Surgoinsville Middle School assembly celebrates students' accomplishments

Jeff Bobo • Mar 11, 2009 at 12:00 AM

SURGOINSVILLE — The number of Surgoinsville Middle School’s recent student success stories has mounted so high that Principal Jim Ailshie decided to have an assembly Wednesday and recognize everyone’s accomplishments at the same time.

In recent years, Hawkins County Schools have placed a strong emphasis on celebrating the successes of students and teachers, and Director of Schools Charlotte Britton attended Wednesday’s assembly to assist in the celebration.

The assembly opened with three songs by the Tone Chime Chorus directed by music teacher Stephanie Andies.

Following the music were the student recognitions beginning with eighth-grader Kristen Hale.

Language arts specialist Lee Ann McConnell noted that as part of the schoolwide writing initiative, for the past two years every student writes and publishes their own book in a program called “StudenTales.”

Every student’s book is published by Nationwide Learning Inc., and the students receive a free copy paid with funds donated by various school organizations such as the student council and Junior Beta Club.

Hale received an award because her book “Papaw and Me” was singled out by the publisher as the most outstanding of all the books published by the company this year.

“This program has given us a way to help students develop their expression of the written word,” McConnell said.

Next on the recognition list was the “Energy Bowl Team,” which placed third in a science competition held at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge earlier this month.

Energy Bowl Team members Stephanie Barrett, Desi Shelton, Emily Smith, Jacob Lanning and team captain Koty Arnold received awards Wednesday from science teacher Reed Dykes for their accomplishment.

The team competed against nine schools from the Knoxville and Oak Ridge area and lost to Farragut Middle School — which has an enrollment more than five times greater than SMS — in the semifinals by a score of 8-10. Farragut went on to win the championship.

Next to be recognized was fifth-grader Alex Harp, who represented Surgoinsville Middle at the Hawkins County 4-H speech contest, earning a first-place blue ribbon for her age group and an invitation to compete at the regional level in Erwin. Ailshie said her speech titled “A Special Poem” was “delivered with eloquence and showed her patriotism for our country. We are honored that she represented our school in such a fine way, and we’re proud of her accomplishments.”

Seventh-grade teacher Angie Jennings next presented awards to students whose work was published in the Times-News as part of an Ink Page writing contest. Among the published students to receive awards were Shayna Dean, Alexis Berlin, Autumn Orr and Elizabeth Lipe.

Another writer recognized in Wednesday’s assembly was the winner of the Bays Mountain Essay Contest, fifth-grader McKayla Fields.

Jennings also presented an award to seventh-grader Rachel Kellett for winning the SMS spelling bee and finishing third in the county competition.

Seventh-grade science teacher Marty Scism was also recognized during Wednesday’s program as SMS Teacher of the Year — a popular choice with the student body based on their loud ovation when his name was announced. Scism will be among the teachers honored Monday in the Hawkins County Teacher of the Year Celebration and Banquet at the district’s boardroom and training center in Rogersville.

The final recognition of the assembly was for fifth-grader Ashley Berlin, who won the “Surgoinsville’s Got Talent” competition. Berlin also demonstrated her talent for the student body, performing backflips the length of the school gymnasium.

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