Friday, June 29, 2007

Physicals set for R-8 athletes

(From the Joplin R-8 School District website)

Freeman Sports Medicine will offer free physicals to Joplin student athletes on Monday, July 30 at Freeman Sports Medicine Center (1111 McIntosh Circle Drive). All Joplin students who plan to participate in sports are required to have a physical. The schedule for physicals is as follows:

JHS students in Grades 11 and 12: 6:30 p.m.
JHS students in Grades 9 and 10: 7:00 p.m.
Joplin middle school students in Grade 8: 7:30 p.m.
Joplin middle school students in Grade 7: 8:00 p.m.
Due to the large number of athletes who will receive physicals, students and parents are asked to follow these important guidelines:

Please arrive at your assigned time.

Athletes should wear shorts and a T-shirt. (No mini-skirts please.)

If the student is under 18, they MUST have a parent’s signature on the physical form. Athletes will not be allowed to complete the physical without a parent’s signature on the form. (The parent may need to accompany the athlete to the physical or may need to pick up a form ahead of time from the Joplin High School main office.)

A representative from the school will be responsible to ensure that proper parental consent is obtained before athletes are allowed to participate.
Questions may be directed to Bill King at Freeman Sports Medicine (417-347-3737) or the Joplin High School Athletic Office (417-625-5242).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Globe editorial: Adding police officers a good move

In an editorial in today's edition, the Joplin Globe approved the move by the Joplin City Council Monday night to hire more police officers for the Joplin R-8 School District.

Thanks to that decision, the district will be able to have officers in place at the high school and at all three middle schools:

The Globe editorial said:

Increasing police presence on Joplin R-8's high-school and middle-school campuses was a no-brainer for the Joplin City Council the other night.
An October shooting incident allegedly involving a 13-year-old student at Memorial Middle School was an eye-opener for many parents, teachers and administrators in the district. An act of violence that only a few years ago was unthinkable in a school setting happened here.
The youngster allegedly fired a shot into the ceiling and then pointed the gun at the principal and pulled the trigger, but the weapon didn't discharge.
Police responded promptly to the scene and took the youngster into custody. But, in retrospect, having police officers stationed at the schools not only might head off similarly dangerous incidents, but also would send a strong message that such occurrences will not be tolerated.
The plan to add two Joplin police officers to the two that are already on duty as resource officers in schools makes excellent sense. One officer would be assigned to the high school and one each to the three middle schools. Two of the officers would teach drug-abuse resistance classes, and all of them would be available to respond to elementary schools if necessary.
"We may put one, two or three any place we may need to meet situations that arise," Joplin Superintendent Jim Simpson said. "We're going to be flexible and use these to meet the need of the school district, and be quick to change and adapt to meet the changing situation."
That makes sense. The key is that students and the public understand these are professionally trained law enforcement officers who should pose no threat or intimidation to students and whose job is to ensure the safety of the youngsters, faculty and administrators.
It is sad that security in schools requires the presence of police officers. But it is a fact of life in today's climate, dramatically underscored by the incident at Memorial Middle School last October, that schools are neither insulated against nor impervious to acts of mindless violence.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Enrollment information released

The following information on enrollment for the 2007-2008 school year has been posted on the Joplin R-8 School District website:

The Joplin School District’s 2007-2008 school year will begin on Wednesday, August 15, 2007. Any school age child whose parents or guardians are residents within the Joplin School District boundaries and who meets the legal and Board of Education requirements may enroll. All student enrollment (including kindergarten enrollment) is handled at the school the student will attend. To verify which elementary or middle school the student will attend, please contact Joplin Schools’ Transportation Department at 417-625-5300 or view the district boundary map. Other questions regarding enrollment can be directed to the school offices or to the Joplin School District administration building at 417-625-5200.

Parents/guardians are asked to bring the following items for enrollment:

-Legal Birth Certificate
-Up-to-date Immunization Records as required by the State of Missouri
-Social Security Card
-Proof of Residency [Examples of acceptable documents include: property tax statement, mortgage documents, house closing documents, lease/rental agreement, construction contract with proposed occupancy date, current utility bill (water, gas, electricity), or current charge card statement.]
-Proof of guardianship if the student lives within district boundaries with someone other than a parent.

For students transferring from another district, please bring:
-The name and address of the previous school attended or an unofficial transcript from that school.
-Special Education records, if applicable, such as an Individual Education Plan and a current diagnostic summary

New students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades who are not currently enrolled in Joplin Schools may enroll at their assigned middle school on Tuesday, August 7, 2007 or Wednesday, August 8, 2007 between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. All middle school students can pick up their schedules at their school’s open house on the evening of August 13, 2007. Locker assignments will be given out within the first few days of school. There will be no enrollment on Monday, August 13, 2007 due to district-wide meetings.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Joplin R-8 School District to add police officers

Joplin City Council voted tonight to pay for two police officers for the Joplin R-8 School District. This will enable the district to have officers at the high school and all three middle schools.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Joplin City Council considering crackdown on cruising

It appears the Joplin City Council is preparing for yet another crackdown on cruising Main, the most recent of several over the years.
Today's Joplin Globe features young people's reaction to the proposal:

By Mike Dwyer

Loud music, loads of people, fancy cars, and flurries of activity.

It’s cruise night on Joplin's Main Street, and it's easy to see why young people are drawn to it.

But all the elements that draw hoards of teenagers and young adults to Main Street have caused headaches for some in an increasingly residential downtown and prompted the City Council to revisit the issue of cruising.

The council discussed a variety of options for limiting what some have deemed an American pastime at an informal session June 3, but some cruising Main Street on a recent Saturday night said that placing further restrictions will limit recreational options for young people in a town they say doesn't have many.

Stefan Hokill, 17, of Carthage, said that if he weren't out with the crowd on Main Street on a Friday or Saturday night, he would "probably be going to parties and getting into a lot of trouble."

Instead, he said, he's out meeting people from Carl Junction, Webb City, Joplin — forming relationships that wouldn't have been fostered under any other circumstances.

"This is where we make friends," he said. "Carthage, Webb City — the rivalry — normally we hate each other."

Hokill said he usually stays out until about midnight and then goes home. Some downtown residents have expressed concerns that cruising-related activities often extend well into the early morning hours.

Cruising is defined by the city as a vehicle driving two times in the same direction past a control point during a two-hour period. Some say concerns raised are not from the cruising itself but rather the problems that are considered cruising-related — illegal drug activity, excessive noise, loitering and other peace disturbances.

According to city statistics, the Joplin Police Department received more than 900 calls in reference to cruising-related activities in 2005 and nearly 1,600 in 2006.

John Maxwell, 16, of Webb City, and Autumn Dorris, 18, of Carl Junction, said that fighting is a fairly common sight on a cruise night.

"A lot of drama starts on Main," Dorris said.

Maxwell said he probably sees one fight every weekend.

The council reached a consensus that an increased police presence on Main Street would be desirable, but these cruisers said that the Joplin Police Department, which accrues $20,000 a year in cruising-related overtime expense, has an overwhelming presence on Main Street.

"I think you see cops on every corner, pretty much," Dorris said.

Another idea endorsed by the council, though it took no action June 3, was to ban parking on Main Street during cruising hours. Councilman Phil Stinnett was a proponent of the idea, saying that it would eliminate many associated problems.

Cruisers balk at the idea. Cory Burton, 17, of Carthage, said with the price of gas at nearly $3 a gallon, he wondered who could afford a cruise night if parking were prohibited.

"The only place we can park is on the street," he said. "You've got to be able to park. Really, you’re here to congregate with people."

An ordinance prohibiting cruising was between 18th and 28th streets was passed in 1992. An idea discussed by the council was extending that ban to include the downtown area and limit the activity to the eight blocks between 10th and 18th streets where there are no residential units.

"That limits our places to hang out," Hokill said in his opposition to extending the ban.

Maxwell said cruisers driving north on Main Street through downtown typically turn around and head back north at First Street or Second Street.

The Police Department is in the process of gathering more statistics on cruising and related activities to present to the City Council in a few weeks. The council is expected to take some sort of action at that time.

Amber Lasley, 17, or Carl Junction, said she would understand if some limitations were imposed but a win-win situation must be worked so downtown residents and cruisers can coexist.

"Reasonable restrictions would be fine, but you can't ban cruising altogether," she said. "If there's no fighting, no vandalism, then I think it's fine. You’re wanting to meet new people."

Hearing for Memorial Middle School shooter concludes

It will be a few weeks before Jasper County Circuit Court Judge David Mouton makes a ruling on whether Memorial Middle School shooter Thomas Gregory White, 14, will be returned to juvenile court. Coverage of Friday's hearing was included in today's Joplin Globe:

By Jeff Lehr

A Jasper County judge heard arguments Friday on a motion by attorneys for 14-year-old Thomas White, certified to stand trial as an adult for a Joplin school-shooting incident, to remand the case to juvenile court.

Circuit Judge David Mouton said at the conclusion of the hearing that he is not as yet inclined to send the case back to juvenile court.

"As I've indicated, the court is not convinced by any of the arguments that the statute passed by the Missouri Legislature is unconstitutional," Mouton said of a 1995 change in state law that lowered the minimum age of juveniles for certification to stand trial as adults from 14 to 12.

Mouton said he also does not view it as his job as a trial judge to be ruling on the constitutionality of acts of the Legislature.

But the judge delayed a decision on the motion to remand until he has a chance to read a particular case cited by White’s attorneys at the hearing. Mouton also gave those attorneys time to file any additional arguments they wish to make with respect to the motion.

The judge set July 6 as the deadline for any further written arguments on the motion. He said he would make his ruling on the motion soon after that.

Several people showed up at the hearing in support of the defendant and his parents, Greg and Norma White, of Joplin. The boy's mother has stated publicly that she fears the Jasper County prosecutor’s office is attempting to make an example of her son by prosecuting him as an adult. She maintains that he was the victim of bullying by other students at the school and has said that she does not believe he tried to shoot anyone.

James Egan, one of three public defenders representing the boy, came prepared to call several expert witnesses in an effort to show how a certification hearing held in December was not a proper hearing.

The prosecutor’s office registered objections to revisiting certification issues at the circuit court level. Assistant Prosecutor John Nicholas argued that, lacking any showing of legal defect in the conducting of the hearing in December, the court has no cause to remand the case to juvenile court. He said if the judge were to do that, the defense would wind up calling the same witnesses to testify on the same issues that were considered in December.

"I mean: They want three bites at the apple," Nicholas told the judge.

The judge allowed Egan to call one witness when the hearing first began at 8:30 a.m., prior to the remainder of the morning’s court docket. But when the hearing resumed in the afternoon, the judge said it would be necessary to hear if there were any legal reason to remand the case before any other witnesses were called.

The witness called in the morning was Vince Hillyer, president of the Boys and Girls Town of Missouri. Hillyer told the court that White had been referred to them within the past year for possible admission to Boys Town and had been accepted there. He said he met with the boy in jail for 20 to 30 minutes earlier this year and found him to be "a typical kid," not beyond "reproach" and not a child who didn't have feelings.

Hillyer said Boys and Girls Town of Missouri has had a contract with the Missouri Division of Youth Services for the past three years as a placement option for the state's troubled youth. He said they have 20 to 30 state placements at any given time and can keep a boy or girl ordered there by the courts up to the age of 21.

Hillyer said Boys Town recently dealt with a teen from St. Louis in the exact same situation as the White boy, and he progressed to where he pursued college studies.

"So I just hope to have that same opportunity with Thomas," Hillyer told the court.

The judge asked Hillyer that if White were to be convicted as an adult, would Boys Town be a sentencing option under the state's dual jurisdiction program for juveniles certified as adults. Hillyer acknowledged that Boys Town would take any defendant ordered there by a court, adult or juvenile.

Egan argued in the afternoon that White had received ineffective assistance of counsel and been denied due process at the hearing in December. His attorney at the time, Chuck Lonardo, failed to call witnesses, like Hillyer or anyone from DYS, to show the judge at the hearing the full range of options available through the juvenile court system and to dispute the local juvenile officer's contention that juvenile placements with the state often wind up back in the community in less than a year, Egan argued.

Circuit Judge William Crawford certified White to stand trial as an adult in December primarily out of concern with the threat his alleged actions posed to the community.

"Nothing you heard today suggests that Judge Crawford's ruling was improper or void on its face," Nicholas told the judge.

He said the right to due process under the law does not guarantee a defendant that particular evidence will be presented but simply affords the opportunity to offer evidence, Nicholas said. He said it also is not proper for the defense to be raising constitutional arguments at this stage in a criminal prosecution.

"He does not have post-conviction relief until there has been a conviction," Nicholas said of the defendant.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hearing held for Memorial Middle School shooter

A motion to have Memorial Middle School shooter Thomas Gregory White, 14, returned to juvenile court was heard today during a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court:

The motion seeks a remand of the case to juvenile court. White was certified to stand trial as an adult on felony charges at a hearing in December. The boy’s attorneys claim the hearing was not properly conducted and called the president of the Boys and Girls Town of Missouri to testify Friday morning regarding a placement option for the court.

The Jasper County prosecutor’s office objected to the testimony and remains opposed to any remand of the case not based on legal defect of the certification hearing. Circuit Judge David Mouton indicated he will resume listening to arguments this afternoon.

According to Jasper County Circuit Court records, the hearing concluded this afternoon with the defense asking to have until July 6 to provide more documentation to the court to back its request to have White returned to juvenile court.

Details from this afternoon's session will be posted on Room 210 News when they are available.

Police officers may be placed at middle schools, high school

The Joplin City Council and Joplin R-8 School District are discussing having police officers assigned to each of the three middle schools and to the high school, according to an article posted today on the Joplin Globe website:

Superintendent Jim Simpson said the district has had two city police officers devoted to it for the duration of his six-year tenure, but the shooting at Memorial Middle School in October highlighted the need for an increased police presence.

"This came about post-Memorial shooting, when it was obvious that the school could benefit with additional SROs," Simpson said, "especially in the environment that we find ourselves in now in America, in which schools have become areas where shootings occur."

Should the ordinance be approved, one officer will be stationed at each of the three middle schools and the high school, Simpson said, and they will respond to incidents at elementary schools as needed.

South talent show airing on Jet 14

I don't have exact times but the South Middle School Talent Show and Awards Assembly from May 24 began airing this week and should continue to air the reminder of the summer.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Family, friends say goodbye to Weston Powell

Funeral services were held Thursday for former South Middle School student Weston Powell who drowned June 3. The following is taken from the Joplin Globe internet site:

By Melissa Dunson

A sea of T-shirts bearing his face, his name and a collection of his sayings flowed Thursday afternoon into College Heights Christian Church in celebration of a teenager's life.

Hundreds from across the Joplin area showed up to honor the memory of Weston Powell, a 15-year-old Joplin boy who drowned June 3.

The people represented all walks of life. The hair of some was white with age; others sported hair dyed metallic red. They came with lip rings and toddlers, tattoos and Bibles, bandannas and roses. They came in flip-flops and suit jackets. There were skateboarders, high-school students, grandparents and pastors.

They were brought together by a young man who had touched them all.

"That's why you’re all here," said College Heights Christian Church minister Jay St. Clair. "Because for a season you enjoyed a relationship with a 15-year-old boy that was really cool."

Glenn Powell, Weston's father, always said his son was special. He said he was never more sure of that than during the funeral Thursday, when members of his blood family sat next to his skateboard family from The Bridge, a Joplin teen center where he spent most of his free time for the past three years.

"I never knew how many people he drew to himself," Glenn Powell said. "He didn't waste any time, except when he was sleeping. But the rest of the time, he just kept trying to figure out how to make this place brighter.

"Kids are always different at home, but now that I hear all these stories (about Weston), I think that he's been listening to me all along. I've never been so proud of my son in all my life."

Lindsay Matush, a staff member at The Bridge and one of Weston's friends, said he was a friend to all types of people, regardless of their age, race, gender or style, and that his funeral and memorial service showed it. People who normally wouldn't find themselves in a church sat through the funeral service, and people who have never been to a skate park stood on the ramps that were so familiar to Weston during a memorial service later at The Bridge.

Cassady Utley, a friend of Weston's and a native of Webb City, said everyone who met Weston loved him, and he returned the favor. Another friend, Joey Verhaar, of Joplin, said Weston always brought a smile on his face and a good time for everyone.

"That's my homeboy; I'll miss him a lot," Verhaar said of Weston.

During both services, friends and family members shared stories that painted a clear picture of the teen. Weston had a passion for shoes, and he died with 21 pairs in his closet. He loved skateboarding and intended to turn pro after he graduated. Weston won first place in a skateboarding contest at The Bridge in 2005 as a beginner, first place at the Summer Contest Series of 2006 in the intermediate category, and first place at the JoMo Showdown only a month ago as an advanced rider.

He was always asking his parents, Glenn and Michelle, for money because he gave away much of what he owned. From clothes to skateboards, Weston gave to everyone he loved, whether it was a hug and a smile for someone who was down in the dumps, or spending hours cleaning a house for a friend who had wrist surgery.

"If he could have, he'd have given away the shirt off of his back," said Kendra Wilson, one of Weston's neighbors and friends. "There was just something about him. He had this light in his eyes."

As the day memorializing Weston drew to a close, Jeremiah Anderson, manager of the Autumn Ramp Park at The Bridge, gave an altar call to the hundreds attending the celebration-of-life service. Scores of youths responded.

"He had a mission in his short 15 years, and he accomplished it as shown by all of you sitting out there," St. Clair said to the funeral attendees. "He did not die in our timing, but his life will not be wasted."

Globe to offer coverage of Weston Powell services

The Joplin Globe will have coverage in its Friday edition of today's services for former South Middle School student Weston Powell.
When the information is put on the Globe's internet site, a link will be provided from Room 210 News.

Jarrett Cook is new SMS assistant principal

Mr. Jarrett Cook, a teacher in the Seneca R-7 School District, has been named assistant principal at South Middle School.
Mr. Cook was chosen out of six finalists who were interviewed June 7 at the district administration building.
While at Seneca, Mr. Cook has taught fifth grade, sixth grade science, and high school social studies. During the 2006-2007 school year, in addition to teaching social studies, he was an assistant football coach and was head coach for boys and girls track.
He is a graduate of Seneca High School, received his bachelor's degree at Missouri Southern State University, and completed his masters at William Woods.

Mr. Cook is married and has three small children.

According to Mr. Ron Mitchell, principal, as soon as Mr. Cook has finished his summer duties in Seneca he will be at South getting his office situated and ready to meet faculty and staff.

Mr. Cook replaces Mr. Gregg Klinginsmith, who left South after one year to take an administrative position in the Wentzville School District.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Services set for Weston Powell

Funeral services have been scheduled for Weston Powell, 15, a former South Middle School student who drowned June 3. The information from Parker Mortuary is featured below:

Weston Powell, age 15, of Joplin, passed away from an apparent drowning accident on Sunday, June 3, 2007 near Riverton, KS.

Weston was born August 26, 1991, in Mesa, AZ, son of Glenn Powell and Michelle Michael Powell. The family moved to Joplin in 1995. Weston was a student at Joplin High School having just completed 9th grade. He was an avid skateboarder who strived for improvement of his skills over the past few years. He enjoyed skating at The Bridge, where he was a member of the “The Bridge Family,” and had won several competitions. He was loved by all the staff members at The Bridge, who described Weston “He always had a smile on his face, and was very helpful to others”. Weston was always willing to help other skaters learn the sport, and advance their skill level. He won first place at The Bridge Contest in 2005, first place at the Summer Contest Series of 2006, and most recently won first place at the JoMo Showdown in May of 2007 in the Advanced Division. Weston attended Carterville Christian Church.

Survivors include his parents, Glenn and Michelle Powell of Joplin; sister, Stephanie Powell of the home; grandparents, Sharon Sager of Kansas City, Kansas, Johnny and Lynnette Powell of Naco, AZ; several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Memorial Services will be Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. at College Heights Christian Church with Jay St. Clair, Minister, officiating.

There will be a celebration of Weston’s life following the service at The Bridge beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to The Bridge.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

JHS Dance team clinic June 11-15

The Joplin High School Varsity Dance Team will hold a dance clinic 9 a.m. to 12 noon Monday, June 11, through Friday, June 15, at Martin Luther School, 2616 Connecticut Avenue for girls entering grades K-8.
The cost is $50.
Snacks are provided.
Pick up information and registration forms at Martin Luther School
or call 624-1403.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Youth ministers, counselors to be available at The Bridge

Those who frequent The Bridge, Joplin's meeting place for teens, are grieving the loss of former South Middle School student Weston Powell, whose body was discovered today in Spring River.
Bridge officials said today on their website that ministers and counselors will be available to help anyone who is having a hard time dealing with Weston's death. The following message is posted on the site:

"We are grieving the loss of Weston Powell - a member of our Bridge family. The Bridge will be open regular hours: 11am - 9pm all week and we will be available to pray, talk, cry, laugh, and remember with any of you who want to join us. There will be a special space for you to gather your thoughts, look at pictures, remember Weston, and talk if you need to. There will be youth ministers and counselors on site. We would love for you to come and be with us."

Anyone wishing to leave comments or share memories of Weston can also leave them at the end of this post.

Body of former South student found

The body of Weston Powell, 15, who had been missing since Sunday, was found today in the Spring River. The following was posted earlier today on the Joplin Globe website:

By Roger McKinney

RIVERTON, Kan. — Searchers today found the body of 15-year-old Weston Powell, of Joplin, Mo., in Spring River nearly four days after he jumped into the river from Boston Mills Bridge.

Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Norman told reporters the body was found around 1:30 p.m. today on the water near the west bank of the river, about 350 to 400 yards from the bridge. He said searchers had been concentrating on that area since Sunday, while also continuing to look elsewhere.

Powell was among five males, three adults and two juveniles, who were jumping from the bridge into the swiftly-moving and rain-swollen river around 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Cherokee County Undersheriff Kent Soucy said the other four had successfully jumped from the bridge and swam to shore, but Powell was seized by the current. Soucy said his friends, all from Joplin, saw Powell surface once but never saw him after that.

The bridge on Lostine Road is about four miles north of the highway bridge in Riverton

"The river had just started to become manageable within the last 18 to 24 hours," Norman said of the conditions for searchers.

Norman said the area where the body was found had been focused on by cadaver-sniffing dogs.

"All indications were we were looking in the right area," Norman said.

Norman said he was glad that Powell’s body was found when it was, because he was preparing to suspend the search because of thunderstorms in the forecast for Thursday night.

"We were a little concerned today about the weather that was going to be approaching us," Norman said. "We had several boats in the water. We were actually going to pull our boats off at about five, but again, thankfully, we found what we were looking for."

Norman said he told Powell’s mother and father that his body had been found.

"I visited with mom and dad and I can tell you that they are relieved because it brings closure to them," Norman said.

He said the family members had been through an emotional four days.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family," Norman said.

(Family and friends of Weston Powell are shown during a prayer circle for him held today shortly after word was received that his body had been recovered. Joplin Globe photo by Roger McKinney)

Assistant principal candidates interviewed

Six candidates for the South Middle School assistant principal position were interviewed today at the District Administration Building.
The successful candidate will replace Gregg Klinginsmith, who left for an administrative position in the Wentzville School District after one year at South.

Those interviewing the six finalists were: assistant superintendents, Dr. Stephen Doerr, assistant superintendent, Mr. Doug Domer, and Ms. Charlotte Miller, South Middle School Principal Mr. Ron Mitchell, and SMS teachers Mr. Rocky Biggers and Mr. Randy Turner.

The new assistant principal is expected to be named sometime next week.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Search continues for former South student

The search continues for former South Middle School student Weston Powell, who disappeared Sunday after jumping off a bridge near Riverton, Kan.

According to the Joplin Globe:

Cherokee County Undersheriff Kent Soucy said at 5:30 p.m. Monday that the search might continue throughout the night. He said the dogs probably would continue working until sunset.

Powell was carried away by the swift current around 6:30 p.m. Sunday after leaping into the rain-swollen river from the Boston Mill Bridge, Soucy said. The bridge is on Lostine Road, north of Riverton.

Soucy said Powell was among five males from Joplin who were jumping off the bridge. Two were juveniles, and the others were adults. Four members of the group had previously jumped in and made it back to shore safely.

Soucy said Powell's friends saw him surface once, but then they lost sight of him. The search began Sunday night, with about 30 people participating. About eight boats were in the water on Monday.

Lindsay Matush, a staff member at The Bridge in Joplin and a friend of Powell's, said Monday: "Weston is a phenomenal guy. He is kind and compassionate, and fun and funny."

She said Powell, a student at Joplin High School, recently took first place in a skateboard competition at The Bridge.

"He is a wonderful, talented, well-rounded person, and he has absolutely blessed anyone who got to know him," Matush said.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sports editor Leach writes last story

Room 210 Sports Editor

Well here I am writing my last sports report as an eighth grader leaving South. I would like to say thanks to all my teachers I will take what u have taught me and use it to my best.
As one of the eighth graders who played in the basketball game, I can say we put up a good fight. The teachers did an awesome job besides Mr.Pliler not being able to stay on his feet. And for most of the teachers being eight inches taller than us. We had fun even if we did lose. We did better than last year's eighth graders, which in some ways surprised us. The final score was 72 to 47. I would personally like say good job to the teachers. But I would also like to say good job to my team mates we took our lose well and we played hard.
It has been a fun writing for the South Spotlight and a special thanks to Mr. Turner who put me as something I love " Sports Editor."Good luck to all the new eighth graders and have a great year.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Some photos from yearbook signing day

The next-to-last day of the 2006-2007 school year was the traditional yearbook signing with some time spent during each of the first five hours passing around the yearbooks.
The annual faculty-eighth grade basketball game was played during sixth and seventh hours. (Yearbooks were handed out the previous day during sixth hour and signing took place sixth and seventh hours.)
Featured are a few photos from Mr. Randy Turner's eighth grade communication arts classes.

Moss takes position at Kelsey Norman

Mrs. Gala Moss, sixth grade block teacher at South Middle School for the past two years, is leaving, but will remain in the Joplin R-8 School District.
Mrs. Moss told fellow South faculty members in an e-mail today she will teach fifth grade at Kelsey Norman Elementary School during the 2007-2008 school year.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Awards, honors for South listed for 2006-2007 school year

The 2006-2007 school year was another successful one at South Middle School. Students received honors throughout the year, including the ones listed below:


6th Grade: Olivia Hampton
Drew Welch
7th Grade: Mariah Sanders
Logan Perry
8th Grade: Savanah Sweeton
Nathan Morris
6th Grade: Thea Voutiritsas, Elaina Warren, Abby Bass, Alexis Woods, Victoria Baker, Storm Whittington, Karrissa Dowell Clayton Brown, Austin Finn, Ethan Warstler, Ben Story, Hunter Mills, kevin Justus, Dakota Smith
7th Grade: Molly Baker, Tozia Burris, Shalea Purdy, Taylor Camden, Sarah Kessler, Raycie Thompson
Marcus Clark, Matt Cruzan, Gareth Evans, DeSean Triplett, Wade Mathis
8th Grade: Victoria Smith, Mollie Sanders, Breanna Baker, Blanca Castaneda, Samantha Weaver, Faith Mowry, Kelsey Pace. Grant Evans, Dylan Prauser, Dustin Hill, James Hill

6th Grade – Chris Harpole
7th Grade – Beau Scroggins
8th Grade – Carl Long
Breanna Martin
Seth Hurtt


Grand Prize Winner: Mollie Sanders
6th Grade Winner: Thomas Richins
6th Grade Runner Up: Bethani Patterson
7th GradeWinner: Mariah Sanders
7th Grade Runner-up: Nathan Stripling
8th Grade Winner: Tiffany Douglas
8th Grade Runner-up: Cindy Pham

Winner: Elaina Warren

Superior Rating on both projects.
“Teen Courts”
“Joplin Recycling Program”
Dalton Anderson, Breanna Baker, Jacob Bennett, Austin Bolt, Dakota Gilmore, Christy Hernandez, Dusty Hill, Seth Hurtt, Will Kessler, Jessica Knight, Kelley Leach, Breanna Martin, Faith Mowry, Matt McCoy, Lainie Nicolas, DeAngelo Nunnally, Dylan Prauser, Mollie Sanders, Cassie Schulze, Alicia Shofner, Grant Stewart,Daniel Story, Tyler Walker, Steven Williams, Kendra Wilson, Katie Wood, Craig Yeoman and Ken Zhang.

7th & 8th Grade Division:
Taylor Tressler – 1st Place
Breanna Martin – 3rd Place

Top A.R. Point Winners:
6th Grade – Calvin Alumbaugh – 638.9 points
7th Grade – Samantha Rice – 269.2 points
8th Grade – Hunter Bailey – 500.8 points
6th Grade:
300 + Points: Laila Douglas, Alex Asher, Damon Monasco
200 + Points: Olivia Hampton, Danielle Doerr, Aaron Daum,
Anna Johnson
100 + Points: Thomas Richins, Tori Thompson, Emily Yarbrough, Erin Johnson, Gabe Sachetta, Abby Bass, Austin Fenn, Curt Nollner, Alex Hill, Felisha Derrick, Caroline Dutton, Blake Price, Isaiah Hicks, Elaina Warren, Kelsey Gould, Thea Voutiritsas, Mollie Baker, Dakota Smith, Hunter Mills
7th Grade:
200 + Points: Mary Jean Miller, Raycie Thompson
100 + Points: Merisha Alderman, Jonathan Ballard, Lindsey Beall, Emily Brown , Taylor Camden, Tanner Crawford, Matthew Cruzan, Zachary Dorris, Gareth Evans, Brittany Frisbie, Brandon Holman, Andrew Ideker, Alex Kangethe, Alex Karns, Amanda Kennedy, Sarah Kessler, Tera Knight, Luke Lenhart, Wade Mathis, Sarah Matthews, Ian Mitchell, Travis Morris, Holly O’Dell, Shalea Purdy, Mariah Sanders, Dalton Smith, Shawn Spicer, Nathan Stripling, Isaiah Stout, Greggory VanLoon, and Casee Wheeler
8th Grade:
200 + Points: Ysabeau Carroll, Mylissa Asher and
Catherine Stewart
100 + Points: Ethan Carder, Nikki Carter, Lane Hampton, Dusty Hill, Kylie Hurrell, Alex Johnson, Dylan King, Matt Lemieux, Rachel Richins, Mollie Sanders, and Daniel Story

Teacher’s Selection: Anthology of Eighth Grade Poetry
Becky Cooper
Jaclyn Wright
Short Story Contest Winners:
1. Rachel Richins
2. Tim Scroggins
3. Hannah Doerge
4. Brian Geier
5. Dylan Prauser
6. Christy Hernandez
7. Christen Cool
8. Matt Lemieux
9. Laila Douglas
10. Victoria Nolan
Essay Contest Winners:
1. Victoria Smith
2. Taylor Tressler
3. Faith Mowry
4. Demi White
5. Breanna Martin
6. Jordan Chambers
7. Raycee Thompson
8. Dylan Prauser
9. Colten Hawkins
10. Rachelle Hughbank

Dylan Prauser and Savanah Sweeton

Dylan Prauser and Ashlee Stephens

Faith Mowry and Victoria Smith

6th: Haley Bowers, Caleb Garton, Alex Hill, Taylor Parker, Charrles Smith and Shane Striegel
7th: Tolby Clemons, Sarah Kessler, Jacob Lyons, Bayley Strella and DeSean Triplett
8th: Shanna Striegel

Ken Zhang (2004 – 2007)


Mollie Sanders
Taylor Mulik

7th: Chloe Potts
Jeffery Terry
8th: Becky Cooper
Dusty Hill

Andrew Ideker, Mary Jean Miller, Victoria Smith, Kylie Hurrell, Savanah Sweeton, Jackie Bogarin, Amanda Kennedy, Blake Lamb, Hannah Doerge, Holly O’Dell, Cindy Pham, Rachael Foster, Katie Wood, Gina Casada, Wade Mathis, Shawn Spicer, Sarah Kessler, Sydney Long, Bayley Strella, Steven Denmark, James Hill, Taylor Mulik, Chloe Potts, Taylor Camden, Breanne Diles, Mariah Sanders, Jordan Chambers, Thea Voutiritsas, Brittney Hudson, Alex Karns, and Tamera Wirick

6th Grade:
Gold: Sherry Marlett
Silver: Danielle Doerr
Tanner Heritage
Bronze: Emily Goucher
7th Grade:
Gold: Nicole Yeoman
Brandon Hollman
Silver: Chloe Potts
Sarah Kessler
Bronze: Mariah Sanders
Levina Hayzlett
8th Grade:
Gold: Corey Hounschell
Craig Yeoman
Silver: Alexis Hawk
Ken Zhang
Bronze: Taylor Mulik
Grant Evans

2nd Place: Calvin Alumbaugh – Physics and Astronomy
3rd Place: Sarah Kessler – Chemistry and Biochemistry

1st Place: Alex Hill – Earth and Environmental Sciences
Calvin Alumbaugh – Physics and Astronomy
Olivia Hampton – Plant Sciences

6th Grade:
9th Place (tie) – CONCEPTS – Calvin Alumbaugh
Honorable Mention (tie) - INDIVIDUAL Calvin Alumbaugh
7th Grade:
6th Place (tie) – TARGET – Sarah Kessler
7th Place (tie) – INDIVIDUAL – Sarah Kessler

Junior Individual Exhibit – Sarah Kessler, “Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross”

Junior Individual Documentary
1st Place – Corey Hounschell, “The Battle of the Bulge”

Junior Group Documentary
3rd Place – Wade Mathis & Ian Mense (NMS), Pickett’s Charge”

(Students donated more than 100 service hours and more than $1,000 to the Joplin community. Those organizations that were supported included the Ronald McDonald House of the Four States, Joplin R-8 School Bond Issue, and the Carol Miller Basketball Benefit Fundraiser).
7th Grade: Molly Baker, Shane Ellis, Gareth Evans, Brittany Frisbie, Jordan Hamilton, Brandon Holman, Lauren Layne, Richie Lyons, Chloe Potts, Shalea Purdy, Shawn Spicer and Bayley Strella
8th Grade: Breanna Baker, Christen Cool, Becky Cooper, Leah Forkner, Christy Hernandez, Kane McCaslin, Amanda Needham, Cindy Pham, Dylan Prauser, Cassey Schulze, Tim Scroggins and Victoria Smith

Dalton Link, Carl Long, Christian Underwood and Andrew Burkhart

Kelsey Gould

Aaron Hodges and Corey Hounschell


1 rating: Aaron Hodges – Trombone Solo
Geoff Aiken – Trombone Solo
Sarah Kessler – Trumpet Solo
Grant Evans – Snare Drum Solo
Chyenne Howard and Austin Bolt – Alto Sax Duet
Steven Denmark and Tiffany Douglas – Mixed Woodwind
Tyler Beal and Nathan Morris – Trumpet Duet
Amanda Needham and Nathan Morris – Trumpet Duet

3 ensembles with I rating
3 ensembles with II rating

Haley Bowers – I rating
Krystal Schulze – II rating
Lexi Brown – I rating
Hannah Cady – I rating
Storm Whittington – I rating
Felisha Derrick – II rating
Jordan Chambers – I rating
Mariah Sanders – I rating
Taylor Camden – I rating
Sarah Matthews – I rating
Tori Mitchell – I rating
Adam Schelling – I rating
Nikki Carter – I rating

Concert Choir – I rating

MY TEACHER ROCKS – Month of December 2006
Barb Rooker – 6th, 7th, 8th Grade Math Teacher
Leah Forkner – Student writing nomination

Interview sessions set for South assistant principal posts

A half dozen candidates for the vacant South Middle School assistant principal position will be interviewed Thursday, June 7, at the R-8 Administration Building.

The interviews will be conducted by a team consisting of administrators, plus SMS faculty members.
The new assistant principal replaces Gregg Klinginsmith, who is leaving after one year to take an administrative position in the Wentzville School District.

Burkett chosen for Missouri Fine Arts Academy

Daniel Burkett, who will be a senior at Joplin High School this fall, is one of 186 juniors and seniors selected to attend the 2007 Missouri Fine Arts Academy scheduled for June 10-30 on the campus of Missouri State University, Springfield.

According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website:

This is the twelfth year for the state-supported Fine Arts Academy which provides a unique and challenging learning environment for talented visual and performing artists -- singers, dancers, painters, musicians and sculptors – from Missouri high schools.

During the three-week residential program, students take part in interdisciplinary coursework, where various aspects of the arts are explored, experienced and integrated. Students devote part of each day to classes in their specific area of artistic expertise. Each afternoon includes other discipline-specific classes, along with private and ensemble lessons.

Evenings are packed with cultural, educational and social functions designed to help broaden each student’s experiences as an artist, a learner and a citizen. The academy’s co-curricular activities include gallery visits, workshops with guest artists and alumni, and community service activities that focus on the arts.

Each public and private high school in Missouri is eligible to nominate at least one student to attend the Fine Arts Academy. The participants are chosen through a competitive selection process that requires students to submit written applications and portfolios or performance