ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Students at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis watched as one of the large rocks vandals used to break 35 windows at the school two years ago, bounces off a display window like the ones that have replaced them.

Even dropped at a height of 27-feet from an Ameren Illinois bucket truck, the rock was no match for the energy-efficient, burglar-resistant window provided by Winco Windows. Principal Dan Nickerson says its emblematic of the schools “unbreakable spirit.”

We’ve had a lot of different issues that happen in East St. Louis and our school,” “But these kids, part of what we do here is we teach them in the spirit of Sister Thea Bowman, the person who the school is named after, that we have to always remember that there is something more out there

Nickerson says the thought was never about retaliation or trying to find out who broke the windows, instead the community pitched in to help rebuild the school. Individuals, religious groups and businesses big and small pitched into the help with the rebuild process.

The school has raised $235,000, and is just $80,000 short of its goal. The windows were provided with a discount by Winco Windows, a St. Louis-area company, and Tuesday, Ameren Illinois gave a $20,000 donation to the school.

Eighth-grader Nino Stezen says there’s a very practical reason to like the new windows…

“At like recess, sometimes they might throw a ball at our windows,” Stezen says “And we don’t have to worry about the windows breaking. And we can just carry on with our studies.”

In fact one of the remaining original windows, has a softball sized hole in it. Many of windows were boarded up for the past two school years, which 8th-grader Monye’ Rodgers says made it difficult to keep the classroom at a comfortable temperature and didn’t let much light inside.

With the 35 vandalized windows now replaced, the final phase to replace all the windows, which were installed when the school was opened in 1950.

The school sends 92 percent of its 130 K-8 students to college.

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