Sunday, March 31, 2013

MSSU student Taylor Camden speaks to eighth graders

Taking the photo

As we continue catching up on videos, this one comes from the Christmas Dance, when drama teacher Ms. Lara Stamper was roped into taking photos.

EMS Color Guard performs at pep rally

As we continue to catch up on videos that have not been available due to technical difficulties, here is the Color Guard, under the direction of Ms. Lara Stamper performing at the winter sports pep rally last month.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

JEMS Show Choir performs at Benefit Show

Another one that has been a while in coming. In this video, the JEMS Show Choir, under the direction of Ms. Julie Yonkers, performs at the Dec. 1 benefit show to raise money for toys for the Joplin Fire Department's annual Christmas for Kids program.

EMS students contribute to Joplin Christmas for Kids, Sandy Hook Elementary

Because of technical problems, we are just now able to get some videos from earlier in the school year posted. In this one, taken the week before Christmas vacation, EMS students learn at an assembly that they raised more than $1,400 for the Joplin Fire Department's Christmas for Kids program and they were challenged to raise money to help Sandy Hook Elementary School Family Fund. That challenge resulted in a couple of hundred dollars being sent to Newtown, Conn.

JHS students talk to eighth graders

This panel discussion, which features Joplin High School students talking to EMS eighth graders was held the last day before Christmas break.

Friday, March 29, 2013

EMS eighth graders learn about technology they will have in high school

In this video, which was taken in December, former EMS students, now students at Joplin High School, returned to East to tell students about the technology that will be available to them next year.

The presentation took place on the half-day just before the Christmas break. The entire morning was filled with speaker from JHS and JHS graduates, who talked to the eighth graders about high school and about their future.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Four EMS cheerleaders make freshman squad

Four East Middle School eighth graders have been selected as freshman cheerleaders following recent tryouts.

Those chosen were Shae Hogan, Taylor Robinson, Lydia Routledge and Amy Walser.

Former East students who made the junior varsity team were Abi Killinger, Lexi Ruddick, Amelia Street, and Annie Strickling.

Former East students chosen for the varsity squad were Blair Wallace, Tiffani Redding, Riley Ingram, and Connor Barnett.

Monday, March 11, 2013

From Scars from the Tornado: I Am Proud to Call Joplin My Home

The following story, written by eighth grader Taylor Robinson, is featured in the newly-published book Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School. The book is available now through Wednesday evening as a free e-book download.

Who would have thought such a tragedy could happen to Joplin?

Trust me, that is not what was on my mind when I was at Grand Lake in Grove, Okla. The weather was so nice. Beams of sunlight peeked through the clouds and the water felt good on my hot skin.

After a while, it started to get cloudy, so we headed toward the docks. The wind blew through my hair as we rode to the campground. We hooked the boats up to our trucks. It was around 4:30 p.m. Our parents started talking, so my friend, Kayden, and I went inside her camper and got some snacks.

Kayden’s parents were in the middle of building a camp, so they were carrying logs to the side of the shelter. My parents and their friends stayed to help and all of the six kids let out a small cheer. We got to hang out longer!

We went inside Kayden’s camper again and started to play Monopoly. After about an hour, we got bored. All of the kids came outside with Kayden and me. The time was now a little after 5:40 p.m. We wanted to listen to music on Kissin’ 92.5. We were ready to sing and dance, but that excitement quickly disappeared.

My parents’ friend turned on the radio in her Jeep and what we heard was definitely not music. A guy was talking loud and fast in a panicky voice. I heard him say something about a tornado in Joplin and I was a bit confused. I mean, nothing ever hits Joplin, so I figured it was a minor tornado that blew about five shingles off a couple of roofs.

I was wrong.

We listened a bit longer and the reports of damage kept getting worse. My mother logged onto Facebook and the news feed was overflowing with comments about this tornado. My mom came across one that said 18th Street was gone.

That was my street!

I choked back tears and tried to stay strong so I wouldn’t worry the younger kids who were with me. I was scared because I did not know what Joplin was like or if it was as bad as everyone said it was. I longed to know if Joplin was okay, if my friends, family, and neighbors were still alive, and if my house was really affected.

The little kids didn’t know what was happening, and for a moment, neither did I. Kayden already had tears streaming down her face. All of the four families rushed to their cars. We were soon on the road heading for Joplin. My head was going berserk. So many questions were running through my mind and I had a lot of mixed emotions. My uncle sent a picture of the front of my house. It did not look horrible. After a few seconds, though, I noticed that only our garage was standing and it was barely up. I let out a small whimper, which suddenly turned to tears. I remembered that my dog was at home in the house when the tornado hit.

We texted my uncle to ask and he said there was no sign of Buddy. I tried to stay strong for my sister, but it kept getting harder and harder to choke back my tears. I started to see the destruction as we drove down I-44. These houses did not look too bad, but we drove further and the damage was much worse.

I saw people in hospital gowns being aided and guided down the street. We checked on my grandma and her house was fine, but she wasn’t there. We got back in our car and tried to find our way to our house. The police made us stop and park our car on 24th and Connecticut. We had to walk the rest of the way. I had never seen so much damage in my life. Wires, trees, cars, and many other things were mangled and all over the ground. I saw people walking the streets with leaves/debris in their hair and on their bodies. We approached my street and I took a shaky breath.

I ran down the road, hopping over wires and tree limbs. I looked at what was once my home. My family and I walked up our driveway and our relatives and neighbors surrounded us and gave us hugs. I kept trying to see the house, but they thought it would be too overwhelming. I requested to see my room. I stopped breathing. I started choking, trying not to cry, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I fell to the ground bawling. My aunt took me in her arms and held me there until I calmed down.

My room was completely gone; I had nothing left. Broken pieces of my belongings were scattered across the floor and the lawn. My sister’s room was crushed. Pile after pile of debris, some walls, and bedroom furniture. The kitchen, living room, bathrooms, my parents’ room, and all of the other rooms in the house had all of the contents scattered and destroyed.

It was hard to take in reality and understand what was happening, and the next several months after this disaster felt like a dream, but Joplin is coming back stronger and better than ever and I am proud of the hard working citizens, but most importantly, I am proud to call Joplin my home.

Harlem Shake comes to East Middle School

The national fad, the Harlem Shake, came to East Middle School during eighth grade lunch Thursday.

Video by Nick Shellenbarger, Journalism Club Editor

Routledges win EMS Trivia Night competition

The Routledges, featuring eighth graders Lydia Routledge and Michaela West, took first place honors in the first East Middle School Trivia Night Friday night in the commons area.

The fundraiser was sponsored by the eighth grade faculty team to raise funds for the upcoming field trip to a Springfield Cardinals game/sports and entertainment job seminar.

The winning team received a trophy, plaques, and copies of the new book Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School.

The fundraiser brought in more than $500.

East MIddle School story told in Scars from the Tornado

The story of East Middle School, from the tornado on May 22, 2011, through the end of our first year in our warehouse school is told in the new book, Scars from the Tornado: One Year at Joplin East Middle School. The first print copies arrived at East Friday, with another shipment coming in today.

From now through Wednesday evening, Scars from the Tornado will be available as a free e-book download from Amazon Kindle. For those who do not have Kindle readers, there are free Kindle apps for PCs, Macs, IPhones, IPads, and other devices that connect to the internet.

Following is a breakdown of what is included in Scars from the Tornado:

Foreword- This features a story that a former East student, Joplin High School sophomore Rylee Hartwell, wrote about the school shortly after the tornado.

A Teacher's Story- Over several chapters, Mr. Randy Turner, eighth grade communication arts teacher, writes about the last day at East before the tornado hit, the tornado and his first trip back to the school, the meeting at Missouri Southern where Principal Bud Sexson outlined what the warehouse school was going to be like, the return to school, the first day and much more.

Tornado Stories- This section features the students recounting their tornado stories. Some were right in the middle of it. Others feared for their friends. It affected all of them. Students with stories in this section include Jennifer Nguyen, Nick Shellenbarger, Abi Killinger, Alexandra Stelts, Donna Tomlinson, Maggie Baker, Cami Sanders, Kaley Moser, Amber Fleming, Desirae Orlaski, Taylor Robinson, Keisha Grunden, Courtney Hunt, Victoria Stehm, Garrett Severs,  and Ryan Ball.

The School Year- This section features stories from the students about our year in the warehouse, with some commenting about the school. Those contributing stories include Sarah Peterson, Megan Hickey, Amy Koch, Jennifer Nguyen, Annie Strickling, Stella Ndauwa, and Melinda Adams. Megan, Amy, and Jennifer contributed multiple stories in this section.

Parting Shots- This section includes a longer story Mr. Turner wrote about the people from around the world who let us know that we were not alone in our battle. My story centers around our 86-year-old penpal from Santa Barbara who has come to mean a lot to Mr. Turner's students both last year and this year. The section also has shorter comments from Cara Marshall, Jimmie Willerton, Audrey Kanan, Taelor Stone, Logan Whitehead, Amelia Street, and Madison Meinhardt.

Tornado Poems- Among those contributing to this section are students Mykah Campbell, Michaela West, Sean Harrison, Ashton McGehee, Karly Weber, Jacy Welch, Mackenzie Gunderson, Bridget Ingham, Jerry Bland, Joseph Fry, Beth Dulinsky, and teacher Kathy Weaver.

The book also includes a photo section.

Three copies of the book are available in the East Middle School Library.

(Photo: Eighth grader Melinda Adams, who wrote one of the stories in Scars from the Tornado, examines her copy.