JALC Foundation plans Italian dinner fundraiser

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

The John A. Logan College Foundation will host its 37th Annual Italian Dinner fundraiser from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the college cafeteria.

The dinner includes spaghetti, salad, garlic bread sticks, cookies and a soft drink at a cost of $8 for adults or $3 for children 10 and under. The price for JALC students is $5. Carryouts will be available. Advance tickets are also available at the Foundation office (B33) or by calling the college at 985-2828, X8355.

Monies raised from the dinner benefit the Foundation, which provides scholarships for students.

As an added bonus, the Logan women’s and men’s basketball teams will play host to Lewis & Clark College. As it is “Carterville Night,” the high school band, cheerleaders and poms are scheduled to perform.

“We are looking forward to this year’s dinner,” said JALC Foundation Executive Director Staci Bynum. “While it is a fundraiser for scholarships, it is also a great opportunity for our board of directors to meet with Foundation supporters. We really enjoy talking with people in the community who are as interested in seeing John A. Logan College students succeed.”

Bynum said about 400 meals are served each year at the fundraiser.

“And we hope to see that number grow,” she said. “We hope folks will dine in and then go upstairs to watch the games – make an evening of it.”

JALC President, Dr. Mike Dreith said he is looking forward to the dinner.

“I understand this is a wonderful tradition for the college,” he said. “My wife (Carol) will attest that I am a huge fan of Italian food and so can my waistline. The funds are important, but not as important as the camaraderie within the campus community and the communities we serve.”

Bynum said the fundraiser wouldn’t happen without the support of the college’s extended family, student ambassadors and Foundation board members.

“We really do have a great group of people supporting the Foundation and we are grateful for them all,” she said.

John A. Logan angel tree helps 300 area children

JALC Student Senate member Ty Nance of Carterville and Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events, showcase donated Christmas presents that are to be distributed to 166 children in Southern Illinois thanks to the generosity of Logan students, employees and the general public. (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

Another Angel Tree project coordinated by the Student Senate at John A. Logan College is in the books. And thanks to the generosity of students, college employees and the general public, 300 children in Southern Illinois enjoyed a brighter Christmas.

Adrienne Barkley Giffin, Director of Student Activities and Cultural Events at Logan, said representatives with the Neighbor to Neighbor and Adolescent Health Center agencies in Williamson and Jackson counties collected the donated gifts for 166 children.

Barkley and Student Senate members then spent $4,800 in donated cash to purchase gifts for another 134 children in the region for a total of 300 children served.

“That comes out to about $36 per child,” Barkley Giffin said. “Of course, we’d always like to do more, but every little bit helps.”

Barkley Giffin said the project touches lives in ways more than one can imagine.

“Just last week, we had a Logan student and three of her best friends, who are attending other colleges, decide they would pool their money, and instead of spending it on each other for gifts, would adopt a little girl from the Angel Tree and got everything on her list. They then bought the gifts together and wrapped them together. That was really sweet.”

Barkley Giffin said students have bills to pay, including tuition, books and fees, yet still think of others who are less fortunate.

“Even during Finals Week…to take the time to participate in Angel Tree..is special.”

There was another instance of a woman who recently attended the Holiday Hop musical on campus and picked a child’s name from the Angel Tree.

“She said the Angel Tree is a blessing to her because she and her husband lost their daughter last spring and this was a way for them to take the time and money they were going to spend on their daughter for Christmas and apply it to this other child. It helps them deal with their grief during this holiday season.”

Barkley Giffin said some JALC employees help teach their own children about the joy of giving through projects like Angel Tree.

“It’s a way of teaching young people about a need in the communities in which they live,” she said. “It’s really amazing the response their children have, too. I know of one child who saved all of her allowance money throughout the year to spend on another child. Children are very generous. And so are our Logan employees. A lot of people have stopped me in the hall the last few weeks and asked me how they can help. It’s something fun for them to do. I also want to stress that this project is not just about the gifts. It’s about letting these kids know that they are worthwhile and are cared about.”

Logan men win thriller

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

While Mandela was not referencing a sporting event, his words certainly fit the situation at hand Wednesday night in Robinson as the John A. Logan College men’s basketball team overcame a 21-point second-half deficit to defeat Lincoln Trail, 72-68.

Vols’ freshman guard DeVaughn Johnson penetrates the lane in game action Wednesday. Johnson finished with four points. (Logan Media Services)

Erasing a 21-point deficit seemed like an impossible task, especially on the road. But this Vols’ team refused to lose. Led by freshman forwards James Williams and Jay Johnson, Logan slowly began hacking away at the point spread.

By the 12-minute mark, Logan had pulled to within seven at 56-49. At 8:22, the Vols were within one at 56-55 following a pair of free tosses by Julian Hernandez. And with 6:46 to play, the Vols took the lead at 57-56 on a tip-in basket by Johnson.

The host Statesmen valiantly tried to restore order with a basket by Jesse Tesmer at 58-57, but JALC freshman forward Sondell Conner answered with a stickback. A made shot in the lane from freshman transfer Connor Wheeler gave the visitors a three-point lead at 61-58.

Tesmer responded again with a tip-in to trim the Logan lead to one. The Vols, however, would not relinquish the lead again, hitting just enough free throws late to secure the victory.

“It was an unbelievable effort,” said Vols first-year head coach Kyle Smithpeters. “We very easily could have stopped playing when we got down 21, but we didn’t. We kept battling and that’s what I really like about this group of kids. Despite being a young team, we fought back hard. That’s what we preach to them every day in practice – not to give up because sometimes things aren’t going to go your way.”

Williams, who was the team’s second-half spark with nine of his 11 points, said his mindset was simple – to keep playing hard.

“I appreciate the fact that my coaches and teammates trust me, so I want to reward them by playing as hard as I can to help us win,” he said. “Tonight was tough. We were down 21 and had to dig ourselves out of that hole. Fortunately, we kept our composure and ended up getting the ‘W.’”

Sophomore post player Aaron Adeoye led the Vols in scoring with 17 points. Jay Johnson checked in with 14. Williams was the only other Logan player in double digits with 13. Wheeler and Hernandez contributed seven each. Conner finished with six, including a thunderous first-half dunk. DeVaughn Johnson netted four and Michael Schmidt and Pierre House had two.

Caleb Begle led the Statesmen with 30 points. He was 6-of-12 from long range, including five of his first six.

The Vols made 28-of-59 shots, but were only 1-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc. Logan owned the boards to the tune of 44-to-28 with Jay Johnson tops with 12 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive end. Conner had eight rebounds. Wheeler led in assists with eight.

It was Conner who was assigned to Begle in the second half and the 6-foot-5 Chicago native used his size and wingspan to shut down Lincoln Trail’s top shooter. Begle only connected on two of his last 10 shots.

Now 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the GRAC, the Vols return home Saturday to take on undefeated Shawnee in a 3 p.m. match.

John A. Logan College scholarship awarded

A Murphysboro woman has been announced as the winner of a prestigious scholarship at John A. Logan College. Theresa Heern is the recipient of the Dr. Fred Nolen Scholarship.
Money for the award is made by family, and friends through an endowment that they have set up.

Through his Orthodontic practice, Dr. Nolen was well known and beloved by hundreds of Southern Illinoisans.  As a long time member of the John A. Logan College Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Nolen contributed of his time, energy, and resources to support John A. Logan College and its students.

Three Vols sign with Louisiana at Monroe

BY JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Three John A. Logan College sophomores – third baseman Keelin Rasch of Harrisburg, lefthanded pitcher Wes Mason of Mount Vernon and righthanded pitcher Chris Hunt of Paducah – recently signed letters of intent to play baseball on scholarship next fall at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

John A. Logan College sophomores Wes Mason, Chris Hunt and Keelin Rasch signed letters of intent last week to play baseball next fall at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Mason and Hunt are pitchers. Rasch is a third baseman. (Logan Media Services photo)

“To have this many kids sign on the first day of the early signing period is pretty special,” said Vols head coach Jerry Halstead. “We’re very happy for these young men and believe the Division I signings say a lot about our program here. When you look at the school they’re going to attend, they’re going to a quality program.”

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks finished 32-30 a year ago and won the Sun Belt Conference championship. Two former Vols – outfielder Brandon Alexander and righthanded pitcher Cale Wine – are seniors there this year.

Halstead said it’s always good to see the hard work and dedication of student-athletes rewarded with a scholarship to a four-year school.

“Not only are these kids good athletes, but they are also good students and that benefits the university,” he said. “I expect Keelin to step in and play right away next year, while Wes and Chris should also make an impact with their pitching staff. I look forward to them having outstanding careers at ULM.”

First things first, however, as Halstead is counting on the trio to provide leadership roles with a solid Vols team next spring.

“They’re part of our club’s core,” he said. “They bring a lot to the table and will be expected to contribute heavily toward our goal of winning another Great Rivers Athletic Conference and Region 24 championship.”

Mason said he was happy to sign with ULM.

“I’m absolutely excited about it,” he said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing Division I baseball. Louisiana Monroe is a good environment. They won the conference last year and the community is really behind them. I liked the feel of things when I visited there. It seems to be a program on the rise and I want to be a part of what I believe to be something special.”

Mason said he realizes there is unfinished business at Logan next spring.

“Without a doubt,” he said. “I would like to see us win another conference and region title and then go on to win the district title, so we can qualify for the World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.”

Mason said he expects to be more successful in his sophomore season.

“I think the experience I got last year helped me a lot this fall,” he said. “I was much more comfortable on the mound and want to be a guy my teammates can look to for leadership.”

Rasch patrols the hot corner for the Vols. He said the decision to pick ULM was an easy one.

“After visiting there, it seemed like the perfect fit for all of us,” he said. “It’s a great program, a great baseball town and you can’t beat the weather,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing ball there for the next two years. And to have two of my Logan teammates going there with me is that much more exciting.”

Rasch said his maturation as a player should lead to even greater success as a sophomore next spring.

“Playing last year made a big difference. I’m much more comfortable in my game this year and am looking forward to having a good year.”

Nothing short of a trip to the World Series will satisfy the sophomores, Rasch said.

“We had a taste of it last year, winning Region 24 and advancing to the District championship game. We want to go one step further this year.”

Hunt said he is equally excited about signing with ULM.

“I’m definitely looking forward to moving on to the next stage in my career with Louisiana Monroe,” he said. “I liked what I saw there when I visited and hope I will be able to make a difference with them next year.”

Hunt said coming to Logan out of high school was one of the best decisions he has made in his young life.

“I needed some time to mature as a player and as an individual and Logan has provided that for me,” he said. “My pitching mechanics have improved and so has my overall work ethic thanks to Coach Halstead and the other coaches. I would say I am a much more determined player in my approach to the game now than I was before coming here.”

Hunt said that while it’s comforting to know he has a scholarship waiting on him for next year, he is focused now winning games for the Vols.

“Absolutely,” he said. “The World Series is never far from my mind. It would be awesome to go out a winner at Colorado. We have a really good team, which I think is capable of making it there. I’m excited to get the season started.”

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