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20/21 Cahokia High School

2020-2021 CHS 21st Century activities


                                     CHS SCHOLARS CAN DO VIRTUALLY ANYTHING!!!!!

Check out what CHS scholars have been up to virtually in 21st Century this school year. This is a great opportunity for academic support and engagement beyond the regular school day. There are still slots open to join the program.


Student applications for 21st Century can be completed here.


CHS 21st Century Program Staff

Terri Ettling-Shell, Teacher-

Verdis Lee, Paraprofessional-

Dr. Kelnita Pierson, Site Coordinator-






“Life is too short to not do what you want”

-Violinist, Nikki Glenn


Electric violinist, Nikki Glenn, brought a huge burst of energy into the night with her opening piece. She helped the scholars to understand how to balance pursuing gigs in their craft, while also maintaining full-time employment for financial stability.


CHS scholars were blown away with Kimberly Marable’s performance of “Circle of Life”, from The Lion King. During the presentation, she actually taught the scholars the song and they performed it together. Scholars really enjoyed her words of wisdom on how to stay focused on the path to success.





Simmons Bank Professionals Teach Financial Literacy

CHS scholars are learning the basics of money management and banking with help from leaders at Simmons Bank. The following topics have been covered in our sessions, using the FDIC Money Smart curriculum.

*Types of financial institutions

*Types of bank accounts

*Types of loans

*Interest rates

*Legal issues related to debt

*Predatory lending practices


*Paying Yourself First



Missouri Historical Society Leads Scholars in Historical Research

Scholars conducted historical research with the Missouri History Museum on St. Louis Civil War history, and the Mississippian civilization!!!


Vera Voce Mentors Continue to Inspire Scholars


“There will be insurmountable challenges, but there are solutions out there. Each challenge has a solution, a resolution, and a silver lining.”

Joy Payton-Stevens

-Professional Cellist, Seattle Symphony


“Open your mind up to learning new things. It can change your world, and take you around the world.”

-Chauncey Packer, International Opera Singer


“Someone else might not think you are that good, but if you give up, then they are right.”

-Derrick Mullen, Independent Filmmaker


CHS scholars continue to receive mentoring, leadership and entrepreneurship guidance from professional performers and other talents. With our most recent performers, scholars learned how to build confidence in their skills, and overcome their fear of performing in front of people. Scholars were also given an inside look at creating a full-length film with a limited budget. They discovered how to create a budget, and use what you have to make a quality product. Presenters stressed the importance of how consistency opens the door for more opportunities. The also learned the importance of continuing to learn new things within your craft, and how to balance your schedule when you are your own boss.






21st CCLC Program-Wide Celebration of Black History




Live from Germany: Singer Teaches Scholars to Start With What They Have



“Creativity makes you the smartest person in the world. I’m willing to put myself in a space to see how I function in it.”

-Marlin Monroe Williford

Opera Singer/Fashion Designer/Recording Artist


Marlin Monroe Williford is a renaissance man to most, but to CHS scholars, he is the epitome of making something out of nothing. He is the perfect example of what can take place when vision and elbow grease collide. His visions are what took him from growing up in Detroit, MI, to performing in places like France, Amsterdam, and his now-residence of Germany. Scholars were very impressed with how he has used his talents to create many different career opportunities for himself. He stressed the importance of continuing to work at your dreams, and not taking "no" for an answer. Williford shared how he did just that, regardless of the environment he lived in, and not having enough money. This talent was on full display with his most recent virtual fashion show for his clothing line. Not only did he design the clothes, he also made the music, and took the photos on his phone. Scholars were motivated by the fact that he did not have a team doing everything for him, and he shared tips on how to start small. He assured them that the small steps will get people to notice their work, and step in to help them with their dreams.



Disneyland Performer Brought High Energy to Teach CHS Scholars About Carving Their Own Path



“How do you measure success? You measure it by your own scale… have to know for yourself.”

-Leah Stewart



Her talents have allowed her to perform in Africa and Russia, but her story began in St. Louis, MO. Speaking her dreams into existence, and backing them up with hard work is what got her there. Regardless of the traditional paths to success she was raised on, she knew she had to define success in her own way. The California resident coached scholars on how to write down their goals and career paths; including anticipating the roadblocks and planning alternate routes. She stressed the importance of doing your research and exploring your career interests. She encouraged scholars to find others who are doing what they want to be doing, and find out the road they took to get to where they are. We ended the night with a preview of her latest modeling campaign with Totes, some of her television and film appearances, and a couple of musical performances.



Saxophonist Serenades Comanche Scholars With Smooth Tunes


“You are never too young to be great at something.”

-Jermaine Lockhart, Saxophonist

Mr. Lockhart kicked off the second season of Mr. Smith’s program, by performing modern and classic R&B tunes on his saxophone. He gave a very detailed explanation of the parts of the sax and how it works. Lockhart shared his story with scholars to help them understand how they can create a career within music-writing, performing, and/or teaching. He taught a very important lesson on patience, by sharing how long it took him to learn music, and ultimately become a professional performer. Scholars learned how studying music is connected to learning math, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Our scholars were also taught how to diversify their talents to make themselves more marketable. One of the biggest takeaways of the night was about marketing yourself and improving on each of your skillsets.






Literacy Lessons for Lil’ Comanches

CHS 21st Century scholars spent the last week of January reading to elementary and middle school scholars in the district, and teaching them literacy lessons. The high school scholars showed out, by including costume masks, props, sound effects, and very engaging questions and activities during their lessons. The younger scholars also had acrostic poems made of their names. The older scholars did a phenomenal job engaging the younger learners in the literacy lessons. It was really fun to connect with the other schools and we thank everyone for partnering with us on this initiative. Staff and scholars at all sites agreed that this would not be the last connection amongst learners in the district.

Participating schools: Lalumier, Penniman, E. Morris, and Wirth.


Elementary Books/Lesson:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

One Fish, Two Fish

The Tooth Book

Three Little Pigs

WRiTE BRAiN-Poetry lesson


Middle School Book:

Becoming-Ch. 1





“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”


The six-week curriculum helps give scholars the tools needed to develop healthy lifestyle habits. The program is facilitated by our partners at the University of Illinois-Extension. It is out with the old and in with the new, as scholars are introduced to the new MyPlate guidelines. This new guideline replaces the old food pyramid of the past decades. Scholars have learned about foods in each category, and how much is considered a healthy serving for each category. They have also learned how to read food labels and, distinguish between serving sizes and portion sizes. The curriculum also includes food safety and cleanliness, which is especially important during the COVID crisis. To top off each nutrition lesson, there is also a physical activity component that includes strategies they can incorporate into their lives to help them stay active. Scholars are encouraged to start making small changes to help develop healthier lifestyle habits. Their most recent lesson was on the importance of breakfast, and how this meal impacts the rest of their meals, digestion, and providing balance throughout their day.





Jermaine Smith joined our last Zoom session of 2020 to do a fun review of his program for this semester. During the session, he quizzed scholars over the guests and activities they have participated in this year. He also listened to feedback from the scholars about what they enjoyed about the program. Tenisa Ferrell was quick with the answers, with Syd coming in close at second place. Rashaad earned extra points for answering the most difficult question about Chloe Davis’ latest role. Mr. Smith also gave a couple of performances, including a duet with his dog Jack, who loves to bark along as Mr. Smith sings. So far, Jack has been the scholars’ favorite guest!




Check out these resources and activities from the University of Illinois-Extension!






“I had to build confidence, because I believed in myself and that I deserved to be in these spaces.”

-Chloe Davis



Broadway star Chloe Davis took a break from her busy schedule to drop in and inspire Comanche scholars. The St. Louis native now lives in New York City, and is also a published author. The night started with scholars contributing phrases and dance moves to an eclectic group choreographed piece that the scholars performed. She taught the scholars that creativity has no boundaries, by encouraging them to contribute whatever moved them in the moment-whether it was a word, song, or a move. When expressing their interests, she explained the importance of practicing their skills in order to build more confidence. She also stressed that being your best was more important than winning everything. During the Q&A session, she shared her rehearsal schedules and her experiences with performing on the stage. Her latest role is alongside Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman in the film-adaptation of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.


Davis sharing a clip of her performance in Porgy & Bess.





Hoyleton Youth & Family Services began implementing their Love Notes curriculum in November, and CHS scholars have opened up to fully engage in the program. As part of our SEL programming, scholars are learning how to build and maintain healthy relationships each week. Scholars have worked through activities that teach them how to identify trusted adults, and how to communicate when they are having problems. Through several virtual tools and courageous discussions, the Comanches are able to identify the characteristics of healthy relationships. Shannon Boyer, a prevention specialist with Hoyleton, is always upbeat and relates very well to the scholars. We are excited about this opportunity for scholars to develop foundational skills that will allow them to thrive in their relationships in the future.




CHS scholars work on learning how to organize their time, and make adjustments as needed.


Scholars facing off in an epic game of virtual Connect Four during SEL with Ms. Bernardini. Rashaad leads 2-1 against Syd, and Tenisa won against Kalona.





“Never run from an experience. Every time you have an experience, it feeds your soul.”

                                                                                                                        -Michelle Lewis



Artist and photographer, Michelle Lewis, dropped into our session to help bring the artist out of our scholars. Her artwork also includes makeup, tattoos, clothing design, and body paint. Her live hand painting was a reminder that there are no rules when it comes to creating artwork. She shared her traveling experiences with our scholars, and explained to them how her travels have helped her evolve as an artist. She also shared her story of transitioning from her full-time job, to becoming a full-time artist. Ms. Lewis gave a tutorial on how to take pictures with your phone in the right lighting, print the pictures, and sell the artwork for a profit. Several scholars showed her their artwork, and talked about their future plans as an artist. One of the most important pieces of wisdom she gave the scholars was about keeping a portfolio of their artwork, and creating a body of work that they could continually resell.


Michelle Lewis


Michelle Lewis



Kalona Yerger-Drawings


Sydney Coppedge-Frames





“You can choose every day to pursue what your dream is. It takes time to get good at it.”

-Eboni Adams



Eboni Adams interested scholars in her journey from Texas to Los Angeles, California. She has worked on Broadway, in video games, and is trained in ballet, hip-hop dance, and Afro-Latin dance. Once scholars were hooked, she tapped into some of their interests and what motivated them. Several scholars shared their interests in fields like forensic science, hairstyling, and playing the piano. Budding entrepreneur Tenisa Ferrell showcased her custom phone cases. Adams encouraged the scholars by letting them know that it was not about the fame and the spotlight, but about doing what you love. The highlight of the night was the group-choreographed dance set to the beat of hip-hop classic hit “California Love”. Each scholar and staff member suggested a chore and an accompanying move. All of the moves were combined into a dance routine that was performed by the whole group. Scholars and staff laughed and grooved the night away!

Eboni Adams as Commander Sloane in the Star Wars Squadron video game:

Tenisa Ferrell's custom phone cases:



Congratulations are in order for two of our CHS 9th grade scholars. During 21st Century Tuesday evening, Sydney Coppedge and Rashaad Houston did a phenomenal job presenting research to Illinois State Representative LaToya Greenwood and Missouri elected officials. They were tasked with researching how test-optional admissions would impact Illinois state universities. They worked with YMCA staff and law students from SLU School of Law to conduct interviews and prepare their research. Rep. Greenwood was so impressed by our scholars that she invited them to join her in Springfield once the state safely returns to their sessions. She would like our scholars to present this information to her colleagues and experience the legislative process.




“When presented with different opportunities, say yes…….to trying it out. When you find it, you’ll know it.”

-Ellaina Lewis

Classical Performing Artist


After hearing the high notes in her vocal range, CHS scholars were curious about her ability to break glass with her voice. Wowed by the question, professional opera singer Ellaina Lewis, pondered if she actually could break glass with her voice. Growing up with a family background rooted in gospel music, Lewis did not study voice until her junior year of high school. She explains her operatic gift as a special way to communicate, and urged scholars to discover the secrets of their crafts once they learned them. She shared several of her roles, including her acclaimed role in Porgy and Bess. Her performance of a piece based on Langston Hughes’ “My People” spurred a conversation on the school-wide reading of Hughes’ A Raisin in the Sun during 1st Quarter. Lewis shared with scholars how to pursue their dreams, but also work to pay the bills while doing so. With her encouragement, our scholars revealed their own gifts in music. Sydney shared her skills of singing covers and songwriting. Siblings Kalona and Rashad, growing up with a father who has an in-home studio, shared that they are gifted at rapping and producing music. The CHS 21st Century program is full of talented rising artists of all types, and each Thursday night, they discover more abilities and ways to use their gifts.







“I am going to bet on myself and go for what I know I’m worth.”

-Nicole Perkins

Professional Makeup Artist/Beauty and Wellness Mogul


Comanche scholars enjoyed an interactive night of creative face decorations with St. Louis professional makeup artist Nicole Perkins. Ms. Perkins is an entrepreneur who owns a full-service salon, does makeup for several stage and music productions, and has celebrities in her clientele. She showed the scholars how to create DIY Halloween looks, using common household items, like glue and basic makeup. She also created similar looks using her professional products. Ms. Perkins shared her background as a self-taught artist and how she built her brand. Many of our scholars had their own entrepreneurial dreams to share with her, and she coached them on how to go for their dreams and build their own brands. Her tips included how to set yourself apart in saturated markets, utilizing social media platforms, marketing and promoting your brand, and building relationships with clients.





“You’re never going to know, if you don’t put yourself out there.”

-Khaya Maseko

Musical theatre/recording artist

After performing the role of Simba in the stage adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King for six years, Khaya Maseko has taken some time away from the stage to focus on his musical talents. He dropped in with 21st Century scholars from London, England to share his gifts and encourage our Comanches to challenge themselves and come out of their shells. He shared his experiences with living and performing in South Africa, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. He also showed off his talents by mashing up classic R&B tunes, with modern R&B and pop tunes. Inspired by Mr. Maseko’s story, our scholars gained the courage to share their musical and artistic talents. He was very impressed with Kalona Yerger’s artwork, and requested that she send him more samples of her work.

Artwork by Comanche Scholar/Artist Kalona Yerger





Oboist Dave Norville Visits virtually          


“Never be afraid to tell your story…… are in charge of the story in your life.”

                                                                                                                     - Dave Norville,

                                                                                                                      Oboist/Arts Administrator/Activist


Oboist Dave Norville serenaded CHS scholars with his tunes. With a mix of classical numbers, popular melodies, and a couple of hip hop tunes topping the charts right now, scholars were impressed with his musical range on the oboe. Our scholars were also able to connect with him when he shared some of his struggles growing up, and how he used music to channel his frustrations. He invited scholars to share with him the songs that made them cry, and also allowed scholars to share some of their talents. Mr. Norville discussed how music has the ability to capture emotions that we are not able to put into words, and shared scientific research about the impact of music. Scholars got engaged by suggesting emotions for him to convey on the oboe. He then flipped the activity by conveying an emotion on the oboe, and having the scholars to guess what he was trying to convey. It was a great time had by all!!!



School Psychologist Alysia Bernardini Focuses on Student Wellness with Weekly Social-Emotional Activities

No one could have imagined what education would come to look like in 2020. Lucky for CHS scholars, they have Ms. Bernardini, school psychologist, to help them navigate the social-emotional issues that impact their daily lives. Twice a week, she works with scholars on activities to help build confidence, interact with others, and build soft skills. She often uses examples connected to situations scholars may face in an academic setting, with loved ones, or among groups of their peers.









college tour
"Group Day @ CHS"
Group Day
Healthy Eating——Smoothie Day
building community outreach program
Community Outreach
Cahokia Food Pantry Donation of Love
Pantry Donation
Autumn Meadows of Cahokia 
Autumn Meadows
Autumn Meadows
Character Education outreach
Character Education
Merry Christmas Community Cards from Our Hearts 
Community Cards
Cahokia high School ---presents---   painting with Parents Tuesday December 17, 2019 at Wirth Academy from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.   come enjoy refreshments, raffles, music and this night of color

Cahokia High School 21st Century 



November Character Education word is KINDNESS


What: Students are encouraged to design a poster centered on KINDNESS

When: Design dates--- November 19- December 11

Rubric Guidelines: Poster should include the following information:

  • Definition of KINDNESS
  • At least three examples (one example of each area KINDNESS is displayed--home, school, and community)
  • Colorful illustrations, creativity, BOLD text, and originality
  • Any appropriate graphics that will help to enhance and draw attention to your poster


Funded by Title IV, Part B

Contest Winner
Magnify Art Gallery
Grandel Theater
Art Education and Expression with kas king
Ball Park Village
CHS-Dance with alicia-sunshine

June 2019

Attention Parent/Guardians:

21st Century at the High School has a fun filled month planned for the students! The students will take a field trip to Microsoft, in which there will be food provided from possibly Chick-Fil-A or another catering restaurant. The students will get the opportunity to paint canvases, cook various dishes and interact with one another! They will also be prepped for SAT testing as we all know that it is extremely important for them to get an excellent score!  



Thank you,


Mrs. Valeska Hill & Mrs. Kiota Edwards (Site Coordinators)

Congratulations on a job well done!!!!