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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.

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.

SWIC releases fall 2019 grad list

The following is a list of Southwestern Illinois College students who graduated at the conclusion of the fall 2019 semester. The students’ names are listed alphabetically according to hometown.

The list also denotes students who graduated with honors (a 3.5 grade point average or higher) and with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

SWIC Fall 2019 Graduate List

For more information, contact SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5455 or 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5455.

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.

SWIC releases fall 2019 dean’s list

The following is a list of full- and part-time students on the Southwestern Illinois College Dean’s List for the Fall 2019 Semester.

This list includes full-time students who completed 12 or more semester credits during the semester and part-time students who completed six or more semester credits during the semester while maintaining a 3.5 or higher grade point average.

The students’ names are listed alphabetically according to hometown:
SWIC Fall 2019 Dean’s List

For more information, contact SWIC Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5455 or 866-942-SWIC (7942), ext. 5455.

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 swic.edu or facebook.com/swicarts.  

For exhibition information, visit swic.edu/theschmidt.

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 swic.edu/music-calendar.

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


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 swic.edu/poetry-contest 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 Toy Drive Benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters

Southwestern Illinois College’s Annual College Activities Toy Drive was a huge success this year. The toy drive kicked off at the college’s Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony in November. All 156 toys, donated by SWIC students and employees, were given to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois for distribution to local families. From left, front row, Deneen Holmes and Criseona Moore, both of Cahokia, Lylee Scott of St. Libory, Ryan Watkins of Belleville, Dakotah Easley of O’Fallon; second row, SWIC President Nick J. Mance, Student Trustee Dajanae Thomas-Jackson of East St. Louis, Sergio Gomez of Cahokia, Noel Phillips of Swansea and Eli Gillum of O’Fallon.

SWIC Adult Ed YESS Program offers FREE help with earning your high school equivalency, finding a job and more

Did you leave high school without earning a diploma, want help preparing for college or need assistance finding a job? The Southwestern Illinois College Youth Employment and Support Services Program can get you back on track for free.

The YESS Program offers comprehensive support and educational services to people between the ages of 16 and 24, who are out of school and who reside within St. Clair and Randolph counties.

The program assists individuals with the resources to complete their high school equivalency certificate, information on how to attend college, give participants employment opportunities within their career choice and much more.

Case managers develop a formal agreement and plan of action with each participant, which includes listing barriers that may hinder them from fulfilling their educational or career goals. This ensures the participant will be better prepared for anything that happens that may get in their way of becoming self-sufficient and being successful.

The following services are available through the YESS Program:

  • Tutoring
  • High School Equivalency instruction and testing
  • Employment opportunities
  • Leadership development
  • Adult mentoring
  • Workplace Readiness training
  • Follow-Up services after 12 months
  • Comprehensive guidance and counseling
  • Drug and alcohol counseling referrals
  • Transportation assistance
  • Child Care referrals assistance

The YESS Program is a part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,. WIOA is federally funded and was created to strengthen and improve our nation’s public workforce system by assisting Americans, including youths and those with significant barriers to employment, transition into high-quality jobs and careers. To learn more about the SWIC YESS Program, contact Karen Schaller at the Red Bud Campus at 618-210-8189.  

Enrollment Express is one stop for SWIC Spring 2020 enrollment/registration

You don’t need to miss work or skip appointments to sign up for spring classes at Southwestern Illinois College! Enrollment Express allows you to complete the enrollment and registration process, and much more, in one easy visit.

Enrollment Express will take place at the SWIC Belleville Campus, 2500 Carlyle Ave., the week of Jan. 6-11, 2020. Hours will be: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Spring 2020 Semester classes begin Jan. 11, 2020.

“We realize our students are busy with work, family and other commitments so we wanted to provide a convenient way for students to complete the enrollment and registration process with one visit to campus,” said Admissions Coordinator, Katie Dawson.

If you are just getting started in the enrollment process, you can:

  • Apply online to start the steps to enrollment
  • Learn about more than 150 degree and certificate options
  • Take a tour of campus
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid 
  • Ask questions about financial aid
  • Take the placement test to know where to begin

If you are already working on your steps to enrollment, you can:

  • Meet with an academic advisor to discuss course options
  • Get assistance registering for classes
  • Set up a payment plan or pay your tuition and fees
  • Find your classrooms and explore key locations on campus
  • Pick up your textbooks  
  • Activate your SWIC student email and other SWIC technology
  • Get your student ID, parking permit and Metro pass  

You can still apply, search the class schedule and register online at estorm.swic.edu anytime.

In addition, students or prospective students who have questions about the enrollment process can chat with Enrollment Services representatives via Facebook Messenger @ facebook.com/swic.edu.

For more information, call Enrollment Services at 618-235-2700, ext. 5455.