February 2020 - Southwestern Illinois College

SWIC faculty and STL Blues announcer Tom Calhoun inducted into STL Sports Hall of Fame

With a passion for communication, sports and a strong work ethic, it is no surprise that Southwestern Illinois College Adjunct Communications Professor and Blue Storm Radio General Manager Tom Calhoun was recently awarded three honors by the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.

He was inducted into the hall of fame by being presented the President’s Choice Award and also received a commemorative 1500th-game plaque at the 4th Annual Illinois Enshrinement Dinner on February 10. Previous inductees into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame include Bob Costas, Jack Buck and Dan Kelly; which Calhoun has had the pleasure of working with.

Growing up, Calhoun had a love for sports. He played baseball while attending Belleville West High School and was especially fond of Stan Musial. He also played street hockey. As a child, Calhoun was a part of a church youth group. One day after delivering a sermon, a lady told him that he had a great speaking voice and that compliment would go on to pave the path for his future career.

Calhoun went on to pursue a career in mass communications. While in college, he worked at the college radio station. After graduation, he took a position at WIBV, 1260 AM in Belleville and went on to work at several other radio stations throughout the years. In 1987, Calhoun started as the public address announcer for the St. Louis Blues hockey team. During his 33 years announcing for the St. Louis Blues, he has never missed a game.
As of Feb. 24, he has announced over 1,514 games.

“One of my fondest memories of my career will always be announcing for the 2019  Stanley Cup Finals series, where the St. Louis Blues took home their first Stanley Cup,” said Calhoun. “I was also blessed with my health and a strong family growing up; which helped teach me and guide me in the right direction.”

In 2013, he began teaching at Lindenwood University in Belleville and in 2019, started teaching at SWIC and managing Blue Storm Radio. Calhoun enjoys seeing students light-up when they finally understand something. “It is gratifying,” he says. “I love to have the opportunity to connect with my students and help them achieve their future career goals.”    

Calhoun suggests that anyone looking to enter any mass communications field should put in effort in their language arts classes, understand phonics, be able to diagram a sentence and understand the English language better than the average person. At SWIC, he has taught Introduction to Mass Communication and Radio Production.

Being inducted into St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame by receiving the President’s Choice Award and receiving a commemorative 1500th game plaque from the NHL off-ice officials meant a great deal to Calhoun..

“I am grateful that all my years of hard-work are being recognized and the effort I have put into my career is being highlighted,” said Calhoun. “That’s special stuff right there, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

In the future, Calhoun hopes to continue announcing for the St. Louis Blues and to raise awareness of SWIC’s Blue Storm Radio. He would like to make it a recognized entity within the community.     

He earned his Associate in Arts degree from Belleville Area College; a Bachelor of Science from South Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Arts from Lindenwood University. In his free time, Calhoun and his wife train their seven chihuahuas and enter them into dog shows. He also enjoys woodworking.

Calhoun and his wife of 42 years, Barb, live in Millstadt, Illinois. They have two children, Ian, 39 who lives in Vail, Colorado and Stewart, 35 who lives in San Diego. Stay connected with him via his social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information about SWIC classes and programs visit swic.edu.

SWIC HSE and CNA grad earns perfect scores on program tests, finals and clinicals

Brandy Ballett was a stay-at-home mom for many years until she decided she wanted to better the lives of her family members, and help other people at the same time. Ballett then took the first step toward her future by enrolling in the High School Equivalency certification program at Southwestern Illinois College.

“I wanted to return to school and chose to attend SWIC because my aunt graduated from SWIC and had a great experience,” Ballett said.

While attending her Healthcare Bridge classes, Ballett was informed that she might qualify for a free Certified Nursing Assistant course through Adult Education. After she went through the review and qualification process, she was approved and began taking the CNA course.

“SWIC has opened the door to help me achieve what I want to do,” Ballett said. “My instructors, Stephanie Reid and Lori Phillips, were extremely helpful, understanding, made learning fun and gave me real-world experience.”

Ballett made sure to study hard, ask questions, be on-time to class and have good attendance. This dedication paid-off for her because at the end of her CNA course, she was notified that she earned a perfect score on all of her exams and clinicals.

“I studied a lot and my instructors were always helpful, passionate about teaching and truly want their students to succeed,” said Ballett.

Ballett received her HSE certification in October of 2019. She plans to work part-time as a CNA, return to SWIC in the fall to continue her studies to become a nurse and eventually work in a hospital.    

When not attending school, Ballett enjoys being with her family. She and her husband, Robert, live in Fairview Heights with their two sons: Jackson, 4, and Joseph, 2.

For more information about SWIC’s HSE certification, call 618-235-2700, ext. 5525, or toll free in Illinois at 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5525. For more information about the CNA program visit swic.edu/nurse-assistant.

SWIC students to display their works at Varsity Art XXIV in St. Louis

Southwestern Illinois College art students will showcase their artistic talents at the annual Art Saint Louis multi-media exhibition “Varsity Art XXIV.”

The show will feature 40 original artworks by undergraduate and graduate-level art students, representing 20 St. Louis regional colleges and universities from Missouri and Illinois.

This year, outstanding art students Sasha Nicole Agnew of Fairview Heights and Rebekah Segelhorst of Venedy, Illinois have been chosen to represent SWIC at the event. Agnew will be showcasing paintings and Segelhorst will be presenting a wearable art piece.

The show kicks off Friday, Feb. 28, with a FREE opening reception on Friday, March 6 from 6-8 p.m. at Art Saint Louis, 1223 Pine St. in St. Louis.

Student artwork created from a variety of media including ceramics, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video will be on display through Thursday, March 26.

The Varsity Art XXIV annual event is a collaboration between Art Saint Louis and the participating collegiate institutions, their art faculty and students. The Art Saint Louis artistic director works closely with art faculty at the area’s colleges and universities, inviting the professors to select two outstanding art students to represent their art department and institution in the annual show.    

To view the Facebook event click here and to view the Facebook opening reception event click here. For more information about the SWIC art department or art program visit swic.edu/art.

SWIC Blue Storm men’s basketball to receive an award for over 1,000 victories

The Southwestern Illinois College Blue Storm men’s basketball team, previously known as the Belleville Area College Dutchmen, has won more than 1,000 games since its first season in 1954-55. On Monday, Feb. 24 the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association will honor SWIC Blue Storm with an award for this achievement.

IBCA Hall of Fame Chairman and a member of the IBCA board of directors Mark Kleemann will present the award at the game.

The IBCA recognizes SWIC Blue Storm as one of only a few Illinois community college men’s basketball programs that have surpassed the 1,000 victory plateau. Currently, the National Junior College Athletic Association D-I SWIC (SWIC Blue Storm, BAC Dutchmen) team, has won 1,128 games since 1954-55; captured 14 post season appearances in championship play since 1969-70; won seven state and regional titles and won four trips to national tournaments.

“The victory doesn’t belong to me – it belongs to the students, the college and the community,” said SWIC Blue Storm Coach and NJCAA 2002 Hall of Fame inductee Jay Harrington. “I am very fortunate to have worked for one college for so many years. This is a testament to the college and its commitment to the Athletic program.”

The IBCA represents all of Illinois basketball at the junior high, high school, and the collegiate levels. Each year, the IBCA honors individuals with annual Hall of Fame inductions and Coach of the Year selections. In order to recognize school and team achievements, the IBCA honors basketball programs that have earned only the highest levels of success.

To check out the Blue Storm 2019-20 schedule, visit swic.edu/athletics.

To support Blue Storm Athletic Scholarships, visit thankyou.swic.edu.

RESCHEDULED: Award-Winning Step Team “Gentleman of Vision” to Perform at SWIC Feb 24

Experience the award-winning footwork of the “Gentleman of Vision” step team at Southwestern Illinois College. Watch and listen to a live performance of percussive dance in which the performer’s entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word and hand claps.

The show will take place during the halftime of the SWIC men’s basketball game on Monday, Feb. 24 in the SWIC Belleville Campus Main Complex Varsity Gym, 2500 Carlyle Ave. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are FREE with a SWIC student ID, $2 for youth and $5 for adults, which must be purchased at the event.

The Gentleman of Vision team was founded in 2009 by Marlon Wharton and the late Paul Albea on the campus of Riverview Gardens High School in St. Louis. Both Wharton and Albea saw an increasing and alarming need to address the issues and concerns of young socioeconomically disadvantaged males.   

“Gentlemen of Vision shapes and molds young men into positive, productive professionals through mentoring,” says Wharton.

The mission of the group and organization is to prepare disadvantaged males to successfully complete high school through demonstrating superior leadership skills, academic excellence, community service, and career readiness in order to successfully transition into higher education or trade.

For more information on the Gentleman of Vision visit gentlemenofvision.org. The event is sponsored by the SWIC Diversity & Inclusion Committee. For more information, contact College Activities at 618-235-2700, ext. 5205.