ALTON -- Although the online version has been done for a few weeks now, a brand new, Athlete of the Month poster, is hot off the press from Schwartzkopf Printing.

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The Riverbender.com / EdGlenToday.com Athlete of the Month Program recognizes the accomplishments of 20 area student athletes in a colorful poster and a new section on the companies' websites. John Hentrich, Owner, and CEO, says he is excited about the new section on the website and the chance to shine the spotlight on these young athletes who work so hard to fulfill their dreams.

"Sports is a very strong section of our website and plays an important role in our community," he said. "It's always so much more fun to report on the good in our community especially when it involves our youth." Hentrich is also the founder of the Riverbender.com Community Center, a 501c3 non-profit that has been serving youth in the RiverBend for nearly 10 years.

The Athlete of the Month Program recognizes one male and one female athlete from each of the 10 area high schools covered by Riverbender.com (Alton High School, Civic Memorial High School, East Alton-Wood River High School, Granite City High School, Edwardsville High School, Jersey Community High School, Marquette Catholic High School, Metro East Lutheran High School, Roxana High School and Southwestern High School.) The awardees are selected by schools' athletic directors or coaches. The program runs from September through May.

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The new website section is available at Riverbender.com/Athlete-of-the-month. In addition to the online promotion of a new section on Riverbender.com and EdGlenToday.com, the 20 award-winning athletes each month are featured on a new Athlete of the Month poster. The new 11x14 posters were printed by Schwartzkopf Printing in Alton. Local businesses can help spread the good news about the student-athletes by requesting a poster to hang in their window or post inside their business. Copies can be picked up at Riverbender.com offices at 200 W. Third Street in Alton, or you can send an email to support@riverbender.com to have someone drop off a poster at your location (while supplies last).

"Their photo is displayed with a unique story about each athlete," Hentrich said. "Those stories run on Riverbender.com, EdGlenToday.com, and our Facebook pages. One of the best things about this being an interactive digital format is that friends and family, and fans from all over can jump on and comment about the article. They can offer their congratulations and wish them success in their future. I can't wait to see who is selected next month and read all the interesting stories about each young athlete."

The program is sponsored by Altonized Community Federal Credit Union, Auto Butler, First Community Credit Union, Heintz & Bankhead Orthodontics, iCan Clinic, Investment Planners, Inc., J.J.Thermo's Bar and Grill, State Representative Monica Bristow, State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe, Sievers Equipment Co.,St. Louis Regional Airport and Stillwater Senior Living.

"The Athlete of the Month Program is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors and the cooperation of our area high schools," Hentrich said.

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