Competition was fierce among the players at the March Madness Intramural Tournament held at Cairo High School on Saturday. The tournament gave children in third, fourth, and fifth grade the opportunity ro show off the skills the had learned over the course of an eight-week fundamentals of basketball camp.
The camp was put on through a joint effort between Danny Brown and several other volunteers, including members of the Cairo Varsity basketball squad.
“I really felt there was a need to do something for the younger kids,” Brown said. “They don’t have anything to prepare them for when it’s their time to play in junior high.”
The cost of the camp was minimal for all involved, with the gym being open on weekends and snack being provided by parents and coaches.
Brown stressed the importance of sportsmanship over the course of the camp and during the tournament.
“I want all you to cheer for everyone,” Brown said in a huddle before the first game of the tournament.
The children cheered for eachother while not playing and enjoyed refreshments from the concession stand. Members of the community were in heavy attendance, filling the East bleachers of the gym for much of the afternoon.
Team Thunder, made up of Trevel Davis, Omarion Barber, and Isaiah Brown were crowned champions of the event.
“We definitely want to make this an annual event,” Brown Said
Harsh winter conditions have forced schools in Alexander and Pulaski Counties to close for multiple days this year. While snow days are generally allotted to each school, persistent extreme weather has caused many districts to surpass their original rations.
Currently, the Cairo School District has missed 11 days of school due to severe weather. The District quickly surpassed the five allotted days however, have been granted forgiveness by the State of Illinois for four of the days so far.
Superintendant Angie Evers explained that because Illinois as a whole has experience a rough winter, Act of God days, which are applied for by the district as a means of forgiveness, are being approved more liberally than usual.
“I’m quite certain that we’ll be granted the other days which are pending at this time,” said Evers. “We were scheduled to have Monday off for Casmir Pulaski so that didn’t effect us.”
The biggest concern for the school is the effects on I-SAT testing that is scheduled to begin this week. With the week before the tests shortened, preparation and scheduled curriculum are being squeezed into fewer hours.
“It’s a delicate balancing act,” said Evers. “I desperately want children in the classrooms but you have to consider keeping people safe when they’re trying to get to school. Mother Nature has really been working against us.”
At this time the last day of school for the district is planned for June 4.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed,” said Evers.
Pulaski County schools are in much of the same situation. Weather caused closures throughout the week for Meridian schools.
Elementary principal Brent Boren stated that at time of printing the district has been out of school 18 days due to winter weather.
“We’ve lost almost a full month of school,” said Boren. “It’s been detrimental in respect to the time we’ve had to prepare for state testing.”
Boren also spoke of the toll missed school days take on student’s retention and comprehension.
“When children miss school it takes them out of the rhythm of education and can often break any momentum they have going for them,” said Boren.
A major factor in determining whether schools remain in service are the road conditions. Administration agreed that student’s safety is the number one priority when it comes to deciding whether school will close.
“It’s most important to keep the children safe,” said Boren
Temperatures have began to rise across the region, giving many hope that the end of the brutal winter Illinois has experienced is in sight.
“We’re just going to keep plugging along and sooner or later it’s going to improve,” said Boren.
Cairo High School crowned their homecoming royalty on Saturday. Jarvis Woodson and Alexis Murray were selected by the student body as the 2014 homecoming king and queen. The school held a dance after the Homecoming basketball game against Lovejoy. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
The Pyramid Chess Club, a gathering of students interested in the game of chess, has become a positive resource for all who are involved.
The club allows students who are involved the chance to progress their chess-playing abilities as well as socialize with peers who share the same interests and love of the game.
Members of The Pyramid Chess Club plan to attend the upcoming 6th Annual Metro Saint Louis Class Championship held on February 22 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
The annual tournament pits students of the same age groups against eachother over the course of three rounds.
Chess philosopher and editor of “The Chess Club Chronicles” newsletter Zayn Hollis describes playing chess as “seeing tactical patterns as a sphere rotating through the time-space continuum.”
While chess is seen merely as a game to some, others find the strategy and foresight utilized throughout the game as an ever evolving and progressing war between two opponents. Opponents command tiny armies and mount attacks, hoping to capture the other side’s king and queen.
“To me, chess is like a passport to wealthy living,” said Hollis. I think of all the great minds and how they live and what they have done.”
The Pyramid Chess Club meets regularly throughout the school year and encourages those interested to check out what is offered.
New students will not be the only fresh faces at Cairo Junior/Senior High School this fall.
During their monthly meeting, the Cairo School Board approved two new hires for the school. Guidance Councilor Leah Hooper will be making the move from Carbondale School District and starting in Cairo this summer. The Board also approved the hire of Nicholas Cannady to step in as English teacher at the high school, replacing Allen Pearman, who tendered his resignation for the fall..
School superintendent Andrea Evers said Cannady, who studied at Eastern Illinois University, came highly recommended. Evers said she and Zena Maddison, Cairo Junior/Senior High School principal, were both excited by his integration of technology and new media in his lesson plans.
Evers said he was chosen out of 12-15 applicants and received a unanimous vote from the Board.
Evers also said the Board debated different, cost effective, ways to provide security for Cairo Junior/Senior High this fall. She said the board discussed using the Alexander County Police Department, retaining Securitas, the current security provider as well as hiring an individual. In the end, they gave the go-ahead for the district to post the position at $10.00 an hour. However no decision has been made as to how the District will provide security.
The Meridian Bobcats toppled the Cairo Pilots in post-season play, but this was not the news of the day Feb. 20.
The story that developed came after the historic rivalry between Cairo and Meridian fans boiled over. Fights between after the game caused the second competition of the night between Century and Egyptian to be postponed for two days.
Pulaski County Sheriff Randy Kern said the violence came as a surprise. He was in the hallway when the first fight broke out.
“I grabbed a hold of one of them and the next thing I know they are jumping on me, on my back and I’m on the floor,” he said. Kern said he quickly realized he and his 11 officers were outnumbered.
“We were going fight to fight to fight. We were totally out numbered,” Kern said. Kern said no ballplayers were involved in the incidents.
School officials from both Meridian and Cairo decided to take steps to help prevent any other disruptions to the tournament. Kern attended a meeting Feb. 21 with school officials, the lieutenant of the State Police, his chief deputy and the principal of Meridian High School to draw up the game plan to be implemented at all high priority sporting events at the high school. At the rescheduled semi-final game and the Regional Championship Kern and 14 other officers covered all the doors and separated fans as they left the gym in hopes to prevent any more fights, a solution that Meridian School District Superintendent Terry Moreland said was sufficient. Athletic Director for Cairo Jr. / Sr. High School Ronnie Woods was also at both games to make sure no one from Cairo involved in the incident Feb. 20 was let in to the game.
Woods said while these kinds of measures are necessary, he it is sad and these kinds of incidents do more than just disrupt a night of basketball.
“It hurts the kids that participate. It hurts the community that wants to come together to see a good competition,” Woods said. Headcoach for the Bobcats Jeff Mandrell said while the schools can’t be blamed it defiantly hurts public perception.
“I think it makes the schools look bad,” he said. Mandrell said he wishes those who come to games to start trouble would simply stay home.
“You wish people would either go to the games to watch or just not go,” he said.
Cairo School District Superintendent Andrea Evers said she was emotional leaving the Feb. 20 game.
“My heart is really heavy,” Evers said. She said to have this incident be the bookend to a very good season is disheartening.
“To have a negative shadow cast over their season because of the choices of an adult is just saddening,” she said.
Kern said no arrests were made Feb. 20 in regards to the fights at the basketball game, though investigations are being conducted and arrests are pending.
Woods said the two schools are primarily looking to get beyond this season, after that they will look at how to make sure next year runs smoother. He said several options have been proposed including having no fans attend future Cairo, Meridian games or having a student only game, though, Woods is not a fan of any of these ideas.
“All those options … are sad. It says a statement about your community,” Woods said. While he sees how dire things may seem now, Woods is hopeful they will get better.
“I think it’s something that can be solved,” he said.
For an editorial regarding the Feb. 20 regional game, please visit: