Rounding Out the Year: What Does this Mean for WSMS Students?

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Claire Wu

As we’re entering the fourth quarter, the environment around school is starting to change and grades are mattering more than ever. There are also several events that take place in the fourth quarter, such as the annual Band/Orchestra trip to Six Flags and the NJHS acceptance letters.

In the fourth quarter, 8th grade students commence their dogfish shark dissections. While this is a very exciting learning experience, some students are concerned about the smell of seawater combined with the smell of formaldehyde that will no doubt fill the room. External dissections take place on Monday, May 16 and internal dissections take place on Tuesday, May 17. In this two-day procedure, students will learn about the internal and external anatomy of the shark and learn about the shark’s digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems. The 8th graders will also use the knowledge they have gained from 7th grade frog dissections to compare the anatomy of two different organisms.

Mrs. Perez, 8th grade science teacher says: “I like to study animals and compare their body systems to the human body systems.  I think it is an important way to observe and gain knowledge about how body systems work.”

Nearing the end of the year, Band is not easing up on the events.

This past Friday, April 8, Band students went to the Eisemann center to compete against several other band groups. They emerged victorious.

Mrs. Ball, WSMS Band Director says: “Symphonic Band received 1st division (Superior) ratings from all three judges AND was named Best in Class out of all the non-varsity ensembles.  Wind Ensemble received 1st division ratings from all of the judges, was named Best in Class of all the varsity ensembles, AND won Overall Outstanding of the whole contest. We are so proud of the students and their hard work!”

On April 18, 2022, Band is performing in an pep rally for the postponed bump-up day, in which Orchestra is also performing. After the bump-up day pep rally taking place in the second period, the 8th graders will leave for the high school to see what 9th grade looks like for them. 8th grade band members also have a marching rehearsal on Saturday, May 14th where they will play with high schoolers and learn about the marching band next year. On Saturday May 21, Band and Orchestra are taking an all-day field trip to Six Flags, which lots of students are looking forward to.

Band and Orchestra students are preparing audition music for the next year. They are given roughly a month and results will determine where they will be placed for the next year.

Solo and Ensemble contests have also happened this quarter. Some of the fine arts are participating in Solo and Ensemble, an event to showcase their artistic traits and an opportunity for them to perform with classmates. Orchestra held their performance  Thursday, April 21, and Band is holding their competitions on Saturday, April 30. All students are required to prepare a solo, and ensembles (where multiple people play together, as in duets or trios) are optional. Students will play with an accompanist in front of a judge.

The swim season is about halfway over. Our swim teams are working hard, training for endurance and USRPT where you swim, all out, and make 16 25ms in 12 seconds with one person on the high school team competing, Christopher Yang. Practices are 6:20 to 7:30 AM, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

7th graders are eagerly preparing to receive thor NJHS (National Junior Honor Roll) invitation letters which should be arriving around the end of April. NJHS looks at the cumulative averages of Quarters 1 and 3 for 7th graders.

“I’m planning to join NJHS because it’s better for college applications in the future,” Emily James, 7, said.

The end of the year also means testing; namely STAAR testing as well as finals week. Students will have lots to study for within a short period of time, leading to some unavoidable stress. The Algebra EOC (end of course test) is coming up first on May 3rd, with all of the other STAAR tests following. Finals week is the last week of school, May 23 – 27. 

“I think the stress of the EOCs and Finals are manageable, but only if we stay on top of our studying and don’t procrastinate,” Charlton Kim, 7, said.

Students have a lot to look forward to this quarter, as well the coming year. We hope everyone has a great summer!