What's Happening At TRJHS!

From the Desk of Mr. Sturges, Principal

Parent Newsletter-January 2019

"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every third Monday of January we celebrate Martin Luther King Day and remember the stories of his march towards equality for all people. regardless of their race, gender, religion etc. As a public school in 2019 we accept students of all diverse backgrounds and promote a climate that allows kids to be themselves. Recently, I had a chance to form a Principal's Advisory Council comprised of fifteen students here who discussed openly their desire to be part of a school community like TRJHS, one that is open and tolerant to all kids. We discussed that we have students each day coming from the five towns of Brimfield, Brookfield, Holland, Sturbridge and Wales. Then sprinkle in school choice students and we are comprised of kids from over fourteen different towns. It is an essential part of junior high school that we teach our kids to be good citizens, active in their communities who treat one another with civility and respect. Although not on the same scale of significance of Dr. King, we all landed here at the junior high from different places, but we are one school community now!

January has come and gone and left us with no snow day school cancellations! I keep reminding staff not to book the early June vacations just yet as February has proven over the years to be a snow laden short month. As it is, the month of January brought a refreshed and energized building full of students who came back from winter break with a high level of enthusiasm. As is always the case at TRJHS, the students were very active accomplishing a number of activities, some of which benefited the culture of the school, community agencies and local animal shelters. The ultimate goal of building a solid foundation in our students is engaging them in that sense of community, whether it's their local towns or simply the school community. Please see below for some highlights of activities around Tantasqua Jr. High in January.

Mix It Up At Lunch Day

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On Friday January 25th, we had one day of lunch blocks where students had to sit with someone different. Not everyone knows it but students (and sometimes teachers) sit in the same seat at lunch every day as if they were assigned. We challenged students for one day to step out their comfort zone and meet someone new. Tables were setup the night before and were assigned numbers. As students entered the cafeteria they were randomly assigned a corresponding number to a table where they'd sit, thus challenging them to meet someone new. Many staff participated as well joining the students for lunch in the same fashion, drawing a number and sitting with their group. With music playing and students and staff sitting together sharing some laughs a great time was had by all. Special thanks for those who made this day happen and encouraged our students to broaden their experience at school.

Winter Athletics

The Junior High Boys Basketball team has been enjoying a successful season. The boys have worked hard to attain a record of 12-3. The team has made the necessary adjustments after each of their losses to have beaten the opponent the second time they played them. We finish out the season with games against Knox Trail, Southbridge and Auburn in February.

The girls Jr. High basketball team, coached by Coach Hawk, consists of 12 players this year; five eighth graders and seven seventh graders. The girls started off the season strong, winning their first five games. They took their only loss of the season, so far, against Mount View. It was a close, hard-fought game. Determined, the lady warriors ended up winning their next seven games. Currently, they have a record of 12 -1. The girls have worked hard all season and are an outstanding group of young ladies. They show up to practice every day, work hard and strive to do their best on and off the court. The Warriors will finish their season with three more games, ending at home against Auburn on February 14th.

Great job by coach Hill, coach Hawk and the players for a great season so far. Also remember that our student council will be at home games selling concessions and items available through our school store.

Spring Sports Announcement

It's crazy to believe but with basketball season wrapping up in the next two weeks, we are already planning spring athletics. Tryouts for baseball/softball will begin the week of March 11th. A detailed schedule will be released some time during February. Announcements will be made at school and reminders will be sent home. Students are reminded that they need to fill out the documentation online for each sport. If your child is planning on participating in spring sports please know at this time that students will need to have a current physical on file with the school and complete all of the necessary steps provided at our schools website. The athletic packet is available online (link provided below) and needs to be completed prior to the first day of tryouts. As always with any questions or concerns, please contact the school. The athletic director is Mr. Guertin and can help with any questions.

Geography Bee

Over the course of the three days after vacation, we hosted the annual geography bee through our Social Studies department. What started on Wednesday with 31 contestants (15 7th graders and 16 8th graders), ended on Friday morning with only one winner. The students exhibited impressive knowledge answering questions that had many adults in the audience stumped. In the end grade 8 student, Jake Rosen, was able to answer the final question correctly and will advance to the state level competition in the upcoming months. Congratulations to all of the competitors for what turned out to be an intense competition with a tight race until the end.

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Introduction of our New Resource Officer

Thank you for the support in our communities and from the school committee that led to the hiring of a school resource officer to help build positive relationships between our students and law enforcement. It is with great pride we introduce officer Garrett Danna as our newest member of the team. Officer Danna is a Tantasqua High School graduate from the class of 2010. He obtained his associates degree in Criminal Justice from Quinsigamond Community College and continues his academic growth looking to confer his Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice in May 2019.

Officer Danna has been in law enforcement for approximately six and a half years.He began the journey attending the Western Massachusetts Police Academy in Springfield, graduating in February 2014. Previously he worked as a full time officer for the Deerfield and North Brookfield Police departments before being hired in November 2017 in Sturbridge. Prior to his career in law enforcement Officer Danna was a certified EMT at 17 and worked as an on call firefighter EMT for the towns of Brimfield and Sturbridge. In a short couple of years he has dedicated himself to the community he was raised and stands to get involved even further as the school resource officer. Welcome Officer Garrett Danna!

Students of the Month-December

Students of the month for December were nominated by each team of teachers based on their good character, hard work and clear efforts towards the defined character trait of the month. For the month of December, the character trait of the month was generosity. The following were selected to be the students of the month for December. As we’ve started a new monthly award voted on by the students, there were also two teachers of the month seen below. Congratulations to these students and staff for their great efforts in December!

Tastefully TED

Come on out and join us on Friday, February 8th from 7-10 pm at the Publick House to support our TED organization. There are a number of vendors who will be there including:

Cornerstone Cafe

Buster's Bark

Whoopie-Doo and Cupcakes Too

Black and White Grille

Baba Sushi

Wild Flour Kolaches

Publick House

Italian Club

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Center of Hope

There are a number of great raffle prizes available.

Tickets to Worcester Art Museum, Swan Lake in Hanover, all day ski passes to Wachusett and more! Gift baskets from Brush it up, our district schools, Treehouse and more!

Stop in anytime between 7 to 10 to bid on any of these items or buy raffle tickets for to see the sox play!

All proceeds benefit the TED organization that gives so much back to our schools. Any support is welcome!

Student Coffee House

Once a month Mrs. Plants-Prouty hosts our lunch time "coffee house" where students can sign up to show off their talents for their classmates. This time around we had a number of acts including some singing, dancing and hard rock anthems! We have a tremendous amount of talented kids in our building and it's great to see them come out of their shells. Students pack the library to enjoy the performances and treat the performers with respect. I tip my cap to those who are brave enough to stand in front and perform. It's great to have that school climate where kids feel safe enough to stand out there and perform. Great job by all involved!
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Principal's Advisory Council

As mentioned above, we started the Principal's Advisory Council comprised of fifteen students who will serve as the bridge of communication between the principal and the students. We have seven seventh graders and eight eighth graders who will meet once a month for the rest of the year to discuss both junior high school issues as well as ways to improve our school from the perspective of the student. We had some great discussions at our first meeting about student views of social media and the stressors that come along with it. When you give a group of students a platform to discuss their views on serious topics such as the effects of social media on the school's climate, they always impress on their level of sophistication . We also discussed some ideas of ways to improve our school culture working on activities that will promote tolerance and acceptance for all kids. When students have a voice in the activities we plan it makes them significantly more effective. I look forward to continuing our work together!

Letters to Soldiers

In civics classes for 8th grade prior to the holidays, our students made cards and wrote letters to our service men and women deployed during the holidays. Since then, we've received two thank you letters from veterans organizations for our contributions to soldiers currently deployed. Thank you to Mrs. Perrin and the social studies classes who participated in getting positive messages to our troops to help lift their spirits.
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Hat Day-Animal Sanctuary Club

One of the best parts of TRJHS as a school is how many activities we are able to offer our students. Not only do we offer a large amount of opportunities, students are encouraged if we don't have something they'd like to simply find an adviser and start something new. That is exactly what happened with our animal sanctuary club. A group of students found Mrs. Troy and began meeting to work on doing activities to help animal shelters. On Friday January 12th our animal sanctuary club, with the help of our student council, hosted a "hat day." With a $1.00 donation students could wear their hat for the day. The club was able to raise just over $750 in one day to give towards local shelters. All collected money went to local shelters helping support multiple places and an equine rescue. Coming up next week students can reduce the cost of their dance tickets by simply donating an item that would benefit animals. These will be then donated to shelters as well. Great job by these students giving their time to help animals in a way they can!

Winter Warrior Challenge

There is a significant amount research on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for our kids. We promote healthy living and exercise regularly and preach about the benefits of just getting some fresh air. With that, we are hosting the Winter Warrior Challenge again! Students are encouraged to get outside and do something physical for at least 15 minutes per day. Awards will be given to students, and advisories for those who earn the most time getting outside. Thanks to Ms. Peterson for coordinating this event. Forms were given to students to track their progress each day throughout the month.

Important Dates For February

February 1 Student of the Month

February 2 Central District Auditions- Grafton High School

February 5 Safer Internet Day Presentations- during Exploratory classes

Cyber Safety Presentation- Grade 7 students

February 8 Winter Semi-Formal Dance- sponsored by Student Council

February 9 Quabbin Valley Festival- Palmer High School

February 10 Tantasqua Show Choir Spectacular- TRHS

February 11 Hands Only CPR Training- during gym classes

February 14 Hands Only CPR Training- during gym classes

February 18- 22 School Vacation Week

February 27 TRSD School Committee Meeting

School Calendar 2019-2020

The school calendar for the 2019-2020 school year has now been added to the district website. I've included the link below.