Friday, March 31, 2006

Journalism Club meeting rescheduled

The SMS Journalism Club will meet after school Tuesday, April 4, instead of on its regular Thursday date, according to Mr. Randy Turner, sponsor. The meeting was moved because of a teacher meeting after school Thursday.

South/North football merger discussed in Daily article

A proposal to merge the South and North middle school football teams was discussed earlier this week during a meeting in the SMS auditorium. Read the Joplin Daily's coverage.

(Photo: Mr. Ron Mitchell, SMS principal, Coach Casey Pliler and Joplin R-8 School District Athletic Director Doug Doss explain a proposal to combine the South and North middle school football programs to a group of parents this week. Photo by John Hacker, Joplin Daily)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dr. Cryer named Neosho Junior High Principal

Dr. Jenifer Cryer, South Middle School assistant principal during the 2005-2006 school year, has been named Neosho Junior High principal.
The Neosho R-5 Board of Education hired her Tuesday night to replace a retiring principal. Before coming to South, Dr. Cryer had been assistant principal at Memorial Middle School.
A profile of Dr. Cryer by staff writer Fox Navarre will be featured soon on this website. (Photo by Dylan Prauser)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

SMS students qualify for Joplin High School choral groups

South Middle School will be represented on Joplin High School choral groups next year. Those who were selected for the vocal/dance groups following tryouts were:
Sound Dimension- Becca Mascher, Spencer Moss
Touch of Class- Arlisa Arwood, Lauren Bynum, Grace Randolph, Tamara Zajac
Chorale- Spencer Moss, Jacob Oviedo, Becca Mascher.
Among the former Room 210/South Middle School students qualifying for those groups were:
Sound Dimension- Jordan Hudspeth, Derek Rider, Josh Thiele
Touch of Class- Nikki Burkett, Jessica Johnson, Skye Smith
Chorale- Zach Bradley, Taybor Parker, Derek Rider, Nikki Burkett, Jessica Johnson, Skye Smith

Four SMS students made JHS freshman cheerleading squad

Four South Middle School cheerleaders will be freshman cheerleaders next year at Joplin High School.
Those selected following tryouts last week were: Ashlea Smith, Halie Endicott, Abbi Smith and Arlisa Arwood.

Quiz bowl to compete Thursday at Neosho

The South Middle School Quiz Bowl team will participate in a general knowledge tournament at Neosho Middle School Thursday, March 30.
This will be the last in a series of competitions with teams from Neosho, Carl Junction, Monett, Lamar, and Diamond. A communication arts meet was held in Carl Junction in October, followed by a science meet at Lamar in December, a math meet at Diamond in January and a history meet at College Heights in February.
Quiz bowl team members include: Jessica Cashion, Matt Smith, Mackenszee Roberts, Mallory Fuller, Tiana Clemons, Maddison Billings, Fox Navarre, Liz Hernandez, Dylan Prauser, Kane McCaslin, and Arthur Brown.
The team is sponsored by Mr. Jason Weaver and Mr. Randy Turner.

Journalism students receive honors

Twenty members of the South Middle School Journalism Club have been named United States Achievement Academy National Journalism Award winners.
The students' biographies will appear in the USAA National Yearbook and the students become eligible for a academy scholarships.
Those named were:
Matt Smith, Tiffani Gilbert, Jacob Oviedo, Ashton White, Fox Navarre, Maddison Billings, Roni Leonard, Christy Hernandez, Christen Cool, Chelsea Moore, Gabby Londe, Amanda Welch, Sabrina Rogers, Krystal Ford, Becca Mascher, Tiana Clemons, Samantha Oxford, Danielle Kleeman, Grace Randolph, Kane McCaslin, Dylan Prauser and Melody Ketron.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Project Citizen accomplishments featured in Daily article

The Joplin Daily recently featured an article on the accomplishments of Mr. Rocky Biggers' first and fifth-hour social studies classes at Project Citizen in Jefferson City.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Finn, Navarre, White poems to be published

Poems by Annie Finn, Fox Navarre, and Mary White were selected as the top three in the annual South Middle School Eighth Grade Poetry Contest held earlier this month.
The three poems will be published in a national book, Teacher's Selection; Anthology of Eighth Grade Poetry.
The poems were chosen from more than 50 entries, according to Mr. Randy Turner, eighth grade communication arts teacher. Judging was done by a committee of teachers.
The poems are printed below:


I stand in the small boat
gazing out at the sea
Not too far from the shore
ocean air swirls around me.

I shall follow the trail
of my tears undying devotion.
They course down my face
and into the ocean.

They mix with the water
the two becoming one.
One with the ocean
I will also become.

I leapt from the boat
as I cry in the sea.
Pain enters my heart
and rids of my glee.

Water fills my lungs
and I seem to drown in my tears.
I never was afraid to die,
but I've now rearranged my fears.

Later I use all of my strength
to pull myself up onto the shore
and gaze up at the stars

The stars slowly fade into the sky
time and space escape from me.
And I am gone
with the ocean breeze.


Though the road doth wind
the billowing wind blow
in rested assurance you know
When the bright of day
is chased away
And dark night cometh nigh
In peace may you rest
In my arms you will lye

Though storms billow
The pathway steep
Safe will you sleep
Safe in my arms.

Close your eyes
And forget about
The darkness of the night
Safe by my side.

Though your journey is long
And the creatures of the night
frighten you so
In rested assurance
My baby you know
When the bright of day
Is chased away
And dark night cometh night
In peace may you rest
In my arms you will lye.

Safe will you sleep
In peace may you rest
Safe by my side
My baby
My little one
Safe in my arms
you will lye.


A child's scream
pierces the night.
The sounds of an
uneven fight.

Then all is silent,
all is dark.
Parents wanting blood,
just like a shark.

The child's breath
suddenly stops
so suddenly that
the parents call the cops.

The mother is crying
the father is being led away
his face is so hard
as he watches his child lay.

The child will never wake,
but never again get hit,
the father is in jail
while the mother still knits.

This happens daily
everywhere you go
You can act like you
don't see it, but you know.

(Photo information: Mary White, left, and Fox Navarre. Not present for photo, Annie Finn)

March 31 deadline for SMS Essay Contest

Friday, March 31, is the deadline for the annual South Middle School Essay Contest, according to Mr. Randy Turner, eighth grade communication arts teacher.
This year, for the first time, students will be allowed to choose their own topic, writing about any subject about which they have strong opinions, Mr. Turner said. Topics can range from the war in Iraq to the school dress code. Essays must be at least 250 words and may be either typed or handwritten.
Essays will be judged on the following criteria:
-Strong opening
-Strong conclusion
-Well-reasoned arguments
-Writing style
-Proper use of conventions (spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation)
The essays will be judged by past contest winners.
The first place winner will receive $15, with $10 for second place, $5 for third place, $3 for fourth place, $2 for fifth place, and $1 apiece for those finishing sixth through 20th. The top writer in each grade will receive at least $10, Mr. Turner said.
All entries must be turned in to Mr. Turner in Room 210 by the end of the school day on Friday, March 31.

SMS teachers win annual Trivia Night competition

Room 210 Staff Writer

South Middle School teachers successfully defended their title by winning the annual Joplin High School Trivia Night Feb. 3 at St. Paul's Methodist Church.
Teachers who participated were: Mrs. Bonnie Turner, Mrs. Karensue Hensley, Mr. Rocky Biggers, Mr. Jason Weaver, Mr. Randy Turner and Ms. Kim Rhea.
The teachers, who called themselves the South Sages, had to answer questions in 10 categories in such areas as sports, the presidency, music, and television. Approximately 30 teams participated.
"What we found out," Mr. Turner said, "is that Mr. Biggers knows a lot about everything and that all of the teachers know more than the students give them credit for."
For the second straight year, the teachers donated their winnings to the South Middle School Band. Proceeds from the event went to the Joplin High School Band.
Mr. Turner said he hopes the South Sages will have an opportunity to try for a third straight title next year.

SMS students take spring break trip to Florida

Room 210 Staff Writer

South Middle School students returned this week from the Living Classroom, the annual spring break trip to Florida sponsored by Mr. Jason Weaver, seventh grade social studies teacher.
"The first time I did the spring break trip to Disney World in Florida four years ago was a way for the students to get out of the room and learn some real world experience while having some fun and getting to know each other better," Mr. Weaver said.
"The kids usually behave on the way there and back finding a way to keep themselves entertained by playing cards, talking amongst themselves, not getting on the driver's nerves, or my personal favorite, sleeping."
In addition to the educational aspects of the trip, Mr. Weaver says the student enjoy the rides. "Most students do go on the rides there, but a few don't which is O. K. as long as everyone has fun while they are there," said Mr. Weaver.
Students who have gone on the trip in past years said it was fun and they would like to go again, given a chance. Most of them wish it had been longer than one week. Time really does fly when you're having fun in the sun.

Eighth grader says goodbye

Room 210 Staff Writer

(Note: Eighth grader Amanda Welch will be moving to the Diamond R-4 School District after spring break.)
To all of the eighth graders and teachers who want to listen, here is a story from my point of view about our last year at South Middle School.
This year was a blast. I have had so much fun with all of you. I am sorry if I do not know you. I bet that people who I did not know were really sweet and nice. For the people I knew, my girl Sheriddan R and my best friends, Tylor H, Chelsea Martin, Chelsea Moore, Brittany Banta, and my cousin, Lauren Bynum, I will miss you.
And how could I ever forget the guys?
I know a lot of you have been there for me and that is why I am writing this goodbye letter. Most of all, I want to thank Emily H, Breezy L., and Sheriddan. You girls have been the ones who I could talk to no matter what. The main reason I am writing this note is not just to say goodbye but to say thank you to all of you that I have said and others like Alex N, Danielle K., Arlisa A., and Vone' Britt.
I want to thank you because not only have you helped me with my homework or other things, you have also helped me through so many of my biggest problems from home.
Not only do I want to say goodbye to all of my friends, but also to my teachers.
-Mrs. Yonkers, even though we had some problems at first, I'm really glad that you had thought I could hit higher than a high C.
-Mrs. Powell- I loved your class; it was so cool. It stinks that I have to leave it.
-Mr. Biggers- I don't even have words to say how much I want to thank you for everything and even the personal advice that you have given me.
-Miss Medlock- I want to thank you for showing me how to open up when I read poetry and thanks for helping me with everything.
-Mr. Wolf- Thanks for letting me have a blast in your class; maybe I'll see you when I come back to visit.
-Coach Burr- Thank you for getting me back into shape. I had some awesome times in your class.
-Mr. Wallace- I had so much fun in your class. It was unbelievable. My favorite activity was when we boiled the pennies and then turned them into different colors.
-Mr. Turner- I want to thank you for showing me how to open up when I write my papers. You have also taught me to have a voice when I write papers, even my prompts. So thank you and I have had a blast.
And last, but not least, I would like to say goodbye to one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Doerr. Mrs. Doerr, I would like to tell you that you have helped me so much with my math. You have showed me things in math that I have never heard of before. I had a few troubles,but other than that, I had a great time.
The one I owe the most would have to be Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell, I really hope that you are reading this. You have let me get away with some things in my years here at South Middle School. Thank you for giving me the chance to have fun at school.
So here is my goodbye letter to everyone that I know at South Middle School. It has been an experience that I will never forget. So thank you for everything everybody. I will miss you all so very much. Maybe I will see you in the future, so have a great year and s great summer and don't forget that I will miss each one of you very much.
Good luck and goodbye.

How I came up with my science fair project

Room 210 Staff Writer

(The South Middle School Science Fair takes place each spring and every student in grades six to eight has to come up with a project for it.)
I was walking one day with my friend Calbe; he was eating skittles. He threw one at me, even though I hadn't done anything. We both laughed. He had the bag of skittles in his hand. "I bet if you stick your hand in that bag, you'll get a red one," I said.
"Well, let's see." He stuck his hand in the bag of Skittles and sure enough, he got a purple one.
"You know what, Caleb. I'm going to do a science project and see which color of skittle is more dominant." We both started laughing.
"Sounds good, Alex, sounds good," said Caleb.
It's not easy to find a good science project to do. You just have to look around and find something you're interested in. But to make a science fair project good, you have to put your best effort into it, hard work, and do your best. That's how I got first place a couple of years.
(Note: Winners in the SMS Science Fair will be printed on this website sometime in the next few days.)

12 South students perform with honor choir

Twelve South Middle School students performed with the Junior High District Honor Choir Feb. 25 at the Carthage Senior High School Auditorium.
The concert was directed by Jon Buffington of Smith-Cotton High School, Sedalia, and Karen Watson of Carthage Junior High School.
South students selected during district tryouts were: Arlisa Arwood, Aaron Brown, Lauren Bynum, Jenny Hill, Alex Johnson, Grant Lewis, Becca Mascher, Spencer Moss, Matt Smith, Dustin Trebbe, Katie Wood, and Tamara Zajac.
The performance was presented by the Southwest Missouri Music Educators Association. That organization's board of directors includes Ms. Julie Yonkers, SMS choir director.

Friday, March 17, 2006

South named to state's most improved schools list

Six Joplin schools, including South Middle School have been named to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Most Improved Schools list.
The honor is given to schools which have shown the most improvement on the annual MAP tests. South earned a spot on the list when last year's seventh graders showed a 21 percent improvement on the communication arts test.
Other Joplin schools making the list were: Memorial Middle School, Duenweg Elementary, Columbia Elementary, Royal Heights Elementary, and Cecil Floyd Elementary.
The Joplin R-8 School District had more schools on the list than anyplace else in the state except St. Louis City and Springfield, according to the state department.

SMS eighth graders take top prizes at Project Citizen

Room 210 Staff Writer

Mr. Rocky Biggers' first and fifth hour classes earned top prizes March 6 at the annual Project Citizen competition in Jefferson City.
Mr. Biggers' first hour did a project on driver's education and proposed a pre-driver's ed program in eighth grade teacher advisory. His fifth hour class did its project on drunk driving.
After the students reached the capitol building, they immediately had to give their presentations in the House Chamber. During the awards ceremony following lunch, fifth hour received the award for best presentation and first hour qualified for nationals with its portfolio. The portfolio will be sent to Utah for judging in competition against similar ones from across the United States.
After the awards ceremony, the students were taken on a tour of the Capitol building.
Students participating included:
Fifth Hour- Ronald Bassett, Jacinda Benham, Jocelyn Benham, Andrew Boyer, William Braun, Mikel Burkhart, Lauren Bynum, Tyler Daniell, Justin Dumas, Jessica Erwin, Krystal Ford, Zac Goad, Henry Guzman, Cheyenne Hildebrand, Brenna Jamerson, Jenna Johnson, Brock King, Yuriy Meadows, Sally Mix, Spencer Moss, Oren Peak, Madison Pollack, Doug Pumphrey, Danielle Russell, Steven Shelton, Matthew Sherman, Ashlie Shimmin, Matt Smith, Paige Young, Tamara Zajac, Patrick Zuspann
First Hour- Cheyenna Beck, Maddison Billings, Zac Brower, Shelbi Cooper, William Davis, Paco Gonzalez, Kristin Grasser, David Greene, Dakota Hackworth, Angelica Hinojosa, Michelle Holden, Sierra Hutchinson, Kierstyn Hutson, Tilly Ingram, Candra Kaderly, Danielle Kleeman, Roni Leonard, Shelby McMillen, Blake Mills, Alex Needham, John Ness, Eric O'Hanlon, Tabitha Robbins, Ryan Simpson, Adam Sonnier, Trey Steele, Jeff Taylor, Tevin Triplett, Miranda Veith, Ashton White.
(Photo by Roni Leonard)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Three South students excel in Chamber essay contest

South Middle School students captured three of the top five places in the middle school division of the sixth annual Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Essay Contest.
The winners were announced during a ceremony today at Memorial Hall. More than 200 attended.
Chamber Board President Karen Lawson said more than 1,000 entries were received in the contest, which was held for grades K-12.
Mayra Castaneda, who was unable to attend the ceremony, placed second in the grade 6-8 division, and will receive a $100 savings bond. Rebecca Mascher captured third and received a $50 savings bond. Joanna Cole received "best of school" honors and was given a gift certificate.
This year's essay topic was "What Can I Do to Make My Neighborhood a Great Place to Live."
(Photos- Above: Joanna Cole and Rebecca Mascher display the certificates they received for placing in the sixth annual Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Essay Contest. Below: Rebecca and Joanna are interviewed by John Hacker, managing editor of

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Springfield News-Leader stories examine teen blogging

The positives and negatives of teen blogs are explored in a package of stories from the Springfield News-Leader. You can find the stories at the Room 210 Discussion blog.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Poetry contest finalists announced

Finalists in the annual South Middle School Eighth Grade Poetry Contest have been announced. The 12 poems have been submitted to a faculty committee, which will narrow them down to three. Those three poems will be published in the national "Teacher's Selection: Anthology of Eighth Grade Poetry." Though some students have mulitiple entries in the finalists, three separate poets will be selected for the honor.
Finalists, in alphabetical order, are:
Arlisa Arwood, Annie Finn, Cheyenne Hildebrand, Sierra Hutchinson, Melody Ketron, Becca Mascher, Jessica Myers, Fox Navarre (3 poems), Mary White (2 poems).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mr., Weaver nominated for Golden Apple Award

Mr. Jason Weaver, South Middle School seventh grade history teacher has been nominated for a Golden Apple Award for the second straight year. The award is sponsored by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. More information about Mr. Weaver will be featured in Room 210 Staff Writer Dylan Prauser's feature which will be posted later this week.
A reception for Golden Apple Awards nominees will be held today at 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall.

The secrets behind the choir room door

(Editor's note: While we really don't believe choir director Mrs. Julie Yonkers kept ace reporter Fox Navarre from covering the Honors Choir practice, far be it from us to stand in the way of Fox and a good story.)
Room 210 Staff Writer

After a polite young man denied entrance to the honors choir practice, I, with a heavy heart and a shattered ego, sat down outside the doorway to hear what could possibly be going on inside that room.
Behind the wooden door, the faint sounds of "For Else," were beautifully being played. It made me wonder, with the knowledge of it being a choir class, what they could possibly be singing along with it.
In the hallway, a sense of grave humor hovered at the mere thought of a conspiracy in that room. What was Honors Choir really up to?
It was then I realized my trusty mechanical pencil had decided to backfire and not refill itself with lead as it should. I considered inventing this magical mechanical pencil as I sprinted down the hallway to get a new pencil from the journalism room. I cried out in despair, "It's out of lead!" You would have been awfully proud of the way my colleague, Ashton White, and Mr. Turner handled the situation. It was a triangle of pencil tossing. Throwing the mechanical pencil to Ashton with one hand and catching the pencil tossed to me by Mr. Turner, I was off.
Again on the floor, I returned to hear the Pink Panther melody. Yet another tune lacking words as far as I know. What could Honors Choir possibly be doing behind that closed door?
Soon, the band teacher, Mr. Reed Barnes, showed up providing a nice break from the uncomfortable feeling of "aloneness," not to mention the cold hard tile that I was forced to sit on, rather than a nice secluded desk in the room to which I had been denied entrance. Mr. Barnes also provided Ashton, the one person who (after bombarding me with pictures and orders such as 'move your hair') kept me company, a beautiful picture of his fingers. I saw it in all of its glory.
Back to the suspicious Fur Else/Pink Panther song, which by this time, I'd realized was all one song. If I wasn't weirded out enough, this did it. To top everything off, the music stopped altogether and Mrs. Yonkers' (choir director Julie Yonkers) distinctive and demanding voice filled my ears with a simple word, "Girls!" There was then a chorus of "Whats" and so on until I hear, "I'll do it later." My speculation is that they're plotting to overthrow the school. Operation B Flat is their main mission of having the girls go out and flatten the principal's car tires. Of course, this is just my inference from what I hear. If I were respectfully allowed in, I wouldn't have to think such things.
It's at about this time that two high school girls opened the door to the room, letting a melancholy melody enter the hallway. They stepped in and I was forced to watch the painfully slow process of the door closing. Ladies and gentlemen, there is no sound more horrible than that click of a door finally closing all of the way, once again shunning you from your goal.
Then there's that halfhearted chuckle from the passerby who happened to overhear your moan of displeasure and saw you sprawled out along the floor, your arms outstretched toward that closed doorway and your eyes closed in torturous suffering. That's when I realized that Ashton had joined me again (this time without his camera and demands.)
About this time, Mr. Turner turned the corner, striding purposefully toward the band room, almost in perfect time with the now melancholy tune playing behind the door. He gave me that Mr. Turner half-smile that I am sure everyone knows; with the widening of the eyes and raising of the eyebrows. Then he disappeared into the band room. Maybe it is my growing paranoia, but what is everybody up to?
And then I was informed by a nice red haired male who looked vaguely familiar (as I'd possibly had a class or two with him) of the time and regretfully I was forced to leave the, oh so comfortable tile floor and now lively tune from within, the piano drowning out the faint singing voices to go write this fully, so all of you will know the horrors that may be going on inside that room.
If I had been allowed in, of course, there is a possibility that the principal's car tires are safe. Gotta watch that B flat.
(Pictured: Lonely ace reporter Fox Navarre listens and dutifully records what she hears in her quest to find out the secrets behind the choir room door. Photo by Ashton White)

Mrs. Mense always wanted to be a teacher

Room 210 Staff Writer

The inspiration for Mrs. Angela Mense, seventh grade communication arts teacher, to go into education came from a high school teacher, but her first teaching experience came years before that.
"I always wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl," Mrs. Mense said. "I forced my younger brother to be my student when we played school.
"When I was in high school," she said, "my English teacher, Mrs. Resa, helped me decide that teaching was the career for me because I saw how she connected with her students and I wanted to be just like her. English has always been my favorite subject because I enjoy reading and writing."
Mrs. Mense has not regretted her decision to become a teacher. "I love to be a teacher because I get to have an impact on students' lives and be around really smart and funny kids," she said.
Education is not just a learning experience for students," Mrs. Mense said. ""it is not always just about punctuation and grammar. It's mostly about making connections with the kids and inspiring them to give their best at everything they do."

JHS organization presents assembly for eighth graders

Joplin High School's Future Business Leaders of America members and sponsor presented an assembly for eighth graders this morning. The organization and its benefits for the students were explained. South eighth graders will be enrolling in their high school classes over the next few days.

Civil Rights project ends this week

Students in Mr. Randy Turner's eighth grade communication arts class completed the annual third quarter research project on the Civil Rights Movement this week by watching the video "Crisis on Central High," about the integration on Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957. The project included a 1,000 word research paper, an oral presentation, and a multi-media presentation. Room 210 staff writer Roni Leonard will have a complete story on the project later this week.
(Photo: Amanda Welch, Dylan Rapp, and Paige Young answer questions about their research papers on a 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., in which four little girls were killed.)

South sweeps Elks Essay Contest

South Middle School eighth graders swept the seventh and eighth grade division of the annual Joplin Elks Lodge Essay Contest, taking first, second, and third place.
This year's essay topic was: "What I see when I look up at the American flag."
Jessica Cashion took first place, followed by Grace Randolph, and Michelle Holden.
In the fifth and sixth grade division, South sixth grader Mary Jean Miller finished in third place.
(Photo: Front row, from left, Mary Jean Miller, Michelle Holden, Grace Randolph, Jessica Cashion. Back row, Mr. Ron Mitchell, SMS principal, in center with representativse of the Joplin Elks Lodge. Photo by Matt Smith)