University School Weekly Update

January 17-23, 2022

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As we prepare for the upcoming week, we ask that you please review the following information:
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Due to an increased number of absences among our students and staff, we are unable to adequately staff some of our classrooms and other positions essential for the efficient and effective operations of our school. Therefore, we have made the decision to cancel school on Tuesday, January 18th and Wednesday, January 19th.

We will be using state-approved stockpiled days identified for inclement weather days and other emergencies. Since these days are designated as closure days, students and staff will not be expected to work remotely on these two days. However, dual-enrollment classes at ETSU, Northeast State and Milligan will continue as scheduled, and students enrolled in AP classes need to check Canvas and email for possible teacher instructions as these classes have additional requirements to meet to be prepared for the AP exams.

If any additional changes are needed for the remainder of the week, communication will be sent to our families as soon as possible. We realize this may cause an inconvenience for our families, so please know that we have made this decision out of necessity and that your support and understanding are appreciated.

Student Spotlights

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Elementary School Honoree – Israel Hildenbrand

Israel loves school. During the warmer months, he gets up early two days per week to come and participate in Morning Mile. He loves earning his miles but what makes him special is that while he is competing to get better, he is also cheering on and encouraging the other walkers and runners as they work toward their own Morning Mile goals and victories. Israel loves to help in class. He likes to arrive first in the morning and help his teachers get the room ready for the day. At clean up time, Israel quickly cleans up his own area and always helps others who are taking a little longer. His kindness is appreciated by his classmates and his teachers.

Getting to know Israel Hildenbrand:

  • What is your favorite hobby? “I like playing on the playground! Climbing up the slides and playing with friends!”

  • What is the best gift you've ever received? What made it so special? “When my basketball team got 12 points and the other team got zero. I like to win!”

  • If you got to change roles with your mom/dad for a day, what would you do? “Everything! Play outside all day until morning. And eat lots of BBQ chips!”

"Israel always goes the extra mile to help his classmates,” said Israel’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Noel Howe. “When someone in class is hurting or struggling, it hurts Israel’s kind heart and he tries to help anyway he can.”

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Middle School Honoree – Zaeem Ali

Zaeem has a kind and caring disposition. He shows compassion when others are feeling down and offers a shoulder to lean on. His love for learning is apparent through his curiosity and insightful questioning. He is an active listener and likes to try his best.

Getting to know Zaeem Ali:

  • What is your favorite hobby? “I mostly collect playing cards such as more expensive or rare decks that I can find. Reason being, the art you can find in each deck, the usability of playing cards itself i.e games and tricks, and lastly the sheer amount of decks in the world since 1370 is captivating.”

  • What is the best gift you've ever received? What made it so special? “I don't like to look at the more superficial things in life such as gifts, (but) it's understandable to see gifts as special by someone. One gift that is dear to me is my ability to see, though overlooked by many, to be able to see the colors, space, depth, and length of this 3D world is what I would consider a gift.”

  • If you got to change roles with your mom/dad for a day, what would you do? “Do what they usually do to the best of my ability. My father being a doctor, it would make whatever job I would have to perform somewhat difficult but I have no right to ruin what they don't want me to ruin.”

“Zaeem is empathetic, encouraging, and insightful,” pointed out Zaeem’s middle school teachers. “He contributes to the positive culture at our school.”

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High School Honoree – Melina Summey

Melina is such a kind person. Melina puts others' needs and feelings before herself. Melina is very kind and caring. She jumps up and is the first to volunteer to help someone else. Melina is a positive role model for other students. Not only is she an athlete, but also works as a part of the yearbook staff. Melina spends time in our classroom taking various photos of class events for the yearbook. She does so much more than just take pictures when she visits, she also spends time getting to know students. Her visits inspire students to work hard, set goals, and accomplish those goals through hard work and perseverance.

Getting to know Melina Summey:

  • What is your favorite hobby? “Outside of school I enjoy running because it gives me time to clear my head.”

  • What is the best gift you've ever received? What made it so special? “The best gift I have ever received was my dog, Wonder. He is very special to me because he is my best friend.”

  • If you got to change roles with your mom/dad for a day, what would you do? “I would tell my siblings to do their dishes!”

“Melina is a great example of what it means to be a Christian,” said Ms. Erin Penley, Office Aide at University School. “She is compassionate and puts others first. Melina is humble and kind." Added Ms. Erin Doran, 2nd-grade teacher: “Melina is a leader at University School. She not only excels in academics and athletics, but is a true leader in our school. Her service and dedication to University School is commendable.”

Senior Superlative Nominations Due January 18th

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Seniors: It is time to nominate your classmates for senior superlatives. Please complete the form and return to me. You may leave the ballot with my sub, email me at, or leave your ballot in the office to be put in my box. Once the nominees are tabulated, you will receive a formal ballot for you to vote. Your name must be on your ballot in order for it to be counted.

Senior Superlative Categories -- Please nominate up to four students per category: nominees due by Jan. 18, 2022.

University Foundation Spring Fundraising Gala

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TN Scholar Deadline - March 31st

To be recognized as a TN Scholar at graduation, please complete all documentation and application listed in Canvas Announcement. Applications are due March 31st. This is a HARD Deadline. Please see Dr. Shaw for more information.
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Updated Covid Protocols

Based on recent updates (revisions to PDF from last week have been made) by the CDC and TN Department of Health (see pdf file below) received this week, we ask that are families please review the recommendations and to please feel free to contact the school if you have any questions. We are seeing a spike in cases both in our region and school, so we do ask that everyone please help us in taking the best safety precautions possible.
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PreACT Testing - Grades 8, 9, & 10 (Date Change)

University School students in grades 8 through 10 will take the PreACT on Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Testing locations will be shared by teachers and via the morning announcements.

Students should bring #2 pencils, an ACT approved calculator (, a small snack for the break if desired, and dress in layers. Backpacks, cell phones, smart watches, electronic devices and other personal items should not be brought into the testing room.

Information regarding testing logistics will be shared directly with students. After testing is completed, students may bring their lunch or bring money to eat at the fast food restaurants located within the Culp Culp dining options include the Dining Hall, Chick-fil-A, Steak and Shake, Starbucks, and Mein Bowl.

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Annual Health Screenings are scheduled for Thursday, January 20, 2022, in the University School Library for Kindergarten, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th & 9th Grades. Parents will receive a letter with your child's results and any referrals that are recommended related to the screening.

University School Entreprenuer's Club

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We are excited to announce that University School will be partnering with the College of Business & Technology to start an Entrepreneur's Club. This will be a great opportunity for our students interested in learning how to promote an innovative idea and learn from local entrepreneurs. Students will also have an opportunity to attend a week long summer camp and participate in their version of "Shark Tank" - please email Dr. Penley ( if you are interested in more information.

Weekly Calendar of Events

View Events for Entire School Year | Printable Calendar: This Year or Next Year | Schedule Change Policy

January 18 No School

January 19 No School

January 20 Annual Health Screenings, Library, Grades K,2,4,6,8,9
January 20 Chick Chat Club, Room 010, 3:15-4:15 p.m.
January 20 College Ready Club, Library, 3:00 p.m.
January 20 Math Help Club, Library, 3:15-4:30 p.m.
January 22 MS Girls, Boys Basketball, Area Tournament, @Hampton High
January 22 HS Girls, Boys Basketball, @Jellico, 5:00,6:30,8:00
January 24 Math Help Club, Library, 3:15-4:30 p.m.
January 24 MS Girls, Boys Basketball, Area Tournament, @Hampton High
January 25 Testing, Pre-ACT (Grades 8,9,10)
January 25 Juniors-Seniors Meeting, SCOIR and MyACT
January 25 Photography Club, Room 301A, 3:15-4:15 p.m.
January 25 MS Girls, Boys Basketball, Area Tournament, @Hampton High
January 25 Homecoming, Training School Night, Brooks Gym
Homecoming Court Presentation, approximately 7:30 p.m.
HS Girls, Boys Basketball, vs KACHEA, 5:00,6:30,8:00
January 26 Bible Study Club, Warf-Pickel Hall Room 127, 3:15-4:00 p.m.
January 26 Green Club, Room 010, 3:15-4:15 p.m.
January 27 Chick Chat Club, Room 010, 3:15-4:15 p.m.
January 27 College Ready Club, Library, 3:00 p.m.
January 27 Math Help Club, Library, 3:15-4:30 p.m.
January 28 HS Girls, Boys Basketball, vs North Greene, 5:00,6:30,8:00
January 29 MS Girls, Boys Basketball, Sectional Tournament, @John Sevier Middle
January 30 MS Girls, Boys Basketball, Sectional Tournament, @John Sevier Middle
January 31 Math Help Club, Library, 3:15-4:30 p.m.
January 31 MS Girls, Boys Basketball, Sectional Tournament, @John Sevier Middle

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