Presented by the RSMS Student Journalism Club

Welcome to the December edition of SouthChat, your Student Journalism Club newsletter! We have lots of festive holiday features for you, as well as book reviews, editorials, poetry, and profiles on new RSMS staff members! We hope you enjoy this issue, and have a safe and healthy winter break!

Festive Holiday Activities

Looking For a Way to Get in the Holiday Spirit?

By: April Watson

Oh, the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas! I’m going to be telling you 5 things you can do or visit in Saint Louis to get you in the Christmas spirit! All this information can be found at this link.

  1. “Believe! THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Experience”

At this magical experience, guests will interact with the Polar Express characters and Santa Claus and his elves in whimsically decorated tents. For just $30! This event has multiple dates available and occurs at the Saint Louis Union Station. (use this link to find more dates and information)

  1. “Gingerbread House Workshops”

At this event, all ages and groups are welcome to spend time learning how to make an edible house made of pre-baked gingerbread. For just $15! This event has multiple dates available and occurs at Eckerts Farm. (use this link to find more dates and information)

  1. “Winter Wonderland”

At this celebration, you can walk, take a carriage, or drive through a city of beautiful lights. This event costs no money! This event has multiple dates available and occurs at Tilles Park. (use this link for more dates and information)

  1. “Holiday Fun at Grant’s Farm”

At this drive-thru experience, you will get to explore all the amazing and beautiful animals that Grant’s Farm has to offer. This event costs $40 dollars! This event has multiple dates available and occurs at Grant's Farm. (use this link for more dates and information)

  1. “Steinberg Skating Rink”

Here, you can skate til’ you faint! At this outdoor skating rink, you can ice skate, or pick up something from the Snowflake Cafe. This event ranges from $10-$18. This event has multiple dates available and occurs at Steinberg Skating Rink. (use this link for more dates and information)

Homemade Hot Chocolate!

As it gets colder outside, more people start to crave the sweet, comforting taste of hot chocolate! Getting it from the store is easy, simple, and doesn’t take long. But if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, homemade hot chocolate is much better than store bought! Here’s a great recipe that you can make at home.

Note- This recipe includes dairy, and it’s peanut free. If you want to make it without dairy, you may need to make sure that things like cocoa powder are dairy free, depending on which brand you use. For these recipes, you can substitute the milk with dairy free milk.

Serving Size- 1 mug (Depending on the size of your mug!)


-1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

-1/2 cup of granulated sugar

-1/3 cup of hot water

-1/8 teaspoon of salt

-4 cups of milk

-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


1. In a medium saucepan, mix together the cocoa powder, sugar, water, and salt with the stove on medium heat.

2. Bring the mixture to a simmer, being sure not to boil it.

3. Reduce the heat and stir in the milk.

4. Turn off the heat, and mix in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into a mug, and either serve it immediately or let it cool for a bit, depending on how hot you like it.


Hot chocolate is amazing on its own, but even better with toppings. You can add whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips, or even add in a candy cane to give it a peppermint flavor!

Now turn on the fireplace, turn on a movie, and sit back to enjoy your hot chocolate!

The Night Before Christmas: Covid Edition

by Natalie Moehle

We’ve all heard the tale of the Night Before Christmas, but that was before COVID-19. I hope that this version gives you a little amusement.

It was the Night before Christmas and all through the house,

The pangolin was worried and so was the mouse.

The presents were scarce and out of reach,

Limits were set on Lysol and Clorox bleach.

The kids were snuggled up in their bed,

While thinking of quarantine, filled with dread.

My mom had a tissue and I had one too

And we almost fell asleep before we went ACH-OO!

When out on the lawn there arose a great clatter,

I ran to the window to see what was the matter.

Down the hallway, I flew like a bee,

tore the door open, and saw Doc Fauci.

The moon shown on the new-fallen snow,

and I approached his reindeer very slow.

I saw the bells and the sleigh,

and a red bag of presents on the way.

As he was soft-spoken, slender, and quick,

I knew in an instant he wasn’t Saint Nick.

More rapid than tests his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

"Now, Remdes! Now, Generon! Now Hydoxy and Dex!

On, Pfizer! On, Nova! On, Johnson and Johnson!

Increase production! Doses stacked to the sky!

Now develop quickly and fly, fly, fly!"

A big burst of light and I heard on the roof,

the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I rushed up the stairs and turned around,

down the chimney he came with a bound.

He was dressed in hazmat from his head to his foot,

and even his mask was covered in soot.

He wore some gloves to protect the kid

and I watched him as I quietly hid.

I believe he was offering a bag full of toys,

But all it contained was hand sanitizer and poise.

A wink of his eye and a readjustment of gear

soon made me believe that I had nothing to fear.

He spoke quietly and stood with six feet of distance

“Wash your hands, wear a mask, to increase your resistance.”

“Thank you, nurses!” he yelled as he sprang to his sleigh,

“because of your efforts, we will win this day!”

And I heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight-

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


  • Remdes/Remdesivir: Is a medication proven to treat covid patients who have been hospitalized.

  • Generon/Regeneron: Is a treatment that will give you antibodies to help with COVID-19.

  • Hydroxy/Hydroxychloroquine: Is a medicine that helps with malaria and is undergoing tests to prove that it can help with COVID-19. The FDA is cautious about providing this medicine to patients because it could cause heart problems.

  • Dex/Dexamethasone: Studies in the UK show that Dexamethasone can help with cases of crucially ill patients, but can cause insomnia and depression.

  • Pfizer: Is a pharmaceutical company that is working on producing a COVID vaccine.

  • Nova/Novavax: Is another company trying to produce a vaccine.

  • Johnson and Johnson: Is a company that made a vaccine for covid that is going through testing.

  • Pangolin: Scientists believe that the pangolin (referred to as scaly anteater) is the cause of COVID-19.

  • Hazmat: Hazmat stands for hazardous materials so a hazmat suit would be protection from hazardous materials such as COVID.

  • Covid-19: The virus that is causing us to wear masks and stay six feet apart.

Festive Films Streaming Now!

By: Illyria Austerman

Are you looking for some movies to get you in the holiday spirit? Check out what is available on some of the most popular streaming services!


  • Jingle Jangle is a movie about a guy named Jouronicus Jangle, who is a talented inventor. But one day his apprentice Gustuson steals his book of inventions, and becomes the best toy maker in the the world. But sadly for Jouronicus everything changes when his granddaughter comes to visit.

  • The Christmas Chronicles is about a brother and sister, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about.

  • The Christmas Chronicles 2 is about Kate Pierce, now a teenager, who is unexpectedly reunited with Santa Claus when a mysterious troublemaker threatens to cancel Christmas forever.


  • Elf is about a elf named Buddy who discovering he is a human, and was raised as an elf at the North Pole. He decides to travel to New York City to locate his real father.


  • Noelle is about Noelle, Santa's daughter, who has to take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, decides he isn't up for the job.

  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the story of a young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.

Winter Poetry by Lillie Byrd

Let it snow

Let it snow,

So we can go sledding.

Let it snow,

So we can build a snowman.

Let it snow,

So we can have a snowball fight.

Let it snow,

So we can drink hot cocoa

And sit by the fire

As we look out the window

At a winter wonderland.


Watch it flutter

Watch it dance

As it glides through the air.

It feels cold

It feels wet

As it melts in my hand.

The sound it makes is


When it lands on the ground.

Fluffy piles of it lay on everything


It’s truly beautiful

It is.

Each snowflake


Meet Our New Staff at RSMS!

By: Hadley Keirsey and Natalie Moehle

In this issue of SouthChat, we would like to introduce you to Mrs. Yoss and Mrs. Fearon-Hernandez, two amazing teachers who have just started teaching Math and Spanish at our school!

Mrs. Yoss was born in St. Louis, went to school here until 4th grade, and then she and her family moved to Houston and then San Antonio, Texas. She graduated from Baylor University and then got married to her husband, Tim, to whom she has been married for 42 years! Since graduating from Baylor University she's been able to teach every level of secondary math from grade 6 through calculus as the silver team math teacher. Mrs. Yoss had the privilege of serving in Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Madagascar, and Moussaoui. There she cared for orphans and other vulnerable children. In Africa, Mrs. Yoss tutored and homeschooled, helping these orphans for 11 years. Then she moved back to the United States to take care of her mom and dad. While there, she made a friend named Cricket, who she loves to skype on the computer. In the summer, she visits her for three weeks on their vacation to South Africa.

This year she’s looking forward to teaching students in math 6, integrated math 6/7, math 8, and algebra 1. She said that it is her privilege and pleasure to teach us math. She also told us that some of her favorite things are traveling to Africa to visit with her encouraging friends, to sip a warm cup of tea (her favorite drink) while chatting with family, reading to her grandkids, and eating Russel Stover chocolate truffles (her favorite candy). In the New Year, Mrs. Yoss is looking forward to the end of Covid, being able to see her students’ entire faces, to see everyone at school every day, and to get together with people at church and with her kids and grandkids. And she told us that some people that inspire her at this time are Kay Warren, Elizabeth Elliott, and the teachers that not only teach but go home to take care of their families afterward. She does not have any pets (too much of a hassle, she told us) but she said if she did it would be a self-maintaining puppy.

Her favorite subjects are Math and Biology, but if she had to pick one it would be Math, of course. Her favorite books are the Bible and Choose Joy… because happiness isn’t enough. Her favorite movies are Hidden Figures and Ever After with Drew Barrymore. Her favorite memories are her wedding day and the birth of every one of her kids and grandkids because these moments were so special to her. She and her husband, Tim have a son, named Cliff who is a pilot, a daughter Amy who is a social worker, and 8 grandchildren.

Mrs. Fearon-Hernandez was born in Columbia and lived there all her life until she met her husband and moved to America. Before she taught at Rockwood she taught in Arizona, Spanish immersion program, special education, and just regular elementary school. Since she came from Colombia she didn’t speak English, so she had to learn a whole new language! She understands how hard the transition between languages and cultures can be so she is perfect for the Spanish program. It was so hard for her that she had to go back to school for six years to get a teaching degree. Even though it was hard she pushed through and now she wants to get a masters degree in teaching. She believes that if you want something in life go for it!

She thinks -as many others do- that this year has been difficult, and she wants to be done with COVID!! She also wants a more united country, more faith, and more happiness in her and everybody else’s lives. When we asked her who inspired her she said that her family and her students inspire her to be a better person every day. Mrs. Fearon Hernandez used to have a dog that was born in Arizona. The dog was old, and moving from Arizona to Missouri was hard for her. She passed away three months ago. But they had 13 wonderful years with her.

Mrs. Fearon-Hernandez’s hobbies are family time, hiking, running (exercising), reading, and cooking. Her favorite memories are when her kids were born. She has one brother and two sisters that all live in Columbia. Her favorite drink is tea and her favorite candy is dark chocolate. Her favorite color is Blue. Her favorite place to vacation is Colombia to visit her family or to go to Europe to relax. Mrs. Fearon-Hernandezs’ favorite subject is French, though she said she just loves learning new languages. Her favorite book is Juan Salvador Gaviota by Richard Bach, a book about self-growth and overcoming obstacles. Her favorite movie is the Sound Of Music, about an Australian family who refuses to fight with the Nazis.

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Top 5 Most Missed Things During Covid-19

By: Hadley Keirsey

Before Corona things were different right? Here are some things that you probably can’t wait for! Once we get back in the swing of things, though, you will get your normal everyday life back.

1. The 1st thing you probably miss is getting to hang out with friends. You have probably not been around your friends very much. Especially if they are in a different school than you. You might miss them like I miss mine. Just you wait until Corona is over. You can all hang out together!

2. The 2nd thing that you might miss is going out to eat. I know homemade food can be wonderful and cooking it can be lots of fun, but you might be used to going out to eat once and a while and that is okay. It is also fun to go into a restaurant and eat there. It feels good to get out of the house. We didn’t realize how much we wanted and needed to get outside before we were stuck inside.

3. The 3rd thing that you could miss might be just going outside with your family and neighbors. It’s a simple thing but it can be lots of fun to ride your bike and jump on a pogo stick. One of my favorite parts of the day is going outside and spending time with people. We might miss our neighbors, but you will see them after Coronavirus. Corona is an excuse to hang out with your family (Not that you need one). So take advantage of it! Later you can hang out with your neighbors.

4. The 4th thing that you guys could miss is swimming in a pool or jumping in a splash pad. I love getting wet! I know it is a little too late now but when it was summer we were quarantining. Some of us missed out on the summer sun and the pool. If you do not have a pool in your backyard that is.

5. The 5th thing that you probably miss is not wearing masks. We wear them all the time now. I know that they are for safety, but they can fog up glasses, and they can be pretty uncomfortable. We now have to wear them at school, At restaurants (If you even go to any), and sometimes even sports (a1t practice and games). I know that when Corona is over most people will not miss wearing masks.

I know that you miss all of these things, but when Corona is over you will get them all back. Then we can go back to our normal lives. Or in my case (I live in a family of 6) back to our “normal” lives.

Discover, Connect, Make a Difference


Here at Rockwood South, our motto is, Discover, Connect and Make a Difference and I am going to tell you how to do that.

One way that you can Discover is to find new interests. You could find a topic that you like in class that you want to learn more about. You could join a new club, or sign up for a new after school activity.

I also know that you can’t Connect very well with others right now. You can’t hang out with all of your friends at lunch, but you can still say hi to them in the hallways. You could eat breakfast with them to talk, and that would be a great way to start off the week! You could set up a trivia Zoom call and have silly trivia questions! You could even make new friends in after school clubs, and in new sports teams!

And a great way to Make a Difference would be to help some charities, cancer centers (St. Jude’s Hospital) and donate some clothes that don’t fit you anymore to Goodwill. You could buy a bracelet from 4 ocean (The 4ocean Bracelet) to protect the oceans, or buy a pair of Bombas socks. You could donate to the organization Living on One Dollar that helps people in foreign countries. If you don’t want to spend money, just donate your time to an organization in need. You could even make dog toys to donate to a pet shelter. No matter what you could do you would feel happy knowing that you helped someone out.

Self Help Haiku

NJHS has a mental health committee dedicated to helping students see themselves in a more positive light this year. Check out these Haikus by April Watson!

Too fat or skinny

Way too tall or way too short

We need more self love

I know there's a smile

Way underneath how you feel

Please bring back that smile

Fill out this form if you need to talk to a counselor.

At RSMS, Reading ROCKS!

Lost Boys Book Review

By Natalie Moehle

Lost Boys is a heartbreaking tale about a twelve-year-old boy named Reza. Reza’s life changes when he is torn away from his life to fight in the Iran and Iraq war, which he doesn’t know anything about. His mother tells him to die so that he will be worthy of going to heaven. After all, fighting for your country is the most honorable way to die, right? Reza disagrees especially because they took away the one thing that he truly loved… music. His uncle was the only person that approved of Reza’s talent and his love for music, and after his uncle dies in a bombing, Reza gives in and joins the war. His best friend, Ebi signs up too, and they go into the minefields. Bam, Bam! Everything blows up, Ebi turns and looks at Reza with fear in his eyes, before everything goes black. In the hospital, Reza wakes up and asks where he is. To which the doctor’s response is, “You are now a prisoner of Iraq.” While Reza searches for Ebi on his undying quest, he learns what his life, could, and would have been like without the war. But what can he do about it? This story is a page turner, you won’t want to put it down until the very end! And the end will make you want to read even more.

The Hunger Games Book Review


The Hunger Games books are filled with excitement and danger. When you think it's going one way it can turn and go the complete opposite way. Even though they have gone forward (into the future) it is like they have gone backward (into the past). The Hunger Games is a tournament that the Capital holds every year. The government picks two people from each district, one male, one female. They pick the names out of a glass ball (it is just like drawing names from a hat) one for the girls, one for the boys. People that are picked to go into the arena to fight for their lives. The last one alive wins. But the government is controlling the arena while the game is happening. The government might decide to make the trees stomp on whoever might be near them, or they might make walls of fire slowly coming at you. The Hunger Games books are filled with excitement and I think that you would enjoy it too.

Harry Potter Book Review

By Hadley Keirsey

Harry Potter is a fantasy adventure that teaches you a lot of life lessons. Harry Potter is an orphan who lives with his aunt and uncle who have a son named Dudley. They force Harry to live in a cupboard under the stairs. They tell Harry to forget about his parents and force him into an unbearable life. He knows that he is different from the others, he just doesn’t know how (he can tell by his lightning shaped scar on his forehead). Harry hates his cousin because Dudley is so spoiled, he’s so stuck up! He gets about 35 presents each birthday while they all forget about Harry’s. That’s until Harry is invited by a letter to attend Hogwarts. Into the wizarding world he goes taking you with him.

Top 10 Ways to be a Successful Student in 2021

By Mrs. Barrett, 6/7th grade Language Arts

Can you believe that we are nearing the end of the first semester? The start of second semester will be here before you know it, so I have compiled a list of the top ten things you can do to really ROCK the second half of the year. Get 2021 off on the right foot by trying out these tips!

1. Check your Canvas Inbox and Gmail!

Check them once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Look for messages from your teachers that might be important! Respond to those teacher emails!

2. Check your Canvas To Do List/Calendar!

Your teachers are posting your assignments in these locations, and they are super organized! You can go in and check off your finished work!

3. Check your Infinite Campus Grades Weekly!

Log into Infinite Campus to see how your grades are in your classes. Look to see if you have any missing assignments. Email your teachers if you have questions about your grades!

4. Use your Homeroom time wisely!

Homeroom (7:15-7:47) is a great time to check out a book on Destiny, read independently, finish up some homework, check your Gmail/Inbox/Infinite Campus, or get help from teachers on Zoom!

5. Shut down and charge your Chromebook every night!

When you are done with your homework for the evening, shut your Chromebook all the way down; Don’t just log out and close the lid! This will give your Chromebook a chance to update and refresh. Then, plug it in for the whole night so that you have a fully charged computer the next day!

6. Ask for help when you need it!

Your teachers want to help you, but they cannot read your mind! If you are confused, unsure, worried, upset, or need any kind of support, email your teacher! Tell them what is going on, and ask them for help. Sometimes your teacher will not be the right person to help you with your problem, but he/she can point you in the right direction!

7. Give your teachers, staff members, and fellow students grace.

Everyone is struggling during these difficult times, whether they show it or not. We are all doing the best we can, but we are under a lot of pressure to do our roles in a completely new way. If you feel frustrated with someone else, try to remember that they may be dealing with difficulties that you don’t know about. Be kind, offer to help, and give supportive suggestions instead of criticism.

8. When you are learning from home (and you probably will at some point), participate!

You can still ask and answer questions! You can still turn your camera on and interact with your teachers and classmates. We all understand that people will be learning from school and from home at various times this year, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t an important part of the class!

9. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

Huh? It’s an old saying that means that it’s more effective to be polite than rude or demanding. When you communicate with your teachers, be sure to be respectful and polite! Your teachers, principals, coaches, etc. are a lot more likely to be helpful and responsive to your needs when you use kind words and actions.

Instead of: “Hey, I turned that in! Why haven’t you graded it?” Try: “I believe I turned that in. Could you take a look at it when you get a chance?”

10. Use your passing period wisely!

Passing period is for moving between classes, going to the bathroom, and filling up your water bottle. We know you want to talk to your friends, but four minutes doesn’t leave a lot of time for dillydallying, and it clogs up the hallways. When students wait until the bell rings to ask to use the restroom or fill water bottles, they are not being respectful of class time.

Join Journalism Club!

If you've enjoyed reading SouthChat, a publication of the Student Journalism Club, please consider joining us! We meet on Wednesdays using this Zoom link. We are looking for students of all grade levels who enjoy writing! For questions, please email Mrs. Barrett at