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Rotary to sponsor B.I.O.N.I.C. program


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5488e6f8e1ee2 Mark Nelson, president, Mattoon Rotary, attended the Mattoon school board meeting Dec. 9. On behalf of Rotary, Nelson said the group was committed to sponsoring the B.I.O.N.I. C. program at Mattoon High School. Rotary donated $3,500. Pictured included from left to right Angela McQueen, p.e. teacher, grief team, Michele Sinclair, principal, MHS, Mark Nelson, president, Rotary, Deanna Pearcy, counselor, MHS and Dr. Heidi Larson, Eastern Illinois University.
Mark Nelson, president, Mattoon Rotary, attended the Mattoon school board meeting Dec. 9. On behalf of Rotary, Nelson said the group was committed to sponsoring the B.I.O.N.I. C. program at Mattoon High School. Rotary donated $3,500. Pictured included from left to right Angela McQueen, p.e. teacher, grief team, Michele Sinclair, principal, MHS, Mark Nelson, president, Rotary, Deanna Pearcy, counselor, MHS and Dr. Heidi Larson, Eastern Illinois University.

Mattoon High School’s service learning program B.I.O.N.I.C. is receiving sponsorship from a local organization who shares B.I.O.N.I.C’s view that service to others is instrumental in creating strong communities.
MHS Principal Michele Sinclair announced at the Dec. 9 school board meeting that Mattoon Rotary pledged $3,500 to sponsor the B.I.O.N.I.C. (Believe it or not I Care) program.
Although B.I.O.N.I.C. is only in its second year of existence, the participation and support from students and staff have been overwhelmingly positive.
Sinclair along with Deanna Pearcy, counselor, MHS, and Heidi Larson, professor, EIU, outlined the numerous ways the program was appealing to student leaders and those in need of their assistance.
B.I.O.N.I.C. consists of four teams led by students and staff who have undergone training and continually meet to talk and address any ongoing issues. The teams include freshman mentoring, the grief team, the transfer team and the extended absence team.
Potential junior and senior leaders are nominated by their teachers in the spring to serve in B.I.O.N.I.C. The program is explained to these potential leaders. If they accept the challenge of meeting, they must participate in a three-day leadership training in the summer in order to be on one of the B.I.O.N.I.C. teams. Each B.I.O.N.I.C. member must attend at least four of the five semester meetings.
The freshman mentoring program teams one junior or senior B.I.O.N.I.C. student with 5-6 freshmen. Throughout the school year, freshmen and mentors sit at reserved tables in the cafeteria.
Another team includes the grief team. A student leader contacts an MHS “family” member who has lost a loved one. Student schedules pie deliveries to those families twice a month and Students and faculty express condolences and support.
Last year, MHS delivered 89 pies. At the beginning of that school year, they had ordered about 30 pies thinking that would cover the school year. By the first semester, they had delivered just about all the pies and had to order more.
“So far this year, we have delivered 41 pies,” Sinclair said.
The transfer team leaders mentor new students by walking them to all of their classes the first two-three days of school. The mentor eats lunch with the new student to acclimate them to the cafeteria. The mentor develops a relationship with the new student to help them feel comfortable at MHS. The mentors and transfer students attend a monthly pizza party at MHS during the students’ lunch hour.
Student leaders from the extended absence team collect missed work from teachers. They also organize the missing student’s work in a spreadsheet and take the work to the office for students. The B.I.O.N.I.C. Students offer tutoring in the classrooms, with teachers, after school.

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Mattoon Community Unit School District 21701 Charleston AvenueMattoon, IL  61938

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