University School Weekly Update

October 24-31

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We hope everyone was able to enjoy the weekend break! As we prepare for the week ahead, we ask that you please review the information below:

Student Spotlight

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Elementary School Honoree – Sophia DeGennaro

Sophia is a kind friend to all classmates and is a true joy to have in class. She embodies all the character traits that we discuss in class: she is respectful, kind, responsible, trustworthy, fair, and a caring friend. Sophia does not give up as a learner even when the task feels challenging. She loves to learn, and it shows in all that she does. Sophia is a listener, leader, and a learner. Sophia is eager to learn and solve problems. She shows perseverance when working on a new skill or task. Sophia is a joy to have in class!

Getting to know…Sophia DeGennaro:

  • What motivates you to work hard? “It is fun to learn and respectful.”

  • If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have? “If I had a superpower it would be flying. I would like to fly because I can do loops and help people.”

  • Read a book or watch a movie? “My favorite movie is Moana, because I like her hair and her pet chicken.”

"Sophia is a leader in our classroom,” said Ms. Erin Doran, Sophia’s 3rd-grade teacher. “She displays kindness and respect with her actions and words and is a friend to all. Sophia's love for learning is contagious!”

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Middle School Honoree – Graham Mefford

Graham, an avid tennis athlete, shines on and off the court. He is patient and respectful to everyone. He is dedicated to being a top student and strives to challenge himself academically. Other students see Graham as a leader and a dependable classmate.

Getting to know…Graham Mefford:

  • What motivates you to work hard? “Many things motivate me in my life like sports, instruments and academics. In school, small goals that aren’t out of reach motivate me. Something else that motivates me to work hard is self-satisfaction. It happens every day when I finish a math problem, complete a workout or finish a measure in a piece of music. It is satisfying to look back on an accomplished goal or something new that I have learned and say, ‘I did that!’”
  • If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have? “If I could have any superpower I would want to (be able to) breathe underwater, because we know more about the surface of the moon than we do the bottom of the ocean. It's like an undiscovered world that no-one has touched before.”
  • Read a book or watch a movie? “I would rather read a book. When I read it is my own imagination that creates what the characters look and act like and who I imagine them to be, whereas movies have other people deciding who they look and act like. One of my favorite books is The Martian by Andy Weir. This is a book that simulates an astronaut, Mark Watney, stranded on Mars for over 2 years. I enjoyed reading about the survival skills he used which included planting his own food in a special way to make it grow. It’s fun to think about what life might look like on Mars if we make it there one day.

“Graham’s ceaseless effort perseveres through every challenge,” said Graham’s middle school teachers.

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High School Honoree – Ella Dunkelberger

Ella is President of University School Key Club, a national youth service organization. Ella is a motivated leader who is always ready to offer her time and organizational skills to make volunteer projects a success. She takes initiative at every turn and demonstrates the highest level of competence and dependability.

Getting to know…Ella Dunkelberger:

  • What motivates you to work hard? “My motivation to work hard is to see the final result of my grades and what I do on the soccer field. I want to be the best student and player I can be and in order to do that I have to put my best foot forward to get the end result.”
  • If you were a super-hero, what powers would you have? “If I were a superhero my power would be to time travel. I would love to go back to different decades and go back to different parts of my life to live some happy memories.”
  • Read a book or watch a movie? “I love watching movies, my favorite movie is The Greatest Showman because of its powerful message of showing inclusiveness to everybody and showing that we should love ourselves.”

“Ella exemplifies the true spirit of service and caring for others with her outstanding leadership as President of Key Club,” said Ms. Sharon Squibb, UH Key Club faculty advisor. “Ella doesn’t hesitate to take initiative to organize events and communicate with club members. She is always ready and willing to give of her time and energy both at school and in the community. Her kindness, maturity, and eagerness to help others will take her far.”

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Each year, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation awards 150 college scholarships worth $20,000 to high school students across the United States through the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. Students need a 3.0 GPA and to fill out an online application that requires no essays, no recommendations, and no transcripts by October 31, 2021, at 5 p.m. Eastern.

The 2021-22 application is open to high school seniors until 5 p.m. Eastern on October 31, 2021.

Find details at

University School Foundation Update

Dear University School Parents,

My name is Christine Hutchinson and I have the honor of serving as Foundation President for the 2021-2022 school year. I wanted to take a moment to personally thank all of you for supporting us in our Fall Festival! It was so wonderful to see so many of our U School families and your smiling faces! I appreciate everyone who volunteered their time and resources to make our Fundraiser such a successful event. We welcome and need your involvement in the University School Foundation, which is our version of a Parent/Teacher/Student association that serves the faculty, staff and students at University School. With your support, we were able to raise over $8,500 this year at our Fall Festival!

While it is easy to see our Foundation in action by highlighting events like the Fall Festival, it may be more challenging to see the day-to-day impact that the Foundation has on University School and our children. I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of those items to help you understand the importance of your continued support. Because of your generosity, the Foundation was able to support our school with the following:

  • Welcome back gift cards for all faculty and gift baskets for our new teachers
  • Classroom lap desks and an easel for portable outdoor learning
  • Phonics and Spelling resources for Elementary students including Secret Stories and Storyworks
  • Generation Genus STEM software for grades K- 8
  • Planting our gardens for Spring and other beautification projects
  • Classroom enhancements including a new rug for the kindergarten class and plants for 5th Grade
  • Bathroom enhancements including inspirational vinyl lettering and free feminine hygiene products for middle and high school bathrooms
  • Supplies for our new Athletic Trainor including kit, portable table, and AED

It is your generous support that allows us to continue our mission of supporting the children, students, and faculty and staff that attend and are employed by University School, to assist in providing an enriched physical and intellectual environment so that each individual has a positive place to learn and/or work, to operate exclusively for charitable, scientific, literary, physical, and educational purposes and more specifically for the support, improvement, and perpetuation of the University School of East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Washington County, Tennessee. Be on the look-out for upcoming information about our Spring Gala! It is a night out for parents and University School supporters including live and silent auctions, food and fun. University School is one of the premier schools in the state of Tennessee. Because of you, I know we can carry on this proud tradition. Thank you for your continuing support of The Foundation.

With Gratitude,

Christine Hutchinson

University School Foundation President

UTK Pre-College Program Updates

Governor's School for the Sciences & Engineering

Applications due January 15, 2022

The Governor's School for the Sciences & Engineering, hosted on the University of Tennessee campus, is a 4-week on-campus program that provides the opportunity for advanced study, laboratory experience, research in modern science and mathematics, and an immersive college experience.

The new and improved fully-online application is open now! GSSE Application

Virtual Science Club for Grades 6-12

RSVP in advance for the chance to win a prize!

Virtual Science Club on October 26

Attend the next Virtual Science Club meeting Tuesday, October 26 at 7:00pm EST featuring guest speaker Matthew Carberry, Marine Biologist, former SASEF participant, and Founder of Sustainable Aquatics.

RSVP for Oct 26

Tennessee Junior Science & Humanities Symposium

The 2022 TN JSHS will be held on March 10-11, 2022 on the University of Tennessee campus at the Student Union Ballroom. Tennessee high school students present original research for the chance to win tuition scholarships and advance to the national competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Attendance and lodging are free for participating students and teachers. Application opens December 1. More TJSHS Info

Project registration due February 28, 2022 Southern Appalachian Science & Engineering Fair

The 2022 SASEF STEM competition will be held on March 29, 2022 on the University of Tennessee campus at the Student Union Ballroom. East Tennessee middle and high school students enter their STEM project into the fair for the chance to win prizes and cash awards. We recommend teachers and students register early so they receive updates and reminders along the way.

Registration is open now! SASEF Registration

Spring Dual-Enrollment Registration Opened

It is time to register for Spring Dual Enrollment classes at ETSU is open for eligible students!


  • You must turn in a dual enrollment authorization form before you can register on Nov 5.
  • Registration in Goldlink starts Nov 5. If you want a specific class, we strongly encourage you to register early.
  • All forms need to be submitted by Oct. 31 in order to register on Nov. 5.


  • The TSAC grant has changed and will now pay for classes #3 and #4 starting this spring, based on 3 credit hour classes. You must qualify for the TSAC Dual Enrollment grant. Four credit hour classes may have additional charges.
  • ETSU Scholarship for students on classes #5-#10. This scholarship is awarded to students with high school GPA of 3.4 or higher. The scholarship allows one class per semester to cost $75 with the scholarship amount added to the grant amount.

Class Offerings:

Student Activity & Athletic Information

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Congratulations to the following Morning Mile runners:

10 Mile Club: 3rd grader - Hudson Hoff & 5th grader - Finley Bunger

15 Mile Club: Kindergarten - Seymour Harker; 4th grader - Ally Cole; 5th graders - Cassidy Lindvall, Bryce Bullington, Harper Posten, & Dylan Bumgarner

20 Mile Club: 5th grader- Anneliese Crider

35 Mile Club: 5th grader - Bray Penley

Winter Coat Drive

Bucky's Food Pantry Seeks Donations of Winter Coats

Bucky’s Food Pantry is proud to be holding its Annual Winter Coat Drive for those who are in need within the ETSU community. Many thanks to the folks who have contributed coats, accessories and their time in the past. Know that your contributions have made a difference for members of our community. In addition to new or clean, gently used winter coats, the pantry is also accepting new winter hats, gloves, and scarves.

Donations of winter coats and accessories can be made directly to one of two locations of Bucky’s Food Pantry at the Culp Center (next to the Passport Office) or at Buc Ridge (next to Central Receiving), or at the ETSU Counseling Center (Culp Center, third floor) or University School (School Office, first floor). We anticipate other drop-off locations and will send those out soon. The collection will continue through Nov. 19. The coat giveaway will occur during the week of Nov. 15-19. For more information, please contact Chuck Patton at or 439-5243, Kristi Smith at, or Amy Deel at

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Attention Seniors: Next Wednesday, October 27th, 2021, we will be going to the Doe River Gorge "Maze of Life", from 7:00-10:00 p.m. This will be a fun night with your fellow seniors. Please look for the email from Dr. Shaw to RSVP to this event.

University Foundation Meeting - All Things Athletics

The monthly UH Foundation Meeting in November will be devoted to “All Things Athletics,” and all parents are encouraged to attend. We’re inviting Dr. Partin and members of the athletic department to briefly talk about the different athletic opportunities at UH. We also hope to have a healthy discussion regarding the challenges associated with UH athletics and potential ideas for support and improvement, as well as a question-and-answer period.

Please submit your questions and suggestions via this form:

Plan to attend November 1, 2021, at 5:30pm in the school library or via the following Zoom link:

USchool Foundation Meeting
Time: Nov 1, 2021 05:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada). Every month on the First Monday

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 926 6785 8546

Passcode: 355443

Save the Date

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Weekly Calendar of Events

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

October 23 MS Cross Country, State Meet, Knoxville, TN
October 26 Morning Mile, UH Outdoor Track, 7:30 to 7:50 a.m.
October 26 HS Cross Country, Region 1 Championships, Gray, TN
October 27 Bible Study Club, Warf-Pickel Hall Room 127, 3:15-4:00 p.m.
October 27 Green Club, Room 010, 3:15-4:15 p.m.
October 27 Seniors, Doe River Gorge Maze of Life, 7:00-10:00 p.m.
October 28 Morning Mile, UH Outdoor Track, 7:30 to 7:50 a.m.
October 28 JAM - Junior Appalachian Musicians, 3:15-4:30 p.m.
October 29 College App Week, Wear Your College Gear

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