Finalists from the 2017 Poetry Slam

The ten finalists pose with the judges. Marian Smith was not present for the picture.

Today, 60 students met in front of their peers and parents to perform poems for our annual poetry slam. And they were great. Some poems were from famous poets and some were poems that the students themselves have written. This was a great year for the poetry slam and the contestants all did an amazing job, not only reciting a memorized poem, but performing it as well.

Ms. Howard organized the event and she decided to mix things up this year and invited three local songwriters to come to our school and act as impartial judges. We appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedules to listen to our students. I believe they had as much fun as the students themselves did.

Just as in years past, ten students were chosen to go on to represent Salem Junior in the district slam on May 11th. The top 20 students recieved a student-designed poetry slam t-shirt and the top 3 students also recieved a gift certificate. 

Here are the top ten students who will go on to the district slam on May 11th.

  1. Miles Booth
  2. Annaliese Eddington
  3. Michael Langton
  4. Cassidy Haight
  5. McKenzie Graham
  6. Afton Hayfield
  7. Rachael Concoby
  8. Marian Smith
  9. Olivia Christensen
  10. Jared Kearns

English Students Create Poetry

Our students have been learning the art of poetry and how to use and indentify figurative language. Probably the most difficult thing about poetry is the ability to express a lot of meaning in few words. One subgenre of poetry that our students have learned about this  year is Blackout Poetry.

Blackout poetry involves taking a page from a published work, usually photocopied out of a book, and using words from that page to create your poem. It is a fun medium because the words you use are limited and the best ones find a way to say something meaninful with only a few key words. To make the Blackout poem you box out the words you want to use and you color over or black out all of the extra words. It's a fun activity for the students and a way for students to get creative.

The picture above is an example from a student in Mr. Haight's class.

New 4H Club: Board games, Fridays after school

Andrew Oblad

There is a new 4H club happening here at SaJHS. The club will be playing board games every Friday after school, and since it won't be the full 10 weeks that a 4H club usually lasts, there is no fee to sign up. Inspired by the 4H club, Andrew Oblad decided to rank his top 10 all-time favorite board games and card games.

In celebration of the new 4-H board game club announced this week, I have decided to make a list of the 10 best board games. Card games are included. Enjoy!

10. Forbidden Island- A cooperative game where players work together to collect all four artifacts from the island and escape.

9. Snakes and Ladders- This is a game in which you try to make it to the top of the board by climbing ladders and avoiding snakes.

8. Scrabble- A fun word game to play with family and friends.

7. Man Bites Dog- This game lets you combine words to make headlines.

6. The Star Wars Dice Game- In this game, you roll dice with Star Wars characters on the sides. Each character has a different amount of points you can earn. The first person to 5,000 points wins.

5. Coup- A bluffing game in which you try to gain power by making others lose their cards. The last one with cards left wins!

4. Risk- This is a game where you take over countries in order to achieve world domination.

3. Phase 10- A card game where you go through different “phases” where you need to get a set or run of cards for each one. The first person to get through all ten phases wins.

2. Apples to Apples- A game where there is a card with an adjective on it placed in the center each round and you put in cards with nouns on them that fit with the adjective. This is one of my favorite board games because you can either be serious with your answers or go for laughs.

1. Monopoly- A classic board game in which you try to bankrupt other players. This is my all-time favorite board game because you rely on both strategy and luck to defeat opponents.

9th grade students learn from Salem EMT's

KyLynn James
Two EMT's from Salem

Ms James's class had EMT's visit her class today. The students learned about choking and basic first aid. This is the beginning of a CPR certification course that Ms. James will be doing with her students. Ms. James always has great opportunities for her students to learn fun and interesting lessons that are very relevant to students' lives. 

Kristen Van De Graaff is SaJHS Teacher of the Year

Every year the faculty at Salem Junior High votes on who should be teacher of the year. This is an award that teachers give to one of their colleagues who represents everything that makes a teacher great. This year, Kristen Van De Graaff was chosen because she lives and breathes everything that makes a good teacher.

Mrs. Van De Graaff does a lot for this school and our students. She is involved in several important leadership roles at this school and always looks ahead with the goal of making a better learning environment for our students. She is a teacher who has a lot of passion for her content and her students. One thing that we admire about Mrs. Van De Graaff is that she always asks the hard questions and doesn't settle for easy answers. She pushes herself and others, and she does so with an infectous laugh and positive disposition. 

This is why we are happy to have Mrs. Van De Graaff at our school and chose her to be teacher of the year.

Amy Huhtala Spotlighted in KSL's "Teacher Feature"


Mrs. Huhtala recieved the honor last week of being spotlighted on the KSL "Teacher Feature." This segment that is posted on the KSL website and announced over the radio each week. Mrs. Huhtala was nominated and chosen because of the love and attention that she gives to each of her students. Follow the link and read about Mrs. Huhtala on KSL's "Teacher Feature"

A Teachers Purpose: Part 3

Jared Kearns

This week on A Teacher’s Purpose I interviewed Ms.James and Mrs. Beardall I interviewed them on their unique perspectives on teaching and how they got into their jobs.

Mrs. Beardall said she that a long time ago her husband lost his job and she started looking for a job, and she started looking for a job as a secretary and the school was just being built. She said her favorite thing about the kids is interacting with them and helping them “I like to see everybody succeed and to help them on that path. A teacher’s purpose is “To be a positive influence, To educate them, To motivate them, and to inspire.”

Ms.James was going to be a nurse but she couldn’t pass her class in collage so she was asked to be a tutor and realized she was really good at teaching and it was something she really enjoyed. Her favorite part about teaching is getting to know the students and watching them get interested in the material. A teachers purpose is ” to help students realize that not all adults are out to get them, and to help them realize that they may not like school but it’s something that needs to happen.”

This has been A teachers purpose, thank you for joining me this week and I will see you next week, and that is a Teacher’s Purpose.

Advanced Choir Auditions: April 24-27


Spartans! You’ve probably heard from friends or seen the posters in the halls, Advanced Choir Auditions are here! The auditions will run from April 24th to the 27th.  Mr. Guthrie is excited to hear all your voices! If you’re interested in auditioning please go to the choir hall and grab an audition packet on the bulletin board. If and when you’ve decided to audition you can sign your name on the lists in the choir room hall. The packet contains lots of information about how advanced choirs run.

For auditions you are required to sing The Star Spangled Banner in your harmony part, all women sing the alto part, tenor sing tenor part, and bass sing bass. You also need to sing the melody to Homeward Bound. All the music is in the audition packet. If you want more details here’s a link to the choir website:

If you are nervous about auditions don’t be! Even if you think you might audition please do! There are so many amazing voices hidden in our school please come! It’s a good experience and choir is so much fun. (you get to miss school sometimes)! GO SPARTANS!!