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High School Highlights

Steve Robinson Photo
by
Steve Robinson

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Bestows Annual Junior Volunteer Honor On U-High Sophomore Jack Dawson

As older folks, we see kids in their teens and assume, with their wireless devices in hand, seeming to tune out the rest of the world – let’s be honest, we all think that’s what they’re doing when they do that – that, as a group, they are all that way and direct contact with anyone other than their peers is something to be avoided until it really becomes necessary. 
Then you hear about kids like Jack Dawson and your mind starts to believe there’s hope that younger generations do care about the world beyond their own lives. Dawson, 16, is wrapping up his sophomore year at University High School. In his volunteer job at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, he transports patients to and from rooms and assists visitors answering questions.
Dawson’s efforts were noted by two adult volunteers at OSF St. Joseph, Ann Woodside and Kris Albert-Burke, who, in individual letters, nominated Dawson for an annual award given out to young people who help at the facility – Junior Volunteer Of The Year. As a result, Dawson was chosen among the younger helpers at the facility to receive the 2016 award.
As Dawson describes what he does one night a week at the hospital, “I work at the front desk, and it’s mostly patient transport. So if someone is going home from the hospital, I bring a wheelchair, or if someone walks in who doesn’t know how to get to a patient’s room they’re visiting, I take them up to the room, and do other errands like that.”
Dawson will celebrate his first anniversary as a Junior Volunteer in May and has put in all tolled 106 hours just in being there a few hours a week.
You could say that as he continues doing his volunteer work, Dawson is carrying on a family tradition. About 20 years ago, Jack’s maternal grandfather, Bruce Cluver, was in an auto accident and was treated at OSF St. Joseph, where he was cared for and recovered. “They pretty much saved his life,” Dawson said. “So after that, he’s always volunteered there. My sister, Isabel, volunteered there as well, and I’m following in their footsteps.”
What Woodside and Albert-Burke individually wrote about Dawson was to the point, and I suspect, describes how Dawson has grown as he has carried out his duties. They describe him as being quiet and shy when he first began his volunteering venture, but has grown as he continues to do the job, and has stepped up to volunteer to take on assignments, as well.
The administrator at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center who oversees the volunteers had glowing comments for Dawson’s efforts, understandably, when I talked to her. “Jack is polite, enthusiastic, and caring about his volunteering with us,” explained Bobbi Hynes, director of volunteer services for the Medical Center. “Jack loves to do errands for anyone. The staff loves that he’s willing to move about like that in the course of his duties. He’s very dedicated.”
What Dawson, son of Bloomington residents Robert and Georgia Dawson, told me he enjoys about his volunteer job is “just giving back and  helping out with the hospital.” He added he has learned a lot from being around “older, more experienced people. They’ve taught me specific things, but some general things, too.”
High on the list of things being around older folks has helped Dawson with, he said, “is that I’ve been able to be a little more open with people than I have previously.”
As a result of this volunteer job, Dawson said he thinks he’s learned to talk to people a bit more than in the past. “I try to make the people I talk to feel a little bit more at home,” Dawson reasoned. During his weekly three-hour stint and depending on the week, he averages dealing directly with between 3-7 people a night. And as a result, Dawson is discovering what is meant by the axiom that it’s the quality of the time spent with people rather than the quantity of people the time is spent with.
Dawson said he has thought about staying active with OSF St. Joseph Medical Center after high school, while he attends college, as a means of keeping that channel open. He said University of Illinois is a school he has an interest in attending at this point.
Dawson said, if he were going to convince a fellow teen to volunteer at the hospital, he said he would explain doing so “is just a great way to give back and help out, and you meet a bunch of really nice people who help you more than you would understand.”
It may be a volunteer job, but at Dawson’s age, learning that lesson ought to be considered compensation in itself.





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Redbird Volleyball Announces 2016 Summer Camps
Registration for the 2016 Melissa Myers Redbird Volleyball Camps is open, as the ninth-year head coach of the Redbirds is set to host an All Skills Camp, July 8-10, and a Team Camp, July 23-24.
Interested campers can find all the information they will need, including registration information, at: http://abcsportscamps.com/isuvbcamps. Campers interested in registering via mail can find all necessary forms at GoRedbirds.com.
The All Skills Camp offers three days of instruction and competition, intended to teach players, grades 5-12, the fundamental skills and knowledge of the game. The Team Camp is designed for high school teams looking to put their team at an advantage ahead of the fall season. All campers will have the opportunity to play in a championship venue at Redbird Arena, host of the Illinois High School Association State Tournament.
Myers, who will enter her ninth season as Illinois State’s head volleyball coach in 2016, most recently led the Redbirds to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 17 years. She led Illinois State to Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament-titles in 2014, and was named the MVC Coach of the Year, as well as the American Volleyball Coaches Association North Region Coach of the Year.
For more information about Melissa Myers Redbird Volleyball Camps, contact Ryan Patty at (309) 438-0703 or rpatty@ilstu.edu.

Corn Kernels
News about the Normal CornBelters

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by
Steve Robinson

Returning in 2016 by popular demand

Normal West Softball’s 6-Run Fifth Inning Dooms NCHS, 10-4
by Steve Robinson
Central Illinois was spared a massive rain storm that went around the area on Tuesday, April 26th, staying just south allowing Unit 5 sports rivals Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School the opportunity to get in their first head-to-head Softball contest of the season.
But where the rain spared the teams allowing them to play, a 25 miles per hour wind gust did not spare them from seemingly unbearable conditions under which to play. Then, from NCHS’ perspective, perhaps, Normal West compounded the issue, shelling the Iron’s pitching for 15 hits en route to a 10-4 rout of their hosts on Tuesday.
NCHS (12-4) jumped out to a fast 2-0 lead in the first inning on a home run into deep center field by catcher Mack Leonard.
Normal West (12-5) countered in the top of the third inning as a double from shortstop Jaxynn Dyson scored pitcher Amanda Rogers, who singled ahead of her, giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead. The Iron countered in the bottom of the third inning courtesy of a 2-run home run from designated player Elexis Schwartzentrauber scoring herself and Leonard who walked. That put the Iron in front, 4-3.
West began the top of the fifth inning with a four-run explosion which began with a double from Rogers, and was followed up with a single each from Dyson, third baseman Jess Jacobs, and Savana Mattson, all of whom crossed the plate, putting the Wildcats up, 7-4, midway through the fifth inning.
West scored three more runs in the top of the sixth inning, as Mattson used a single to help score designated player Reganne Camp and first baseman Kristi Schmidt, each of whom had gotten on base having been hit by pitches. Those runs put West up, 9-4. West went up 10-4 when Mattson scoredon a single from left fielder Ellie Sowetz. That gave West a 10-4 advantage midway through the sixth inning.
NCHS hitters were only granted seven hits, and Mattson registered the only strikeout. The Iron stranded six players on base, while the Wildcats stranded eight.
“This game showed me that our players have a lot of fight and a lot of heart,” Schermann said of the result. The Wildcats have three players injured forcing a shift in players at positions they were unaccustomed to playing, she added. Second baseman Olivia Sonetz, Greta Witter, and Mikayla Fairfield are all nursing injuries, she explained.
“I think that we went out and we battled,” Schermann said about her team’s effort. “I’m proud of the way that our girls came out and played. We know Normal Community has great hitters and we just tried to counteract that by switching pitchers through the lineup.”
Despite the loss, NCHS head coach Bob Grimes assessed the outcome by saying, “I thought we did better than we were expecting. Neither team threw using their ace pitchers and that changes the game completely. I was pleased with what we did. We just had a bad inning in the fifth.”
The game was considered a non-conference contest per an agreement with the other schools from the Peoria area which are joining the Big 12 Conference. Normal West head coach April Schermann explained that some of the Peoria-based schools are just starting Softball programs. To be fair to those programs, and to make sure competition was on an equal footing, Big 12 coaches and athletic directors agreed to make one of the two games the teams played non-conference. Which of the season’s two games with those teams would be non-conference was determined before the start of the season, Schermann said.
     


Shakeela Fowler Transferring from ISU Women’s Basketball
Illinois State women’s basketball player Shakeela Fowler is transferring from the program, it was announced Monday by head coach Barb Smith.
“We thank Shakeela for her contributions to the program and wish her luck moving forward,” Smith said.
Fowler was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team, after averaging 11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game while seeing action in 27 contests.
“Although I have had a great season here at ISU, I have decided that I will not be returning next year,” Fowler said. “The opportunities have been great. However, I have decided to continue the remainder of my collegiate playing career elsewhere.”





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Phil Fayne Signs with Redbird Basketball
Phil Fayne, a 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward from Western Nebraska Community College has signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to join the Illinois State men’s basketball team, Redbird head coach Dan Muller announced Wednesday.
“We are very excited to welcome Phil Fayne to the Illinois State basketball program,” Muller said. “Phil is a terrific student-athlete with three years of eligibility remaining and unlimited potential. Phil is an athletic forward with great length and athleticism that will provide great versatility on both ends of the court. We are excited to help him realize his potential as a student-athlete here at Illinois State.”
Fayne, who averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a freshman at Western Nebraska Community College during the 2015-16 season, will begin his Redbird career as a sophomore in 2016-17, with three years of eligibility remaining. Fayne recently earned a spot on the 2016 NJCAA Region IX All-Tournament Team.
Fayne played in 30 games with 20 starts at WNCC in 2015-16. He shot 146-for-234 (62.4 percent) from the field and scored in double figures 20 times. Fayne also recorded 23 blocks, 21 assists and 17 steals.
A native of Elk Grove, California, Fayne graduated from Franklin High School where he averaged 17.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game as a senior.



Chad Dollar Hired as ISU Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach

Chad Dollar, a 19-year Division I men’s basketball coaching veteran who most recently spent five seasons on the staff at Georgia Tech, has been hired as an assistant coach at Illinois State, head coach Dan Muller announced Thursday.
“We couldn’t be more excited to add Chad and his family to our program,” Muller said. “He provides experience, integrity, energy and passion for the game. Chad has worked for some of the best coaches in the country and will help our program in many ways on and off the court.”
An Atlanta, Georgia, native, Dollar played an instrumental role in Georgia Tech’s recruiting efforts and in on-court development of perimeter players throughout the past five years. After spending three seasons as an assistant coach for the Yellow Jackets, Dollar was elevated to the team’s associate head coach for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Dollar arrived at Georgia Tech after spending the 2010-11 campaign as an assistant at Wichita State where he helped the Shockers win the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) championship. WSU went 29-8 overall and finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference that season.
“I’m thankful and excited to have the opportunity to return to The Valley and work at Illinois State with Dan Muller and his awesome staff,” Dollar said. “I’m looking forward to jumping right in and helping this program build upon its success.”
Before his stint with Wichita State, Dollar served for three seasons on John Brady’s staff, two at Arkansas State as the associate head coach (2008-10) and one at LSU as an assistant (2007-08). Prior to joining the Tigers, Dollar was an assistant during the 2006-07 campaign at Murray State, and he spent four seasons (2002-06) as an assistant at Georgia Southern. He also served for two seasons on the staff at Eastern Kentucky (2000-02) after working as an assistant for two seasons at Western Carolina (1998-2000).
Dollar began his coaching career at Gardner-Webb as a graduate and volunteer assistant for two years, and he spent a year as a graduate assistant at Southern Mississippi. Dollar also worked for two summers as an assistant coach with Athletes in Action.
A 1995 graduate of Milligan College, Dollar played his first three seasons of college basketball at USF. Dollar played on NCAA Tournament and NIT teams with the Bulls before transferring to Milligan for his final season. He helped lead the Buffaloes to an NAIA Division II national tournament in 1995. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from Milligan.
Dollar played his high school basketball in Atlanta at Douglass High School for his father, Don Dollar, one of the all-time winningest high school coaches in the state’s history. While in high school, Dollar was an all-city selection in 1989. A second-team all-state performer in 1990, Dollar was one of seven players to sign with a Division I school after his junior season
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