Blue Shirt Chronicles

The Latest News and Student Creativity from SWA

Big picture

Welcome Mr. Johnson (written by Jonatan R.)

Please welcome our new custodian, Mr. Johnson. Born in 1956, he grew up in Nashville and Franklin (he also lived in Florida for a while). As a kid, he loved to play basketball and run track. He went to Pearl High School in Nashville. His favorite thing to do in his free time is going on mission trips. Mr. Johnson enjoys working at Smyrna West Alternative because ‘’It’s a smaller complex, the people here are nice, and it's quiet.’’ His advice for his younger self is "Don’t be so angry all the time!" and he would encourage the students of SWA to work hard and maintain a good attitude because it will pay off. His favorite foods are hamburgers and steak, but (like most of us) he only gets steak when he can afford it. He enjoys watching ‘’It’s a Wonderful Life.’’ Another fun fact is that his favorite places to go to are church and Peru. We're glad you're here, Mr. Johnson!
Big picture

Book recommendation by Makiya L.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme is a great story that showcases some of the sad truths of the streets of Brooklyn. In the late 90’s, you will follow the lives of Jasmine, Quadir, and Jarrell. They are the best friends and little sister of the recently murdered Steph. While he was alive, Steph had an intense passion for music. Jarrell and Quadir come up with a plan to sell Steph’s music under a new alias, The Architect. Jasmine joins their team with one exception. They have to help her find Steph’s killer. I enjoyed this book because it was an easy read and kept me interested. If you like music, mysteries, or stories about good friends, you'll like this book. The talented Tiffany D. Jackson is the author of the book. Other notable works by Tiffany D. Jackson include Allegedly and Monday’s Not Coming

Understanding Growth written by Julianna F.

We all lose our way.

We take paths we never intended to.

We leave our hearts messy, and sometimes

We leave the mess in other people's hearts, too.

But where there is hope, there is a heart that beats,

please don't give up on yourself. your heart is here to grow,

Water it with love, let the light in remembering that your heart is a world

beating beneath your skin, the world can't be good ... without a little bit of sin.

Big picture

Fear written by Makiya L.

Fear has such a powerful grip on my body,

never letting go until I can’t move,

forcing me to become hot inside,

controlling my every thought.

To me, Fear comes in an ever-shifting shape -

my fear of the dark, my deepest insecurities,

and the assumptions I make all around my world.

Fear causes me to say words that I don’t mean,

filling my entire body with anger sometimes.

Fear doesn’t just make me scared or anxious,

it can also make my blood boil.

It’s like a little voice in my head telling me false secrets.

But I’m not crazy. Right?

You hear fear, too. Right?

What if? By Jonathan L.

What if frogs could not leap?

What if unicorns were real?

What if chickens never crossed the road?

What if koalas were not cute?

What if turtles were fast?

What if horses were slow?

What if iguanas did not change color?

What if snakes were not so sneaky?

What if slugs were not slimy?

What if cats did not have nine lives?

What if hippos went on diets?

What if oxen were not as strong?

What if owls could not see in the dark?

What if ladybugs were all ladies?

Advice to Eighth-Grade Students

Dear Future Freshmen written by Keandre A.

Several high school students got together to offer you some advice:

  • Turn in all your assignments in order to get your credits. You have to pass your classes!
  • The population is bigger than what you guys are normally used to and it’s a bigger risk of getting caught up in drama in different altercations among other students – don’t do it!
  • Go to all your classes. Skipping can cause missing work and truancy problems
  • You will lose friends and you will also make friends. It’s OK.
  • The school hallways may be confusing, but you will get through. If you're having trouble with getting to class you can go to the counselor or front office and get a map and another copy of your schedule.
  • You’re probably going to be nervous the first couple of weeks. That’s normal.
    Good luck!

Art submitted by Wilbert O.

Big picture

Faculty Favorites written by Tori W.

Most of the teachers at Smyrna West Alternative have the same favorite animal - a dog! However, a few said animals such as a zebra, a lion, a cat, a dolphin, and (the most interesting one) a kangaroo! Talk to your teachers to find out who gave that answer!

We were also curious about their favorite books:

· Ms. Jacobs- Pachinko

· Ms. Woodside- Unbroken

· Ms. Bennett- 28 Summers

· Mrs. McClelland- A Million Little Pieces

· Ms. Schesinger- Where The Red Fern Grows

· Mr. Dodson- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

· Dr. Conley- To Kill a Mockingbird

· Mr. Whitmore- Lord of the Flies

· Ms. O’Neal- I’ll Love You Forever

· Ms. Pack- Still Women Enough

· Mr. Gramke- To Kill a Mockingbird

· Ms. Taylor- The Coldest Winter Ever

· Ms. Smith- The Bible

· Dr. Rains- The Bible

· Mr. Krauss- 1984

·Mrs. Sides- Women’s Murder Club series

· Mrs. Atkin- Financial Peace

Smyrna West Surprises By Brittany W.

Hearing you’re being sent to Smyrna West is like your heart dropping to your feet. You’re nervous and curious about what’s going to happen on your first day. Smyrna West is intimidating at first; however, all students have all been surprised about how different it is then how it sounded. We interviewed several students to see what kind of surprises they found.

There are the main rules like no talking, no touching, no phones, no backpacks, etc. but there’s a lot that no one knew about until after they came here. For example, no chocolate milk until level 3 and no going to the bathroom by yourself are big surprises. There are some things that make your days better here, like the calm and quiet environment that helps you focus and the teachers' ability to have deep conversations that help most students. While attending Smyrna West most students have realized the small privileges that we used to take for granted like jewelry, makeup, certain color socks, and certain hair ties. Several are surprised to realize that they like reading books. Most students will return to their homeschools more grateful for the small things. SWA is a very surprising place if you realize what you’ve lost...and what you've gained.

The Blue Shirt Chronicles, Edited by Jose D.

We would like to thank the following students for contributing to this newsletter:

  • Keandre A.
  • Maleah C.
  • Jose D.
  • Julianna F.
  • Jonathan L.
  • Makiya L.
  • Wilbert O.
  • Tori W.
  • Abdi A.
  • Jonatan R.
  • Brittany W.