Thursday, February 28, 2008

South Middle School's Asia'h rocks American Idol

Room 210 Staff Writer
Asia'h Epperson went to South Middle School during her sixth through eighth grade years. Now she is on one of the most watched shows in America, which is American Idol! Asia'h’s audition song in Atlanta was “How Do I Live?” by Leann Rimes, a tribute to her father because he passed away two days before her audition. Hollywood week, Asia'h sang “I'm Going Down”. When it was down to the top 12 girls, Asia'h sang “Piece Of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. After she sang her song, Randy Jackson (American Idol judge) said, “I love that you brought a little you to it and a little Janis Joplin to it. You did your thing to it, I was impressed”. Paula Abdul (American Idol judge) said, “You had fun up there. You could tell you had some really good moments”. Simon Cowell (American Idol judge) said, “For me it was my favorite of the night. You let go. You’re fun, you’re likable, you’ve got a good voice, you’re not taking yourself too seriously. That is what it is all about”.

Wednesday was the ladies turn to sing for the judges and for America. It was down to the top ten contestants. Asia'h Epperson was one of the top ten contestants. Asia'h sang, “All By Myself” and was contestant number ten. Randy Jackson said, “I know you've been sick in all week and it was a difficult song with the highest degree of difficulty. Paula said, “You did have some problems on the low parts but the ending is what counts”. Simon had to say, “ It is one of the diva songs and you got to be incredible to sing that song. You almost pulled it off. I think the song it too big for you”.

Here are some facts about Asia'h Epperson. Asia'h is 19 years old and was born and raised in Joplin Missouri. She has two brothers, Stratton and Donovan. Stratton is 22 years old and Donovan is a Senior at Webb City High School. Asia’h attended Joplin Schools through ninth grade. She finished high school in Atlanta where she lived with her father. She attends Villa Heights Christian Church and did plays and musical things. When she was around 9 or 10 Asia’h and her incredible young voice saved the Church Christmas program when all the other main characters came down with the flu the day of the program. Something America doesn't know about Asia'h is that she was a cheerleader for several years. She loved doing it, making up some moves and getting into it. There are large groups on Facebook that support Asia'h.

Asia'h auditioned in Atlanta where her father and some of her friends lived. Asia'h’s mom and grandmother went to Los Angeles last week to visit her. They got to meet the three judges, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Simon had huge bodyguards around him everywhere he went. Asia'h’s grandmother said that the American Idol people were hard on the contestants and the work they do is not easy. They are expected to do things when first asked. They rehearse everyday. Her grandmother said that Asia'h has matured and is having the time of her life. She also said to be aware that you only see what the show producers want you to see. Asia'h wants to be the next American Idol. Good Luck Asia'h!

Eagle Time coming to South Middle School

Room 210 Editor

The teachers at South Middle School and Mr. Ron Mitchell, principal, have noticed that there are a lot of kids not doing well in school. So the teachers and Mr. Mitchell have decided to create a guided study hall time beginning on the first day of 4th quarter.
Monday will be the normal T.A., Tuesday-Thursday will be a guided study hall, and Friday will be a read day like normal. Students with good grades will just read or work on other homework on Tuesday-Thursday. Students with lower grades will work on their missing work and if they need extra help then they will go to the class in which they need help in.
Tuesdays are Eagle Time for the sixth graders, Wednesday is Eagle Time for the seventh graders, and Thursdays are Eagle Time for the eighth graders. Eagle Time is where students with good grades are able to go play in the gym and auditorium or go to a classroom designated for reading. At mid-quarter, the teachers will evaluate the students' grades and if they improved then they will be able to go to Eagle Time and work on other work. This system also works the other way, if a students grade isn't passing anymore then the student will have to work on their missing work to get their grade up.
The teachers and Mr. Mitchell have decided to create this guided study time to help cut down on ZAPs and ASDs, as well as get grades up. This program will be implemented in the new school. They will even have more time for this guided study hall since the cafeteria will be bigger. And there will be no need for a third lunch period, Mr. Mitchell said.

"We just want to help students get their grades up and help them succeed."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Former SMS student Asia'h Epperson shines on American Idol

Former South Middle School student Asiah Epperson (2000 to 2003) performed on American Idol tonight. The following passage comes from The Turner Report, the blog written by SMS eighth grade communications arts teacher Mr. Randy Turner. Mr. Turner liveblogged the program:

Asia'h Epperson told more than 30 million people just now that she loved her time as a middle school cheerleader, saying "Go Eagles, and did a Joplin Eagles cheer, which should raise the roof at the Joplin American Idol watch party.

Asia'h is performing Eric Carmen's "All By Myself," which I have to admit I have never liked, and it does not appear to be her best performance and she has missed a couple of notes, but she is putting on a show at the end and getting the crowd back into it. And her arrangement of the song is different and powerful. What an ending! She nailed it!

Now for the judges:

Randy Jackson said that Asia'h has been sick. "You did a really good job with it."

Paula Abdul said, "It was great, but the ending is where it counts on this song. You brought it home."

Simon Cowell said, "You have to be one heck of a singer to pull it off and you didn't. You almost got away with it, but the song was too big for you."

The voters are not going to see it that way. Besides, it has been a weak night. Asia'h will be back next week.

Teen suicide project headed for state

Mr. Rocky Biggers' fourth hour social studies class is headed to Jefferson City Monday, March 3, to participate in the annual Project Citizen competition.
The students earned the trip with their work on a plan for a teen suicide prevention program. All of Mr. Biggers' classes submitted plans for public service projects, which were judged by Mrs. Karensue Hensley, guidance counselor, and Mr. Randy Turner, communication arts teacher.

Students scheduled to go to Jefferson City are:

Tozia Burris, Cecil Cornish, Natasha Coursey, Breanne Diles, Zachary Dorris, Chance Ewing, Shawn Fronce, Devyn Hale, Levina Hayzlett, Erica Hinojosa, Icesus Holland, Amie Howard, Tori Mitchell, Katie Phelps, Mariah Sanders, Adam Schilling, Adrienne Self, Adam Snearly, Brett Stearnes, Raycee Thompson.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Communication arts students study civil rights

Room 210 Editor

Every year, Mr. Randy Turner's eighth grade communication arts students are required to do a project on the Civil Rights Movement. Students are required to write a 1,000 word essay, give an oral presentation, and create a multimedia project on their topic. Some of the student's favorite topics include the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the murder of Emmett Till, the 1964 Mississippi murders, and the Brown vs. Board of Education case.

When Mr. Turner was asked why he chooses to have his students research the Civil Rights movements every year, he promptly answered, "We always have our project on the Civil Rights because it's so important in American History."

This project also opens the students eyes to some of America's not-so-glamorous history. Most students were amazed at how badly people used to, and still do, treat each other. This research project has even made some students ashamed of what has happened in the country that is said to be the "land of the free."

Even though this project takes place every year in South Middle School's eighth grade communication arts class, this year students are adding some new twists. This year, eighth graders will be talking to sixth grade classrooms about their topics. This has never been done in previous years, and students are very excited to share their hard work. Posters that have been made on the Civil Rights are also being hung up in the school's hallways. Some of the student's papers are being posted on so for more information, check it out!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Former SMS student in top 20 of American Idol

Asia' Epperson, a student at South Middle School from 2000 to 2003, has made the top 20 in the American Idol competition, seen locally 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays on Fox 14.

The following item is taken from Mr. Turner's liveblogging of the event on his blog, The Turner Report:

It's time for Asia'h Epperson. "I'm 19, I'm from Joplin, MO, and I work as a waitress," she said, opening her interview.
A few of the highlights of her past performances, including her heartbreaking performance in Atlanta, were featured. "I'm living his dream," she said, referring to her father, who died in an accident shortly after Asia'h learned about her audition.

She is singing Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart." Her stage presence and performance are outstanding, though I am betting she is going to get grilled by at least one of the judges.

The crowd appears to love it and Miss Epperson was definitely enjoying herself.

Judge Randy Jackson said, "You did your thing with (the song). I was impressed."

Judge Paula Abdul added, "You had some fun up there. You had some really good moments

The judge all of the contestants fear, sharp-tongued Simon Cowell, added, "To me, it was my favorite song of the night. It was fun, you are likable and you have a good voice. I liked it.

That comment clearly bowled over the Joplin teenager. "I was waiting to hear that," she said.

Host Ryan Sechrest asked Miss Epperson how she has been able to keep it together with all she has been through and continue to show the type of bubbly personality she has shown onstage.

"It's just me," she answered.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mitchell, Gates, Reddell win poetry contest

Christina Gates, Tori Mitchell, and Cady Reddell, have been named winners in the fifth annual South Middle School Eighth Grade Poetry Contest.
The three will have their works published in a national book, "Teacher Select: Anthology of Eighth Grade Poetry.'
Miss Gates had two poems in 10 finalists. Others making the finals were Merisha Alderman, Jamie Walters, Amanda Uselton, Sarah Stephens, Katie Kemmery, and Raycee Thompson.
The winning poems will be published later on Room 210 News.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Show must go on for SMS Band

Room 210 Editor

After two failed attempts, South Middle School's holiday band concert has finally taken place on February 7. It may be a little late for a Christmas concert, but Mr. Reed Barnes was determined to show his band students off. The previous concerts were cancelled do to winter weather.

The beginning band started the concert by playing a familiar Christmas carol, Jingle Bells. It ended its performance by playing two songs entitled Sawmill Creek, and Eagle Crest March. Then the Concert Band was led on stage by Mr. Barnes. This band, consisting of seventh and eighth graders, played three songs. The first, On Holiday, is a fast paced Christmas song. The concert was concluded by two intense pieces, The Forge of Vulcan, and Rites of Tamburo. Even though the concert was rescheduled two times, the SMS band proved that the show must go on.

(Photos by Raycee Thompson, Room 210 Editor)

Seventh grade honor students take Lazer City by storm

Honor students who took the trip were:
Torri Ackerson, John Alumbaugh, Dalton Anderson, Jodi Anderson, Mallory Augustosky, Victoria Baker, Sierra Bartholomew, Abigail Bass, Austin Boyd, Lisa Bromley, Casey Burkhart, Austin Burns, Hannah Cady, Joseph Capehart, Ronald Darby, Shaney Delzell, Danielle Doerr, Karissa Dowell, Caroline Dutton, Preston Eafrati, Wesley Estes, Judith Fausto, Caleb Garton, Danielle Gideon, Kelsey Gould, Dalton Hackworth, Olivia Hampton, Hannah Hare, Christopher Harpole, Shanice Hazley, Elisabeth Heimberg, Alex Hill, Esteban Hinojosa, Kevin Justus, Brandon Laub, Nicholas Laub, Kylie Lewsader, Tianna McCarthy, Hunter Mills, Damon Monasco, Alexander Musgrave, Mackenzie Owen, Hailey Oxford, Spencer Peterson, Devin Plessman, Stefon Rich, Thomas Richins, Alexandra Ritter, Gabriel Sachetta, Krystal Schulze, Bryson Sexton, Victoria Thompson, Emma Thornberry, Theodora Voutiritsas, Elaina Warren, Ethan Warstler, Andrew Welch, Ashley Wescoat, Allison White, Storm Whittington, Emilee Woods, Alexis Woods, Emily Yarbrough

Sixth grade honor students rewarded

Sixth grade honor students were recently rewarded with a trip to Lazer City recently. Students who took the trip were:

Tiffanie Allender, Desirae Anaya, Mason Atwood, Forrest Bernard, Trinity Bennett, Keenen Beverlin, Kennyan Beverlin, Alex Bryant, Brendyn Burns, Meagan Camden, Preston Carpenter, Easton Carver, Kasen Chew, India Coleman, Heather Copeland, Drew Cox, Leigh Craig, Gavin DePaul, Shelbie DeWitt, Abigail Dial, Aaron Dunaway, Katelyn Earl, Bain Edens, Jordyn Gaines, Johnathon Gibson, Oswaldo Gomez, Kenny Gonzales, Kaci Gowen, Kyle Gradwahl, Oswaldo Gomez, Kenny Gonzales, Kaci Gowen, Kyle Gradwahl, Khaled Graham, Lane Grims, Bailey Hale, Chase Hall, Erica Handy, Aleecia Hardin, Cayley Hardison, Haleigh Hawkins, December Hedge, Sarah Heimberg, Chandlar Hendrix, Stesha Hiebert, Wesley Hooks, Courtney Huggins, Brittnie Hunter, Colton Johnson, Janessa Jones, Keaton Jones, Spencer Layne, Lauren Leibee, Joanna Lopez, Amanda Marvin, Chanci McGowen, Nick McKay, Bethany Meehl, Emily Merritt, Robert Metsker, Preston Miller, Jacie Mitchell, Micheal Munalem, Hayden Ottendorf, Alexandra Oviedo, Austin Oxford, Taryn Parker, Hailee Peek, Amara Pendergraft, Micheal Peterson, Alivia Plassman
Also, Malachai Poling, Stormi Potts, Gannon Purdy, Cole Putney, Kahla Quinn, Luke Randolph, David Reed, Kymbre Resler, Kenneth Ricketson, Austin Romano, Shania Saylor, Amanda Schilling, Kenya Schmidt, Kinsey Sexton, MacKenzie Shamblin, Marissa Shofner, Scott Simmons, Erika Smith, Eric Spicer, Devon Stahl, Matthew Stevens, Shaffer Stevens, Christian Still, Alexander Tanner, Stephen Tatum, Ashley Taylor, Cheyenne Thomason, Kristen Tyler, Zachary VanLoon, Michael VanSlyke, Brooklyn Vickers, Nicole Walker, Trevor Walker, Lesley Wallace, Megan Walls, Rebekah Walters, Robert Walters, Jonah Ward, Justice Ward, Alexia Westfall, Martianna Westfall, Caleb Willis, Hunter Winkle

Stauffer qualifies for state swim meet

Joplin High School senior Ali Stauffer, a former South Middle School student, qualified for the state swim meet during a quadrangular meet Jan. 29 at Missouri Southern State University.
She qualified in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2 minutes, 8.56 seconds and she won the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:12.55.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Anorexia is topic for winning sixth grade essay

(Note: The following essay took first place in the South Midde School Sixth Grade Essay Contest.)
Anorexia is the biggest problem facing today's youth. Anorexia is where you stop eating or after you eat, you make yourself throw it up. They do this because they think they are fat> Half the time they are too skinny to begin with.
I know from experience. Last year, I tried to starve myself.
I lost a lot of weight. I go to a psychologist now so I'm better, but not much. I still almost have to force myself to eat. I'm still not crazy about the way I look.
Anorexia can lead to many horrible things. It can lead to a deep depression, death, or even suicide. Thankfully, I only suffer from depression, but it feels awful. I feel like I'm always in a bad mood. I get made fun of a lot, too.
Barbie has something to do with this. They make her so perfect. All girls think all women should look like her. Girls as young as four years old have problems.
I believe anorexia is the biggest problem facing youth. We can't let it keep happening. More children are dying. They need our help. Make them eat! They do not want to be so thin it's deadly.

India Coleman wins first Sixth Grade Essay Contest

India Coleman won the $10 first prize in the first South Middle School Essay Contest.
Others in the top 10 and the amounts they won were:

2. Emily Merritt $5, 3. Kahla Quinn $3, 4. Shelbie DeWitt $2, 5. Alex Bryant $1, 6. Kristen Tyler $1, 7. Stesha Hiebert $1, 8. Jawni Lemmons $1, 9. Kenya Schmidt $1, 10. Trece Tinder $1

The topic for this year's contest was "What is the biggest problem facing today's youth?" The contest was judged by top students in Mr. Randy Turner's eighth grade communication arts classes.