November 28, 2007

Metro East students to receive honors tonight

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Three Metro East high school students are receiving honors tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 28, for excelling at this fall's annual Paul Simon Leadership Conference at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Thomas Butler of Cahokia, Kevin Bland, from the East St. Louis SIU Charter School, and Keith Burton of O'Fallon were finalists for the Paul Simon Leadership and Character Award, presented at the close of the weekend conference in late September.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Mike Lawrence, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, will present the awards. The students will receive a certificate, and they will learn that they will be receiving laptop computers.

Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the news conference in Building D of the East St. Louis Higher Education Center, 601 James R. Thompson Blvd., East St. Louis. For more information, contact Linda Renee Baker, Institute/University professor and project director at 217/553-6660.

Close to 40 high school students from the Metro East area attended the Sept. 22-23 conference, featuring former Saluki and NBA standout Mike Glenn. The conference, in its fifth year, focused on enhancing the leadership qualities of African-American young men through reinforcing positive qualities, building skills and increasing career awareness education. The conference is named in honor of Paul Simon, the founder of SIUC's Public Policy Institute, who died in December 2003.

Shawn Scott, a senior at East St. Louis High School, received the Paul Simon Leadership and Character Award during the conference.

Simon and Lawrence used a 1994 report by the Illinois Commission on African American Males, chaired by former Illinois Attorney General and SIUC graduate Roland W. Burris, as inspiration for the weekend. That report offered recommendations in several areas, including economic development and employment, education, family life and African-American manhood, health and housing.