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SMS Hosts Annual Veterans Day Observance

posted Nov 11, 2019, 1:06 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Nov 11, 2019, 1:06 PM ]

Veterans Day Assembly
Any school year is filled with events of all sorts. At Seneca Middle School, one of the most revered events of the year is the observance of Veterans Day. Each year students may invite the veteran(s) in their life to attend a reception and assembly in their honor. This year approximately 60 veterans of all ages gathered in the Media Center to mingle and enjoy a morning snack before heading to the Tim Howard Gymnasium where they were greeted with a standing ovation from the assembled audience of students, faculty, and staff. Upon being seated in places of honor, the visiting veterans were treated to excellent performances of patriotic music performed by the school’s award-winning Honors Chorus, Orchestra, and Symphonic Band programs. The selections included the Armed Service songs during which the veterans stood to be recognized as their service branch’s song was being played. The program ended with each veteran being individually recognized and escorted out of the gym by the student(s) who invited them.

A Call to Action Visits Middle Schools

posted Oct 31, 2019, 9:33 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Oct 31, 2019, 9:33 AM ]

Covenant Players
Domestic and dating violence and bullying have no demographic bounds. These scourges of society exist and persist in homes and schools across the country regardless of income, race, heritage, or gender. In Oconee County, the organization, A Call to Action, is working diligently to combat these issues. This year the group is visiting each middle school in the county to bring awareness and share ways to identify and combat these problems. However, instead of providing a lecture or dry reading material to the students, the group is providing an entertaining and engaging way to introduce and discuss the problems.

Recently, a three-person unit from the acting group Covenant Players based in Oxnard, CA presented a series of skits with themes about sexual harassment, bullying, family dysfunction, and substance abuse before assembled groups of students at Seneca Middle, West-Oak Middle, and Walhalla Middle Schools. Following each skit, the troop members addressed the skit’s theme and solicited feedback from the student audience.

Covenant PlayersAccording to A Call to Action member Celeste Norris, “We are putting all of our efforts this year into area schools. We hope that these entertaining presentations will prove to be memorable and provide valuable information and insight for these young people and hopefully produce lasting results in their lives. It takes a community to target these issues and we seek to call people to action wherever they are in the community.” She and organization president Robbin Potrafka accompanied the acting group to each school. Afterwards, upon addressing the students following each session, green wristbands with the words, 'STAND UP, SPEAK OUT!' were made available encouraging all the students to do just that when they encounter any form of bullying.


The Covenant Players, which has been in existence since 1963, not only perform before school groups but also work with the military, prisons, churches, retirement homes, and various organizations serving at risk children. According to troop member Robin Goettl, “We will perform material geared to any theme, any age.” The unit, which performed before these Oconee County schools, consists of Suzanne Goettl, Robin Goettl, and Erin Goettl.

SMS to Show School Spirit

posted Oct 25, 2019, 9:06 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Oct 25, 2019, 12:16 PM ]

Spirit Week
The week of October 28 - November 1 is Spirit Week at SMS.  Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the following theme days to show their support of the Bobcats.  

Monday - Patriotic Day
Tuesday - 80s Day
Wednesday - Pink Out for Breast Cancer or Blue/Gold for the Pep Rally
Thursday - Character/Cartoon Day (be sure to follow the school dress code and no masks are allowed)
Friday - Friday - Sports Day (wear your favorite team jersey or colors)

Seneca Middle School Well Represented at All-County Chorus

posted Oct 9, 2019, 1:05 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Oct 9, 2019, 1:05 PM ]

SMS All-County Chorus members
With a tradition of excellence and continued superb direction, it has almost become expected that the ranks of Oconee County’s All-County Middle School Chorus are overwhelming filled with representatives from Seneca Middle School. The current chorus students from the school certainly lived up to those expectations recently. After a blind auditioning process thirty-seven Seneca Middle School students were selected to participate in a day-long clinic and concert designed to stretch and improve on their choral skills. Those chosen - James Adams, Nathaniel Blackwell, Vanessa Bravo, Makayla Brewer, Ian Brock, Avery Butler, Nora Coutu, Judith Diaz, Emily Edgemon, Matilde Franco-Gil, Isaiah Glenn, Sadie Goodroe, Olivia Gray, Hayden Haas, Brighton Hamilton, Claire Hart, Rhiannon Hicks, Sean Hoffman, Emily Ivey, Ava James, Kylie Kalchthaler, Devon Lewis, Riley Maney, Mallie Merck, Ally Moore, Emma Padgett, Cole Palmer, Carson Roberts, Caroline Ross, Chloe Sayres, McKenzie Sluder, Quintin Telley, Trinity Traynum, Mali Treadway, Macie Ellen White, Turner Wilson, and Caleb Zeller - have certainly kept with tradition and set the bar high for those following in their footsteps in the coming years. Their choral director, Carla Brock, said of her students, “I am constantly pleased and impressed with the hard work and dedication my students show each and every day. Being selected to an elite choral group such as this not only gives them additional experience and instruction but also validates their commitment to all that our program offers and demands.”

Clemson EXPLORE Mobile Lab Builds Bridge to SMS

posted Oct 2, 2019, 11:18 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Oct 2, 2019, 11:34 AM ]

Lydia Panu, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez and Charles Warlick react to the test of their bridge design
In education, there is a long tradition of learning from lectures and textbooks. For some students, however, that isn’t the most effective method for learning. Fortunately, hands-on activities sometimes bridge the gap for those students, especially in STEM areas. Recently, Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, Lead Engineer for the Clemson EXPLORE Mobile Lab visited the eighth grade science classes of Dona Gardner and Dr. Katie Gillespie at Seneca Middle School to work with their students on an activity that was not only hands-on but literally about bridge building, too. The activity began with Dr. Rodriguez telling the students about the main types of bridge design. The students then formed groups to brainstorm the best miniature bridge they would design and build in class out of a proscribed list of available materials. The challenge, as in real life, was to develop a design which would both meet specific design criteria and be cost effective. The students were very creative and came up with very different design ideas, modified their designs as necessary throughout the design/build/test process, and were quite invested in the final results of their efforts.

Dr. Gillespie commented about the experience, “This was the first year CU visited SMS with the mobile lab and it was a wonderful experience for our 8th graders. Dr. Rodriguez was very enthusiastic and kept our students highly engaged. Our science departments are very focused and committed to STEM principles. I think I can speak for all of SMS sciences that it is essential for our students to construct learning through hands-on and real-world experiences. We tell our students that life is like the design process: we question, we plan, we design, we construct, we evaluate and if it fails, we try again.”

 Ava Nimmons, Mallie Merck and Brooklyn Chatfield Averyl Mendiola, Bailey Power, Dr. Rodriguez, Mali Treadway and Mrs. Gardner Aurora Negro, Leah Broome, Mrs. Gardner and Carson Roberts

Untitled PostArtist/Illustrator Visits Seneca Middle School

posted Sep 6, 2019, 12:57 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Sep 6, 2019, 12:58 PM ]

Mara Diaz, Michael P. White, and Sydney Jones
Quality education can take place in many ways and in many forms – some traditional and some not. A recent guest to Seneca Middle School certainly facilitated art education in a most innovative, entertaining, and non-traditional way. Artist and children’s book illustrator Michael P. White worked with the school’s media specialist, Sydney Jones, and art teacher Mara Diaz to introduce Diaz’s art students to a different and fun way of approaching art and illustration through imagination and ideas inspired through stories. The students knew they were in a for masterful class as soon as they entered the Media Center where they saw a dazzling display of a selection of White’s completed artwork. White, who is known for his whimsical as well as realistic drawings of animals, employed liberal doses of humor to engage the students as he walked them through the “construction” of artwork element-by-element. Along the way he also explained the book illustration process which often requires the artist to produce hundreds of pieces of art for each 32-page picture book. He also reassured the students that each drawing didn’t need to be perfect but to just continue experimenting with their ideas and interests. In addition, White demonstrated and explained the art of air-brush painting as he made the initial black and white drawings come to life with color.

Michael P. White
White is best known for his illustrations for the books The Library Dragon, Return of the Library Dragon, The Secret of Old Zeb, and Harriet’s Horrible Hair Day. He is currently at work on his own book, Beau’s Bayou Treasure. He also produces original artworks available for purchase at galleries in the Atlanta area and online at his website michaelpwhite.com.

Reading Program Allows Students to Fly High

posted Apr 29, 2019, 12:35 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 29, 2019, 12:35 PM ]

South Carolina Junior Book Award Field Trip Participants
Three books – just three books were all that students at Seneca Middle School needed to read in order to fly high and get some Big Air – a trip to the Big Air Trampoline Park in Greenville that is. Approximately 120 students recently enjoyed the much-anticipated field trip sponsored by the school’s media center after participating in the South Carolina Junior Book Award Contest throughout the school year. To qualify, students had to read and submit online responses for at least three of the twenty nominated 2018-2019 titles. Seneca Middle School Media Specialist Sydney Jones said of the reading program and field trip, “Each year we strive to get our students reading and although this trip is used to motivate them, we are confident that it also sparks their interests and fosters a genuine desire to continue reading for pleasure. We are so thankful for all of our parent volunteers and a generous donor who made this trip possible for these hardworking students.”

Students Rewarded for Stellar Grades

posted Apr 29, 2019, 12:33 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 29, 2019, 12:33 PM ]

Principal's List lunch participants
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 earned an average of 96 or above in all classes during a grading period. These students also are treated to a special lunch off campus in recognition of the hard work and dedication it takes to attain such a lofty status. Recently, twenty-two students enjoyed a lively and tasty lunch at Los Amigos restaurant for their Principal’s List status. These students are: James Adams, Breckenridge Alexander, Angie Diaz-Hernandez, Logan Dover, Sidney Doyle, Haley Fitzgerald, Samuel Goodroe, Celia Gully, Brighton Hamilton, Emily Ivey, Emily Kelley, Braedan Leroy, Claire Lindsey, Megan McConnell, Luke McGuffin, Annalise Rogers, Ariel Romero, Ethan Sullivan, Cesar Vite, Turner Wilson, Caleb Zeller, and Micah Zeller.

Band Earns Superior with Distinction Rating

posted Apr 29, 2019, 12:31 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 29, 2019, 12:31 PM ]

Symphonic Band
Every music group strives to do their best. Recently, the Symphonic Band from Seneca Middle School met that goal with ease. After performing both prepared and sight-reading pieces at their Concert Performance Assessment, the group was thrilled to learn they had earned a Superior with Distinction rating, meaning that they received the highest score possible in all categories. The Seneca Middle School Symphonic Band is led by Band Director Daniel Titus. After learning of their results, Titus said of the group, “They worked incredibly hard and poured months of practice into their music, and I couldn't be more proud of their terrific concert. They deserve all the praise they received from the judges.”

SMS Honors Chorus Earns Superior with Distinction

posted Apr 23, 2019, 12:06 PM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Apr 23, 2019, 12:06 PM ]

SMS Honors Chorus
Considering the outstanding quality of the choral program, the result was really no surprise. However, it was still gratifying for the Honors Chorus at Seneca Middle School to learn of their outstanding results at the state choral Concert Performance Assessment held recently in Columbia. After performing several prepared pieces, as well as a sight reading selection, the group received Superior ratings from all three judges in performance and a Superior rating in sight-reading, thus earning them a Superior with Distinction overall rating. They had the highest score at the Columbia location (one of three in the state) with a 98, 98, and 99 in performance and a 97.6 in sight-reading, and the second highest score in the state regardless of performance location.

Directed by Mrs. Carla Brock the 2018-2019 Honors Chorus is composed of seventh and eighth grade students selected by audition. This year’s members are: Nadia Alexander, Luke Bleuel, Vanessa Bravo, Makayla Brewer, Ian Brock, Savannah Burress, Campbell Crenshaw, Mason Crenshaw, Drake Denney, Lacey Edwards, Isaiah Glenn, Samuel Goodroe, Mary Alice Harben, Marett Hart, Rhiannon Hicks, Sean Hoffman, Dalton Land, Jack Lee, Madelyn LeRoy, Devon Lewis, Amy Long, Megan McConnell, Madison McNair, Mallie Merck, Reid Merck, Ally Moore, Elliot Moulder, Grace Orrey, Emma Padgett, Mattie Padgett, Lindsey Rackley, Delane Rosemond, Caroline Ross, Olivia Sires, Taylor Sires, McKenzie Sluder, Stella Smith, Kaydee Stanton, Mali Treadway, and Turner Wilson.

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