals.

Favorite class:

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Pinne at CBCA Middle School, Mr. Steele at St. Joseph Middle School, and Mr. Kiel Duval at SJO.

Career Plans:
Enlisting in the United States Navy

Advice to future SJO students:
Cherish your teenage years and high school memories.

Jaiden Freeman

Clubs & Activities
Drama Club, Art Club

St. Joseph

Two younger brothers and one younger sister

Reading, drawing, listening to music, and playing video games.

Favorite SJO memories:
She enjoyed participating in the drama production as a freshman, and she will remember all of the fun moments in Art Club over the years

Favorite classes:
Art, math, Earth and Life Science, and Biology

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Dunker and Mrs. Becky Ford at St. Joseph Middle School and Mr. Don Beckett and Ms. Susan Pensinger at SJO.

College Plans:
Parkland College and then transfer to a four-year university, majoring in Architecture.

Advice to future SJO students:
Please trust me on this: do not procrastinate.

Payton Clements

Clubs & Activities
Bass Fishing (4 years)
Football (3 years)


Fishing and working on cars

Favorite SJO memories:
His greatest memories center around being a part of the SJO football team and the SJO bass fishing team. He also really enjoyed Homecoming his senior year.

Favorite classes:
While thankful for all the teachers he had, he enjoyed all of his Agriculture Classes.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Howard at PVO and Mr. Robert Glazier, Mrs. Stacey Kietzman, Mr. William Billman, and Mrs. Duitsman at SJO.

Eastern Illinois University, majoring Environmental Science

Military training:
Enlisting in the Army National Guard and begin basic training at Fort Jackson on June 1.

Advice to future SJO students:
Be open about going to social events like Homecoming and et cetera.

Text & photos provided by St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

There is only one person that can really look out for you

By Michael Dilley, Guest Commentator

To my Law Enforcement friends,

I have always been a supporter of Law Enforcement. Having done that job, I am sympathetic and understanding to the positions officers are often put into. There are many good men and women who daily strap on their vests and stand against the wall for us. My perspective is one of experience and knowledge from being in or around the career for over 40 years.

This is meant as an encouragement and at the same time an admonition to our brothers and sisters in blue.

In a time of uncertainty, like what we are going through right now, it can be very difficult to navigate through situations and know what the proper decisions might be. It’s especially true given the pressure put recently on our Law Enforcement community.

I actually believe that the answer is clear and simple. All of us, as we began our career, in some fashion raised our right hand and swore to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Including The Bill of Rights and our citizens’ civil rights. It’s probably one of the most guiding documents that helps give us direction on our actions and behaviors.

Our loyalty is to the citizens we serve and not to untrusted politicians who decree and dictate policies and directives, ones that may themselves violate the Constitution. There are processes in place that govern how laws are made which include checks and balances. The processes protect the Constitution and us as a Law Enforcement Officers. Local Law Enforcement is not the Governor’s personal Police Force. That’s how Socialist Dictators in other Countries operate.

We should be very cautious about our actions and how they effect our citizens. Those very citizens who live in our communities, do business here. Friends that also have children that go to school with our children. Use caution because those actions could very well violate ones Civil Rights and the Constitution. Politicians who expect you to act on these dictatived decrees do not know who you are, do not care about you, and do know have your back. They will not be there for you if you get in a jam. There is a very good acronym in our profession specifically CYA. There is only one person that can really look out for you and that is you.

One should familiarize themselves with exactly what the Constitution says as well as Title 42, Section 1983. It is the statue that many use to bring legal action against Law Enforcement. You should be familiar with case law that identifies those very costly suits, which have been won against Law Enforcement Officers for violating rights. You should know that Officers can be sued personally, putting their homes and future finances at great risk. I personally would not trust that any organization would have my back if I violated ones Constitutional rights.

As good citizens are pushing back and fighting for their Constitutional rights, there is and will continue to be numerous legal actions against politicians and public officials. Imagine what the fallout will be when courts conclude or agree that these rights have been violated.

My hope and desire for the brave men and women is to follow the Constitution, CYA, and not become one of the legal causalities that might very well occur.

Tuesday spotlight on seniors Tristan Fuqua, Austin Carnes & Caleb Evans

Tristan Fuqua

Clubs & Activities
Maroon Platoon

St. Joseph

A younger sister

Playing guitar, archery, and he enjoys mechanics and motorcycles.

Favorite classes:
Ag Construction and Ag Mech Tech

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Mabry at St Joseph Middle School, and Senor Zak Sutton and Mrs. Heather Lindenmeyer at St. Joseph-Ogden High School

Parkland College

Advice to future SJO students:
Have fun and enjoy yourself.

Austin Carnes

Clubs & Activities
Track & Field

Originally from Crestview, Florida, he lives in Ogden

An older sister and two younger brothers

Watching any sports from football and basketball to golf

Favorite SJO memories:
His first track meet this past February at the U of I Armory.

Favorite classes:
Economics and Sociology

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Marshall Schacht, Mr. Ryan Searby, Mr. Jeff Kieffer, and Mrs. Jeanna Kerner.

University of Kansas, majoring Personal Finance and Accounting

Advice to future SJO students:
Take care of your school work starting your freshman year to keep a strong GPA throughout your high school career.

Caleb Evans

Clubs & Activities
Wrestling,Chorus, Maroon Platoon

St. Joseph

Three older brothers, a younger brother and a younger sister

Fishing, archery, and woodworking

Favorite SJO memories:
He enjoyed participating in wrestling and chorus.

Favorite classes:
World Geography with Mr. Jeff Kieffer

Favorite teachers:
Mr. William Billman and Mrs. Mary Benoit

Parkland College, majoring in Construction

Favorite quote:
"Don’t let others decide your path in life; make it your own."

Graduating from college with an undergraduate or advance degree? Let us know. Read more ...

Text & photos provided by St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Big Picture: SJO baseball picks up 10th win in six innings

The St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team scored ten runs in the first two innings of their league contest against Prairie Central last year on April 9. What made this game special was head coach Josh Haley picked up his 300th win of his coaching career with the six-inning, 13-3 victory.

It was also a special day for Nick Boggs tagged a two-run homer, the first in his career, over the fence in the 13-3 shellacking at the SJO Sports Complex. The senior, having a career day, plated seven SJO runs against the Hawks. Shortstop Crayton Burnett contributed another five RBI.

Then junior Joey Action pitched the first four innings and struck out four batters before retiring to book the win. Zach Martini closed the session striking out three Prairie Central hitters after an inning and some change.

Here's moments from the game last spring that should bring back memories for last year's players.

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Senior Spotlight on Jarrett Stevenson

Clubs & Football (4 years)
Baseball (1 year)
Track and Field (1 year)

St. Joseph

Three older sisters

Going to church and practicing computer coding

Favorite SJO memories:
His greatest memories at SJO revolve around the football team. He enjoyed playing in the IHSA Football Playoffs the past two years. Towards the end of Jarrett’s junior year, he became the starting running back for the SJO football team, which was inspiring for Jarrett. The feeling of brotherhood was incredible for Jarrett, and he will always remember these great moments.

Favorite classes:
Spanish III with Mr. Zak Sutton and Trigonometry with Mrs. Lianne Rash

Favorite teachers:
His mom (K-8), Mr. Stephenson, Senor Sutton, and Mrs. Rash.

College of DuPage, majoring in Culinary Arts

Advice to future SJO students:
Do not take anything for granted because high school goes by so quickly.

Text provided by St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Illinois Public Health Department given teeth to fight businesses defying Executive Order

According a story from Public Broadcasting Service affiliate WTTW-Chicago, the state has added a penalty clause to its COVID-19 emergency order aimed at businesses non-essential business that defy the Governor J.B. Pritzker's March Executive Order.

"Members of Pritzker's cabinet described it as a new and gentler "tool" that law enforcement can use to keep businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic – and therefore keep people safe – that’s less severe than other options, like closure orders or stripping establishments of their liquor licenses," WTTW reports. "Pritzker’s top attorney, Ann Spillane, admitted a misdemeanor charge could be seen as “intimidating” especially if it was targeted at bartenders or servers. But because it's instead aimed at businesses, she said there’s no threat of jail time and believes it’s a "less dramatic" step than some other alternatives."

The amendment comes just days after The Zone in St. Joseph was ordered closed by a Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge Tom Difanis.

Unless legislators on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules oversight committee vote to reject the addition, which took effect on Friday because it is classified as an "emergency", the new rules will be in effect for the next 148 days.

Viewpoint: Do your self a solid, Get that green thumb on

By Clark Brooks, Editor & Publisher

I've seen a lot of grumblings over the last five weeks or so of shelling with friends and followers on social media unclear on why nurseries, hardware stores and large chains operations with garden departments like Farm & Fleet, Wal-Mart and Meijer are considered essential in Governor J.B. Pritzker's executive order to shelter-in-place and other stores that offer similar merchandise but without the garden centers were forced to close.

There is a perfectly logical reason and here's why: These stores are deemed essential not because the sell luscious philodendrons or gorgeous varieties of potted of irises and tulips, but because they are the main source pandemic gold - seeds. Specifically, seeds that produce fruits and vegetables.

Seeds are absolutely essential in catastrophic disaster and pandemic management. Also necessary to the growing process fertilizer, herbicides and hardware is available in these retail outlets. When Michigan forced nurseries in its state to close during in their stay-at-home order, that was a pandemic fail.

So why are seeds so important? Duh. So that people can grow and harvest food their own food.

If I owned or lived in a house with a lot of any size, I would grow as much food as I could squeeze in the available area this summer. What I can't eat, can or store by late September, I would happily share with my neighbors or those less fortunate and in need.

You might not consider gardening a good idea when you can order online and do a curbside pickup a few days later, but during a pandemic gardening is a solid investment.

Contrary to popular belief, pandemics don't disappear overnight or in months. The Spanish Flu lasted from January 1918 until December 1920, Cholera attacked the world population in three waves from 1832 to 1866 and a small pox epidemic broke out from 1633 to 1634. Historically, they can linger for years until the herd, those of us with superior immune systems are left still standing.

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SJO grad and spiritual runner Jolee Paden, appointed director of operations post

Jolee Paden, who graduated from St. Joseph-Ogden High School in 2012, recently accepted a new role that will take her to the other side of the planet. Her new title and role as Director of Operations for Southeast Asia FCA will take her to Malaysia in a leadership role that offers an extraordinary opportunity to experience other cultures and promote the Christian organization's mission of leading "every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church."

She wrote on Facebook:

This wasn't in my "plan," but what good thing ever is? It is hard to imagine leaving my DC fam for now, but it is clear to me that God is moving me into this new opportunity. I would love to share more with you if you want to hear it!

Of course, we had to spill the beans on this SJO grad's amazing journey.

In Malaysia, she will be working with the Vice President of the Southeast Asia to pioneer and strategize for sports ministry across the 11 countries of this region for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"Much of my role will include recruiting, hiring, training and mobilizing staff in their countries," she said via an email interview. Her territory covers Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. "I will be doing a lot of traveling across Southeast Asia and frequently coming back to the States. In many ways, I will create a bridge between these two places."

While at SJO, Paden ran both cross country and track for the Spartan program. Her best time in the two-mile distance was 12:02 and she cruised the three-mile course to a career best 18:49.

She said the lessons along with her relationship with her teachers and coaches in high school help paved the way for her to enjoy an exciting career. Many of her teachers were special but one stood out in the conversation.

"The feedback from Ms. (Susan) Pensinger in my English and Journalism classes challenged and encouraged me," Paden said, who later wrote and published her first book while a sophomore at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. "We still keep in touch today with letters here and there."

Then, there was running Coach John McDannald.

"(He) invested in me as first a person before the athlete," she said. "In FCA, we train on 3-Dimensional Coaching. Coach McD was training me to be a 3D Coach before I even knew what that meant.

He used running as a tool for learning about our ourselves and life."

After volunteering at the Champaign-Urbana FCA Power Camp over the summer, she helped launched FCA at SJO her junior year.

Paden is glad she grew up in the tight-knit community of runners and friends in St. Joseph. "I'm grateful to have grown up there and continue to have those roots to always go back to in places and people," she says. "My community in SJO continues to be a vibrant source of support for me -- relationally, prayerfully and financially."

Jolee Paden runs the course at the 2011 Cow Chip Classic. Helping the Spartan girls win this year's team title, the senior distance specialist ran the three-mile course in 20:04 finishing in second place in the Number 2 runner race. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Sometime later this year near the later part of 2020, Paden, who graduated from college back in 2016 with a dual degree in Business Administration and Recreation Leadership and Sport Promotion, will move to her new home in Malaysia. With a population close to 30 million, the country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Fifty percent of the population are Malay, with a large number of Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples, who are the minorities. Islam is the country's established religion, but the constitution there does grant the freedom of religion to non-Muslims.

"I will be working with the Vice President of the Southeast Asia to pioneer and strategize for sports ministry across the 11 countries of this region," Paden said. "Much of my role will include recruiting, hiring, training and mobilizing staff in their countries. I will be doing a lot of traveling across Southeast Asia and frequently coming back to the States. In many ways, I will create a bridge between these two places."

To hit the ground running, Paden said she has regular ZOOM meetings with her new team in Southeast Asia. She is looking forward to meeting everyone in person.

"I am both nervous and excited to be in a completely new environment and culture," she said. "You learn new things about yourself in new places, and I believe this will be no different. Also, I have heard the food is amazing."

She her tenure with FCA at George Washington University in January of 2018. Almost 20 months later she transitioned into the Collegiate Director role where she was responsible for building and maintaining relationships across the eight universities in the Washington, DC, area.

"During my time, we launched a new FCA student ministry at GW. The students now meet weekly in a large group and small group Bible studies based on sports team. I volunteered as an Assistant Coach with GW cross country and track team," she said. "Before the season ended this last spring semester, I took on a Character Coach role for the Howard University softball team."

Jolee Paden runs to a 14th place finish at the 2011 Spartan Classic. Paden crossed the finish line at 11:48.0. Host St Joseph-Ogden finished third in the overall team standings with 164 points. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
With her promotion and shifting focus on her new roll in an office over 9,200 miles from St. Joseph, a new George Washington FCA staff representative has taken over her responsibilities and now oversees the George Washington chapter working with a group of helpful local volunteers.

After high school, Paden's running career blossomed. As a collegiate runner Paden competed in both cross country and track & field. She earned All-ODAC Second Team recognition in three consecutive cross country seasons from 2013 to 2015. She was also named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team in 2014 and was honored as Royals Athlete of the Week that year.

It was during that time she penned her first book, Spiritual Runner: A Runner After God's Own Heart and self-published it in July 2014. She even created a website to promote the book.

"I just finished my sophomore year of college," she stated. She explained how the idea started much earlier while she was in high school. "But, I did most of my writing during my spring 2014 semester abroad in the Middle East.

Rather than going through an extensive publishing process, I decided to self-publish. It was more about the words being written than any publicity or attention it would get."

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