Sesser-Valier registers 28 seniors during College Signing Day

Pictured:  FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT, Adrianna Fedderke, Katie King, Jaycee Garner, Emily Kovarik, Allyson Bryant, Elizabeth Crawford, Daisy Ort, Katie Robinson, and Haley Miller; MIDDLE ROW, Matthew Le Vault, Dailyn Noble, Desiree Pavletich, Paolina Marlo, Jenna Jones, Ashley Baxter, Alexis Swift, Alayna Hicks, Ellie Hattendorf, Brooke DeAngelo, Madison Baine, Katelynn Baine, and Gabrielle Garrison; BACK ROW, Billy Heard, Preston Launius, Josh Womak, Bryce Jones, Colton Brown, and Lukas Gunter. (ReAnne Palmer – RLC Public Information

By ReAnne Palmer 

Twenty-eight seniors at Sesser-Valier High School officially became Rend Lake College students this week during College Signing Days.  The students took their first steps into life after high school by meeting with an RLC Academic Adviser to enroll in summer and fall courses.

Registration for Summer and Fall 2018 classes at RLC is going on now. Classes start the week of June 4-8 for the summer semester and during the week of August 20-24 for the fall semester. Contact RLC’s Academic Advisement Center at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1266 to schedule an appointment for summer or fall registration.

Valliant comeback by Sesser-Valier falls short in Sectional Final game against Goreville


The Goreville Blackcats became the Southern Illinois Blackcats last night as the cut down the nets in Oxford Gym last night in the win over Sesser-Valier. (Goreville Community Unit 1 photo) 

ELIZABETHTOWN –  The Sesser-Valier Red Devils fall short to the Goreville Blackcats, 48-44 in the sectional final game at Hardin County last night.

Preston Launius led the Devils with 17 points last night, Tyler Winchester added 13, and Lukas Gunter added seven.

Braden Webb led the way for the Blackcats with 13 points, Tanner Dunn added 11, and, Cole Tosh added nine.

Goreville is in uncharted territory for their program.  They advance to the Elite Eight facing Mowequa Central A & M in the Class 1A Super Sectional at the SIU arena. They were 69-56 winners over Nokoms last night, on A & M’s home floor.

Two teams in the Sweet 16 (it will never be Super 16 in my book) shows the strength of the BDC West.  Christopher and Chester playing in regional championship games, speaks volumes how tough this conference is night in and night out.

Link from Jack Bullock of A Baseline View

Link from Les Winkeler of the Southern Illinoisan

Rend Lake College Foundation welcomes Sesser native Rodney Cabaness to Board

By Reece Rutland – Rend Lake College Public Information 

INA, Ill. – The Rend Lake College Foundation’s mission is to represent a partnership between public and private interests for the benefit of Rend Lake College students. Newest among those guiding that mission is Rodney Cabaness co-owner of two local Harley-Davidson dealerships and 2016 RLCF Alumnus of the Year.

Comprised of community members, business leaders and philanthropists, the Board of Directors has helped guide the RLCF in providing unparalleled student success though their scholarship endeavors and provided the college with vital resources for maintaining the national-recognized service its students have come to expect.

“Rodney’s business acumen, coupled with his deep connections to Rend Lake College and his passion for helping others will be a tremendous asset to the Foundation Board of Directors.  We have entered a new time where private support is becoming crucial to the sustainability of community colleges,” said RLCF Chief Executive Officer Kay Zibby-Damron.

“The RLC Foundation is very fortunate to have such a dynamic group of prominent business leaders and professionals on our Board of Directors to help us ensure Rend Lake College and our students have the resources they need today and into the future. I am grateful for Rodney’s commitment to serve on our board and very much look forward to working with him.”

Cabaness, a Sesser native, started Black Diamond in 2007 with his business partner, co-owner and fellow RLC alum Shad Zimbro. Together, the pair built a company devoted to their community, stocking food pantries, fillings children’s backpacks and providing numerous scholarships.

Given the good works that Cabaness was already known for and the ties to his alma mater, he made a natural fit for the RLCF Board of Directors.

Every year 12 area youth are able to attend Rend Lake College because of Black Diamond’s generosity.

Cabaness is excited to bring Black Diamond trademark care for the community to Mt. Vernon with the recent acquisition of Roadhouse Harley Davidson.

“When attending and graduating from Rend Lake College in 1990, I didn’t realize how crucial that time in my life was going to be to my success,” Cabaness expressed.

“Now that I can fully appreciate how much RLC impacted my life, it is truly a great privilege to be able to give back by serving as a member on its foundation board. The Rend Lake College Foundation does so much to help so many people and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

To date, Black Diamond Harley-Davidson has sold almost 12,000 motorcycles and regularly ranks near the top of all 700 Harley-Davidson dealerships in the nation. They have sold a motorcycle in almost all 50 states and have received numerous awards and recognitions for their community-first approach.

“We are just constantly trying to share our appreciation of what the community has done for us. We just received so much support. We have a commodity. We sell a lot of different things. But, I really feel like we offer a lifestyle. So, we try to create those relationships with people. We never had any idea how much support we would receive. We knew the area would be good to us, but we never dreamed it would be the meteoric rise that ended up happening. We were basically flying by the seat of our pants for the first few years just trying to figure it out as we went. We never expected the growth. We just set out to make it always about the people that walked through our door,” Cabaness said in his Alumnus of the Year speech.

For their part, the RLCF is always seeking dedicated individuals willing to invest in the individual growth of the many students who attend the college by investing in campus and community growth and economic development.

Last year alone, the RLCF handed out 255 scholarships worth $200,000 to help students see their dreams turn into reality.

Anyone interested in giving to the RLCF to assist in student success or students seeking scholarship opportunities to Rend Lake College can visit or call (618) 437-5321 Ext. 1214 for more information.

Route 1 closed in spots between Junction and Cave-in-Rock

ELIZABETHTOWN –  I just spoke with the Hardin County Sheriff’s office, and Route 1 is still closed in places between Junction and Cave in Rock.  IDOT is not showing it on their website at this time.

I know some will take that route heading to the sectional tonight.  Use Route 34 as an alternate route.  -sd

Students earn high marks at WYSE Academic Challenge

INA – Over 150 students from 10 area high schools competed in the 2018 Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Academic Challenge Regional in the last two weeks. Eight of the schools met on Rend Lake College’s campus on Wednesday, Feb. 7 to participate; however, due to weather, two other schools held make-up events on later dates.

During the WYSE Academic Challenge, schools with similar enrollment compete against one another in divisions. Christopher High School, Wayne City High School, Zeigler-Royalton High School, Sesser-Valier High School, Waltonville High School, and Webber Township High School make up Division 300. Division 700 consists of Benton Consolidated High School, Pinckneyville Community High School, and Hamilton County Senior High School. The lone Division 1500 school is Mt. Vernon Township High School.

Each student who competes in the WYSE Academic Challenge completes two exams in pre-selected subjects. They can choose from biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering graphics, English, math, or physics. Below are the regional results, followed by team photos. Students who qualify for the WYSE Sectional will compete at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Wednesday, March 14. The Illinois State Finals will be held April 16-19 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.


GIRLS MWC: Wright, Tucker, Wilderman All Tournament Team Selections

From left to right: Cali Wright, West Frankfort; Bella Pasquino, Pinckneyville; Paige Tucker, and Brooke Wilderman, Sesser-Valier-Waltonville; Aston Hawk, Madison Russell (MVP) Herrin

Devils move to 5-0 in the BDC West, defeat Goreville 64-48

SESSER –  The Sesser-Valier Red Devils outscored their opponents 24-11 in the fourth quarter to take a nice 64-48 victory from the Goreville Blackcats.

The Devils put four players on the night in double figures as Lukas Gunter led the way with 18 points, Tyler Winchester 13, Preston Launius and Joshua Gunter had ten points each on the night for Sesser-Valier.

Braden Webb led the way for the Blackcats with 14 and Landon Albright added 10.  Post player Tanner Dunn did not play for Goreville, as he was out with the flu.

Sesser Valier improves to (10-5)(5-0) on the season and will make the short trip to Z-R Friday night, before heading into the BIT.

Goreville (11-4)(2-2) will host the Christopher Bearcats on Friday night before facing the Carbondale Terriers in the first Round of the Superman Classic.

Jared Curry is supposed to return to the Bearcat lineup of Friday night.

Link to Les Winkler’s story from The Southern Illinoisan

Link to Jack Bullock’s story from A Baseline View

Link to current Black Diamond Standings


Sesser-Valier Students attend assembly on internet safety

Illinois State Trooper Joey Watson conducts an assembly for all Sesser-Valier students from grades 3-12 on the dangers of surfing the internet. There will be a similar session in the spring for parents. (Photo provided)

Valier student beneficiary of Rend Lake College Foundation Endowment Scholarships increased.

By ReAnne Palmer

INA, IL– It was a night of celebration and merriment at the 2017 Rend Lake College Foundation Annual Dinner with numerous surprise awards and announcements, starting with the 2017 Alumnus of the Year. The Annual Dinner was held Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Mt. Vernon Hotel & Events Center.

“I am very pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has decided to make a one-time distribution of an additional one percent on all endowed scholarships in the upcoming academic year,” said Kay Zibby-Damron, Rend Lake College Foundation Director.  “All of our endowed scholarships will award six percent of the principle to very deserving RLC students. As the cost of education rises, coupled with the uncertainty of financial assistance from the state, I am grateful that the Foundation is able to help so many students.”

Ramsey shared his journey to Rend Lake College with members of the RLC community at the RLC Foundation Annual Dinner on Thursday, Dec. 7.
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

One of those students, Heath Ramsey of Valier, shared his appreciation for the Foundation and the donors in the room. Ramsey is a nontraditional student who returned to the classroom for a new career with a family and small children in tow. The nursing student said he’s looking forward to helping people in new ways, thanks in part to the help he’s received.

“I’d like to welcome you and thank you for being with us this evening. I’m 38 years old and was in corporate sales for many years before I decided to go back to college,” said Ramsey. “I figured I’d been helping people for the past few years, and now, I’ve decided to help people in a different way. I decided I needed to get back into college, even as a nontraditional student. When I received a letter in the mail from the RLC Foundation saying I’d been awarded the Howard L. Payne Nursing Scholarship, I knew I’d made the right decision.”

The RLC Foundation Annual Dinner was sponsored by Hamilton County Telephone Co-Cop and subsidiaries, and People’s National Bank – both of which have been sponsors of the event for over a decade. The invocation was provided by Eric Black, RLC Board of Trustees Secretary, and live music was provided by Hannah Fullerton on piano.

To learn more about the RLC Foundation, contact Zibby-Damron at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214 or

See You at the Pole: Sesser-Valier Schools

From the Sesser-Valier Fellowship of Christian Athletes Facebook page

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News