What's Happening At TRJHS!

From the Desk of Mr. Sturges, Principal

Parent Newsletter

As a Junior High School, our students are coming of age where they begin to think or act with some independence. They are also still young where they are products of their families values and beliefs and attempting to balance this new introspection with what their values already are. It's a fun age to see this conundrum at work. Here at Tantasqua we attempt to open as many doors as we can and guide them, whichever way their path goes, allowing our students to try anything we have to offer. Below, at the very end,is a list of clubs, activities and athletics that are offered to all students. Many of the athletic teams are one's you have to tryout for but at least are offered. It comes with great pride when I see at our late buses how many students stay after school to participate each day.

October was a busy month here at TRJHS and it only looks to get busier! All of our departments are up and running activities, presentations concerts and sporting events. The after school activities have been a hit with over 100 kids participating in various clubs each day they are offered. Fall athletics have come to a close and more will follow on each individual sport. Band has had multiple performances at this point and show choir held their second annual Tantasqua in the Spotlight earlier in the month to support our Tantasqua Music Association. Our Chestnut Tree program has continued it's efforts for the fall with the help of 'the American Chestnut Society." With the winter months almost upon us where the cold, snow and early darkness will force the kids inside, I encourage students to get involved in any of our clubs. One of the best things about this place is if there is something you'd like to do and it's not offered, students are empowered to start their own activity with the help of a faculty adviser!

Recently At TRJHS

Halloween Dance

On Friday Night October 26th we opened the doors to over 400 students for our annual Halloween Dance. Many students dressed up in costume and had a great time. From Mario and Luigi to thing 1 and thing 2 students did a great job using their creativity to create some really great costumes.
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Bully Presentation

On Tuesday October 2nd, we hosted an event for our students here at TRJHS to open the door to positive discussions on how we as a school community can combat bullying and what efforts can be made to promote civility and respect at the junior high. Students walked across the street to Tantasqua High School to watch the movie "Bully" which was followed up with a brief presentation. After, students returned to their advisory classrooms and participated in a number of different activities related to anti-bullying. Some played Kahoot games with questions all pertaining to bullying while others made posters and projects emphasizing what it takes to promote a positive school culture. In the end feedback from students and parents was positive that the activity fostered a strong message of civility and respect for one another during their time in Tantasqua that will translate into real world experiences.

Fall Sports

All sports for the fall have officially wrapped up their seasons. We had a successful year all around, both in the win/loss column but also in the improvement of the athletes. The year started with a week of delays for practices due to heat problems followed by a couple of days of rain outs but the students stayed engaged and grinded through a two month season filled. This was a season littered with rain outs, lightning cancellations and frigid cold in the final two weeks, a variety of weather experiences that can only he had in New England! In the end I was very proud of the output we had and ultimately as a fan in the stands couldn't say more positive things about the sportsmanship on the field our student athletes exhibited on a regular basis as representatives of Tantasqua Jr. High School. The following are the final results for each team:

Girls Soccer had a great season. The final record was 5-4-2 with an impressive couple of games vs. very tough opponents over the course of the season. Great job by these young ladies and good luck to the 8th graders hoping to play soccer at TRHS!

Boys Soccer: the boys final record for the season was 8 wins, 1 loss, and 1 tie. The boys had a great season with very impressive wins over a long list of difficult opponents. We are impressed with the efforts of these gentlemen and wish them good luck with TRHS soccer.

Cross Country boys have come a long way. They had an unbelievable season with only 2 losses. The boys have become stronger and faster slowly picking off their competition. We were only a few spots away from 1st place in our SWCL meet and are slowly gaining ground at our own invitational taking home 2nd place as well. The returning 8th graders have gained so much this year with the help of the incoming strength of the 7th graders. Next year looks to be promising as we have grown as a team.

Cross Country girls had a great year as well pulling in a number of difficult victories with a few losses along the way. Our athletes turned in a season of great effort that translated itself into the victory column. Great job ladies!

Field Hockey had a great season as an official sport and no longer a club. The girls worked all year at getting better and with determination they had a game vs. Charlton Middle School where they scored a bunch of goals. After that they had a hard fought tie with Agawam, a team they had lost to earlier in the year. They always showed great effort and turned in an awesome year.

Once again, congratulations to our fall sport athletes. We look forward to winter sports. See below for tryout schedules relative to boys/girls basketball.

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Winter Sports

Basketball try-outs will be held on the following schedule:

Girls - Grades 7 + 8--11/13, G7 + 8- 11/14

Boys - G8-11/16, G7-11/19, G7&G8 (combined)-11/20.

*IMPORTANT* All students trying out MUST complete the following PRIOR to their first try-out date. If not 100% complete, students will not be able to try-out;

1. Up to date physical completed, or on file. Students who need a physical can sign up for an in-school sports physical on 11/07. Students must bring the signed In School Sports Physical form on the 7th. Form can be downloaded from the nurse's website.

2. Parents must complete 100% of the online registration which can be found using the following link, or parents can login to the HS website and click on Athletics and then the link for Sport Registration at the top of the page.


**Again, students must have 100% completion of all required paperwork or they will not be allowed to participate in try-outs.**

Music Department

Already there has been a bunch of activity in our music department. On Friday October 12th, we had the Show Choir Spectacular over at the high school to support and raise money for our parent music association. This was a great time by all involved which included a surprise performance by two of our school committee members as well as a good performance by our staff hand chimes. Two staff members, Mr. Reynolds and Mrs. Charrette also had solo acts during the show. I was very impressed with the talent our Tantasqua family possesses.

Also on Wednesday October 21st we had our first jr. high school band concert. The students did an amazing job, many of whom just started playing an instrument 8 short weeks ago. I'm very proud of and impressed with our students who work hard at it every day in band. Thanks to Mrs. Colwell for the first of what I'm gathering will be many great performances. On Friday October 12th our bands traveled to UMASS for the yearly multi-bands concert. Our students represented Tantasqua well and turned in another good performance.

Students of the Month-October

Each month we will recognize a handful of students, usually two per team, nominated by the teaching staff as students who best exemplified good character and all around great effort in school. The students of the month for October are pictured below for grades 7 + 8. We've moved forward with character education to attach a monthly character word of the month that students will win "student of the month" by exhibiting these qualities. The character traits we will emphasize each month are:

October - Tolerance (Bullying Prevention month)

November - Gratitude (Giving thanks)

December - Generosity (Holiday giving)

January - Perseverance (Resolutions)

February - Kindness (Random Act of Kindness Day Feb. 17)

March - Compassion (Developmental Disabilities Awareness month)

April - Courage (Patriots Day)

May - Civility

June - Citizenship.

***Character traits are subject to change but should remain for this year!

We look forward to working with our student body around these positive attributes that will benefit them as they move on to high school and beyond.


See flyer below for information on the 6th annual Trot with Ted!
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Technology Grant

Thanks to Ms. Amadio (grade 7 Science) we were able to receive a full Chromebook cart consisting of 36 Chromebooks, and a charging station. Back at the beginning of October she was awarded the grant thanks to her efforts working with a non-profit group called Mass Networks Education Partnership. This group was established years ago to help with technology needs in schools and to help teachers acquire these devices. Ms. Amadio's grant was awarded when working through the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Robert Antonucci. In our district we are always trying to keep up with the times to be able to offer our students every advantage we can provide. This generation is going through an education system heavily reliant on technology. Special thanks to Ms. Amadio with all of her efforts to help us acquire this great addition to our school.

Educational Activities Around the Building

Throughout the day there are projects happening frequently. Below are some examples of an ELA breakout session that took place in the library for all 7th graders. Each team went on different days to learn about the library through the use of the publicized breakout games. Students had to find clues to unlock different boxes to get to the prize inside.

Mrs. Hager's class shared pictures of a debate over whether the events in the short story they were reading ere magic, or just coincidence! Not sure who the winners were but it was a passionate debate!

Student Council Speeches

Early in October 7th grade students had to give speeches to run for office within our student council. I was so proud of how well written these speeches were and the courage it takes to stand on a microphone in front of your peers. Congratulations to all of our candidates and what an experience for civic duty to their school community!

High Five Friday-Veteran's Edition

As of now anyone reading this would have been aware of our high five Friday with our police departments from the five local communities. It was an honor to have them represented in our building and was an activity that the students still ask about, "when will we do that again?" For the second (and final for the fall) installment of "High Five Friday," I would like to invite any family veteran's to join our entrance ways on Friday morning, November 9th. I understand it is inconvenient to come for such a short amount of time as we would have to get the regular school day started right at 7:30, but it would be an honor to have Veteran's stand at our doorways and "high five" the students as they enter. If you are interested in this activity, please email sturgesg@tantasqua.org to let me know. The activity would last from 7:15-7:30 at drop off time. If you would like, in uniform would be invited but not expected. Simply recognizing our Veteran's on the Friday before Veteran's Day would be an engaging activity for our students. Please let me know in advance if you'd like to participate.

Bus Company Message

We've been working regularly with our bus companies to ensure student safety and one message that we wanted to share is in regards to bus passes. There are a specific list of buses seen below that are full and we will not be able to accept bus passes from students. Because of the shear numbers we have to ensure that there are enough seats available for regularly assigned students. The following buses are full:

Sturbridge 6,7,10,11,12,14,16

Brookfield 6

Finally, there will be no passes on the half day before Thanksgiving. That is a day where all students on both sides of the street go home and there are few (if any) after school activities. Buses will be filled. Thank you for everyone's understanding with the transportation as we understand at times its an inconvenience. Please fee free to contact our office with any questions.

Food Drive War

Thank you to all families who contributed towards our food drive war that took place during the last week of October. Thankfulyl we were able to collect over 3,000 items of canned goods and reward some of our advisory classes for winning the contest with a to be scheduled ice cream party in each grade! These are the results by team:


White - 1,111

Red - 1,115

Blue - 1,844

Teachers - 1,160


Orange - 403

Green - 466

Gold - 629.

Thank you again to all who contributed. Although the contest has ended we will continue to collect items to provide for our own community. Student Council did a fantastic job coordinating announcements, collecting the goods and organization everything.. Great job to all of our students and staff who contributed.

Important Dates For November

November 2- Student of the Month

-Student Coffee House during lunches

November 7 -Picture Day Makeups

-Sports Physicals- 9:30am- Nurse’s Office

-Parent Teacher Conferences- 2:30- 4:30pm and 6:00- 8:00pm

November 9 -Outing Club field trip- 2:15- 5:45pm

November 10- Craft Fair @TRHS (see flyer)

November 12 -No School-Happy Veteran's Day

November 14 -Grade 8 Tech Visit- 8:30- 10:30am

November 15 -Charity Volleyball Tournament- 2:00- 3:15pm

-HS Tech Info Night- Grade 8 parents- 6:00pm in HS Auditorium

November 16 -Career Interests presentation in exploratory classes

November 19 -NJHS Induction Ceremony- 5:30pm

November 20 -TRSD School Committee Meeting- 7:00pm

November 21 -Early Release- 10:51am

November 22 -Happy Thanksgiving- No School

November 23 -No School

November 28 -1st semester grades close

-Christmas Carol presentation- Grade 7 ELA

Important Dates for November

After School Activities

During the school week it is with great pride that I look out and see such a large number of kids riding the late buses because they stayed after to participate in an activity. We are fortunate enough to be able to offer the following clubs/activities to our students in addition to the aforementioned fall sports:

Student Council

Mrs. Stalker/Mrs. Valcourt

Student Council members plan and execute various events and activities such as school dances, student fund raisers, and Tantasqua spirit rallies. Through Student Council, students will develop confidence in their leadership skills, and understand the responsibility that comes with serving in an elected position. Students are elected annually to serve a one year position on the council. The Student Council’s mission is:

Student council members will lead by example. We will be respectful, helpful and welcome all with kindness and acceptance. We will represent the student body and support our school and community. We will create a fun atmosphere full of school spirit and make TRJHS the best it can be.

National Junior Honor Society

Mr. Lindeborg

The National Junior Honor Society is a prestigious and widely respected national organization based on the principles of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character. The Tantasqua Regional Junior High School chapter of NJHS inducts eighth grade students into the organization each fall. Membership is open to individual students who demonstrate these principles during their seventh grade and eighth grade years. In order to be invited to apply to NJHS, a student must first demonstrate his or her scholastic achievement in seventh grade. The student must earn a cumulative grade point average of an “A” for the year as well as maintain strong academic credentials into eighth grade. Grade eligible students are then encouraged to complete an application to NJHS in the fall of their eighth grade year, highlighting their achievements in leadership, service, citizenship, and character. The applications are submitted to the chapter advisor and then reviewed by a faculty committee. If an applicant is selected for induction, it is expected that he or she will attend the induction ceremony, monthly chapter meetings and service events, and will complete twenty (20) hours of community/school service over the course of the school year. NJHS is the junior high school branch of the National Honor Society. Students who are inducted into NJHS are frequently among those who are later invited to apply to the NHS at the high school.

All seventh grade students are encouraged to solidify their academics so that membership into the NJHS will be a possibility for them as eighth graders. They should also become involved within their school and in the local community, demonstrating the important principles of the NJHS.

Gaming Club

Mr. Johnston

Students gather once a week to play video games, board games etc. with one another. Games range from Madden Football on the smart board to board games such as Risk and Monopoly.

Chess Club

Mr. Reynolds

Chess club meets weekly. The club is open to both 7th and 8th graders and boys and girls of all skill levels are welcome.

Drama Club

Mrs. Belisle

Students practice acting skills and work on improvisation skills. They soon will begin preparing for the school play that will be put on this April.


Mr. Brown

Mr. Svedberg

Intramurals runs 7 weeks every Tues, Weds, and Thurs from 2:00 – 3:15 during each season. Students participate in a wide variety of sports. Anywhere from 15 – 25 students participate on any given day.

Tennis Club

Mrs. Willard

Meets weekly to learn the fundamental skills to playing tennis. This is open to boys and girls in both 7th and 8th grade of all skill levels.

Science Club

Mr. Lavin

Science Club meets weekly for students with an appetite for science and engineering. Projects often continue over several weeks each. Areas of interest include principles of flight (rockets), electronics (assembling circuit boards), alternative energy (solar cookers) and more.

Mountain Biking Club

Mrs. Foley

Mrs. Foley has brought the mountain biking club back to the junior high school. A group of approximately 15-20 students gather together on Fridays and ride the trails behind the school taking on the challenges of tree roots, hills and all obstacles on the trail for a fun filled Friday with friends.

Ski Club

Mr. Peloquin

The club's primary purpose is to teach students to ski at an affordable price, which results in a safe, life-long sport. Every student has room to improve and lessons are strongly recommended. Lessons allow all levels of skiers to raise their awareness of terrain, physical and mental abilities, hazard recognition, and overall safety. Registration for the Jr. High Ski Club will be during the month of October, interested students need to listen to school announcements for more information.

After School Activities (ctd.)

Photography Club

Mr. Schur

Open to all students who want to learn the fun hobby of photography. Club meets weekly and students are required to bring their own camera.

Art Club

Mrs. WIllard

Art Club meets weekly for students who would like to pursue special interests in art. Students may come to Art Club to work on in-depth projects or to participate in planned activities. All students are welcome to join Art Club. The Art Club has sponsored several art contests including two poster contests, a pumpkin painting contest, and a gingerbread house contest. Students in Art Club help with the art planning and decorating of school events.

Jazz Band

Mrs. Colwell-Snyder

Jazz Band is an extracurricular ensemble that meets Thursdays after school from 2:00 - 3:15. It is open to both 7th and 8th grade students. The goal for this ensemble is to learn the basic feel of the blues, swing and jazz music through theory, performance and improvisation. The number and location of performances are based on student interest and dedication.

Show Choir

Ms. Julie Boyd

The Junior High Show Choir, also known as The Maestros, is a performing choral ensemble that combines musical concepts with the art of movement and dance. Students rehearse once a week as well as one Saturday a month. The Maestros has a long tradition of excellence. They have won every award including Best Choral Sound, Best Choreography, Best Pit Band, as well as Best in Show. They have won many Gold Medal Ratings and compete several times a year.

School Newspaper

Mrs. Santiago

Newspaper club allows students to take ownership of the knowledge in their own school and community. Students take both writing assignments from club advisors as well as creating their own assignments based on their own interests in our school, community, and world!


Mrs. Canavan

Cooking Club meets every other Wednesday. All 7th and 8th grade students who are interested in learning to cook are welcome. We will prepare seasonal recipes for each month.

Common Ground

This is open to any student, grades 7 and 8, bringing together all students to support one another, socialize, & build respect for all. The goal is to help promote acceptance & expression of self.


Mrs. Canavan

The Sewing Club meets every Wednesday after school until 3:15. Any 7th or 8th grader interested in learning how to sew is invited.


Mr. Von Bleiken

Tantascapella is designed for students who want to spread their vocal wings a little further. We perform all styles of choral music including jazz, pop and classical. There are numerous opportunities to solo and we are still welcoming new members.

S.A.G.E. Recycling Club

Mr. Reynolds

S.A.G.E (students, actively, greening, earth) is a group of students who work together every other week to actively perform school wide recycling duties. It is the responsibility of group members to work together to collect materials and supply teachers with recycling bins in their classrooms. In addition to these important tasks, the students learn valuable work and communication skills.

Anime Club

Mrs. Daley

anime/manga/k-pop/j-pop club

Students can do karaoke, anime watching, cosplay, origami, games, crafts, and more!

Outing Club

Ms. Amadio

The Outing Club is dedicated to increasing the opportunities for Tantasqua Junior High students to experience the natural world. The mission of this club is to engage students in healthy outdoor activities while promoting environmental stewardship. The student and faculty leaders envision two fall and two spring activities that may involve hiking, kayak/canoeing, snow-shoeing, and skating.