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SMS Duo Top Ten in Essay Contest

posted Jan 17, 2019, 7:45 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Jan 17, 2019, 7:45 AM ]

Collin O'Donnell and Hannah Leach
Two Seneca Middle School 8th graders have placed within top ten in the 9th annual Atlantic Institute Art & Essay Contest for South Carolina. Collin O’Donnell and Hannah Leach both penned their essays back in November of 2018 addressing the topic: “Building Community: The Role of Teens.” They focused on the positive leadership and innovation teens can offer their community and highlighted the achievements of teens from around the world like Easton La Chappelle, Mary Grace Henry, and Malala Yousafzai. The contest, hosted by Columbia-based nonprofit, Atlantic Institute, exists as a way to promote mutual respect and “facilitate dialogue and bridge cultures around the globe.” O’Donnell and Leach will head to historic Allen University in early March to attend the annual awards ceremony where they will learn their rank within the top ten and the prizes they will receive. Both O’Donnell and Leach stand to win a variety of cash prizes as well as the grand prize, a seven day trip to Peru.

When asked about her accomplishment, Leach said, “I would like to thank the Atlantic Institute for giving me the amazing opportunity to become more aware of how teenagers can be involved in the community through this essay contest.” O’Donnell followed by saying, “I just want to thank my writing teacher, Mrs. Necessary, for giving me a way to win this honor. I didn't expect to win an award, and I am very pleasantly surprised.” Teacher Stephanie Necessary encourages her students to participate in a variety of essay contests to gain confidence in their writing skills while also giving them a number of different forums to express themselves. According to Necessary, “The Atlantic Institute Art and Essay Contest challenges teens to think about the world’s problems that their generation will be faced with solving. I believe the exposure to important issues and real-world problem solving practice is invaluable. I am so thankful for organizations like the Atlantic Institute who not only challenge students intellectually and artistically, but choose to invest in their success.”

SMS Student Places Third in State Level of Essay Contest

posted Jan 15, 2019, 5:48 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Jan 15, 2019, 5:48 AM ]

Angie Diaz-Hernandez
It is impressive enough for a student to earn 1st place in the local and also the district level of an essay contest, but Seneca Middle School student Angie Diaz-Hernandez surpassed even those feats when she also placed third in the state with her essay submission to the Patriot’s Pen essay contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US (VFW). Diaz-Hernandez’s essay on the topic of “Why I Honor the American Flag” first took first place honors at the local level sponsored by VFW Post 6830 in Walhalla. Her essay then took top honors for VFW District 4 before moving on to the state level and third place placement. Her English/Language Arts teacher, Stephanie Necessary, who worked with Angie on her essay said, "I am so thankful for the VFW who provides amazing opportunities like this to our young people. Contests like this not only support our students but also serve as teachable moments for students to reflect on the sacrifices our armed forces have made to protect our nation."

SMS Students Earn South Carolina Junior Scholar Designation

posted Jan 14, 2019, 11:57 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Jan 14, 2019, 11:57 AM ]

Seneca Middle School's SC Junior Scholars
Based upon their PSAT scores and/or Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) recognition, thirty-three Seneca Middle School students recently learned that they have been named as South Carolina Junior Scholars. The South Carolina Junior Scholars program was established to identify 8th grade students with exceptional academic talent and to sponsor summer programs at participating South Carolina colleges and universities. These programs are designed to further their intellectual growth, broaden their individual interests, and promote their scholastic achievement.

The thirty-three Seneca Middle School students who have been named South Carolina Junior Scholars are: Camryn Bay, Luke Bleuel, Brady Bowen, AnnaBelle Bowling, Anna Brewer, Angie Diaz-Hernandez, Logan Dover, Samuel Goodroe, Paul Hainisch, Camryn Hanson, Conner Henderson, Jessica Hendricks, Madeline Kanagy, Hannah Leach, Megan McConnell, Logan McIntyre, Amy McKee, Christopher Brandon Nixon, Collin O'Donnell, Grace Orrey, Mattie Padgett, Ruby Prosser, Reese Robinson, Abigail Romero, Riley Schrader, Rachel Ann Sharpe, Ethan Shaw, Sydney Sorber, Cierra Stone, Ethan Summerville, Lillianna Taft, Alexandria Winkler, and Micah Zeller.

Clemson Football Players Serve as Inspiration to Area Students

posted Dec 19, 2018, 11:18 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Dec 19, 2018, 11:19 AM ]

SMS Students at Kicks, Cleats, and Kids program at Clemson University
Recently, when the students from Seneca Middle School arrived at the Clemson University football complex for the Kicks, Cleats, and Kids program, they immediately saw that the Clemson football players’ shirts read “Serve Others.” Little did one of those football players know how he had already served as inspiration to one of these sixth graders before even meeting him. Zi Walker, a sports-loving child, was struggling to find that just-right novel to read. His ELA teacher, Laurie Skrobola, suggested he try a sports-themed book. He took her suggestion and chose Touchdown Turmoil by Jake Maddox as his next novel. While he enjoyed the book, he had difficulty summarizing a chapter about a football wide receiver who runs a slant pattern because he couldn’t visualize what a slant pattern looked like. To help him better understand, Skrobola, an avid Clemson fan, suggested that Zi watch Clemson football game clips and watch out for #13, Hunter Renfrow. Thereafter, as Zi continued reading the book, he thought of the main character as #13 and had no trouble finishing the book. Imagine his amazement and joy as he had the opportunity to meet and share his story with the real #13, Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow later even sought out Skrobola, who was also on the trip, to let her know how much this connection meant to him.

Zi Walker and Hunter Renfrow
Zi was among a group of 19 sixth grade boys chosen to participate in the program as Junior MiSTERS by science teacher Daniel Spencer, a long-time participant in the Call Me MiSTER program at Clemson. While at the Clemson football facility, they had the opportunity to eat lunch with players, play with them in the outdoor playground, tour the facility, receive free athletic shoes and hear an inspirational message from Coach Dabo Swinney. The remaining Seneca Middle School participants were Leeland Bond, John Brewer, Richard Brooks, Avery Bulter, Nick Carver, Jalon Foster, Kai Harrison, Sincere Holden, DJ Holland, Chester Jefferson, Kaden Jenkins, King Jones, Payson Jones, Rafael Little, Zy Paul, Zyan Prater, Cincere Stone, and Tariq Watt. Spencer said of the trip, “Call Me MiSTER has five pillars that we learn in the program: Brother's Keeper, Ambassadorship, Personal Growth, Professional Growth, and Servant Leadership. I work hard each day as an Ambassador of both Clemson University and Call Me MiSTER to ‘serve others.’ There is no greater token of appreciation that I can give Clemson and Call Me MiSTER than to serve in the community I love dearly.” It appears that both he and the Clemson University football program have definitely embraced the “serve others” philosophy. These young MiSTERS can have no better role models.

SMS Student Wins Essay Contest

posted Dec 19, 2018, 11:11 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Dec 19, 2018, 11:40 AM ]

Angie Diaz-Hernandez
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US (VFW) have long been known for the many good works they do in support of the veterans across the country. The Patriot’s Pen essay contest, which they also sponsor, is less well known; but it is a program they firmly support each year. Designed to help foster patriotism among young people, the contest is open to all students in grades 6-8. Locally, the contest is sponsored by VFW Post 6830 in Walhalla, which was recently pleased to announce that a local student was named VFW District 4 first place winner. Angie Diaz-Hernandez, an eighth grader at Seneca Middle School, will now go on to represent the entire upstate in the South Carolina competition where she could win up to $5,000 cash and a trip to Washington, D.C. Angie’s essay was a heartfelt explanation of “Why I Honor the American Flag,” the topic of this year’s essay contest. Her English/Language Arts teacher, Stephanie Necessary, who worked with Angie on her essay, said, "I am so thankful for the VFW who provides amazing opportunities like this to our young people. Contests like this not only support our students but also serve as teachable moments for students to reflect on the sacrifices our armed forces have made to protect our nation."

Why I Honor The American Flag

The American flag is not just a piece of fabric with the colors of blue, red, and white. The American Flag is what represents us, Americans. It shows people of different race, culture, and opinion come together to form this beautiful country. The American flag stands for pain, victory, and justice fought through by those brave men and women who gave their lives for our people and nation.

I honor the American flag because of what it signifies. The flag can be found everywhere from a local school to the moon, however, it has a valuable meaning behind it. The American flag’s colors are very symbolic when representing our past and future. Something that really stands out in the flag is red, which means valor and strength. These characteristics remind me of veterans or relatives of those who have served in the military. Most Americans know what it is like to send a loved one to serve for our nation. Many are devastated to see them go and some never see their loved ones again. I honor the American flag, not only to honor those who have lost their lives to fight for this country, but also for those who served for our nation and were able to return home.

Presidents in our past had a great pride in our nation and believed in our country through peace or war. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson stated, “It (flag) floats in majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us — speaks to us of the past or the men and women who went before us, and of the records, they wrote upon it.” Americans value these words, and even though many people don’t realize the purpose of the American flag or our patriotic pride, Americans will keep honoring the American flag with great pride for centuries to come.

Duran Wins Seneca Middle Geography Bee Again

posted Dec 12, 2018, 6:22 AM by Lee Stephens

Shea Martin and Christopher Duran
Winning a school-wide geography bee as a seventh grader is impressive. Winning it two years in a row is even more remarkable. Seneca Middle School eighth grader Christopher Duran did just that recently at the school’s National Geographic Bee event. This second win was no easy feat, however, due to heated competition from participants from all grade levels. In fact, a run-off was required to break a tie between Duran and sixth grader Logan Wilson to determine the final winner. Duran will now complete a written test to determine if he will move on to the state-level bee and hopefully on to the nationwide National Geographic Bee competition in Washington, DC. The remaining participants in the school-wide bee were McKenna Foster, Cooper Stills-Glass, Joseph Mahaffee, and Collin O'Donnell.

Geography Bee participants

SMS Student Selected to National Honor Choir

posted Dec 3, 2018, 12:14 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Dec 3, 2018, 12:15 PM ]

Dalton Land
The Seneca Middle School community is accustomed to having members of its music programs selected as the best in the county, region and even the state. However, it is truly exceptional to have a student named as one of the finest in the nation. For the second rotation in a row, a student from the Seneca Middle School chorus program has been selected for the National Middle School/Junior High Honor Choir. Eighth grader Dalton Land will travel to Kansas City, Missouri from February 27- March 2 to rehearse with this choir and will present a concert on March 2 as part of the National American Choral Directors Conference.

The National Honor Choir is only formed every two years, alternating years with a multi-state regional choir, both selected through the American Choral Directors Association. The Seneca Middle School chorus program has had one or more of its members named to either the National or Southern Region Honor Choir for each of the past three years. At Seneca Middle School, Dalton is a member of the Honors Chorus directed by National Board Certified teacher Carla Brock, Director.

8th Grade Fundraiser at Zaxby's

posted Nov 20, 2018, 5:08 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Nov 20, 2018, 5:09 AM ]

Zaxby's Logo
Having a good meal and helping fund a field trip - what a good combo.  You can have this combo by visiting Zaxby's of Seneca on November 27th from 5 pm to 8 pm.  Ten percent of the proceeds (dine in or drive thru)from this period will go towards the Seneca Middle School 8th grade field trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  We hope to see you there!

Students Rewarded for High Academic Achievement

posted Nov 16, 2018, 10:15 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Nov 16, 2018, 10:15 AM ]

1st Quarter Principal's List students
When a new principal takes the helm at a school, changes in at least some routines and procedures are to be expected. However, for Dr. Darrell McDowell at Seneca Middle School, there is at least one tradition that he has no plans of changing. At the school, those who earn an average score of 96 or higher in all courses are named to the Principal’s List honor roll at the end of each quarter. For years, the school has rewarded these students with exceptionally good grades with exceptionally good food by taking them out to lunch. With the first quarter of the school year under his belt, Dr. McDowell thoroughly enjoyed presiding for the first time over this tasty tradition at the Los Amigos restaurant in Seneca. He not only had the opportunity to reward the fourteen who qualified, but also had the chance to get to know these academic leaders better.

The Seneca Middle School students who earned a place on the Principal’s List for the first quarter are: 6th grade – Brecken Alexander, Celia Gully, Brighton Hamilton, Emily Ivey, Ethan Sullivan, Macie White and Caleb Zeller; 7th grade – Sidney Doyle, Claire Lindsey and Turner Wilson; 8th grade – Anna Brewer, Logan Dover, Maddie Kanagy and Brandon Nixon.


SMS Students Salute Veterans

posted Nov 9, 2018, 11:12 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Nov 9, 2018, 11:12 AM ]

Veterans' Day guests and the students who invited them.
It may having been pouring rain outside but nothing could dampen the spirits of the Seneca Middle School student body, faculty and staff as they celebrated and honored local veterans at the school’s annual Veterans’ Day assembly. Over 70 veterans and active duty service members gathered in the school’s Media Center and enjoyed refreshments and social time with each other before joining the assembled student body, faculty and staff for a moving Veterans’ Day ceremony in the gymnasium. After marching into the gymnasium to a standing ovation, the honored guests and all others in attendance were treated to rousing performances of patriotic music by the school’s award-winning chorus, orchestra and band programs. Student leaders also gave brief histories of the musical selections as well as the Pledge to the U.S. Flag. Following the performances, each veteran was individually recognized and escorted from the assembly by the student and/or staff member who invited them. In the end, no one cared about or was even really aware of the rain, not when the day was brightened by those who serve and sacrifice.

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