St. Mary’s Students Selected for the All-East Honor Choir

From Left to Right: Mrs. Carol Villaverde-SMS Music Teacher, Ryan Audet, Luca Filigenzi, Amelia Van Berkel, Sophie Sherlock, Elizabeth Brands, Kayla Kupsch and Ethan Kilevori

Seven St. Mary’s School students in grades 7 and 8 were selected for the East Tennessee Vocal Association’s All-East Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir. Auditions were held on November 17 – 18 at Maryville College and the Clayton Center for the Arts. This year’s All-East Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir was made up of approximately 260 advanced 7th and 8th grade vocal students from 35 schools throughout East Tennessee. Other honor choirs at the event included a Freshman Honor Choir, as well as a Women’s Choir, a Men’s Choir, and a Mixed Choir for auditioned students in 10th – 12th grades.
The students learned and memorized their voice part on five pieces of music prior to attending the honors chorus.  The challenging repertoire allowed them to sing in multiple languages and styles and in a variety of 3 and 4 part voicings.  Literature from this year’s concert included “Babethandaza” by Victor C. Johnson, “I Sing Because I’m Happy” by Kenneth Padden and Rollo Dilworth, “The River Sleeps Beneath the Sky” by Victor C. Johnson, “I Lift My Eyes” by Bob Chilcott, and “Rest Not” by Laura Farnell.
This year’s conductor was Martha Shaw, the Director of Choirs at Reinhardt University in Waleska, GA, where she directs the select Chamber Singers, the 100-voice Concert Choir, and also serves as Professor of Music. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in choral literature, choral methods, and conducting. Shaw is the founding director of the world-renowned Spivey Hall Children’s Choir & Tour Choir in Atlanta.  Congratulations to our 7thand 8th grade students for such an accomplishment!

St. Mary’s School Students Excel in the You Be the Chemist Challenge

St. Mary’s 8th grade students, Molly Deinhart, Anthony Filigenzi, and Genevieve Krass, competed on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in the State You Be The Chemist Challenge®.  We are pleased to announce that both Anthony and Molly advanced to the quarterfinals (top 15) and that Anthony continued to the semifinals and finished in fourth place overall for the state.  The You Be The Chemist Challenge® is sponsored by the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF), a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing science education. CEF’s fastest growing program is the You Be The Chemist Challenge® (Challenge). The Challenge is an exciting academic contest that uses the drama of competition to encourage grade 5–8 students to explore important chemistry concepts, scientific discoveries, and laboratory safety. Think spelling bees or quiz bowls but with science questions!
The Challenge operates on three competitive levels: local, state, and national. Top Local Challenge competitors advance to State Challenge competitions, and one winner from each State Challenge advances to the National Challenge held each June in Philadelphia, PA. CEF creates the educational content, industry and community members organize and/or sponsor the events, and educators reinforce science concepts with all of their students through the supplemental study materials.

Six Students Perform in TN Treble Honor Choir at Opryland

Top to Bottom, left to right: Maggie Trent, Bethany Walsh, Emily Corbett, Ilse Dale, Sophie Sherlock, Victoria Corbett

Top to Bottom, left to right: Maggie Trent, Bethany Walsh, Emily Corbett, Ilse Dale, Sophie Sherlock, Victoria Corbett

Six St. Mary’s School students – Emily Corbett, Victoria Corbett, Ilse Dale, Sophie Sherlock, Maggie Trent, and Bethany Walsh – were selected to participate in the 2017 Tennessee Treble Honor Choir. The Tennessee Treble Honor Choir is an auditioned choir made up of 130 –150 of the best 5th and 6th grade students from schools throughout the state of Tennessee.
Each student submitted a solo audition recording of her or him singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” in the keys of F and A Flat.  A committee of music educators from across the state adjudicates the auditions listening for pitch accuracy, tone quality, diction, ability to use chest and head registers, and phrasing. The Treble Choir performed at the Tennessee Music Education Association Professional Development Conference held April 5th – 8th at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.
This talented group of young singers sang in multiple languages and were exposed to a variety of musical instruments.  Repertoire at this year’s concert included: Laughing and Singing, a Traditional Round, I Never Ate a Cloud by B. Wayne Bisbee, Pie Jesu arranged by Mary Lynn Lightfoot, On the Back of an Eagle by Nancy Telfer, La Violette and Salangadu from “Acadian Folk Songs” arranged by Susan Brumfield, and Dixieland Sound, arranged by Don Besig and Nancy Price. TTHC (6)
The Latin piece Pie Jesu was written in memory of the children who perished in the April 1995, Oklahoma City bombing.  During the Acadian Folk Songs, the choir sang in French, and members of the ensemble were given the opportunity to accompany the group on Orff xylophones, tree chimes, hand drums, triangles, and other percussion instruments.  During the final song Dixieland Sound, the choir was accompanied by a Dixieland jazz ensemble including a trumpet, trombone, soprano saxophone, and drum set.
When the students were asked to share something special about their participation in the honor choir, Bethany commented, “I liked that there was a funky rhythm in the last song.”
Maggie added, “I liked the conductor because she was funny and interacted a lot with all of the kids.”
Emily shared, “I enjoyed listening to all the different groups when we were combined together in harmony.”
TTHC (4)The experience was certainly memorable for everyone that participated in this year’s Tennessee Treble Honor Choir. The singers sang under the direction of Debbie Burton and Margaret Orem.  Debbie Burton is a classroom music teacher at Jerebek Elementary School and Crown Point Junior Music Academy, and is an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University teaching Music for Elementary School Teachers.  She is a local and national Orff and Kodaly presenter.  Margaret Orem is a classroom music teacher at Jerabek Elementary School and conducts a school volunteer choir.  She also conducts the Preparatory Choir for the San Diego Children’s Choir.

St. Mary’s Students Excel in Algebra Competition

The 61st annual statewide High School Mathematics Contest was held on April 11, 2017, at Roane State Community College in Harriman.  It was sponsored by the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers’ Association.
Four students from St. Mary’s School took the Algebra I test.  Anna Kasemir placed 1st, Sydney Mesmer placed 5th, Sarah Tackett placed 7th,  and Marissa Dalton placed 8th.

Left to Right: Anna Kasemir, Sydney Mesmer, Mrs. Marsha Sega (middle school math teacher), Sarah Tackett and Marissa Dalton

Left to Right: Anna Kasemir, Sydney Mesmer, Mrs. Marsha Sega (middle school math teacher), Sarah Tackett and Marissa Dalton

According to the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association, prior to 1957, several independent contests in high school mathematics were held in various localities in Tennessee.  TMTA effected a merger of these contests in 1957 and began to sponsor a contest open to all public, private, and parochial high schools in Tennessee.  This association is happy to conduct a statewide contest each year as one of its major projects.
The major purposes of the contest are (1) to stimulate interest in mathematics by encouraging more students to include mathematics in their programs of study and, thereby, to raise the level of mathematics competence in Tennessee; and (2) to honor those students who are outstanding in their knowledge of mathematics through appropriate public recognition in their schools and their communities.
The contest is conducted as an academic festival where students represent their school in competition with others at a nearby Testing Center.  These specially selected school representatives compete with others for preeminence in their region and in the state.

St. Mary’s Shines at Regional Science Fair

sasefEighteen of the St. Mary’s school-level Science Fair winners participated in the regional Southern Appalachian Science & Engineering Fair (SASEF) at the University of Tennessee on March 28-30, 2017.
The SASEF is sponsored by the University of Tennessee and numerous local companies and agencies and draws students from 23 counties in East Tennessee.  The goal of the fair is to promote teaching the scientific method in science, engineering and math.  St. Mary’s students have been recognized for multiple honors each year.
St. Mary’s is proud to announce that our students received the following overall awards, certificates of excellence, special awards and honorable mentions:

4th place– Amelia Van Berkel- “Did that Get the Lead Out?”

4th place– Amelia Van Berkel-
“Did that Get the Lead Out?”

Overall Awards:
4th placeAmelia Van Berkel– “Did that Get the Lead Out?”
5th place– Sarah Tackett- “Milk: The Next Generation”

5th place– Sarah Tackett-
“Milk: The Next Generation”

5th placeSarah Tackett– “Milk: The Next Generation”
Certificates of Excellence: Parker Sorah-“Healthy Hydration Outdoors”, Sarah Tackett-“Milk: The Next Generation”, Amelia Van Berkel-“Did that Get the Lead Out?”
Special Awards:
Elizabeth Brands-“Rubber vs. Cotton”: ASM Materials Education Foundation: Most Outstanding Exhibit in Materials Science, TN Chapter of the International Society of Automation (ISA): Best Use of Instrumentation or Controls in a Junior Project, Smoky Mountain Section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE): Applying Engineering Practices
Mateo Gorrondona –“Fight Drought with Solar Panels”: American Meteorolgical Society Certificate of Outstanding Achievement, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA): 2017 Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award, NOAA: Atmospheric Turbulence & Diffusion Division, Oak Ridge, TN
Amelia Van Berkel-“Did that Get the Lead Out?”, American Institue of Chemical Engineers, East Tennessee Chapter of the American Chemical Society, BroadcomMasters Eligible
Sarah Tackett-“Milk: The Next Generation”: BroadcomMasters Eligible
Anna Kasemir-“Can You See Me Now?”: US Air Force Award
Sydney Mesmer-“Don’t Give Mosquitoes a Biting Chance”: SASEF Directors Award
Parker Sorah-“Healthy Hydration Outdoors”: BroadcomMasters Eligible
Honorable Mentions:  Jacqueline Audet-“O-Pine Wood Derby”, Marissa Dalton– “A Clay Array of Amazing Glazing”, Mateo Gorrondona –“Fight Drought with Solar Panels”, Sydney Mesmer-“Don’t Give Mosquitoes a Biting Chance”, Ethan Sherlock– “Battle of the Genres”

St. Mary’s Student Participates in National Honor Choir in Minnesota

anna1Anna Kasemir, an 8th grader at St. Mary’s School in Oak Ridge, recently participated in the American Choral Directors Association 2017 National Junior High/Middle School Honor Choir.  Over 4,400 singers auditioned to participate in the three conference honor choirs.  Of the 298 singers selected to sing in the JH/MS choir, Anna was the only singer from the state of Tennessee.  The ACDA National Conference was hosted at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 8th – 11th.  The event involved over 5,000 attendees in which all fifty states were represented, as well as, thirty foreign countries.   The JH/MS Honor Choir performed in two concerts on Saturday, March 11th.
Lynnel Joy Jenkins directed the ACDA 2017 JH/MS honor choir.   Ms. Jenkins is the Artistic Director of the Princeton Girlchoir and choral teacher at the Timberlane Middle School of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District in Pennington, New Jersey.  Ms. Jenkins’ varied conducting and teaching experience ranges from the elementary to collegiate level. She has served as Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Conductor of the Resident Training Choir at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey.  The choir’s concert selections represented a variety of musical styles, cultures, and languages.  Selection titles included:

  • Viva la Musica!                                   Composed by David Brunner
  • Sing with the Lark                             Composed by Laura Farnell
  • Chindia                                               Composed by Alexandry Pascanu
  • Peace Flows into Me                          Composed by Jake Runestad
  • Three South African Songs               Arranged by Steven Fisher
  • Jubilate Deo                                       Composed by Peter Anglea
  • A Life of Song                                     Composed by Ryan Brechmacher
  • Shenandoah                                       Arranged by Rollo Dilworth

Two of the composers attended the conference and met with the honor choir during rehearsals.  In addition to providing feedback in the rehearsals, David Brunner and Jake Runestad both participated in Question and Answer Sessions with the singers and signed each singer’s sheet music.
anna2After wonderful week of rehearsals and concerts, Anna and her music teacher, Mrs. Carol Villaverde, celebrated by visiting a unique downtown Minneapolis landmark, The Schmitt Music Wall.  It is a five-story mural on the side of a building near 10th and Marquette featuring over-sized musical notes.  The music is from a piano piece written by French composer Maurice Ravel called “Gaspard de la Nuit.” The section depicted on the building comes from the third movement, called “Scarbo.” Many musicians say it is arguably the most difficult piece to play for a solo pianist.  What an amazing way to end a wonderful week of music making!

Camp Invention is Coming to St. Mary’s School!

Camp Invention Facebook Event Photo
Camp Invention is coming to St. Mary’s School! Since 1990, Camp Invention has taken summer fun and transformed it from ordinary to extraordinary! In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Sequoyah Elementary School is pleased to offer the nationally-acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades K-6th. It’s an exciting, weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules. The week begins on June 5, 2017 with Hillary Hudson serving as Director of the Launch program!
Here is how young innovators will be spending their time:

  • Engaging creative thinking to design and build their own duct tape creations
  • Experiencing the power of rocket science by building and launching rubber band rocket.
  • Exploring aerodynamics to blast water rockets made from plastic bottles more than 50 feet in the air
  • Taking apart nonworking machines and devices to investigate their inner operations

All activities give participants the opportunity to explore, discover and achieve while having fun! Local educators will facilitate program modules and enthusiastic high school students will serve as Leadership Interns ensuring that one program team member is in place for every eight children. Register on or before May 1, 2017 using promo code Discover15 to receive $15 OFF the base price of $225. Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today!

St. Mary’s Students Compete in Local Science Fair

The St. Mary’s 2017 Middle School Science Fair was held on February 9, 2017.  A total of fifty-seven projects were entered for judging.  The projects were divided into two categories, physical and biological sciences, and the judges awarded a first through fifth place in each category.  Additionally, two honorable mentions were awarded in biological sciences and seven in physical sciences.
Physical Sciences physci

  • 1st Place – Marissa Dalton – A Clay Array of Amazing Glazing
  • 2nd Place – Mateo Gorrondona (not pictured) – Fight Drought with Solar Panels
  • 3rd Place – Anna Kasemir – Can You See Me Now?
  • 4th Place – Amelia Van Berkel – Did that Get the Lead Out?
  • 5th Place – Jacqueline Audet – O-Pine Wood Derby

Physical Science Honorable Mentions: 

  • Luca Filigenzi – Battery Versus Battery
  • Paige Halcrow & Genevieve Krass – The Great Buffer Race
  • Elizabeth Brands – Rubber vs. Cotton
  • Joshua Luttrell – How Does that Sound?
  • Caroline Elliott – Good-Bye Graffiti
  • Elliot Barnes – Waste Heat? Wasted Energy!
  • Joey Wood – Making Light of It!

biosciBiological Sciences

  • 1st Place – Sydney Mesmer – Don’t Give Mosquitoes a Biting Chance
  • 2nd Place: Sarah Tackett – Milk: The Next Generation
  • 3rd Place: Luke Cheadle – Home Remedies: Healing or Hurtful?
  • 4th Place: Miko Zolnierczuk – The Mysterious Flatworm
  • 5th Place: Parker Sorah – Healthy Hydration Outdoors

Honorable Mention

  • Ian Hubbard – Radiation Observations Revealed
  • Ethan Sherlock – Battle of the Genres

These students qualify to participate in the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair (SASEF) to be held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville on March 28 – 30, 2017.
The 2017 St. Mary’s Science Fair panel of judges included representatives from local business and industry who volunteered to serve in this capacity.  St. Mary’s would like to recognize and thank all of the judges for their gracious contribution of time and expertise in support of the students and their pursuit of science.  The following individuals served as judges this year: Glenn Dye, Anna Gaultney, George Golightly, Ana Gonzalez, Melissa Hutchinson, Harold Ketterer, Michelle Kidder, Rick Lowden, Rich Snead,  Fred Sloop,  Deacon Gary Sega,  and Kendra Smotherman.