Friday, January 25, 2013

scouting for chili

Tonight the cub scouts and girl scouts of Jackson Park Elementary got together for a good cause.... CHILI!
The chili cook off is an annual event at Jackson Park raising money for the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts at the school. Adults can eat all the chili their hearts desire for $6.00, children 6-12 years old get in for $3.00 and little ones 5 and younger eat for free. With the purchase of a chili dinner you also received a dessert ticket thanks to the girl scouts and n official ballot allowing you to vote for your favorite chili.
For the past week Cub Scout Pack 113 was hosting it's very own canned food drive to support the St. Louis Area Food Bank and tonight's chili cook off. If you showed up at the chili cook off with a canned good you also received an extra voting ballot!
After the chili had been eaten and voted on the crowd moved into the gymnasium where there was line dancing and a pepper eating contest. For a measly $5.00 you could enter to eat as many Serrano peppers as you could stomach in two and a half minutes.
 The contestants gathered on the stage while the audience looked on, cheering and clapping and shouting in excitement. As the rules were laid out for them they began to contemplate what they were about to get themselves into. Then the music began and the eating commenced. In the end the winner downed peppers in the two and a half minutes.
At the end of the night the chili had all been eaten, canned goods had been collected, parents had been introduced to each other and the tummies of everyone involved were happy and full. The music was playing, the crowd was dancing and the entire event had once again been a success.
Thank you to all who participated by either making and entering their chili, baking a dessert, working the ticket table, buying a 50/50 raffle ticket, donating a canned good or eating a hot pepper while your child looked on in amazement from the crowd.
It's always great when a well planned evening evening is a success!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trip of a Lifetime

This weekend is an important one for our nation. It is the 57th Presidential Inauguration and President Barack Obama, the 44th president of this great nation, is being sworn in for his second term as President of the United States of America. I'm sure that we will all be glued to our televisions, iPads, laptops and cellphones watching, listening and reading about this very important event. While you're doing all of that I would love for you to be on the look out for a few of our own University City kids. An amazing group of them have the distinct honor of being there in person.

Bright and early on the morning of Friday January 18, 2013 twenty six University City High School juniors and seniors boarded a plane bound for Washington D.C. with the help of Sen. Claire McCaskill and donations from state Rep. Rory Ellinger, Pi Pizzeria, Dynamic Vending and alumnus Herf Jones to name a few. The trip is estimated to cost approximately $30,000, but not to worry, Principal Michael Maclin assures us that, "not one dime is being spent by the school district."

In the beginning there were 188 students who met the criteria for this trip of a lifetime. While grades played a key role in the selection process the students also had to have a 93% attendance rate, no out-of-school suspensions and then write a 750 - 1500 word essay focusing on the most memorable moment from the 2012 presidential election and an issue that greatly impacted their lives.

The hard work and dedication of all these students was what made the difference. Their ability to put their education at the forefront of their lives opened up such an amazing opportunity for them and granted them the chance to take this once in a lifetime trip. The hard working twenty six students were met by CNN correspondent Don Lemon. He spent time with them over the weekend, interviewed a number of them and posted this amazing photo on his Instagram account...

The inauguration ceremony takes place Monday January 21, 2013, but their time in Washington D.C has already been filled with moments that will stay with them forever. They were highlighted in their very own CNN segment and spent the afternoon with Don Lemon. They were also given the opportunity to spend the weekend touring the Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the White House as well as visit Howard University and Georgetown University.

During the inauguration on Monday the group will be front and center of the ceremonial events sitting as the guests of Sen. Claire McCaskill. I can't even begin to imagine how truly excited, nervous and grateful every single student must be feeling this weekend.

I know that I join the rest of the University City residents in congratulating these students and look forward to watching the Inauguration Ceremony on television with the hopes of catching another glimpse of one of our own.