Metal Detectors to be used at Seneca vs. Daniel football game

posted Aug 29, 2018, 7:06 AM by Oconee Google

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the School District of Oconee County has made a decision to use metal detectors at Friday night's football game between Seneca and Daniel.  This does have the potential to slow the process of entering the stadium.  Gates will open at 6:00 and fans are encouraged to arrive early.

Pocketbooks and diaper bags will be allowed but will be subject to inspection.  Book bags and other large bags will not be allowed and should be left in vehicles.

CWP holders are reminded that weapons must remain locked in a vehicle while on school property.  South Carolina law does not allow CWP holders to carry weapons on their person while on school grounds.

School and law enforcement officials want everyone to enjoy the rivalry game Friday night, but encourage fans to arrive early, be patient, and carry as little as possible into the stadium.

SMS Teacher One of 60 in U.S. and Canada to win grant

posted Aug 22, 2018, 4:52 AM by Oconee Google

Cassie Moore loves reading.  More than that, she loves inspiring young people to enjoy reading as much as she does.  Luckily for Seneca Middle School students, she focuses that passion on them.  As a seventh grade ELA teacher, she could limit her outreach to those students assigned to her classes but that is not enough for her.  Last year, in her first year at the school, she organized and led a school-wide book club - Books and Biscuits - each Tuesday morning before school started.  Approximately 25 students across all grade levels joined her in the Media Center each week to talk about the current selection.  She also blogged about books and invited students to participate in that forum as well.  Also, those students fortunate enough to have her as a teacher benefited on a daily basis from her gift of teaching and inspiring students to develop their own appreciation of reading.

Stocking her classroom with books and providing the book club with reading material costs money, however.  While Moore has taken on a part-time job to fund her passion, the cost of books adds up quickly and there never seems to be enough to satisfy the insatiable readers she has helped develop.  Thus, she applied for a grant to the Book Love Foundation, a group "dedicated to teachers who inspire a love of reading."  Recently, Moore learned she is one of just 60 teachers in the United States and Canada to be awarded a $2,000 classroom library grant from the foundation.  Moore said of the grant, "I am so excited and appreciative of this grant.  I am already eagerly awaiting a shipment of books funded by the grant and can't wait to put them in my students' hands and spread the joy of reading."

With the new school year just started, given the impact Moore had in her first year at SMS, who knows what she can do in year two.  Stay tuned to see where the Moore reading whirlwind leads in 2018-2019.

Athletic Passes for Senior Citizens

posted Aug 9, 2018, 8:07 AM by Oconee Google

The School District of Oconee County, Pickens County, and Greenville County have agreed to honor each other's senior citizen resident passes allowing free admission at athletic events.

Senior citizen passes allow county residents 65 years old or older to attend athletic events for free.  Under the agreement, seniors will be able to support their teams at away games in Greenville or Pickens counties for free as well.  The pass will continue to operate with the following restrictions:
  • The pass may not be used for pre-season jamborees or post-season playoffs
  • The pass may only be used by the person to whom it is issued and is non-transferrable
  • In rare cases, a school may limit the use of a pass for cost-effectiveness reasons
  • The pass may be revoked if used improperly
Oconee County senior citizens can acquire a Gold Card at the school district office at 414 South Pine Street, Walhalla, SC  29691.  They must show a photo ID indicating their residence and date of birth to receive a card.

SMS Honors Chorus Places Second in State

posted Apr 30, 2018, 12:20 PM by Oconee Google

The Seneca Middle School Honors Chorus has proved once again why they are perennially considered one of the best choral programs in the state.  In April, the group traveled to Columbia to perform in the SC State Choral Performance Assessment.  Competing in the Advanced Choir Division, the highest division available, they received an overall rating of Superior with Distinction, the highest rating available.  Earning this rating means that they received a Superior rating in sight-reading.  Their performance scores of 98, 96 and 96 counted 80% and their sight-reading score of 97 contributed 20% to their overall total score of 96.73.  This score placed them second in the entire state while their sight-reading score of 97 was the highest in the state.  The chorus program at Seneca Middle School is directed by Mrs. Carla Brock who said of their performance, "These students are some of the most talented singers that I have had in my 20 years of teaching, but it is their dedication to hard work combined with their talent that helped them achieve at this level!  They are wonderful musicians and I am so proud of them."

WHS SIC named winner of 2018 Riley Award for SIC Excellence

posted Apr 16, 2018, 5:28 AM by Oconee Google

The School Improvement Council (SIC) of Walhalla High School has been named the recipient of the 2018 Dick and Tunky Riley Award for School Improvement Council Excellence.

The award was presented Saturday afternoon during the SC School Improvement Council (SC-SIC) Annual Meeting at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia.

The annual Riley Award for SIC Excellence was created in 2002 to highlight the significant contributions made to public education by the over 13,000 School Improvement Council members who volunteer in every public school in the state.  The award is named in honor of the former SC Governor and US Secretary of Education and his late wife, recognizing the couple's longstanding commitment to quality public education.

"Walhalla High SIC has done outstanding work well-deserving of this statewide honor," said SC-SIC Board of Trustees Chair Amelia B. McKie.  "Parents, educators, students, and community members working collaboratively on their School Improvement Councils are vital in making significant, positive, and lasting impact for our schools, our students, their families, and our communities."

Elementary School Track Races

posted Apr 10, 2018, 9:35 AM by Oconee Google

Elementary School Races for Students:

K-5th grades will be able to compete free by age in the following categories:

Girls:  100, 200, 300 and 400 meters
Boys:  100, 200, 300 and 400 meters

Ribbons will be awarded to all participants.  Races start at 4:30 pm, Friday, April 13, 2018 @ Seneca High School.  Gates open at 4:15 pm.  5th grade and under admitted FREE!  $5.00/person admission for all others.

Concessions will be open serving grilled and smoked hot food and snacks.

SMS Students Head Over Heels for Reading

posted Mar 27, 2018, 11:01 AM by Oconee Google

In this year of the virulent influenza virus outbreak where medical officials debated whether or not the illness had officially reached epidemic or pandemic levels, a school having 20% of its student body absent on a single day would be alarming.  Recently, however, over 20% of the entire Seneca Middle School student body was away from school for most of a school day and it was a cause of celebration not alarm - in this case because of an epidemic of reading.  Over 170 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students participated in the 2017-2018 South Carolina Junior Book Award (SCJBA) contest.  By reading at least three of the twenty nominated titles for the contest, these students earned the opportunity to go on a fun-filled field trip sponsored by the media center to Gravitopia (an indoor trampoline-filled play area) in Greenville followed by a tasty lunch at Golden Corral.  Media Specialist Sydney Jones said of the record number of participating students, "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.  They and their ELA teachers who helped encourage them are to be commended for their record-setting performance.  I hope to exceed that number next year."

Unlike the influenza outbreak, this epidemic of reading is unlikely to wane.  The students have already begun checking out and reading the newly nominated titles for the 2018-2019 SCJBA contest.  Now that they have caught the bug of reading enjoyment, it is time to get ready for another record-setting year.

SMS Students Place in State Essay Contest

posted Mar 20, 2018, 10:42 AM by Oconee Google

Stereotypes begin at a young age and middle school students are not immune to its touch and influence.  Perhaps it is this experience that enabled two Seneca Middle School eighth grade students to write essays about stereotypes that earned them both recognition and prizes for their powerful work.  Brianne Argo and Ava Kelly recently attended the awards ceremony for the 8th annual Atlantic Institute Essay Contest at the Booker T. Washington Auditorium at the University of South Carolina.  This year's essay topic was "Looking Past Stereotypes:  Accepting Others in Today's World."  Argo wrote a fictional story and won 4th place in the state along with a $50 gift card.  Kelly wrote a first-person narrative essay and won 1st place in the state.  She was awarded a 7-day trip to Peru for her and her teacher, Mrs. Stephanie Necessary.

Necessary said of the contest, "I'm thankful for organizations like the Atlantic Institute that provide wonderful opportunities for our young people.  In today's age, it is so important to encourage our youth to think beyond themselves, to prepare to be the leaders of tomorrow, and to have opportunities like this to shine.  It takes a village to raise our children, and it is because of groups like the Atlantic Institute that we know the future of South Carolinian children are bright."  The Atlantic Institute is a non-profit organization that emphasizes the importance of education, dialogue and understanding in cross-cultural engagement.

Pictured from left to right:  Brianne Argo, Mrs. Stephanie Necessary, Ava Kelly

Awards Presented for Annual Tornado Safety Poster Contest

posted Mar 13, 2018, 7:56 AM by Oconee Google   [ updated Mar 13, 2018, 8:12 AM ]

Eliora Cobb, grade 4, Northside Elementary, was selected as the Grand Prize winner in the recent Tornado Poster Contest conducted by Oconee County Emergency Services.  In addition to a cash award of $50.00, Eliora also received a weather alert radio.

The purpose of the contest is to educate children on the dangers of tornadoes and make them aware of the protective actions that should be taken in the event of a tornado in their area.

First place winners received awards of $50.00 each and are as follows:
 Grade 1 Roland Richardson, Orchard Park Elementary
 Grade 2Destiny McDonald, Walhalla Elementary     
 Grade 3  Kenya Martinez, Northside Elementary
 Grade 4 Eliora Cobb, Northside Elementary
 Grade 5 Carissa Frizalone, Walhalla Elementary

Second place winners received awards of $35.00 each and are as follows:
 Grade 1 Hartley Campbell, Walhalla Elementary
 Grade 2 Audrey Metler, Northside Elementary
 Grade 3 Coby Wood, Tamassee-Salem Elementary
 Grade 4 Kylie Thompson, Orchard Park Elementary
 Grade 5 Ryleigh Gibson, Fair-Oak Elementary

The following students received honorable mentions and awards of $20.00 each:
 Grade 1 Leaha Montes, Orchard Park Elementary
 Grade 2 Belinda Garcia, Ravenel Elementary
 Grade 3 Savannah Weston, Orchard Park Elementary
 Grade 4 Ivy West, Northside Elementary
 Grade 5 Liam McMillan, Fair-Oak Elementary

The panel of judges included Libby Imbody, Melody Davis and Suzette Cross.  Libby is a graphic designer, visual artist and art educator working out of her art farm/studio, Walhalla Art Works, which also provides classes, camps, and private events for ages two through adult.  She studied Graphic Design and Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design and taught elementary art at Keowee Elementary School for ten years.  

Melody is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She is fortunate to have studied art at such a prestigious and rigorous school as Carnegie Mellon University.  Since moving back to Salem, SC in 2009 she has volunteered at the Blue Ridge Arts Council and was the developer, instructor, and director of the Tribble Center for Disabled Adults Art Program in Seneca, SC.  She is also the founder and director of Gateway Arts Center in Westminster, SC.

Suzette has been involved with the Blue Ridge Arts Center for over 5 years and has been the President of the Board for 4 years.  She was very involved in the Outdoor Art Project in Seneca, SC.  She was also the chair of the Fine Arts and Crafts Show at Keowee Key for 3 years and taught in Michigan for grades 3-6 for 32 years.

The winning posters will be on display in the County Administrative Building until the middle of April.

Dr. Seuss on the Loose in Writing Class

posted Mar 9, 2018, 5:19 AM by Oconee Google

Dr. Seuss has long been known for his inventive use of language; indeed, even employing his own creative nonsense words to tell his universally loved stories.  Recently, in conjunction with Seuss's birthday, Mrs. Ashley Levesque at Seneca Middle School, embraced that creative spirit as she worked with her English/Language Arts students to identify and appreciate the writing styles of a variety of different poets starting with Seuss himself.  Her students worked in groups to read, identify and label various poetic writing conventions such as repetition, internal rhyme (rhythm), alliteration, end rhyme, uplifting theme, nonsense words and other literary devices such as tone, mood and intense characters.  The students enthusiastically dug into the assignment; for everyone loves Seuss, no matter their age.

As they move forward to other authors, the students will now have a most memorable foundation for evaluating differing writing styles and conventions.  According to Levesque, "The best lessons begin when students have some background knowledge on the content.  My students enjoyed the blast from the past while reading some of their favorite Dr. Seuss books.  More importantly, they were able to participate in meaningful discussion of characteristics of an author's style.  I've been able to refer back to this experience when talking about more complex styles such as those of Langston Hughes and William Shakespeare.  I hope this is a lesson students will reflect back on each time they study a new author!"

Pictured from left to right:  Titus Thompson, Cohl Harding, Layne Herron

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