St. James

By Kathryn Menue


BELVIDERE – At about 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1, St. James students and staff gathered in the gymnasium to celebrate a successful school year coming to an end.

With family members present to cheer on the students, St. James began the celebration with an awards ceremony.

The awards kicked-off with the students receiving Science Fair awards. Mrs. Swanson and Mrs. Hauser presented students with ribbons for high honors, honors, and recognition of participation for this year’s science fair.

Principal Dr. Kathleen Miller then recognized students for their volunteerism in safety patrol.

These students included: Judith Garcia, Nick Lewandowski, Hunter Motos, Anthony Sciortino, Taylor Spahr, Valerie Hagedorn, Hollie Ignacio, Gabe Motos, Kimberly Garcia, Kayla Jordan, Zach Lewandowski, and Angela Sanchez.

Then, Mrs. Vendemia took to the mike to recognize the students who gave their services to sacristan.

St. James 3These students included: Stephanie Lewandowski, Sophia Plancon, Anna Polasky, McKenzie Culvey, MiKaylah Khochaba, Sophia DelaRosa, Judith Garcia, Antoinette Olson, Taylor Spahr, Maggie Becker, Valerie Hagedorn, Anne Liggett, and Leilani Alcantara.

Rev. Brian Geary recognized the altar servers, including: Andrew Dini, Andre Ongtengco, John Swanson, Allen Ryan, Blake Stark, Aaron Flores, Nicholas Lewandowski, Hunter Motos, Anthony Sciortino, Erikson Vega, Gabriel Motos, Jon Berry, Romek Bezdziecki, Tristen Gile, Kayla Jordan, Zachary Lewandowski, Nickole Ryan, and Sarah Smith.

Mrs. Kamendula and Dr. Miller presented the fourth grade honors award medals to Ryan Lee and Ben Murphy. They also presented the fifth grade honors medals to Sophia DelaRosa, Aaron Flores, Mia Khochaba, Nicholas Lewandowski, and Taylor Spahr.

Mrs. VanAcker and Dr. Miller presented sixth grade honors medals to Maggie Becker, Valerie Hagedorn, and Donnie Peterson. They also presented the seventh grade honors medals to Leilani Alcantara, JJ Berry, Romek Bezdziecki, Tristen Gile, Kayla Jordan, Zach Lewandowski, Nickole Ryan, Angela Sanchez, and Sophia Todora.

St. James 2Mrs. Vendemia and Dr. Miller presented awards for perfect attendance to Sophia DelaRosa, Hunter Motos, Zachary Lewandowski, Stephanie Lewandowski, and JJ Berry.

Dr. Miller and Mr. Martinez presented awards to the band members as well with Dr. Miller commenting on the wonderful progression of the school band since the beginning of the school year.

The band members included: Aaron Flores, Taylor Spahr, Nick Lewandowski, Mia Khochaba, MiKaylah Khochaba, Zachary Lewandowski, JJ Berry, and Tristen Gile.

Dr. Miller presented the Spelling Bee award to Stephanie Lewandowski.

The final award, the Donna Jo Wait Award, went to a student of exemplary kindness with a spirit full of generosity and trustworthiness.

Presented by one of Wait’s friends, the Donna Jo Wait Award is presented each year to one student at St. James Catholic School in honor of Wait who died in a tragic car accident on the 4th of July weekend in 1987. Donna Jo and her mother passed away after a drunk driver hit them. Donna Jo’s daughter was severely injured in the crash.

“Those of us who knew her will always miss her,” Donna Jo Wait’s friend said.

Donna Jo Wait was a student at St. James Catholic School and Belvidere High School. She was a good student and participated in as many extracurricular activities she could. She was a Girl Scout leader who loved aiding the Girl Scouts in their services.

“She always had time to help with her church and her community,” Wait’s friend said.

Due to Donna Jo Wait’s overall kindness and dedication to her community, the Donna Jo Wait Award went to Maggie Becker.

Becker, a sixth grader at St. James, won the award for her trustworthiness and loyalty. She was a part of student council, volleyball and basketball. She helped with church events and mass, volunteered for the food pantry and the nursing homes, and planted trees to help improve the community.

After Becker’s plaque presentation, the ceremony ended with a check presentation to St. James Catholic School from Manley Motors of Belvidere.

In March, St. James held their Friday Night Fish Fry fundraiser in conjunction with Manley Motors’ Drive4UrSchool fundraiser to help raise money for St. James Catholic School.

In their fundraiser, Manley’s donated $20 to St. James for every test drive they had during the Fish Fry fundraising period.

Overall, Manley’s raised $1,940 for St. James.

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