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DMS Literary Magazine


updated 10/2014
DMS header STW
   Driving Directions:
Take Exit #19 off of Interstate 81.
From the north, turn left at the end of the ramp onto Rt. 11
From the south, turn right at end of ramp onto Rt. 11.
Keep straight at the traffic light and stay on Rt. 58 (Jeb Stuart Hwy.)
Travel approximately 8 miles making a right turn onto Rt. 757 (Government Rd.)
                                  Damascus Middle School will be on the right.                        
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                                                news              calendar                     
              at the exciting events ahead!
Oct. 20-24..School Bus Safety Week
Oct. 21.......Read for the Record
Oct. 21.......Clubs - 1:12-1:48 p.m.
Oct. 21.......8th grade Girls Basketball begins - 5:30 p.m. @ HHS
Oct. 22.......Bus Driver Appreciation Day
Oct. 23.......2-hr. Early Dismissal - Parent/Teacher Conferences 1:30-7:00 p.m.
Oct. 24.......6th Life Skills
Oct. 27-31..Red Ribbon Week
Oct. 27.......Crazy Sock Day - Wear crazy socks
Oct. 27.......8th grade Boys Basketball begins
Oct. 28.......hatHats On to Being Drug Free - Wear hat
Oct. 29.......7th River's Way
Oct. 29.......Give Drugs the Boot - Wear Boots
Oct. 30.......Shade Out Drugs - Wear Sunglasses
Oct. 31.......Red Day - Wear Red (Free giveaways during lunch!)
Oct. 31.......6th Life Skills
Nov. 1........Jr. All-District Chorus Auditions @ PHHS
Nov. 3........Girls Basketball Scrimmage vs. Johnson County - 4:30 p.m. AWAY
Nov. 4........NO SCHOOL - Election Day

Jr. Washington County Community Scholars Student Volunteer Form

DMS Student art work

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FBFootball Schedule VBVolleyball Schedule
GATE Students Make Homemade Jam

On Wednesday, October 15, Damascus Middle School Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students made homemade blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry jams!  With more than forty pairs of hands at work, sponsor Mrs. Rhonda Mossholder had to have a system for task assignments. Students stemmed strawberries, mashed the berries, added the sugar (“lots of sugar,” according to one student), boiled the Sure-Jell, and then mixed it all into a smoothie consistency.  After a sampling, the students put the jam into jars and allowed it to jell for twenty-four hours. Students could not agree on which was the best kind of jam; however, they did agree that all three flavors were delicious!  Making homemade jam gave these students the opportunity to experience one aspect of life in the Amish community, the focus of their GATE activities during the 2014-2015 school year.  Since the Amish are well-known for their jellies, jams, and preserves, the students discovered the work that must go into each batch the Amish make.  At the end of the year, students will have the chance to travel to Amish Country and hopefully sample some Amish-made jam to compare!

Spanish Students Explore Picasso's Art

Students in Ms. Dalia Obregon’s seventh-grade Spanish Exploratory class recently colored a beautiful mural based on a compilation of some of the best artwork done by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso.  The students learned that Picasso was one of the creators of the Cubism movement who also painted more realist paintings at different times of his life, known as his "Blue Period", "Rose Period", and "Classical Period." And from 1927 onward, Picasso focused on a movement known as "Surrealism."  After studying the artist, the students focused on his art.  The students demonstrated real teamwork on this project, as they each took a section of the larger picture and colored away!  Morgan C., Alexis G., Elizabeth H., Ashley J., Jordan K., Evan S., Baylee T., and Dawson V., all thought it was a fun and cool project to do! 

6th Grade Visits Highland Dairy Farm

On Friday, October 3, Damascus Middle School sixth-graders traveled to Highland Dairy Farm in Glade Spring as part of the Holston River Soil and Water Conservation District’s Farm Field Days.  The students rotated through stations, including one of the students’ favorite spots down by the creek, where they learned about the importance of watersheds and “looked for little critters,” according to Grayson S.  Other favorite activities on the farm were a trip through the barn where the calves were housed and the jeopardy game that quizzed the students on their conservation knowledge!   In spite of a little rain, something farmers have to contend with regularly, the students enjoyed being outside on the farm, while learning about conservation of our area’s natural resources!

Internet Safety Presentation

On Wednesday, October 1, Detective Jamie Blevins with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office visited Damascus Middle School to present an Internet Safety Program to students.  Since most middle school students do spend a lot of time using the Internet, whether they are watching YouTube videos, communicating with friends, or doing homework, it is very important for them to be aware of the dangers that exist online. Detective Blevins shared the heart-wrenching story of Amanda Todd, whose suicide as a result of both being victimized and bullied online brought to light the negative impact the Internet can have on people’s lives. He stressed the importance of using ethical online behavior, protecting themselves while online, and guarding their own privacy by not posting personal things online.  This was a timely message for our students, as October is both Information Literacy Month and Bullying Prevention Month.

Sixth-Grade chorus presents program!

On Monday, September 22, students in Ms. Sue Spirup’s sixth-grade Chorus Exploratory class entertained us with songs from the past.  During the six-week class, Ms. Spirup followed the scope and sequence of the social studies curriculum, and the students learned songs from pre-Civil War times through the Civil War and Westward Expansion.  The program opened with Francis Scott Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner” and included light-hearted songs like “Goober Peas,” as well as more serious war-time songs like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Students who performed were as follows:  Sam A., Hayley B., Bryce C., Stacy D., Kaiden F., William F., Kay Leigh H., Austin L., Kayla M., Aspen P., and Christian W.  Through this unit, students were able to expand not only their musical awareness but also their social studies knowledge.  

Damascus Middle School Library
Hosts Scholastic Book Fair!

During the week of September 8-11, the Damascus Middle School Library was filled with new books, bright posters, and fun school supplies for sale to benefit the library program.  On Friday, September 5, grandparents attending our Grandparents’ breakfast were given a Sneak Peek at the Book Fair, and then throughout the following week, students were given opportunities to browse the Scholastic Book Fair and make wish lists, shop, and win free books.  Open House was held on Thursday evening, and every student who attended Open House had a chance to win one of five free books! The five lucky recipients were as follows: Austin L., sixth-grader; Connor B. and Carson B., seventh-graders; and Amber H. and Elizabeth S., eighth-graders!  These students chose one of their favorite books from the fair, with selections ranging from a book about Minecraft to a biography of Austin Mahone.  The Damascus Middle School Library program will definitely benefit from each student, parent, and grandparent who supported our Book Fair!

Team Intense Visits
Damascus Middle School!

On Wednesday, September 17, Damascus Middle School students, faculty, and staff were challenged to meet obstacles with strength and courage by Team Intense!  With music blasting and muscles bulging, Team Intense members Josh Whisneant and Kenneth Etta shared their physical and mental strength while talking about the importance of making good choices in life.  After bending an iron bar, Etta encouraged students to “be a buddy, not a bully.”  When he requested the strongest boy and girl in the audience, students selected eighth-grader Mason L. and seventh-grader Ivy H. to each attempt to tear a phone book in half. When they were unable to accomplish this, Etta pointed out that even the strongest can’t do much without help.  With his help, both Mason and Ivy accomplished this feat almost effortlessly!  After dousing his audience with soda from cans that he ripped apart with his bare hands, Whisneant surprised them when he stated that they were not born winners.  However, he empowered them when he went on to say that they were each born choosers, with the strength to choose what they wanted to do in life.  The hope of Team Intense is that their audience was not only impressed by the amazing feats of strength we witnessed but that we were also inspired to make good choices in our own lives!

Two Damascus Middle School Students
Win Writing Contest!

Two seventh-grade students at Damascus Middle School were selected as winners in the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest!   Sponsored by the Smyth-Bland Regional Library each year to honor the birth of Sherwood Anderson, a writer who lived near Troutdale, Virginia, the contest encourages short story writing about rural or small-town America. 
First-place winner Carson B. wrote about a boy from New York who, against his will, visits family in Damascus, Virginia one summer.
  After watching the Hiker Parade during Trail Days and enjoying other activities in his grandparents’ small town, he decides he wants to visit every summer! 
Second-place winner Hali R. wrote what she describes as, “a sad story” about the death of the main character’s mother and how the young lady copes during difficult times.
  Sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Renee Sanders helped her students enter their stories in the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest at the end of the school year.  Both students were thrilled to learn their stories were winners, and each was excited to receive a monetary prize for his/her work!
Spanish I Students Discover Purpose for Learning Spanish

Señor Austin Holmes, son of Glade Spring Middle School principal, Mr. Kelly Holmes, and Damascus Middle School teacher, Mrs. Robin Holmes, recently visited Spanish I students at both schools to share lessons he learned from his study abroad in Peru.  In addition to his complete immersion in the Spanish language, he gained knowledge of the culture, climate, and people that supplemented the knowledge acquired through his Spanish classes at Virginia Military Institute.  Holmes shared the amazing parts of his trip, like the magnificent examples of architecture, the beauty of the landscape, and the ingenuity of the people.  He also shared the parts of his trip that made him more appreciative of the amenities we enjoy in the United States, like flushing toilet paper, heating and cooling systems, and trash collection.  To conclude his presentation, Holmes encouraged the students to learn Spanish as a means to communicate and develop peaceful relationships with people from other cultures in order to work together to better our world!  Holmes’s presentation provided a wonderful example of the point of learning other languages; a lesson Ms. Obregon hopes her Spanish I students take to heart!

Students "Take Their Parents to Lunch"

In celebration of National School Lunch Week, October 13-17, students at Damascus Middle School had the opportunity to “take their parents to lunch” on Wednesday, October 15.  Twenty-five parents came to enjoy lunch with their child[ren] and selected from a menu of chicken chunks, hamburger, or pizza. Superintendent Dr. Brian Ratliff also joined us during lunch.  National School Lunch Week is a week set aside each year to promote the benefits of, and increase participation in, the school lunch program.    It is also a time for us to honor our school nutrition workers, Darlene French, Daisy Hawthorne, Joyce Tester, Roberta Walls, and Eula Widener, who play a vital role in our students’ academic achievement and overall wellness through providing a delicious and nutritious lunch each day!

Students Research Local Folklore

Author Joe Tennis thrilled students in Ms. Katherine Wright’s eighth-grade English class this past week as he paid a visit to their class to share his research of haunted tales with them!  The students are currently conducting a research project on folklore from our region.  Several of them have listened intently as scary tales have been passed down to them by oral tradition about places in our area, including the Virginia Creeper Trail, the Barter Theatre, Emory & Henry College, the Martha Washington Inn, and the Tavern.  After reading or hearing some of the different versions of these haunted tales that exist and researching the historical background of the settings of these tales (advice given to them by Tennis), the students will combine these in their final research papers, just as Tennis does in his books!  The results should be both informative and entertaining!

Pep Rally
Homecoming Pep Rally

The week of October 6-10 was a celebration of Homecoming spirit at Damascus Middle School!  Tying in with Holston High School’s theme of “There’s No Place Like Homecoming,” students celebrated with dress-up days throughout the week.  The seventh- and eighth-grades tied for highest percentage of students dressing up, winning extra recess time!  Competition was fierce for door decorations with a pizza party up for grabs, and seventh-graders will be eating pizza!  Students who showed the most school spirit throughout the week were crowned grade-level Homecoming Spirit Kings and Queens, as follows:  Jordan L. and Seth S., sixth-grade; Laura W., Carson B., and Parker N., seventh-grade; and Amanda O., Kaitlyn W., and Ethan G., eighth-grade.  After a spirited pep rally which included an introduction of the cheerleaders and football and volleyball teams, a flash mob performed by teachers, and a dance routine and cheers led by the cheerleaders, students danced the rest of the afternoon away!  “There’s no place like”…Damascus Middle School for showing school spirit!  

ice cream
Agriscience Class Makes Ice Cream

Damascus Middle School’s seventh-grade Agriscience exploratory class explored the inside of the Dairy Industry on Thursday, October 9 by following a recipe to make ice cream.  To make this delicious treat, the students mixed together 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of milk in a small bag. In a larger bag, 4 cups of ice and a handful of ice cream salt were added. The two bags were put together, and the students shook the milk mixture until the mixture began to become slushy. Dominick R. noted that the process of making ice cream was “easy, except for when you had to shake it up, because your hands got cold!”  The students enjoyed the labors of their hard work—delicious vanilla ice cream!

Students of Character

Damascus Middle School Students of Character for the months of August and September were selected because they “dare to be different!” Congratulations to the following individuals:  Kendel H., Alyssa M., Lukas C., Bailey D., Deanna A., Lilly H., DaShaun R., Kai B., Jenna G., Sierra G., Gracie S., and Devon C.  Ranging in talent from art and music, to writing, entertaining, and public speaking, these students have exhibited abilities, interests, values, and defining characteristics that make them unique and who they are!  We celebrate their willingness to be different!

Garden Project created by
8th-grade Agriscience students

Students in Mrs. Mary Rhudy’s eighth-grade Agriscience class recently created a raised-bed garden near the outdoor classroom.  The students learned that, although most vegetable gardening is done during the spring and summer, some vegetables are hardy late-season growers!  With this knowledge in mind, the students prepared the soil in their new raised beds and planted cabbages and radishes.  Watering the plants every other day has been an enjoyable task so far, thanks to the nice weather we have had this fall, and the students are looking forward to sampling their crops when they are ready.  This project is just one way these students will learn valuable hands-on skills related to Agriscience.

Sixth-grade scientists learn 
the importance of observation!

Students in Mrs. Donna Musick’s sixth-grade science classes learned that sometimes hypotheses are not what they are “cracked up to be.”  Mrs. Musick began class on Friday, September 26 with instructions for students to use their prior knowledge to describe an egg.  Even though the students were able to do so, they found that their descriptions were much more precise when they were allowed to carefully observe the egg.  After cracking the egg, the students made more observations and learned the parts of an egg.  As a concluding activity, Mrs. Musick asked the students to develop a hypothesis to explain what would happen if she dropped the egg accidentally, and most students predicted that the egg would crack open when it hit the floor, making a huge mess.  However, when Mrs. Musick dropped the egg, their hypothesis was wrong!  The students learned that careful observation (which in this case would have allowed the students to realize that the egg had been boiled), is a very vital part of the scientific method!

Damascus Middle School Students
Participate in the Washington County Fair

Damascus Middle School was well-represented at the 2014 Washington County Fair!  Students Ashley J., 7th grade, and Madison R., 8th grade, performed at the School Day at the Fair Talent Showcase on Friday, September 12.  Both girls shared talents they have been developing through many years of practice; Ashley presented an energetic gymnastics routine, and Madison an exciting clogging routine!  In addition to enjoying the talents presented at the Talent Showcase, students in attendance at School Day at the Fair could participate in fun and educational activities, led by teachers in the county.  Students who completed these activities were entered in a Duck Race to win prizes, and the two middle school winners both are Damascus Middle School students, Catilyn C. and Eric T.!  In keeping with the fair’s theme this year, which was, “Have You Herd about the Fun at the Washington County Fair?” art teacher Ms. Jennifer Smith coordinated the decoration of our school’s cow with school colors. The Washington County Fair Parade was on Saturday, September 13, and two students, Nathan M. and Anna Blake W., represented Damascus Middle School in this event.  The Washington County Fair provides a wonderful opportunity for students to share their time and talents with our community!

Damascus Middle School Cafeteria
Hosts a "Grand" Breakfast!

(8th grader Ethan P. enjoys breakfast with his Papaw T!)

In honor of National Grandparents Day on Sunday, September 7, the Damascus Middle School Cafeteria gave students the opportunity to treat their grandparents to breakfast at “Grits ‘n Gravy with Gramps ‘n Gran” on Friday, September 5!  Breakfast included grits and gravy, of course, as well as biscuits, chicken, sausage, French toast sticks, fruit, yogurt, and cereal.  Thirty-five grandparents joined their grandchildren for good food and a special time of celebrating the important role many grandparents play in the development of their grandchildren!  This event was made possible by our wonderful cafeteria staff, consisting of Cafeteria Manager Darlene French, Daisy Hawthorne, Joyce Tester, Roberta Walls, and Eula Widener.  Breakfast with “Gramps ‘n Gran” was certainly a grand way for students to begin their day!

Damascus Middle School News Crew
Gets the Day Started

The 2014-2015 Damascus Middle School News Crew began work this week!  Composed of anchors Caleb C., Gracie S., Jake S., and Drew W.; cameraman Ethan G.; technician Hanna D.; and weatherwoman Jenna G., the crew is responsible for everything required to run a news show.  After leading the school in observing the Moment of Silence and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the crew puts together a lively show of important morning announcements, including the lunch menu, birthdays, the word of the day, school events, and the daily weather forecast.  The process of becoming a member of the News Crew began while these eighth-graders were still in seventh grade and consisted of their submission of an application, which included three references from teachers.  Principal Dixie Hunter then looked at the students’ grades, attendance, and discipline records to select the seven members of the Damascus Middle School News Crew.  We look forward to beginning each day with them!  

Mission Statement
Our mission, in partnership with our community, is to develop lifelong learners and responsible citizens who will become positive contributors to our society. Our goal is for each student to reach success through the development of his/her fullest potential.

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