Feature Story


Our Journalism Staff has compiled several *feature stories* for our website.  Each story will highlight University School students.

Click on links below to access stories..................

The Circle in the Diamond , by Sarah Mast,  Features Athlete

Sarah Plemmons: Smart and Talented , by Annie Hopson, Features 8th Grade

School in America For Matthew Cullen , by Hannah Sparks, Features 7th Grade British Transfer

Lights! Camera! Shoes! by Marlie Stinson, Features Senior K-12 Club

A Day in the Life of Kevin Ye , by Chandler Hayden, Features Sophomore Academically Focused

The Influences of a Young Artist , by Pippa Elolia, Features Junior Artist

Hard Work All Around , by Barrett Wherry, Features Freshman Musician

The Not So Scary Sixth Grade , by  Tori Pohlgeers, Features 6th Grade Athlete 

A Day in the Life of a Thrower: An Inside Look At Robby Johnson , by John Patrone, Features Track and Field

Mollee Cohee: A role model for her classmates , by Sarah Ahmed, Features Middle to High School transition

The Adventures of Kindergarten , by Landry Loving, Features Kindergarten

The Fun and Exciting Lives of the First Grade Students , by Carolyn Knight, Features 1st Grade

Remembering Second Grade  , by Taylor Ambrose, Features 2nd Grade

Bridging the Gap, 5thGraders Talk About Middle School  , by Abby Morris, Features 5th Grade

Fourth Grade Adventures , by Savannah Wexler, Features 4th Grade

Welcome to Third Grade  , by Abby Plemmons, Features 3rd Grade



The Circle in the Diamond

By Sarah Mast


Junior Haley Faulkner has been a star inside the pitching circle for University School’s softball team for the past three seasons. At just a freshman, she led the team to the state tournament in Murfreesboro, to the sub-state round, and she hopes to lead them there again this year.

Although Haley has only been at the school since her freshman year, she has still made an impact in many students and staff’s lives. University School was a huge change from her former school, Unicoi County and Grandview School, because of its unique integration of elementary, middle, and high school in one building along with its shear small size. When she first came here, Haley said she “was excited to get to know everyone and everyone welcomed me. There were so many new students, so it made me not so nervous.”

Even though University School is a math and science signature school, Haley’s favorite classes are Mrs. Day’s French class and Mr. Erwin’s Technology I class. Haley said, “Mrs. Day teaches well and definitely knows how to make class fun. I have Mr. Erwin’s technology class for first period and I love to learn how to use Photoshop and other programs.”

Once you become a junior at University School you are introduced to many new possibilities with classes and other experiences. One such opportunity is being allowed to eat lunch at the D.P. Culp Center on ETSU’s campus. Haley said that although she “usually eats lunch at school with her friends,” she’s goes to the Culp about once a month to eat lunch.

Junior year is also full of mixed emotions for many students. Most students are so excited to be “upper classmen” and begin to realize that they will graduate in only a few years. “Ummmm….There are pros and cons when it comes to becoming a senior. It is supposed to be the best year of your life, but I would say I’m not ready, but then again, I just want to get out of high school,” exclaimed Haley. Her plans include attending college right after high school but she admits she is “most worried” about being thrown into the “real world”.

Although school is very important to Haley, she also put an extraordinary amount of effort into her softball training. To be a good pitcher in fast pitch softball, a person has to train year round. After the school season ends, Haley goes straight into playing on her summer travel softball team, The Southern Attack based in Knoxville. All of her hard work over the summer, as well as the off season, prepares her for the school season every year.

Haley finds it hard to remember a time when she was not playing softball. In fact, she stepped on her first dirt diamond when she was only seven years old. She started pitching when she was nine. Her father, Treb Faulkner, has helped her accomplish her dreams on the softball field by practicing with her and cheering her on. She also has a huge support system in her mother, Jill Faulkner, and her grandparents. Her “Nana” is not only her Nanna, but also the whole team’s Nanna.

Currently, the Junior Lady Bucs’ softball team, which is undefeated in district play, is in the district tournament. This past season they won 31 games and only lost 13. Haley pitched in the majority of these games. This year’s team was built from ground level with a new field and new coaches, head coach Keith Jeffers and assistant Joe DeGroat.   Although Haley had a close relationship with the prior coaches, Leslie and Bob McAllister, she said Coach Jeffers and DeGroat “have done amazing this year.”

Haley said she is nervous but excited for post season games and hopes to return to the state tournament. After the tournaments are all over for this season, she can relax while playing summer softball and then get ready for her senior year.


Sarah Plemmons: Smart and Talented

By: Annie Hopson


Eighth grade is a time in most everyone's life when boys and girls everywhere are making the dizzying transformation from childhood to adulthood. Sometimes embarrassing and awkward, other times, exciting and fun, growing into yourself is something that everyone does, and it's been no different this year for Sarah Plemmons, a current eighth grader at University School. She says she has changed this year in many ways. "I've changed some for the better and some for the worse," she says, "but it's been a fun and crazy ride."

            "I came to University School last year for seventh grade and found it a lot more challenging than at my old school," Sarah said. "It was really different and I had a little trouble adjusting at first.” Although many new students that come to University School in middle school have these same feelings at first, they discover that finding friends is never too hard and having those friends from middle school makes the transition to high school a lot easier. “I definitely feel prepared for high school after two years here. I have some great friends and that will make next year a lot less nerve-wracking for me!” Sarah thinks that high school is going to be more challenging than middle school was. There will be new teachers and twenty five new freshmen for her to meet. “I think meeting the new students will be fun because I can help them adjust to this place and show them the ropes on how to get around,” Sarah said.

            Sarah has had a busy but exciting eighth grade year. “I wasn’t as nervous starting this year as I was last year because I already had friends and knew where all of my classes would be,” she says. Sarah’s favorite class this year has been English. She says, “I’m pretty good at it and I like my teacher a lot.” This is a good thing for Sarah because one of her goals for the future is to become a journalist because she loves to read and write. A good English background in middle school is important for success in high school as well as college, especially for those wanting to go into an English-based major. She says she definitely feels prepared for high school, academics wise. 

            Sarah is a brilliant student with a lot going on in her life. Being busy is something that only increases in high school, but she says she is so used to being busy that she’s not too worried about next year. “I’ve learned not to procrastinate the hard way,” she reluctantly said. “I do not think that I will be so bad about putting stuff off next year as I have been this year.” Another one of Sarah’s passions is her talent of acting and singing. She has sung in University School’s Middle School chorus for two years now and says that she really loves it. “Mrs. Ross is a good teacher, even if she is a little strict sometimes. I’ve had a few solos and I don’t even get super nervous anymore,” Sarah shares. In addition to singing, Sarah acts and plays the piano outside of school. She says her life is evenly balanced between these entertaining activities and her schoolwork.

             Making memories is what eighth grade is all about and Sarah thinks the trip Charleston will probably be an event that will create many memories in her mind. She says that she is really looking forward to it and that even the teachers seem excited to leave for the trip as well. University School always takes the eighth grade class on a three-day trip to a historical town. Sarah says that most of her friends are really just looking forward to the amusement park that they will be visiting rather than the many informational museums and events that they will be attending. “I think the bus ride itself will be a great time for us to bond as a class even more,” Sarah notes. 

            One advantage for Sarah has been having an older sister, Abby, at the same school. However, this year Abby graduates. Sarah felt it was going to be really weird not to see her sister in the hallways. “It’s going to be so strange to have my second-half gone. She’s my best friend and I’m going to miss her a lot, even if we argue sometimes,” Sarah said. 

            Sarah has some pertinent advice to give to any new middle school student. She stresses the whole “no procrastination” thing. She says that sleep is very important and as you get older, you value it a lot more than you did when you were a kid. She also says not to embarrass Mrs. Horton. “Just don’t do it,” she warns. 

            Sarah is an excellent student, busy and hardworking, as well as talented in everything she does. Her eighth grade year has been a great experience and we should all be looking forward to seeing her future accomplishments in her career at University School, during college, and for the rest of her life.



School in America For Matthew Cullen

By Hannah Sparks

            Seventh grader, Matthew Cullen, moved from Formby, England, to Tennessee only four years ago when he was eight because of his dad’s new job at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport. Matthew, who is eleven, said the change was different, but he adjusted just fine.

            One thing Matthew noted that was different in Tennessee was the homes. He said in Formby (just north of Liverpool) the homes are extremely close – only inches between each home. He said here in Tennessee “things are much more spread out.” Another difference he noted was that East Tennessee has a lot of mountains and everything is on a slower pace than England. Although he doesn’t miss the rushed pace of English, he does miss some of the English food dishes. His favorite food is fish and chips. He explained that in Europe, chips are fries and not potato chips!

            This is Matthew’s first year at University School and his favorite subject is science. He wants to be an astrophysicist, which is the study of physical properties, origin and development of astronomical objects and events. Astronomy is something that also really interests Matthew. The reason he enjoys his science class is because sometimes they talk about space and life outside the earth. Although his favorite subject is science, his favorite teacher is Mrs. Poling, who teaches Language Arts. He enjoys English because it has been a “breeze” for him.

            One thing Matthew would change about middle school is the amount of homework. He said he has a lot of homework each night, sometimes one hour per night, but he can get a lot of it done during school because of the new study period that has been added on to the school day. He said homework takes away from sports and “hanging out” with friends. He said Campbell Fuller is his best friend at school and they enjoy “hanging out” on the playground at recess.

            Although Matthew complained about the amount of homework, he understands that it does help to prepare him for college, which is what is most important. Although he has several years of school left, he already is thinking of colleges. He said he likes Duke University in North Carolina because it is a very good school and he wants the greatest education.

            Matthew has been a straight A student so far and plans to keep his grades up by working hard and not procrastinating. High schoolers may warn Matthew that it is very easy to procrastinate in high school because there is so much work to do. This will not get Matthew down though, because he intends to continue working hard and taking challenging classes.


Lights! Camera! Shoes!

By Marlie Stinson

When it comes to fashion and glam, most people point to the Barbie-type girls. However, Garrett Ellis, a University senior, exceeds this common stereotype.

            Garrett, who has attended University School since Kindergarten, has noticed many changes in the school. Besides new administration and new kids, his style has changed and has become the talk of the school. Garrett is known for his thirty or more shoes that match every outfit that he owns. “I am slightly obsessive compulsive. I like things to match.”

            If Garrett had his name in the dictionary, many students agree that his matching style would be a huge portion of the definition. “It is what I am known for and now it is expected.” Although he wishes that he could have been known for something else other than his shoes, he is proud that he has had such a huge impact on the students.

            Something that many students are unaware of, however, is that Garrett has a pair of shoes in his car to make sure that there will never be a time that his shoes will not match. When asked why, he stated that it was “to match alternate outfits. The extra shoes are dependent on what extra clothes I have.”    

            Garrett has been matching for years and plans to keep his own tradition through college. He often wonders how he will get all of his shoes to fit in his dorm at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. “I cannot downsize my shoe pile… so I hope it is not necessary.” With change right around the corner, people wonder if his style will change for college. He assures students that he won’t.



A Day in the Life of Kevin Ye

By: Chandler Hayden


            Many University School students exceed the expectations of fellow students and teachers. Sophomore Kevin Ye is one of them. He is an extraordinary student with a will power to succeed in life. When Kevin entered University School in the eighth grade, he started with a bang; he began his classes with mostly high-school classes including government and economics with Ms. Wills.

The bright fifteen-year old has an extremely stressful schedule. He is the only sophomore dual enrolling taking chemistry at East Tennessee State University. In addition to chemistry, he is taking English II Honors, Advance Algebra II, Personal Finance, Advanced Placement (AP) United Stated History, and German II. During his study period, he often sits in on Coach Price’s Environmental Science class and participates in the class discussions. He is welcomed in every classroom due to his “always chipper” attitude and the fact that everyone knows him.

For many students Kevin’s schedule sounds like a nightmare, but for this sophomore planning on going into a career in engineering the schedule is necessary. “My favorite class is A.P. U.S history, but it’s hard to choose because I love all my classes,” Ye stated. Next year he plans on dual enrolling in physics and also taking AP English 11, and AP Computer Science. His advice for freshman who want to dual enroll is this: “don’t take eight a.m. classes, unless you don’t mind getting up early on breaks, but it is really nice to get a feel for the college experience while still in high school.”

Kevin makes friends easily. He has a welcoming personality and is willing to talk to anyone about anything. When talking to Kevin, there is always something to learn. It’s a stimulating conversation waiting to happen. During study secession in the library Ye helps his fellow classmate senior Tori Pohlgeers study for a psychology exam. “He let us explain to him the different ideas we were studying, and in turn it helped us memorize the material more by explaining it to him. Thanks to him I got an “A” on my test,” explained Pohlgeers.

In Kevin’s free time he enjoys reading science fiction books, and classics, like ones written by H.G. Wells, “and also that guy who wrote Doom”. He also enjoys playing video like Modern Warfare 3, and Halo 3, and has been playing the violin of almost six years. Kevin is also known throughout the school for his knowledge of the Star Wars movies. He knows lots of trivia about the movies and is always willing to share.

Many people consider Kevin to be an overachiever, be he is really just a normal teenage boy with a will to learn and gain all the knowledge he can to be all he can be.

            When asked if Kevin liked that school, he replied “Yes, I love this school, it’s small, and I get to know everyone. Not to mention that everyone seems to be a lot nicer.” As a school consisting of about 500 students varying from kindergarten to high-school seniors, it becomes custom to know everyone and become close with everyone.

            The well-known overly excited Kevin has a reputation as being a tad bit too hyper. He may run down the hallways and be fairly loud, but he claims that “I don’t have caffeine in the mornings.”

            Kevin has many dreams and future plans. Some of his goals include making an “A” in physics, and being able to learn some type of programming language. He hasn’t quite decided where he wants to go to college, but he plans on working hard so he has the ability to pick and choose the best school for him when the time comes. Kevin isn’t making any plans this early on in his high school career, but he is going to work hard with his A.P. and dual enrollment schedules.



The Influences of a Young Artist

By: Pippa Elolia


At the young age of 17, Austin Brown is no average junior at University School. Having played for over 6,000 people, Austin’s musical abilities have already taken him quite far. He plans to go to college in Nashville, the music capital of Tennessee, for a Music Performance Program. How could dreams be so clear at such a young age? The answer lies within his inspiration.

At an early age, Austin recognized his adoration for music. By the time he was 10, Austin began building the foundation to his career with guitar lessons. He now plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, and piano. In addition to playing in different local bands, Austin composes his own songs. While his music typically falls under a more Rock/Alternative genre, it is diverse. “I use classical music’s phrasing, technique, and melodies in my music.” Austin said those who provided the most musical inspiration to him were: “Slash, Josh Klinghoffer, John Frusciante, and John Mayer.” However, he said the most influential was Jimi Hendrix.” Both Hendrix and Brown trace their musicality back to Blues.

According to The Oxford Dictionary, music is defined as vocal or instrumental sounds combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. Though Brown appreciates many modern day Blues and Alternative artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dave Matthews Band, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, he cherishes the classics, including Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Buddy Holly. Hendrix’s song “Bold As Love” is considered one of Austin’s favorite songs. It describes the personal struggles of the psychedelic rock legend by the usage of colors.

Austin said he is most passionate about music “because it explains my emotions.” Austin expresses his emotions through his written composition, lyrics, and manipulation of instruments. Austin is still young, and with a role model so revolutionary in expanding musical horizons, all standards are shattered leaving limitless possibility to experimentation.


Hard Work All Around

By Barrett Wherry


One would think that being a straight A student, a beautiful singer, a talented violinist, and a full time dance would be impossible, right? Well not for Rachana Muppa, a freshman at University School.

She spends most of time focusing on her school work, but when she isn’t studying, she is hard at work perfecting her musical abilities. Muppa has been in over six plays varying from Aladdin to Dracula to Gaite Perisenne. All of which use her singing and dancing talents.

Muppa says her passion is dance, which she has done for almost 11 years. Her favorite thing about dance is that it is very pretty and she can express herself freely. She does many versions of dance: ballet, modern, contemporary, and lyrical. She says ballet is strict, rigorous, and very technical. Modern is a type of dance where the dancer gets to break all the rules of ballet. Lyrical, she says, is very pretty and technical, but the dancer gets to dance to popular music from today. The last type of dance is contemporary, her favorite. It is a healthy blend of ballet and modern dance.

Muppa acknowledges that dance can be very tiring. “There are so many times when I could just get up and walk away, but the reason I don’t is for those few minutes on stage when you can let it all out. All the blood, sweat, tears, and time put into dancing all pay off in the end. It’s great exercise! It can be super painful at times, but so worth it when I perform,” Muppa said.

She would like to pursue a career in dance, but it is almost impossible physically. Professional dancers take many physical risks with their bodies because the older they get the more their bodies can break.

Her violin abilities could also take her a long way. She has played violin for five years. She said she fell in love with it when she heard an orchestra teacher play Harry Potter when she was just ten years old.

Her future plans include attending Duke University and majoring in Liberal and Fine Arts, maybe even become a writer some day. Muppa’s dream is to make people a part of something bigger than themselves with music, words, dance, and really anything. She wants to be an inspiration to the people around her and make a difference in the community.


The Not So Scary Sixth Grade


By Tori Pohlgeers




Although Nicholas (Nick) Pohlgeers is currently a sixth grader at University School, he started his school experience at Towne Acres Elementary. He enjoyed his time there and had lots of friends. However, in the fourth grade his parents switched him to University School, and his first teacher was Mrs. Ellwanger. Nick stated Mrs. Ellwanger and his classmates made him feel very welcomed and accepted him into the University School family.


After his fifth grade year, it was time to leave the comfort of elementary and enter middle school where students change classes and get a locker. “I was a little nervous about changing classes because I was afraid of being late all the time,” Nick said. This nervousness soon changed disappeared after a few weeks of classes. He discovered that it wasn’t hard to make it to class and his teachers, Mrs. Cromie and Mrs. Horton, “weren’t really that bad.” He decided that middle school wasn’t a “horrible” place after all.


Nick’s favorite class was World History because “Mrs. Horton makes the class a lot of fun.” He also remembers “Mrs. Cromie singing happy birthday and doing the happy birthday dance.”


There are some things that Nick said was not so much fun in sixth grade. For one thing he said there is more homework than in elementary school. Also, he said there are conduct slips that the teachers give out for various reasons. He said students can avoid getting in trouble. “If you don’t talk in class you should be okay.” Nick also advises using class time in study hall “wisely” so “you can get a lot of your homework done.”


In middle school there are more opportunities for students. For example there are middle school sports: basketball, soccer, and cross country. Nick enjoys running cross country because he likes being “part of the team” He said everyone should consider getting involved in the middle school sport because “it’s an easier way to make friends and they are fun.”


Sports and school are not the only things Nick enjoys doing. He is a member of Boy Scouts and he works. He also likes reading, playing outside, and partaking in family activities. He said his favorite thing to do outside is to “shoot his sister (senior Tori Pohlgeers) with his air soft guns. He also likes playing with his dog, riding his new ripstick, and spending time with his friends.


It is almost the end of the year and time to start thinking about summer and next school year. Nick said he was “not really nervous” about going into seventh grade “because he was able to get through sixth, so he can manage seventh. However, Nick said “I’m going to miss having my sister at school with me. Since she is graduating this year, she won’t be taking me to school next year. I will really miss making fun of her driving because she is a curb jumper.”


Nick said his experience in sixth grade was overall a good experience. However, he is ready to move to seventh grade. He is anxious for the new adventures that await him as well as the new friends he will make along the way.





A Day in the Life of a Thrower:


An Inside Look At Robby Johnson


By John Patrone




It would probably surprise you that the most participated sport in the United States is not football, basketball, baseball, or soccer. By an enormous margin, track and field is the most participated sport in this country, as well as worldwide. But what is being a track athlete like? It is a common idea that track is an easy sport, or in some eyes, not a sport at all. But Robby Johnson, a University School sophomore, knows track and field requires a lot of determination and dedication.


Robby joined the University School track team last year competing in both shot put and discus. He learned the techniques last year and then practiced them all summer. This past year, he continued to work on technique and managed to throw farther than last year. Robby said before he competes he tries “to pump myself up and get focused.” Right before he throws, Robby said “I will try to get mad” and throw as far as possible. Robby’s goal for next season is to make it to the state track competition in the shot put.


Like many student athletes, Robby has a full plate. Robby said the biggest change from freshman year is “more work in a lot harder classes.”


Robby has already given his future some thought. His college destination was an easy choice for him – University of Tennessee (UT). “I love everything Tennessee!” He wants to throw for UT’s track team. He realizes how hard it will be to accomplish that goal but he is ready for the challenge. Once he gets to UT, he plans on studying architecture.


Robby has several goals for his life and he knows that he will have to work hard to achieve these goals. Robby has already shown the determination and has the desire to attain his goals, and that in itself is half the battle.



Mollee Cohee: A role model for her classmates


By Sarah Ahmed


            With all the talk about graduation, upperclassmen tend to forget what it felt like to be starting high school, with so many possibilities laying ahead. Mollee Cohee, an honor student who has attended University School since seventh grade, recently explained what it is like being a freshman at this school.


            Mollee said the transition from middle school to high school can be stressful and it was not what she had expected. She said there is a lot more work and teachers expect you to do more outside studying. “In middle school, teacher would plan their testing schedules together so that we didn’t have tests on the same days, but that’s not how it works in high school,” she said. Her least favorite part of being a ninth grader is being at the bottom of the hierarchy and being viewed as “just a freshman.” But not being in middle school any more gives a little more dignity because “people don’t take you seriously when you’re a middle schooler,” she said. Mollee also noted that friends have changed as well and this has changed her experience as a whole. “There’s more drama now and there are different cliques and groups in the class, so sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re that close.”


            Mollee said her favorite class is French because Mrs. Day is “amazing,” and it is “cool” to learn a new language. Some of her favorite memories have been in Coach Price’s biology class because he makes class fun with his “crazy personality.”


            When she is not studying, Mollee is involved in several extracurricular activities. She is the freshman representative for the Student Government Association, a member of the French Club, and plays softball, basketball, and soccer. “I keep busy with sports and extracurricular stuff because they let me feel more of a part of the school, and you get to meet more people and make new friends,” she said.


            Although it is still three years away, Mollee said she is excited about her senior year because it seems like it will be fun. She noted that there are a lot of upperclassmen that she looks up to because they work really hard in school. She hopes to do the same when she is an upperclassman herself. She says that she hasn’t really thought about college that much, but since Larysa, her older sister who is a senior this year, has been working on it, it has made her think about it too. “Freshmen don’t really think about it because we’re just starting high school and still adjusting to the changes.”


            Mollee said that next year school will feel different for her because Larysa graduates this year. “She has always been at school with me. It’s nice to have someone help me out if I have a problem and tell me how to fix it.” She knows next year will be an adjustment.


            Since she is just about to finish her freshman year, Mollee has some advice for the upcoming freshmen. “Study and do all your homework because there is a lot more work, and it’s a lot different from middle school. You need to try your hardest because it will affect your GPA, even if that doesn’t seem important now.”


            The transition from middle to high school can be tricky, but with the right attitude and hard work, it can be very enjoyable, as Mollee has demonstrated.



The Adventures of Kindergarten by Landry Loving




            Is it really true that you learn everything you need to know in kindergarten? Ms. Mary Myron’s kindergarten class at University School likes to think so. These youngsters have a variety of aspirations such as becoming police officers, artists, astronauts, and even a rising journalists. They believe that they are now learning things that will help them in their future careers.


            Laniyah Jackson said, “Kindergarten will help me to become a veterinarian because they help others and we learned to do that.” Lauren Harvey and Elisa Hernandez-Cruz also want to be veterinarians and zoo keepers, “because in kindergarten you learn important skills.” Daniel Johnson, Eli Wiseman, Caleb Walley, Liam Bushore- Maki, and Christian Lowe hope to someday become police officers. Daniel and Eli said, “In kindergarten, you learn to listen, and that will help you become a police officer.” Daniel also mentioned that part of wanting to be a cop is because his dad is one. Caleb stated, “I like doing math and that will help me to be a police officer.” Some of the other students in the class, such as Elizabeth Buchanan, Johanna “Joey” Shields, Ella Barnett and Luke Day want to have careers that involve hobbies. Elizabeth wants to be a model and says, “We play fairies, and vampires and it will help me to have fun.” Johanna wants to be a singer and thinks that kindergarten will help her become a singer because she can sing. Luke wants to be a guitar player because he practices at church. He thinks that reading in kindergarten will help him become a guitar player. Ella says “I enjoy drawing and when I grow up I want to be an artist. Being in kindergarten will help me because I can draw a lot.”


            Lauren Tucker said, “I want to be a journalist. Kindergarten will help if you read books and talk to people, it will help.”


             Whether it’s drawing or playing, kindergarteners love free time. Brayden Rogers mentioned that he wants to be a racecar driver when he gets older because he can run really really fast. The free time in kindergarten allowed Brayden to discover this talent.


            Another very popular part of kindergarten is the big centers. Many of the students mentioned that as their favorite activity. Braden Williams said, “I want to be a person who owns a Toys-R-Us shop.” Even though Braden said that he doesn’t think kindergarten will help him own a toy shop, maybe he can get ideas for new toys while playing in the various centers.


            Being in kindergarten means you get to spend lots of time with friends. Ellie Colvett said, “I want to be a mommy when I get older because I like kindergarten.” Building relationships in kindergarten is also important because it allows them to learn important social skills. Part of being social is learning to listen. This year as a class they read the book On the Moon by Anna Milbourne and Benji Davis. Joshua Horne recaps, “I want to be an astronaut because we read a book about the moon.”


            Most of these kindergarteners are sure that their first year of elementary school has taught them what they need to know for their futures. This class is prepared to go out into the depths of elementary school and make us proud.



The Fun and Exciting Lives of the First Grade Students


By: Carolyn Knight


It’s a busy and exciting day in the first grade classroom. The twenty students are all waiting at their assigned tables drawing and coloring until the Journalism class comes into interview them.


“Pick me! Choose me! Interview me!” everyone exclaimed, and the interviewing began as the Journalism class got an inside look at what first grade is all about and some other interesting facts everyone should know.


Two of the most popular things about first grade is being able to play outside and working on math and math boards. Morgan Peterson said that recess was her favorite part about being in first grade because “We get to play outside. I like to play in the log house on the playground and play evil queen and other people act like werewolves and vampires!” Melina Summey says, “I like to go into the log house and play during recess.”


Adam Rogers really likes to do math boards during class. “I’m good at those, and I like addition too because it is easy.”


Many first graders have been learning new and interesting things throughout the year. Alex Cole loves to play outside but he has also learned about geography. “I’ve learned about math and different numbers and I’ve learned how to find places on a map too. Math boards are also one of my favorite things to do too.” Math seems to be a very popular subject in first grade and Brayden Rice has also learned new math techniques. “This year I’ve learned about how to measure different objects with rulers and other math stuff.”


The most interesting thing Isabella Shields has learned is that “moths should never be in a small cage because he didn’t have much room to flap his wings!” This sounds like some good advice and an interesting thing to learn in class!


What is everyone’s favorite thing to do in first grade? Recess! Abigail Bristol not only loves to read her favorite book, My Lucky Day, but she also loves to play in the sandbox on the playground. “I love the sandbox and playing in the sand outside.” Jackson Noland enjoys playing with Legos and “ going to recess, but I like reading in class too.” Learning about the Earth is a very important subject for years to come and Anthony Chase Sawyer has learned that “there are maps of the earth, not just a globe.”


The first grade students have constructed many projects over the course of the school year, and Ethan Ellwanger said he was really proud of some art he has done. “I’ve drawn pictures and I drew a picture of an alien mural.” Emy Johnson not only loves to work on writing sentences and math, but she is also a great artist! “For one project we had to make kites and I’m really proud of that.”


The first grade students are so close to finishing first grade and a lot of the students are excited about going across the hall to the second grade classroom! Madelyn Horne is excited because “I’ll be able to make lots of more friends.” Faith Harrison loves to be challenged and is ready to be in second grade because “we are going to be able to do harder math.” It seems like everyone is ready to be in second grade and Brennan Snider is excited because “I’ll be older and get to do other things.”


While second grade is just a few weeks away, the first grade students seem to already have an idea about what they want to be whenever they grow up! Makena Watkins says she wants to be “a chef because I like to help out and cook at home.” Joshua Arapakos enjoys playing video games and playing in the woods with his friends but says “I’m not sure what I want to be, maybe an actor.” Hopefully we’ll be seeing him on the silver screen in the future! Carlie Lee enjoys being at school but isn’t too sure what she wants to be! She said “There are so many choices! Maybe I could watch TV all day!” No rush Carlie Lee, there is plenty of time to decide! Madison Looney-Laycock is a very artistic first grader and wants “to be an artist whenever I grow up and I’m really proud of the class mural that I did for a project.” Alvin Tai isn’t too concerned about his future career but loves being active, “I don’t really want to be anything but I really like to play outside with my friends all the time.”


It seems like the first grade class has really enjoyed their time at University School and are really looking forward to having a lot more fun in school!



Remembering Second Grade


By Taylor Ambrose







                Do you remember what it was like being in second grade? Do you remember what you liked to do or the names of your best friends? The current University School second graders are more than willing to share their experiences about second grade.


            Upon entering the second grade classroom, your attention is immediately drawn to the fun and bright atmosphere that the teacher, Kelli Barnett, has created for her students. A visitor is quick to notice the students are all busy working with smiles all over their faces.


            Bynn Brickell said the best thing about second grade is “the teacher is really nice and we get to have recess.” Kelsey Cullop added, “You get to do fun stuff and be with your friends.” The best thing about being in second grade for Andrew Ross-Sermons is “recess, learning, and the fun activities.”


            One of the activities that second graders get to do is a science project to learn about metamorphosis. The class collects caterpillar. They then watch them grown and change into butterflies. “This experiment is really exciting” said Eli Johnson and Adam Ryan “because we get to keep them in the classroom and take them home at the end of the year.”



            Besides that activity, Elizabeth Sherlin said “I really like to read because I can read Nancy Drew. I love those books.” Cade Pollock enjoys math “because it’s not hard work and it’s easier than other subjects.” Ashley Bonner’s favorite subject is science and she also loves recess because she gets to “go outside and learn about new things.”


            One of the life skills taught in second grade is responsibility. One area they must be responsible for is doing homework. Lena Allison enjoys “having more and more homework” because it gives her a chance to participate in homework challenges. Homework challenges give the student an opportunity to have extra recess, watch a movie, or even have a pizza party. Homework may not sound very fun, but the students are rewarded for their efforts. “Homework isn’t given every night,” Jacob Wyche explained. “We have no homework on Fridays.”


            At the end of the day, these second graders are always ready to go home. After school, Edie Jones, Olivia Thomas, and Elizabeth Weems like to play on the swings while Alaina and Aly Abla like to play on their iPods. Sam Colvett likes to play “pretend spies” with his friends. Nathan Benton and Nick Daniel enjoy “playing kickball with friends.” Watching television is also a favorite past time for these second graders. Some of their favorite shows include SpongeBob, Phineas and Ferb, Looney Tunes, Johnny Test, and Tom and Jerry. “I’ve been watching Spongebob for three years because he does really funny stuff,” said Hank Berning. Kirsten Day and Nathan Benton are also huge SpongeBob fans. Jacob Wyche enjoys watching Johnny Test because “he has a fire colored mohawk, his dog can talk, and he’s always fixing problems.”


            A second grader’s life is packed with not only school, but spending time with friends and family. These second graders know how to have fun at whatever they are doing. They are more than ready to face third grade.



Bridging the Gap, 5th Graders Talk About Middle School


By Abby Morris






            Many University School students start off in kindergarten and remain at the school for all of their education, something Courtney Henley holds near and dear, and something that allows them to gather a storehouse of memories with one another. From “Charlie (Vargo) spewing root beer on Hannah (Peters) in kindergarten” -- Braeden Coffey’s personal favorite -- to “Going to see The Lorax and eating popcorn and drinking soda”-- which Hannah Peters holds dearest -- to “Learning about World War II” for Olivia Thomas, University School fifth graders have seen it all. Or have they? They’ve seen everything elementary school has to offer them, but now they prepare to face a brand new adventure – middle school.


            Middle school -- two of the most dreaded words a fifth grader can hear if not placed in the right context, but at University School, students have nothing to fear. As Ethan Abla said “It’s just another school year!” And while Ethan is correct, the emotions of other students may be slightly less certain. Jillian Hawkins is “Freaked out!” while Laney Falin is “excited, but really, really nervous because it’ll be different.” Anne Gao expressed reservations about middle school because “I’ve heard they have four hours of homework a night.” However, this group of students has nothing to fear because they’re more than ready to handle the challenges of middle school. For example, Jeb Jones and Carter Pollock were quick to point out that homework is very important. “Make sure not to forget your homework,” Pollock warned, while Jones encouraged students to “Start early.” Jolina Richardson added that organization is a huge part of being a successful student. These students have study skills down pat, and are ready to hit the ground running in middle school.


            Another advantage this class has is their strict but gentle direction from Mrs. Janaitis all year. “She is my favorite teacher” James Wyche said. Calli Newberry added that her teaching of math is what will help them the most next year. Math was almost unanimously the favorite subject among her students, and Olivia Estes said that math will be the most important skill they will take with them to middle school.


            Not only has Mrs. Janaitis’ influence been on her student’s educational skills but has served also as a personal testimony. Hannah Ecay aspires to be an elementary school teacher simply because “I admire a lot of my teachers and it would be fun to work with kids.” However, not all of her students have been inspired in the same way. Victoria West’s dream is to become “A professional cage fighter to make all the boys cry.”


            Many students expressed an interest in the math and science fields, stating that their love for learning and those subjects made these jobs seem fun. Esau Byrd wants to become a vet because he loves science and animals. Charlie Vargo wants to become an engineer; his favorite subject is math. Abby Johnson wants to become a dentist. Kaylen Hill wants to be a doctor, Janine Day a musician, Emma Ross- Sermons an anthropologist, and on and on it goes. One cannot overlook the influence one teacher has made on this precious group of students. They want to become teachers, doctors, athletes, and scientists all because of the dedication of their teacher, because of her love for them, and for their futures.




These students are ready to move on, embrace middle school and adolescence, to grow up. They are prepared to handle the challenges both academic and social that they may face. They’ve learned good lessons, one such Abbie Jones said “Chose the right friends and don’t chose friends based on money.” They are confident in who they are and are ready to ready to take on this change. So we welcome you, class of 2019, to University School middle school. Good luck!



Fourth Grade Adventures


By Savannah Wexler







Fourth grade at University School is different than other schools because you are the oldest on the first floor, but like other schools you are not quite the oldest in elementary school yet. These fourth graders are very close to moving to the fifth grade classroom on the second floor and they all seemed to have enjoyed their last year “down stairs”.


A large majority of these fourth graders’ favorite part about this year was the teacher, Mrs. Ellwanger. Emma Sherlin says it’s because, “She is hilarious. Everyone loves her.” Lestasia Lane comments it’s because, “She makes learning fun and sometimes dances!” Macy Dyer remarks it’s because, “She is just really fun.” Finally, Greer Barnett adds, “Mrs. E is great!”


Since they are leaving fourth, they took a moment to share some advice for next year’s class. Ryan Huber advises,” Mrs. E is nice but gives us homework.” Hamdi Ahmed explains,” Be good and don’t make the teacher mad.” While Nathan Tucker adds, “Don’t talk loudly when you sit on the carpet or Mrs. E will get mad.” With this advice you can tell these kids have learned how to stay on the good side of their teacher.


Math was the most popular subject this year. Tyan Rogers really liked math because he learned “new stuff like fractions.” Will Owen also like math because he “likes numbers” Jeremy Arapakos professed math was his favorite because “it’s easy.” Makenna Oiler also enjoyed math time because “we get to work with partners.”


The second favorite subject in fourth grade was reading. Every student had at least one favorite book. Camila Rivas and Zach Rice both said Hunger Games was their favorite because it was scary. Laurie Colvett explained, “Harry Potter is my favorite because it keeps you reading, and once you start you can’t stop.” Macayla Wiseman expressed, “Haunted America is my favorite because I think it’s really scary!”


The fourth graders also enjoyed doing fun experiments in science. In one project the class made a cell from different foods. Greer Barnett and Mason Harrison were proud of their “edible” creation.


Recess is always fun for any age. Whether it’s day one in kindergarten or your last day during your senior year, memory making is at its peak on the playground. In this fourth grade class Chandler Ambrose, Nathan Snider, Hayden Tolley, and John Wyche all stated that playing kickball is the best thing to do at recess.


Field trips are another fun activity during fourth grade. Angel King, Drew Oligny, and Jacob Smith said “Skating is my favorite.” Jacob also added, “You have all the space. I didn’t know how to skate backwards and now I do.” Meanwhile, Macey Falin stated, “Oak Hill is my favorite because we get to dress up and write with quill pens.”


One extracurricular activity available to these fourth graders was participating in the play Aladdin, Jr. The play was a collective blend of all ages and several fourth graders participated. Another activity available to the elementary was guitar lessons after school. Ciara Kennedy participated in both of these activities. She was a townsperson in the play and even learned to play guitar after school this year.


These kids obviously loved fourth grade and since University School only has one fifth grade class they will all move up the flight of stairs together and embark on next year’s adventures together.



Welcome to Third Grade


By Abby Plemmons




                The third grade class at University School is filled with a diverse array of fresh thoughts and ideas. The class has gone on many field trips including bowling, roller skating, Willow Springs Park for Field Day, and Fun Expedition. They also participated in Jump for Heart and enjoyed a Mega Party. For most of the students, bowling and roller skating were their favorites. Tristan Brickell says that bowling was his favorite because his sister walked on the lane to get her ball back and fell on the slippery surface. Faith Williams says “Field trips are really fun!”


            As third graders, the students learn so much that they didn’t know from second grade, such as elapsed time, multiplication, division and fractions. Wesley Estes said “Fractions are easy. Division is hard.” Tristin Martin said that multiplication is hard. Ryan Hinkle learned how to use a telescope. Wren Austin said she really enjoyed learning about history from a long time ago.


            Not everything the students learn is completely academic. Ayden Begley said “I learned how to make anyone laugh!”          


            Fourth grade is approaching these students quickly, and most of them are very excited! Brycen Gambill is excited because “I want to learn more division and math! I also like science!” Ryan Hinkle looks forward to having his own desk in fourth grade. Since kindergarten, he’s had to sit in a group of four. Tristan Brickell is excited to get letter grades. Faith Williams said “The fourth grade teacher already likes me! She spoils me!” Some of the students, however, are not as anxious. Molly McGill is not looking forward to fourth grade as much because of the bigger load of homework.


            Many of the students have big dreams for their futures. From vets to doctors to dentists to singers, every student has an aspiration. Parker Bradish wants to be a singer. “Johnny Cash inspired me,” Parker said. “He was my first favorite singer!” Peyton Bradish wants to be a pastor or an inventor because they have a lot of free time. Tristan Brickell wants to be an anesthesiologist. Stephen Cradic said “I want to be a zookeeper, but not the kind that picks up poop.” Luke Cooper wants to be a spy. “I don’t really know why,” he said. “It seems cool.” Ayden Begley said “I want to be a college basketball player so I can go to the NBA like Kevin Garnett.” Isaac Phillips wants to go into landscaping. In fact, he said “I’m already in the business.” Bennett Vargo plans to be a police officer because “it’s fun.”


            The students also have a series of role models that they admire. Molly McGill said “I admire Link, because he is in my favorite games.” (Link is a character from the Legend of Zelda game series who saves the kingdom of Hyrule from the evil Ganondorf.) Molly also said that she wants to be an adventurer when she grows up because that’s what Link is. Tristin Martin said “I admire JB because he’s cute!” Connor Horton admires his uncle because “he coaches baseball and he’s a Canadian.” Finn Torbett says that his role model is his sister. Some students don’t have an external role model. Camron Douglas Stewart said he is his own hero!


            Most students really enjoy third grade with all of the learning and field trips. They all agreed that their teacher, Ms. Doran, is fabulous! “She’s a really good teacher because when we’re good, she gives us candy and extra recess time,” says Faith Williams. Tristan Brickell enjoyed third grade but said it was disappointing that they did not have any clubs. Of course some students liked third grade for reasons unrelated to academics and school-related activities. Anwer Ahmed said “Being a third grader is great because the big kids can’t step on you.”


            Life for each of these third graders is different. Michaela Summey compared her life to a “roller coaster.” Stephen Cradic said that everyone calls him “Mr. Genie” since University School’s production of Aladdin Jr. in February. “Some people tell me I have a big head,” said Parker Bradish. “I always tell them I have a round head.” Luke Cooper said that he is one of two with a country accent and that makes his life fun! Isaac Phillips said that he likes to wear his sunglasses a lot. When asked why, he replied “It’s a secret,” but Connor Horton revealed that secret by saying “He likes the ladies!”