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Rising 6th Graders Welcomed to SMS

posted May 27, 2021, 7:08 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated May 27, 2021, 7:10 AM ]

Michael Hamilton, Shea Martin, and Christi Roberts prepare to visit rising 6th graders
Today is the day, they are on their way!  Administrators, guidance counselors and the new media specialist are visiting each Seneca elementary school to meet with and welcome each rising 6th grader to the SMS family.  Each student will be presented with a goodie bag containing a 
6th Grade Survival Guide, pleasure reading material, and Bobcats spirit items.

We look forward to seeing you all in August!

Students Earn Tasty Reward for High Grades

posted Apr 26, 2021, 11:34 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 26, 2021, 11:34 AM ]

SMS Principal's List students
Seneca Middle School has a long tradition of not only naming students to the Honor Roll for either All As or All As and Bs, but also recognizing the best of the best – the Principal’s List. The Principal’s List is composed of students who earn an average of 96 or above in all classes during a grading period. These students are treated to a special lunch in recognition of the hard work and dedication it takes to attain such a lofty status. Thirty-three students, both face-to-face and @home students, earned this distinction based on their third nine weeks grades. Recently, the face-to-face students enjoyed a lively and tasty lunch from Chick-fil-A in the media center for their Principal’s List status. Several @home students were also able to stop by and pick up their Chick-fil-A meal to enjoy at home. Congratulations to the following students for earning a spot on the Principal’s List: Breckenridge Slade Alexander, Sage MiKell Barber, Amirah Elizabeth Baxter, Caitlyn Elyse Brinkman, Lauren Elizabeth Chavis, Emma Faye Dover, Vivian Rae Doyle, Thomas Emory Evatt, Sadie Grace Goodroe, Stephen Dexter Goodroe, Olivia Ann Gray, Connor Holt Greene, Celia Peyton Gully, Brighton Taylor Hamilton, Addison Linley Hammett, William Lucas Harvell, Lauren Elizabeth Ivey, Ava Elizabeth James, London Riley Johnson, Tyler Benjamin Johnson, Andrew Ralph Lambert, Caitlyn Lael Leroy, Riley Joseph Lione, Bracken Christopher Nations, Champ Joseph Trey Ransom, Alyssa Marie Rich, Landon Isaiah Rogers, Averi Alabama Shuey, Jackson Lucas Silberman, Kaedenze Tiara' Simpson, Brylee Kaysen Stinnett, Ethan Wesley Sullivan, and Caleb Eric Zeller.

Seneca Middle School Honor Chorus Earns Highest Rating

posted Apr 22, 2021, 12:45 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 22, 2021, 12:45 PM ]

Seneca Middle School Honors Chorus
Thankfully, during this time of Covid and the restrictions it has brought, the music community has found safe ways to continue rehearsing and performing. The Seneca Middle School Honors Chorus is no exception and so recently did a video recording of two musical selections to submit to the State SCMEA Solo and Ensemble competition. Their performances were then judged by a college choral professional. This judging resulted in the group receiving the highest possible rating, a I+/Superior Plus. The SMS Honors Chorus is directed by Carla Brock, a National Board-certified teacher. She said of their performances, "In a year of such disappointment and uncertainty, it is wonderful for our choral students to still be able to perform, even through a video-recorded performance, and have goals to reach for with their music-making. They have worked so hard under different and difficult circumstances and I am so proud!"

The Seneca Middle School Honors Chorus is made up of select 7th and 8th grade chorus students who earned placement in the group by audition. The 2021-2022 members are: James Adams, Nyterious Bradley, Avery Butler, Lillian Cook, Nora Coutu, Kaitlyn Day, Grant Duvall, Sadie Goodroe, Olivia Gray, Hayden Haas, Brighton Hamilton, Claire Hart, Lagen Hawkins, Emily Ivey, Ava James, Tyler Johnson, Kylie Kalchthaler, Riley Maney, Riley Martin, Sawyer Moss, Meg Nation, Anna Campbell Nations, Noah Odom, Cole Palmer, Sydney Parkhurst, Kaitlyn Patterson, Laina Rebholz, Alyssa Rich, Campbell Roberts, Chloe Sayres, Avery Smith, Trinity Traynum, Macie Ellen White, Nation Williams, and Caleb Zeller.

Natural Science Lesson at SMS

posted Apr 5, 2021, 7:49 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 7, 2021, 10:14 AM ]

Beekeeper Jeff Blackwell works to capture bee swarm at SMS
Science teachers often spend hours planning carefully-crafted lessons for their students each day. However, sometimes, science just happens before our eyes with no advanced planning or warning. Right before Spring Break, just such an unexpected lesson occurred when nature and science came together beautifully at Seneca Middle School in an amazing display for students and staff alike.

For several years, Seneca Middle has had an observation bee hive located in the Media Center for students to view throughout the school year. The SMS hive was thriving but apparently recently grew too big for its “home.” Thus, one morning just after the official start of Spring, the hive’s queen and about one-half of the hive’s worker bees (approximately 10,000 bees) left the hive and swarmed, gathering together in a group of vines in the Media Center courtyard. After a quick phone call to local beekeeper Jeff Blackwell, who is affiliated with the Bee Cause Project, which installs observation hives in schools, he arrived to “capture” the swarm and safely take the now-separate hive to a new location. As he worked, he explained not only each step he was taking but also the purpose behind the bees’ actions.

Despite the connotation of the word “swarm” as a group of angry bees, it turns out that bees are actually their most docile when swarming, all because they have gorged themselves on honey before leaving the hive. Further, even though the queen has left the original hive, it is not left without a queen for long. Prior to leaving, the queen lays two or more queen eggs so that at least one may successfully hatch and become her replacement in the original hive. For the bees that have left the hive, while swarming on the vines, a small number of bees are sent out as scouts to locate a suitable location for their new “home.” Once a suitable new home is located, usually within a day and within a two-mile radius, the swarming bees follow the scouts’ signals to their new home. Thus, Blackwell hurried to transfer the swarm to a traditional bee hive box and relocate it beyond the two-mile zone before they could get the signal from the scout bees and move on to their newly scouted-out home.

The bees remaining in the original hive should now groom the new queen once she hatches and continue their daily work in and out of the hive. As Spring marches along and brings with it plenty of additional food and pollen sources, their cycle of life should march along with it, all the while giving the students and staff at Seneca Middle School the opportunity to see, if not the unusual WOW-inducing science of a bee swarm, then at least the usual daily activities of a group of bees working together to live successfully as individuals and as a community

Bee swarm on vinesSwarming bees enter hive boxBlackwell observes transfer progress
 Bees swarm in vines in Media Center courtyard Bees gather at hive box entrance Blackwell observes transfer progress
Blackwell smokes bees to encourage transfer
Blackwell continues to smoke bees
Blackwell watches transfer progress after smoking
 Blackwell smokes bees to encourage transferBlackwell continues to smoke bees  Blackwell watches transfer progress after smoking 
Blackwell with bee smoker
Bees continue entering hive box
Blackwell prepares screen to cap seal hive box for transportation to new location
Blackwell with bee smokerBees continue entering hive box Blackwell prepares screen to seal hive box 

SMS Receives ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Grant

posted Mar 18, 2021, 6:02 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Mar 18, 2021, 6:03 AM ]

Shea Martin, David Land, and Dona Gardner
Over several decades, ExxonMobil has given millions of dollars in grants to schools in communities across the country. These ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program grants are intended to help recognize and support academic achievement and promote education and career paths for students in science and math and are administered through local ExxonMobil retailers. Recently, Bountyland Quick Stop’s David Land visited Seneca Middle School to deliver a $500.00 grant awarded to the school through this generous program. According to Seneca Middle School Assistant Principal Shea Martin, “We are so grateful for the continuous community outreach for our Seneca Middle Students. This donation from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance will be a huge asset for our math and science (STEM) classrooms. Our students and teachers work extremely hard each day to better their learning, and this donation will allow for extra supplies for this endeavor. We appreciate Mr. David Land in his efforts to support our students in their education through STEM activities and learning.”

Teacher Turns the Tables on Students

posted Mar 11, 2021, 6:53 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Mar 11, 2021, 7:35 AM ]

Students teach their Assistant Principal
Teachers know that to effectively teach a subject one must thoroughly master it first. Seneca Middle School science teacher Katie Gillespie used that insight recently when she turned the tables on her students and challenged them to not just learn certain science content, but also to teach it. And not just teach it, but teach it to an adult. For their teaching unit each group had to create and utilize a visual element (ranging from a low-tech poster to a high-tech website), include an activity of their design and creation, and assess or test the “student” after the presentation of the material. Prior to their lesson day, students also spent a day in the Media Center learning about good public speaking and presentation techniques in order to help them make their lesson presentation as engaging and memorable as possible. Following their lesson on either the phases of the moon or why seasons occur, each group of students rated their peers on their performances while their adult “student” assessed the group of student “teachers.” Gillespie said, “I really enjoyed watching the kids in action, not only creating their materials, but also in their careful preparation of the lesson. The beauty of this project is that it required my students to not only master their content, but also gain experience in public speaking and presentation.”

SMS Students Earn SC Junior Scholar Status

posted Mar 4, 2021, 9:44 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Mar 4, 2021, 9:51 AM ]

SMS SC Junior Scholars
After taking the same College Board-administered PSAT given to high school sophomores and juniors last fall, nine Seneca Middle School eighth graders recently learned that their high scores on one or both of the math and/or the reading/writing portions of the exam qualified them to be named as South Carolina Junior Scholars for the 2020-2021 school year. The South Carolina Junior Scholars Program was started by the South Carolina Department of Education in order to identify exceptionally academically talented eighth graders, recognize their achievement, and offer summer enrichment activities to those identified. The Seneca Middle School eighth graders identified as 2021 South Carolina Junior Scholars are Matilde Franco Gil, Celia Gully, William Harvell, Brett Raymark, Avery Shuey, Arum Svistun, Adam White, Macie White, and Caleb Zeller.

SMS Band Students Earn Superior Rating

posted Jan 15, 2021, 8:09 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Jan 15, 2021, 8:09 AM ]

Band Solo and Ensemble Superior rating recipients
As with many things in our lives during this pandemic, playing and performing in a band has required many changes. The band program at Seneca Middle School, however, has adjusted and moved forward as best as they can. For nine students in their program, they recently learned that their best is actually quite superior. These students learned that they earned Superior ratings at the Solo and Ensemble Festival this year. Instead of performing live before judges, as is usual, the students recorded solos or pieces for small groups and sent them off to professional judges and were deemed to have given “truly outstanding performances,” which merited the Superior ratings.

Seneca Middle School Band Director Daniel Titus said, “They should be proud of this accomplishment, and I'm extremely proud of them. Despite the challenges of playing a wind instrument in a pandemic, they've really worked hard and have continued to achieve excellence.” The students who earned Superior ratings are: Amirah Baxter, Eliora Cobb, Chloe Laye, Kamryn Mumaw, Leland Orren, Alyssa Rich, Owen Rogers, Kylee Whitesel, and Connor Williams.

SMS Maintains Spirit of Season with Door Decoration Contest

posted Dec 18, 2020, 7:45 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Dec 18, 2020, 7:45 AM ]

Chavis Door Decoration
As we all know, Covid has had a serious impact on the world the last few months, with the impact on schools certainly one of the more obvious examples. However, as necessary as Covid restrictions may be, Seneca Middle School refused to let them dampen their holiday spirits. Thus, a classroom door decorating contest was launched. Each homeroom teacher and his or her students were provided with a paper Christmas tree for their classroom door and given time to kindle their creativity to design and decorate it. Secrecy abounded and minutes were snatched before and after classes to complete their designs on time.

After a very competitive round of judging, the grand prize was awarded to the seventh-grade science class of Eddie Chavis. Their theme, a “Gnome”ment of Science, featured their tree decorated with chemical element ornaments drawn from the Periodic Table of Elements and garlands made of bones, magnifying glasses, and strands of DNA. The tree was surrounded by a snow-covered field filled with little gnomes and even featured a full-sized mask-wearing skeleton draped head-to-toe in Christmas lights. Chavis said, “My students had tons of fun decorating. Better yet, the design ended up filled with aspects of the different lessons they learned in science throughout the year. We were thrilled and surprised to win since there are so many creative students and teachers in our school and the creativity showed in the wide range of outstanding door themes throughout the building.”

First, second and third places were also awarded to doors in each grade level.  See the pictures below to see the grade level results.

Padgett Door Decoration
Crooks Door Decoration
Crane Door Decoration
 6th Grade - 1st Place
Mrs. Padgett
 6th Grade - 2nd Place
Mrs. Crooks
 6th Grade - 3rd Place
Mrs. Crane
Gosnell Door Decoration
Wynn Door Decoration
Belflower Door Decoration
 7th Grade - 1st Place
Miss Gosnell
 7th Grade - 2nd Place
Mrs. Wynn
7th Grade - 3rd Place
Mrs. Belflower 
Nix Door Decoration
Skrobola Door Decoration
Dennis Door Decoration
 8th Grade - 1st Place
Mrs. Nix
 8th Grade - 2nd Place
Mrs. Skrobola
 8th Grade - 3rd Place
Mrs. Dennis
Gardner Door Decoration
  Virtual Classes - 1st Place
Mrs. Gardner and Nicholson

SMS Chorus Places Many in All-County Group

posted Nov 12, 2020, 10:28 AM by Lee Stephens

SMS Chorus members selected for All-County Chorus
The novel coronavirus may have changed many things, but not when it comes to the outstanding performances of the chorus students at Seneca Middle School. Recently, chorus students across the District of Oconee County auditioned to be a part of the annual All-County Chorus. When Seneca Middle School Choral Director Carla Brock saw the results, she was thrilled to see that 32 of the 36 All-County members are faces that she sees everyday in her SMS classes. Even with coronavirus safety protocols, Brock has worked hard to maintain her exacting standards, which regularly bring award-winning results. As Brock put it, “I am so proud of our students, who even through a pandemic, singing with masks and distancing, continue to strive to their best, work hard and keep great attitudes despite difficulties. Making music has given us all lots of hope!”

The Seneca Middle School students who qualified by audition for the 2020 All-County Chorus are: James Adams, Nyterious Bradley, Avery Butler, Lillian Cook, Nora Coutu, Kaitlyn Day, Grant Duvall, Sadie Goodroe, Olivia Gray, Hayden Haas, Brighton Hamilton, Claire Hart, Emily Ivey, Ava James, Tyler Johnson, Kylie Kalchthaler, Riley Maney, Riley Martin, Sawyer Moss, Meg Nation, Anna Campbell Nations, Noah Odom, Cole Palmer, Sydney Parkhurst, Kaitlyn Patterson, Campbell Roberts, Chloe Sayres, Avery Smith, Trinity Traynum, Macie Ellen White, Nation Williams, and Caleb Zeller.

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