Class Act: St. John's Beta Club

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By WSIL Manager

WEST FRANKFORT -- The seventh and eighth grade class at St. John the Baptist School in West Frankfort is a small one, but they're doing a lot in their community. There's only 77 students in the entire school.

"What I like most about St. John's is I know everyone here, and they're really nice and everything," said seventh grader Dakota Brauninger.

Eighth grader Taylor Shoraga added, "It's a tight-knit school. You know everybody, it's just like a family."

It's a family that gives back. The students are members of the Beta Club, an organization that emphasizes academics and community service. The students have done a variety of things to give back.

"We know a lot of food pantries are low so we have a Thanksgiving mass and a food drive. We collect personal items, too," said Principal Kevin Spiller.

"We have an ice cream social when we work at the drink table at the games. We clean the social room after lunch. We do other things around the school," said Taylor.

St. John's is a private school and there's no state funding. That means tuition and donations help keep things afloat.

"We hold community events like the ice cream social, this wine and beer fest, we held a chicken and beer fest. So the community does come out and support us," said parent volunteer Holly Hopkins.

"They always ask, 'How can I make a difference?' I said your one effort makes a difference for one child. They adopt a child from overseas and send money to help pay for the education of that child," said Spiller.

On November 2, the school is holding a big fundraiser. It's a Wine and Beer Fest at Bella's Italian Restaurant in West Frankfort. The cost is $39 and includes wine and beer samples, a glass, and dinner. There will also be live music and auctions.
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