STBCS Believe Project Literacy Lab Featured on Nine Network

The St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature project, “The Believe Project,” has opened a literacy lab at Sr. Thea Bowman Catholic School. This is one of eight literacy labs in the St. Louis area that will create literacy spaces within schools and community centers that serve pre-kindergarten through third grade students. 



STBCS’s Literacy Library Featured on KMOV4

News 4 Schools: The Literacy Library

EAST ST. LOUIS ( – Students in a Metro East school have a whole new reason to ditch the phones, turn off the TV and get out the books because they have a new library.

The Literacy Library Site was dedicated Thursday at Sister Thea Bowman School in East St. Louis. It is the second such project from the Believe Project.

The goal is to help make sure students are proficient in reading by the third grade. Many of the books feature African American characters.

Students even got to meet Clifford the Dog at Thursday’s dedication. The books for the library are being provided by Scholastic Books and Ready Readers. The furniture was donated by IKEA.


Weekly Newsletter – September 12, 2019


“It Takes A Village” repeated Rev Tracy several times, and I agreed with her. Who is that village? Our staff, our students, our families, and our school supporters are all part of the village, but to be a village, we must all speak the same language of commitment, hard work, and accountability in our roles to educate, inspire, prepare, and empower our young people!

IOWA ASSESSMENT: September 16 – 18

All of our Grade 2 – 8 students will take the Iowa Assessment. This is very important to your student and our school. Please have students to school by 7:30, so they can enjoy a good breakfast and be ready to test! Please encourage them to try their best and do well. We use test scores in grant requests to garner money for Tuition Assistance for your students.


We have 10 paid for open spots and T-shirts to walk on Saturday. This is a great event! Just be the first to send in a note with your student saying you will participate, and how many children need a shirt, and you are in!  We need this Friday!


Please join us for the Ribbon Cutting for our new Believe Reading Room. It is beautiful and will be a great place for our young students to read, read, read!  We will have a little ceremony, Room tours, and refreshments! Please join us!

TOUR AND LUNCH: September 24 at 10:30

Do you know a professional, local clergy, or somebody who might be interested in supporting our school? Contact Ms. Roberta Trost at our school, and she can invite them personally to our bi-monthly Tour!


United Congregations of MetroEast (UCM) and Parents United For Change hosted a special meeting for our families to participate and raise a voice in their community for what they care about most: family, schools, safety, clean water/air, etc. The next meeting is Tuesday, Oct 8 from 6-7:30 PM! Please plan to join and make a difference in ESTL!


Informational session for all 6-8th grade parents and guardians on the Camp Ondessonk Trip. This is an open session for you to receive information and ask questions about the great opportunity for the 6-8th grade students, 24-25 Sep.

The Believe Project Comes to STBCS September 19!

See the Transformation September 19 – 9:30 a.m.

Join us and learn!

Celebrate with us – the incredible work of many partners to bring this Literacy Program to Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School

  • 9:30 a.m. Opening Remarks
  • Tour The Believe! Room
  • Unveiling of Believe Mural painted by Sister Thea Alum, Damon Davis
  • Refreshments and light snacks

We will share statistics about the issues in our metro region with students learning to read by Third Grade and what we are doing to overcome.

Sister Thea is the second site in the region to implement this program.


Weekly Newsletter – August 22, 2019


We have one purpose here at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School, and that is to make your student successful! We know it takes academic, social, and spiritual growth to become future leaders of their communities, so we strive each day to approach education with a whole person growth concept. We appreciate your support of your student and your school!


This is a very important night for you to receive information on changes at the school, classroom and teacher procedures, and your role in your student’s education. This is a MANDATORY attendance event for just the adult. We will meet in the chapel, and then go to your student’s class for specific information.


Please continue to read the enclosed information, sign the envelope, and return it with your student on Friday.


We are still pushing District 189 to move up bus times to get students here by 7:30 for breakfast and to add our unassigned bus riders. If you have a bus issue, please contact Ms. Cooper at the District 618-646-3051, and Illinois Central at 618 646-3051. As always, you can contact the office also. Please continue to have students to school by 7:45!


We have gotten better with K-3 out the front door and 4 -8 out the back doors. Family members cannot park on the opposite side of Church Lane, as it is too dangerous. Continue to pull into empty parking spaces in front of the school.


Please review uniform requirements from your handbook. Teachers will send home a uniform reminder if a student is out of uniform. We appreciate you helping them prepare their clothes the night before, so they can arrive in uniform.


Don’t forget to complete the application for free/reduced meals and return it as soon as possible. The deadline for the application is Tuesday, September 3.  Without a completed application form, all meals are full price.


We NEVER want you to receive LATE FEES or INSUFFICIENT FUND FEES, as they go to SMART, and we lose the dollars for your school. Contact us early if you foresee a payment issue or delay, so we can work it!


Our first peacemaker activity for the year is next Friday, August 30.  As a special incentive, students who are Peacemakers during a month (no major discipline issues) attend a Peacemaker Activity on the last school day of the month. This month…Ice cream might be involved!


Our first Mass for the year will be Friday, September 6, at 8:30 AM. in the chapel.  You are welcome to join us for this Mass, as well as all Masses held throughout the year.  Ordinarily, our Masses are every Friday at 8:30a.m.  Please check the calendar for any alternative dates.


There will be NO SCHOOL on Labor Day, Monday, Sep. 2.  School will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 3.



We have a few volunteer positions open at our school. If you are interested or know a qualified person, please contact the office. All positions require the applicant to complete a volunteer application, Child Protection Training, and background check.

–  Lunch/recess monitor: M – F from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM.  Requirements: Good interaction with kids.

Extended Day K-5 Assistants:  M – F from 3:30 – 5:00 PM.  Requirements: Good interaction with kids.


We NEED you to help us make your school great. Please join us for our first PTO meeting on Thursday, Sep 5 from 6 – 7 PM. Light Snacks will be provided. If you want to bring your student, they can read in the library during the meeting. We will make introductions at the meeting and plan the year events. All are welcome!


We love volunteers. We will soon send out an official volunteer sign up form, but if you want to get started, here are a few items:

  1. We have all volunteers fill out applications per Diocese of Belleville guidelines. This includes a background check.
  2. All Volunteers working with students must complete Child Protection Training:
    1. Initial Child Protection Training locations and times are at: You can attend any session. This is for first time volunteers.
    2. Refresher Child Protection Training is for returning volunteers and is online at: This is for people who took the Initial training already.



Check out our Believe Room and Kindergarten on Channel 5:




23 Prayer Service K-5: 8:30, 9:00

29 Curriculum Night 7PM  Mandatory, Adults only, no students

30 Peacemaker Activity. Prayer Service- Gr. 6-8 8:30am. Peacemaker Flags due


2 Labor Day. No School

5 Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) Meeting 6 PM

6 Opening Mass 8:30am (Grade 8 leads)

13 Mass 8:30 (Grade 7 Leads). 1st Qtr Midterm

19 Believe Reading Room Ribbon Cutting 9:30 AM

The Believe Project Featured on 5 On Your Side

The Believe Project inspires children to read more books with diverse characters

The goal is to incorporate more books written by African Americans that have African American protagonists.

Author: Jenn Sullivan
Published: 10:36 PM CDT August 18, 2019
Updated: 10:36 PM CDT August 18, 2019
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — The Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School is changing up their reading curriculum to try and inspire more students to read. It’s called “The Believe Project.”

The goal is to incorporate more books written by African Americans that have African American protagonists.

“When children are connected to black literature, particularly children, they become more confident in themselves,” said Julius Anthony the author of “Me. 10 Poetic Affirmations.”

According to Anthony, 70% of all black third-graders in the bi-state failed a standardized reading exam last year. He also said that the majority of children’s literature features white protagonists and that can make young children feel invisible if they don’t relate to the character.

Anthony paired up with Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School to bring in more books written by African American authors. There’s even a new reading room with a mural depicting African American characteristics.

Some of the characters in the mural appear to be holding up balloons but instead, there are books tied to the end of the strings.

“It’s this whole idea that we can soar that we can rise beyond and let us believe in the best of who we are and the best of our community,” said Anthony, describing the mural.

The mural was painted by Damon Davis, whose work is in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Davis is also an alum of Sister Thea Bowman.

“The Believe Project” will be expanded in three other schools this fall.


The Believe Project Comes to STBCS

The St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature “The Believe Project” comes to Sr. Thea Bowman Catholic School on Thursday, September 19, 9:30-11:30am. Join us as we celebrate and prepare yourself for an opulent literary experience!

2019-20 Supply List



Please do not label supplies.

  • 4 Clorox Wipes
  • 4 boxes of Kleenex
  • 6 big glue sticks (1 liquid glue)
  • 3 plastic pocket folders w/prongs (1yellow, 2 red)
  • (No paper folders)
  • 1 box of sandwich Ziploc Baggies
  • 1 box of quart size Ziploc bags
  • 1 box of gallon size Ziploc bags
  • 3 rolls of paper towels
  • 1 backpack (with name on it)
  • SMALL light weight blanket for naptime
  • 1 plastic pencil/supply box
  • 1pair of scissors
  • 1water color paint set with brush
  • 2 boxes of crayons
  • 1 half inch 3 ring binder
  • 1box of colored pencils


Please do not label supplies.

  • 4 boxes of tissue
  • 2 packets of # 2 plain pencils
  • 3 eraser packets
  • 5 big glue sticks
  • 1 box of colored pencils
  • 2 boxes of crayons
  • 4 plastic pocket folders solid colors (1 red, 1 blue, 1 green, 1 orange)
  • 2 boxes of sandwich Ziploc Baggies that zip
  • 2 boxes of gallon size plastic bags
  • 2 rolls of paper towels
  • 2 clorox containers
  • 1 container of hand sanitizer
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 primary composition notebook
  • 1 wide ruled notebook
  • 2 black dry eraser (expo) marker packets
  • 1 plastic pencil box
  • 1 packet of 5×7 index cards
  • 1 box of healthy snacks (fruit snacks, crackers, pudding etc.)



Please do not label supplies.

  • 1 bottle of hand sanitizer
  • 4 boxes of Kleenex
  • 3 boxes of # 2 pencils (no Pentech brand)
  • 4 glue sticks
  • 1 scissors
  • 1 box of wide washable markers
  • 1 box of thin washable markers
  • 2 rolls of paper towels
  • 2 sm. boxes of crayons
  • 4 black dry erase markers
  • 2 yellow highlighters
  • 1 1″ inch durable binder
  • 5 plastic 2 pocket folders (1 red, 1 black, 1 blue, 1green,     1 yellow)
  • 1 package of 3×5 lined note cards
  • 3 Clorox Wipes
  • 1 USB Flash (Computer Class) if possible, use last year’s
  • 4 pink erasers
  • 2 composition notebooks for journaling
  • 1 plastic school supply box


Please do not label supplies.

  • 1 pencil pouch
  • 4 boxes of Kleenex
  • 4 boxes of # 2 pencils (no Pentech brand)
  • 2 pkgs. Loose-leaf paper (wide rule)
  • 1 clear plastic shoe box container (dollar tree)
  • 4 sm. or 2 large Elmers glue Sticks & 1 Md. bottle of Elmers liquid glue
  • 2 small boxes of crayons
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 box of regular washable markers
  • 4 Black expo markers
  • 2 composition notebooks
  • 1 box of sandwich Ziploc Baggies that zip – A –M (last names)
  • 1 roll of paper towels – N – Z (last names)
  • 4 pink erasers & 1 package of eraser caps
  • 8 plastic pocket folders with prongs (1 yellow, 1 red,
  • 1 blue, 1 green, 1 purple, 1 orange, 1 black)
  • 1 of any design folder
  • 3 Clorox Wipes
  • 1 USB Flash (Computer Class) if possible, use last year’s
  • 4 X- Large plain color stretchable cloth book covers (no small book covers) purple, blue, green, any other extra lg.
  • 1 hand Sanitizer
  • 1 1″ inch black binder clear pocket on top with pockets
  • 1 1″ inch white binder pocket
  • 1 package of 8 tab insertable dividers
  • 1 two package of large yellow highlighters


GRADES 4 – 5 

Please do not label supplies.

  • 6 boxes of Kleenex
  • 50 – #2 pencils (No mechanical pencils)
  • 6 packages of loose-leaf paper (wide ruled)
  • 4 pocket folders (2 red, 2 yellow)
  • 2 – 2 inch 3 ring binder
  • 2 pencil pouches
  • 3 -3 subject spiral notebook
  • 4 large erasers
  • 1 box of 24 crayons (basic colors)
  • 1 box of markers (basic colors)
  • 1 box of colored pencils (basic colors)
  • 2 pack of expo markers
  • 2 composition books for journaling
  • 3 glue sticks & 1 lg. bottle of liquid glue
  • 3 Clorox wipes
  • 1 USB Flash/ for computers if possible, use last year’s
  • 2 large stretchable cloth book covers
  • 1 pair of school scissors
  • 1 ruler (inch & centimeter)
  • 4 rolls of paper towels
  • 2 packages of binder dividers


GRADES 6 – 8 

  • 40 # 2 pencils
  • 1 pkg. each: blue & black ERASABLE pens (no permanent ink)
  • 1 pkg. each: red OR green pens
  • 1 box of WASHABLE markers (no permanent ink)
  • 1 box of colored pencils
  • 1 glue stick
  • 1 pair scissors
  • 4 erasers
  • 1 zippered pencil pouch
  • 8 pkgs. of loose-leaf paper (wide rule)
  • 1 composition book (hard back)
  • 2 Two-Inch hardback 3 ring binders (language arts & math)
  • 2 packages of binder dividers (language arts & math)
  • 10 plastic pocket folders with 3 prongs – (2 red; 2 yellow;
  • 2 blue; 2 green; 2 black)
  • 2 spiral notebooks (two subject)
  • 4 rolls of paper towels
  • 6 boxes of Kleenex
  • 1 container of disinfectant wipes
  • 1 USB Flash (school use) if possible, use last year’s
  • 1 scientific calculator (Recommended: TI-XIIS (Solar))
  • 2 pkgs of 3×5 lined note cards (100 cards per pkg)


STBCS Alumni Debuts in Hamilton

Former STBCS student, Kameron Richardson, was recently featured in The Messenger for his role in the musical Hamilton. READ ARTICLE ON THE MESSENGER

Althoff graduate makes his debut in Hamilton … as Hamilton

Staff writer

It’s one of the most sought-after roles in theater: Alexander Hamilton, the singing, dancing founding father as portrayed in Lin Manuel Miranda’s acclaimed musical “Hamilton.”

For one former student of Althoff Catholic High School and Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School, the dream of standing in that spotlight has become a reality. Kameron Richardson, a 2011 Althoff graduate, has played Hamilton in the Chicago production of the show twice in late June, and was scheduled to appear again in early July.

He’s what’s known as an offstage standby performer, who takes over a leading role in a production when the regular actor can’t appear.

To make his debut in such a high-profile role has been a mixture of exhilaration and the pressure of hard work.

“I’ll have this feeling that this is the greatest job in the world,” Richardson says. “But I’ll also have this feeling that, wow, this is the job I’ve got to do.

“Every role helps you to grow, and this is the most I will have ever grown for a role. Because it’s just so big.”

Richardson’s road to the Hamilton stage began well before Althoff. He says his mom tells people that he was singing before he was walking, and when asked in grade school what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said, “an entertainer.”

He transferred to Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in sixth grade.
There, he had the chance to take voice and speech lessons, as well as ballroom dancing – a skill that Richardson says still comes in handy.

“Taking formal dance classes teaches you how to pick up choreography – how to be aware of how your body moves in a space,” he says.

When he got to Althoff, he soon met Elaine Laws, who runs the drama program there. “We were in the cafeteria, and when I told her I’d taken ballroom dancing, we started dancing right there in the cafeteria. It was insane.”

He soon became a fixture in Althoff’s drama department.

“He was like a sponge – he learned everything quickly,” Laws says. “He’s a great singer and was in our gospel choir.

“One of the first plays he did with us was ‘The Odd Couple,’ where he played Felix. I knew at that moment that he was going to be an actor – he was always looking for different ways to work with a prop or say a line to make the show funnier.”

For his part, Richardson says the arts opportunities he got at Sister Thea Bowman and at Althoff kept him on the right track.

“Instead of being out on the street, getting into trouble, I was at the theater,” he says. “And it’s not just the arts themselves, it was being around those people. The theater program at Althoff was very strict about being non-alcohol. It kept me straight. While other kids may have been hanging out drinking, we were hanging out listening to music and watching ‘Hairspray.’

“That was very integral.”

After graduating from Althoff, Richardson spent a year at Webster University and then transferred to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, then moved to New York to start his career. He eventually landed a job with the national production of “Aladdin,” performing in the ensemble and understudying for the role of the evil sidekick Iago.

He came to Chicago for “Hamilton,” which is playing at the CIBC Theatre. Richardson won the standby position when the previous standby performer got a role in the Broadway production. Next came what he calls an “intense learning situation.”

“I learned it in like a month,” he says. “I’ve never been in a rehearsal process before where I wasn’t learning with the whole cast. It would be just me and the music guy, or me and the choreographer. As I learned more and knew it better, they’d layer in other folks.”

When Richardson learned of his June 23 debut, he made sure to let Laws know.

“He said, ‘Hey Coach, what’s going on? What are you doing June 23 and 25?’” Laws says. “I asked what was up and he said, ‘I’m going on as Hamilton on Sunday and Tuesday.’”

A whole cheering section arrived from Belleville, including Laws, Richardson’s mom and other family and school friends.

He notes that while his mother has seen him in other smaller plays, the magnitude of the “Hamilton” production was a huge change.

“This is the biggest role and the biggest show I’ve worked in,” he says. “She was blown away.”

He’s currently learning the two other parts that he covers – Aaron Burr and King George III. Laws has promised to come see each of his debuts. “He said, ‘You don’t have to come for King George, he’s not even in it that much,’” Laws says. “I told him I’m coming.”

Richardson, who turns 27 this week, says he hasn’t thought much about what comes next, after the show closes in January. Right now, he’s still immersed in the life of Hamilton the man, and “Hamilton” the production.

Asked about his favorite moment in the play, Richardson talks about a scene late in the show, after Hamilton has been laid low by scandal and his son has died in a duel.

“He’s talking to his wife and she grabs his hand and he breaks down – I think that’s my favorite moment,” he says. “You have to go way beyond yourself to even understand that place.”