542....that's the number of items that our students donated to The Country Pantry. The Builder's Club organized this event as a way to help local families in our community during the upcoming holiday season. A huge thank you to each advisory group for being so EPIC. Congratulations to Mrs. Miller's class for showing the most empathy by gathering the most food. Ms. Tuttle's class and Mrs. Williams' class were close behind Mrs. Miller's class in their collection as well.
Students in Ms. Sabonis' middle and high school French classes had the opportunity to chat with two Utica Comets hockey players this afternoon. Students were brave enough to put their learning into practice by asking these French-Canadian players questions in French. Students learned about life on the ice, living in Canada, athletic background, interests, and goals of their two guests. Before leaving, students gathered to meet and get autographs as well. Thank you to the Utica Comets for spending time with our students!
Congratulations to each of the eight students who were awarded with the, "Student of the Month" certificate this week for October! We are proud to have such a wonderful community here at Westmoreland Middle School, and are thrilled to recognize each of these students. We also want to highlight students who were recognized with "EPIC Awards" for showing Empathy, Pride, Innovation, and Collaboration in our learning community. This month's students include:
Students of the Month
Mary Beth Kelsey
This month's EPIC award is being issued to all students and staff for their EPIC"ness," including:
*Showing empathy each and every day, and treating one another with respect and dignity;
*Being proud of who you are, and being proud to use your voice in positive ways;
*Having the courage to be innovative and try new things, even when they are out of your comfort zone;
*Embracing collaboration, and knowing that we need one another to reach our full potential.
The Builder's Club is at it again....encouraging empathy and compassion! They have organized a food drive to benefit families in our local community. Each advisory class will be collecting items this week to be donated to The Country Pantry. With Thanksgiving coming next week, the need for our support is greater than ever. Be sure to ask students how their advisory has decided to help this fundraiser. Thank you, as always, for helping the Builders Club support such a worthwhile cause.
On October 31st, the students of Ms. Castiglione's 7th and 8th grade Spanish class celebrated the Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead. After a week of research and hard work, the day came together beautifully. Each class enjoyed traditional foods, music, and decorations as we respectfully celebrated the lives of our friends, relatives, and pets that have passed before us. Eighth grader Brittany Redmond shares what she learned about the holiday:
"The Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate the lives of people that you have lost. There are many different types of foods, including Bread of the Dead and Sugar Skulls. The families decorate altars with memories and presents. People also decorate the graves with flowers and candles to show their appreciation. They believe the spirits come back to visit their loved ones on November 1st and 2nd. In the experience I have had with the Day of the Dead I enjoyed it. I never wanted to work so hard on a project."
-Ms. Castiglione, 7th and 8th Grade Spanish Teacher and Brittany Redmond, 8th Grade Student
This year the New York State Senate is sponsoring a Creative Celebration for children in grades K- 6. The theme of the event is "What are you thankful for?", and asks participating children to focus on conveying being thankful for the people in their lives and communities. Thirty of our fifth graders submitted original artworks to the Celebration, and after November 24th, their work will be published on line via Senator Joseph Griffo's web page, firstname.lastname@example.org. We are very proud of all their efforts! -Ms. Tarasiewicz, Middle School Art Teacher
Mr. Saxton, Mrs. O'Connell, and I need your help! We are being locked up by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and our bail is set at $800, which is just enough to send one child with Muscular Dystrophy to camp. Check out the poster below with all of the details, and follow this link to our MDA website to learn more or to donate:
Westmoreland Central School MDA Lockup Website
Over 700 middle school students from Westmoreland, Oriskany, Remsen, and Sauquoit gathered on Monday morning to hear an "EPIC" message from Ms. Erin Gruwell. "Ms. G," as her former students called her, taught in one of the most challenging schools in Long Beach, California. Her students, each facing overwhelming circumstances including extreme poverty, gang violence, homelessness, abuse, and instability in their basic needs, transformed their lives as a result of
Ms. G's ability to build an empathetic classroom environment. These students, now known as the Freedom Writers, found their voice by sharing their stories, and publishing them in The Freedom Writers Diaries, and having their stories portrayed in a major motion picture. Both the movie and the book highlight the remarkable transformation of the Freedom Writers, and how they used Anne Frank and the Holocaust as a way to build a sense of tolerance, acceptance, courage, unity, and hope in each of their lives.
The story of the Freedom Writers is inspiring, particularly to middle school students who face the struggles of finding themselves and discovering their voice. Ms. G was able to bring four districts together, and build a sense of unity by sharing two important messages:
*Everyone has a story. Have the courage to share your story, and be empathetic of others' stories;
*Middle school students have a voice, and a few simple words can have a tremendous impact. One must choose to use their words wisely. Respectfully stand up for what you know is right, and don't tolerate injustices.
In addition to the above messages, Ms. G helped to strengthen our "EPIC" theme for this school year (Empathy, Pride, Innovation, and Collaboration). We look forward to continuing to explore ways to build "EPIC" in collaboration with Oriskany, Remsen, and Sauquoit. A student and teacher EPIC Team has been created to help inspire positive change.
Check out this great story from the Rome Sentinel, which highlights Ms. G's visit!
Rome Sentinel Article
On November 1st, Mr. Kulpa and four Westmoreland parents (Robert and Tammy Huyck, Tom Grant and Cindy Massett) attended a Lego Robotics workshop at Cornell Cooperative Extension. This workshop was designed to give these adults helping the Westmoreland Middle School Lego Robotics Club background information and programming strategies when working with students and their robots. Students in this afterschool club will be applying their knowledge of mathematics, science and technology as the build and program robots to complete various tasks. There will be definitely more photos and stories about this exciting new club at the Middle School to come! -Mr. Kulpa
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