Community Archives - Southwestern Illinois College


Local high school students had the chance to show off their creative abilities through poetry through the 2020-2021 Poetry Out Loud competition, hosted by Southwestern Illinois College Feb. 11.

Each contestant submitted recited works they selected from an anthology of more than 1,100 poems. Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding and accuracy.

Seven area high schools participated including Collinsville High School, East St. Louis Senior High School, Edwardsville High School, Freeburg Community High School, Governor French Academy, Mascoutah High School and Wyvetter Younge Alternative Center.

Winning artists for the contest include:                       

Edwardsville High School

Champion Winner: Jordyn Ginestra for reciting“The Wish, By a Young Lady” by Laetitia Pilkington and “My Partner Wants Me to Write Them a Poem About Sheryl Crow” by Kayleb Rae Candrilli.

Freeburg High School

Runner-Up: Joshua Merz for reciting“Altered After Too Many Years Under the Mask” by C.A. Conrad and “Hunger for Something” by Chase Twichell.

Ginestra and Merz will advance to the Poetry Out Loud state competition in March 2021, along with two finalists from each of the other seven Illinois regional contests.

The school of the state champion will receive $500 for the purchase of poetry materials. The first runner-up in each state will receive $100, with $200 for his or her school library. The Poetry Foundation provides and administers all aspects of the monetary prizes awarded.

Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program that encourages the study of great poetry by offering free educational materials and a dynamic recitation competition for high school students across the country. This program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Poetry Out Loud is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency and SWIC.

To view all the poetry submission or for more information visit or contact Amy Brockman at 618-235-2700, ext. 5324.

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 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

To support Blue Storm Athletic Scholarships, visit

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 The event is sponsored by the SWIC Diversity & Inclusion Committee. For more information, contact College Activities at 618-235-2700, ext. 5205.

SWIC event to examine life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Feb. 7

American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be honored at a special in-depth presentation about his life and legacy. The educational and inspirational program titled, “I Have a Dream: A King’s Journey” will be presented by Respect Academy founder and president Marcus “Dr. Respect” Gentry.

The program will be held on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Campus Main Complex Theatre, 2500 Carlyle Ave. An hors d’oeuvres reception will be held at 6:15 p.m. outside the theatre and the program starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the SWIC Belleville Campus College Activities office, room 1246.      

Within his career, Gentry develops and delivers programs that enhance personal and professional growth, empowerment and leadership; builds habits of success; improves organizational performance; and increases workplace awareness through educational training. He is an innovative entrepreneur who has worked in the fields of training, consulting and social services for more than 30 years.

Gentry has spent the last several years dedicated to creating programs targeted at developing character and building habits of success through self-reflection. He has also appeared on several TV programs discussing alcohol and substance abuse, leadership skills and violence prevention.  

The event is sponsored by the SWIC Diversity & Inclusion Committee. For more information about the event contact College Activities at 618-235-2700, ext. 5205.


The Southwestern Illinois College Red Bud Campus will host its annual poetry contest for area students and residents this spring.

Individuals of all ages are invited to showcase their creative abilities in the contest through poetry. Divisions for entries are as follows: adult, high school, eighth grade, seventh grade, sixth grade, fifth grade and fourth grade.

Each contestant is allowed to submit one poem and all entries must be turned in with a completed entry form by 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Entry forms can be found online at and submissions can be mailed to Amy Brockman at 2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL 62221 or turned in to the SWIC Red Bud Campus Student Development Office, Room 175.

Contestants will be recognized for their poetic excellence at an award ceremony Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Room. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each division. Winners will have an opportunity to share their poem during the ceremony.    

For more information, call Amy Brockman at 618-235-2700, ext. 5324.

SWIC to celebrate art, film and music in Winter/Spring 2020

Experience an American Sign Language performance, view a film, gaze upon original art, enjoy a jazz music festival and listen to Southwestern Illinois College’s own Blue Storm Radio on TuneIn this winter and spring.

The college’s arts series, called the Southwestern Illinois Creative Arts Syndicate, features a variety of events ranging from an art exhibition opening for Angel Brame and Joe Page on Jan. 16, the SWIC Jazz Festival featuring guest percussionist Bill Molenhof on Feb. 22, to a filmmaker spotlight from experimental filmmaker Zlatko Cosic.

“There is something for everyone whether you’re into chamber music, love art or want to view a variety of short films by new and emerging filmmakers,” said Paula Haniszewski, Schmidt Art Center interim curator. “We want our students and the community to enjoy the arts right here in the Metro East.”

The winter/spring 2020 SWICARTS calendar is below. For details on individual events, visit or  

For exhibition information, visit

Jan. 16 – Exhibition Opening Reception: Angel Brame and Joe Page,
4-7 pm., The Schmidt

March 19 – Exhibition Opening Reception: High School Student Art Show & Congressional Art Competition, 6-8 p.m., The Schmidt

April 23 – Exhibition Opening Reception: SWIC Student Art & Design Show,
6-8 p.m., The Schmidt

July 9 – Exhibition Opening Reception: Senior Art Competition – Life Experienced, 4-7 p.m., The Schmidt

April 3 – Annual SWIC Student Film Screening, 7 p.m., Liberal Arts Theatre

For concert information, visit

Jan. 28 – St. Louis Symphony: College Connections, 12 p.m., The Schmidt

Jan. 30 – Chamber Music Recital featuring U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, 7 p.m., The Schmidt

Feb. 9 – Faculty Recital: An Afternoon at The Opera featuring Ed Jacobs, Diana Umali and guest trumpeter Robert Souza, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

Feb. 16 – Sunday Brunch Jazz Soiree (Tickets will be on sale in College Activities), 11 a.m., The Schmidt

Feb. 22 – SWIC Jazz Festival featuring guest percussionist Bill Molenhof,
All Day, Main Complex Theatre

March 18 – SWIC Student Recital, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

March 29 – SWIC student choral ensembles and faculty instrumental soloists performance: Explore the Sound VI, 7 p.m., St. Paul United Church of Christ, 115 W. B St., Belleville

April 1 – SWIC Student Recital, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

April. 15 – SWIC Student Recital, 3 p.m., MC Theatre

May 3 – SWIC Concert Band: Yearning to Breathe Free, 3 p.m., St.Paul UCC, Belleville

May 4 – SWIC Jazz Band, 7 p.m., Main Complex Theatre

May 5 – SWIC Concert Choir & Chamber Singers: Our Little Infinity , 7 p.m.,
Union United Methodist Church, 721 E. Main St., Belleville

May 6 – SWIC Honors Student Recital, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

May 7 ­– SWIC Student Recital, 7 p.m., The Schmidt


April 18 – College Radio Day, All Day, LA 1342, Listen on Blue Storm Radio on TuneIn

May 13 – High School Equivalency Graduation broadcast on Blue Storm Radio, 6-9 p.m., Listen on Blue Storm Radio on TuneIn

May 14 – Commencement Ceremonies, 6-9 p.m., Listen on Blue Storm Radio on TuneIn


March 25: Operatic Empathy – Puccini’s “Tosca” with Associate Professor of Music Ed Jacobs, 3 p.m., The Schmidt

April 29:­ Student American Sign Language Performance: Song Interpretations, 3 p.m., The Schmidt


April 3-4 – Spring Theatre Production: “The Laramie Project” authors Moises Kaufman and the Members of the Tectonic Theater Project, 7:30 p.m., Main Complex Theatre

April 5 – Spring Theatre Production: “The Laramie Project” authors Moises Kaufman and the Members of the Tectonic Theater Project, 2 p.m., Main Complex Theatre

SWIC to feature British composers at a chamber music recital Nov. 7

Enjoy pieces by Alfred Moffat, John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Edward Elgar and Frederick Delius performed by Southwestern Illinois College Music faculty member Diana Umali and guest violinist Manuela Kaymakanova.

The recital will be Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Schmidt Art Center on the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Umali is an assistant professor of Music. As a collaborative pianist, she has accompanied recitals with the St. Louis Flute Society and at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.           

Kaymakanova teaches at the Community Music School of Webster University and maintains a private studio. She is also an active chamber music and orchestral performer in the St. Louis area.

For more information on events offered by the SWIC Music department, visit or contact Umali at

For more information on events offered by SWICarts, visit or

Get a gift for the art lover in your life at the SWIC Pottery & Art Sale Nov. 26

If you want to snag some one-of-a-kind treasures for the art lovers on your holiday gift list this year, check out the annual Pottery and Art Sale featuring works created by Southwestern Illinois Colle Art students, as well as a few faculty members.

The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center at the SWIC Belleville Campus will host the sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26.

“We thought the Schmidt would be the perfect location to host the student art sale,” said Interim Curator Paula Haniszewski. “It will provide a wonderful addition to our students’ résumés to be able to say they have sold their art.”

More than 50 artists will contribute to the pottery and art sale. The 150-plus works are mostly pottery, but the sale will also include encaustic paintings, jewelry and landscape and abstract paintings. 

For more information, contact the Schmidt Art Center at 618-222-5ART (5278). For more information on events offered by SWICarts, visit or

Tamburitzans to bring international cultures to the stage Nov. 23

One of the world’s finest, longest-running live musical variety stage shows of its kind returns to Metro East Saturday, Nov. 23.

The Tamburitzans will return for the popular Southwestern Illinois College Foundation annual student scholarship fundraiser. The internationally renowned troupe performs at the Edwardsville High School Performance Theater stage, 6161 Center Grove Road in Edwardsville, at 7 p.m. The doors open at 6:15 p.m.

The talented young artists, from Duquesne University, clad in elaborate costumes, will celebrate and share international cultural heritages through the universal languages of music and dance.

For more than 30 years, individuals from both Illinois and Missouri have enjoyed this group’s annual performance. Show proceeds benefit the John N. and Diana Bellcoff Memorial Tamburitzans scholarships for students attending the SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus.

Founded in 1937, the Tamburitzans got their name from a stringed folk instrument called the tamburitza that is predominant in the music of Balkan cultures. The troupe is based in Pittsburgh, Penn., but dazzles both domestic and international audiences with its traveling performances.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, and must be purchased in advance.

For tickets, call the SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus at 618-931-0600, ext. 7192 or 7346; Norma Bellcoff at 618-692-6150 or 618-978-1522; or the Southwestern Madison County Chamber of Commerce at 618-876-6400. For credit card purchases, call 618-235-2700, ext. 5663.