EAST ST. LOUIS - Although masks covered their faces, smiles shone through and excitement was evident as Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School (CHS) students walked down a red carpet on their first day of school, Monday, Aug. 16. Also showing exuberance were CHS staff who held welcome signs and cheered for their students.

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“This is one of the best days ever at Charter High School,” said CHS Director Gina Jeffries, EdD, “because we are able to welcome our students after being out on remote and/or blended learning for one year and five months.”

After walking the red carpet, CHS students filed into the Multipurpose Room in Building D of the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus to a rousing greeting that began orientation on their first day of school.

“Good morning, we are super blessed that you are here today,” exclaimed Jeffries. “We know that this is going to be an amazing school year. We look forward to serving up the best education in the Charter High School way, which is excellence every day for every single student.”

I am looking forward to being successful this year,” said CHS senior Kai Byrth. “I am glad to be back at school, in-person. I’ve attended Charter High School for the past three years, and it has been awesome.”

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CHS freshman Alexus Williams admits she is a little scared about starting school, but still expects good things. “I am looking forward to a better education at the Charter High School,” she said. “I only know my cousin who attends here, but I hope to make friends.”

CHS team members who participated in the welcome and orientation included: Liza Cummings, PhD; Mildred Fort, Marquita Holton, Agathe Ilungam, Ron Irving, Hope Jordan, Carolyn Kribs, Edith Laktzian, Greg Laktzian, Bridget Nelson, Colin Neumeyer, Stephanie Newton, Pamela Saffore, Johnathan Tate, Anna Turner and Aaron Vance.

CHS has enrolled its limit of 120 students this year and has a waiting list, according to Jeffries.

The SIUE Charter High School is a school-of-choice for families in the East St. Louis School District 189. The mission of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School is to prepare students who are career- and college-ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the school and its staff will positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis, Illinois youth through individualized instruction in core academic subjects, exploration of career interests and aptitudes, assistance in realizing students’ talents, high academic goals, and expectations that graduates will become competitive employees for the 21st century.

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SIUE East St. Louis Charter High School eagerly greeted students to the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 16.

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