DMS Students Launch Online Newspaper (VIEW VIDEO)

DeKalb Middle School RTI: Tier II Reading/Language Arts students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade advanced class have developed an online newspaper that is now available at
The DMS Saint features articles by students on a variety of subjects from school news to current world events. ” We have given them the reins to choose what they want to write about in contributing to the newspaper,” said DMS Guidance Counselor Martha Melching, who is also a co-editor of the newspaper.

In developing the online publication, students were challenged by Assistant DMS Principal Amanda Dakas to create one that is different and more engaging than your average run-of-the mill school newspaper. “One way to do that was to tell the students that this would be ‘THEIR ‘ paper, and they would have the opportunity to choose the topics that interest them. Since the goal of Common Core and our Reading and Language Arts standards is to require students to read at grade-level and to write with proficiency, we believed that ‘inspiring’ students was the key to getting them motivated, and Mrs. Tena Davidson, Mrs. Martha Melching, and Mrs. Felicia Warden have done an excellent job of ‘lighting the spark of creativity and possibility,” she said.
“We told the students to think outside the box and consider other topics beyond the four walls of our school. We directed them to think of topics of interest locally, at the state level, at the national level, and globally. The last challenge was for each student to think about their own personal talents and then share with their teacher what those talents are so that the entire school can benefit from those talents and skills. What happened next was amazing! One student, Trey Fuston, came forward and said that he had experience as a webmaster and wanted to know if we might be interested in posting our stories online and on our own site. The students voted unanimously to create their own website, and then individuals began coming forward with their talents and sharing their own unique ideas. Once the students realized that this project really belonged to ‘THEM’ and that we were excited about hearing their ideas, their perspectives, and their individual voices….. it was like a wild-fire! The enthusiasm has been contagious and our own DeKalb Middle School students have proven that talent, student learning, and academic excellence are not limited to larger schools with unlimited funding. Through the online weekly polling that every student will participate in and with the student-body reading these articles, these students have actually become inspirational teachers for their peers.”
“It’s a funny thing….. we set out to inspire our students, and they have ended up inspiring us! I am so proud of them and of the standard of excellence they are modeling for all of us and for future DeKalb Middle School students,” said Assistant Principal Dakas.
“We created this paper to truly give DeKalb Middle School a voice. We did this to get more students more involved while having fun, talking about popular topics, and learning. All of us are proud to say we did this, and we hope that others can carry it on and have the same experience that we did,” wrote Blake Mitchell.
“The goal of this is to inform readers about things going on locally and even worldwide. In the newspaper, you’ll find an inspirational section, polls, and many student written articles that people can relate to,” wrote Hannah Anderson.
Articles range from a biography of John Phillip Sousa, a world renounced musician to Student Council events. The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade links on the site include other interesting articles, interviews, and even poems. A “submit your own section” will soon be available where students may offer ideas for future articles.
The following story by seventh graders Raiden Martin and Daniel Puckett is an example of what readers will find at
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
By: Raiden Martin and Daniel Puckett
We’re sure you have seen many videos for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but are you aware of what ALS actually is? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gherig’s disease, is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. With this disease, you are getting no muscle nourishment, as the word amyotrophic implies. It affects the motor neurons throughout your body. The degeneration of these neurons will eventually lead to death. The patients in the later stages of ALS can even experience total paralysis. The cause of ALS is not completely understood, however, scientists are working to learn more and may find a cure for this awful disease.
Symptoms of ALS may include: muscle weakness, twitching, thick speech, and more. It varies from person to person. Muscle weakness though, is the most common, occurring in approximately 60% of patients. ALS normally occurs in people between forty and seventy years old, but can strike anyone at any age. ALS is also more likely to happen in men, but will start to equal out between men and women as age increases. Forms of ALS include Sporadic and Familial. Sporadic is the most common in the U.S.-about 90-95% of all cases. Familial occurs more than once in a family lineage-only about 5% of all cases.
There are things you need to know about ALS. ALS is not contagious. If you come in close contact with a patient, you will not “catch” ALS. It has no racial or ethnic boundaries. Also, ALS can strike anyone; young, old, man, woman.
The Ice Bucket Challenge started to get popular on social media in the summer of 2014. For the challenge, you are filmed stating who you nominate to complete the challenge, nominating a minimum of three people. Then, you pour a bucket of ice water on yourself of have someone else pour it one you. The people challenged have twenty-four hours to complete the challenge and donate a minimum of $10. If they do not complete the challenge, they must donate a minimum of $100 to the ALS association.
We spoke to Mr. Jennings and Mrs. Dakas and they both agreed to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, as long as the school can earn enough for a large donation. We need to raise at least $500 and they will both do the challenge. That is less than $1 per student! Keep in mind, the more the better for a good cause!
The RTI: Tier II (Reading to Intervention) Reading/Language Arts students at DeKalb Middle School urge you to visit their new online newspaper often for regular updates at

DCHS Baseball Boosters Club Begins Construction on New Training Facility

The DCHS Baseball Boosters Club has begun construction on a new indoor training facility for the Tiger baseball program. Fundraising efforts are underway to help support the project.
According to Jeff McMillen, President of the Booster Club, the structure will be a 40’x 80′ metal building with two hitting cages, two pitching lanes, conditioning area, equipment room, restroom and coaches office. The facility is expected to be completed by January.
“In today’s world to be competitive in any sport, training is a priority and I think we as a booster club have a responsibility to provide the tools it takes and to allow an athlete who wants to excel to the next level the opportunity. This building will provide an indoor training area for pitchers, hitters and conditioning as well as a dressing room which the players have never had. The DCHS baseball program deserves the same type facilities as other schools where we play. It will be good for our players, our school and our community,” said McMillen.
“Baseball players practice, train, and play primarily during cold and inclement weather with limited availability at other school facilities. The new building will provide the players the opportunity to train and excel in their sport and help instill a sense of pride in their school and program that they see at other programs in the district and state,” added Assistant Coach Jonathon Norris.
While the school board has given the Booster Club authority to build the facility, it is not funding it. The Booster Club is raising all monies and providing mostly volunteer labor to build it. “There are no school/county funds being used for the construction of this building. The booster club through fundraisers and donations will fully fund the construction of this building. Tiger baseball boosters are committed to seeing this project completed. Our goal is not to hire any labor but to use volunteers from the booster club, community and the high school building trades class,” said McMillen.
The Booster Club is seeking donations from the public and local businesses to complete construction. If you would like to help, contact Jeff McMillen or other booster club members. “I have been around here (DeKalb County) all my life and I have always found that when there is a need in the community, the community comes together and makes sure those needs are met. I don’t see this need any differently. That’s one of the reasons why so many people who come here don’t leave. We are truly blessed to live in such a great place. I truly believe this project will take baseball in DeKalb County to another level for years to come,” said McMillen.

Infinity Athletics Competes at 1st Competition of the Season

Infinity Athletics attended their first competition of the season Saturday, November 8th in Nashville for Jamfest Nashville at Municipal Auditorium.
This year’s teams range in age from 3 to 14 years old and include athletes from DeKalb, Putnam, Smith and Cannon County. The Tiny Level 1 team, Storm, (ages 3-5) came in 4th place…Youth 1, Strikers (ages 11 & under) came in 1st Place out of two teams… and Stunners (ages 14 & under) got 4th out of 9 teams! These girls work so hard all year and the parents and coaches couldn’t be prouder of them. They’re next competition will be December 6th & 7th in Gatlinburg. Infinity Athletics would like to invite everyone to come support them at their competitions this season.
Their schedule is as follows:
●December 6-7 – Gatlinburg Convention Center
●January 31st – Nashville Municipal Auditorium
●February 28th – Nashville Municipal Auditorium
●March 21-22 – Louisville, KY
*They plan on receiving bids that will take them to the US Finals in Pensacola, Florida in April. The Strikers earned theirs at Saturday’s competition*
Storm- Leah Trapp, Taylor White, Bryleigh Teachout, Izzy Prichard, Annali Garcia, Kenna Sykes, and Ezalee Moore
Strikers – Natalie Snipes, Maggie Felton, Addison Roller, Sadie West, Kailey Herron, Keegan Martin, Hannah Trapp, Carlee West, Braelyn Teachout, Annabella Dakas, and Danica Collier
Stunners – Chloe Sykes, Shaunta Koegler, Haley Carroll, Alley Sykes, Katherine Malone, Annalyn Haskin, Leah Davis, Natalie Snipes, Maggie Felton, Addison Roller, Sadie West, Kailey Herron, Hannah Trapp, Carlee West and Braelyn Teachout
All teams are coached by Taylor Chapman and Jennifer Sykes.

National Collection Week Upcoming for Operation Christmas Child (SEE VIDEO)

Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse is the world’s largest Christmas project that collects and distributes gift-filled shoeboxes for needy children around the world. Since 1993, more than 113 million boxes have been distributed in more than 130 countries. Each year, the project mobilizes more than 100,000 volunteers in the United States.
The week of November 17th through Monday, November 24th, 2014, is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. The drop-off/relay center for this area is located at the Indian Creek Baptist Church, 967 Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville, Tennessee, and is a convenient place for churches, clubs, schools, businesses, and individuals to bring their filled shoe boxes. The center will be open, as follows:

Monday, November 17 through Friday, November 21 – 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 22 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 23 – 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Monday, November 24 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
You may select from the above dates and hours to deliver your filled shoe boxes to the center.
This holiday season you can experience the true meaning of Christmas with a child in need by simply packing your shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other small gifts.
For further information please contact:
Sue Puckett:615/597-7370 (office)
615/597-7325 (home)
615/464-7700 (cell) (e-mail)
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid with excellence to victims of war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty, and persecution in over 100 countries. The President and CEO is William “Franklin” Graham III, son of Billy Graham

Leadership DeKalb Class Embarks on Adult Leadership Enhancement Program

The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2015 has embarked on a year long program in adult leadership enhancement.
The 17th class of Leadership DeKalb is Beth Adcock, Smithville Police Department; Kalah Donnell, DeKalb Community Bank, Alexandria; Rich Goss, Cubmaster, Pack 347, Tractor Supply Co; Rhonda Harpole, Community Volunteer, DTC-TV host – State of the Arts; Todd Hasty, Premier Realty at Center Hill Lake; Andrea Kalina, Federal Mogul; Ale Maciel, DCHS student; Josh Issac, Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce & DeKalb Hospital; Jennifer Parrish, Smithville 1st United Methodist Church; Norene Puckett, DeKalb Co Drug Court; Becky Thompson, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; Lydia Trail, DCHS student; and Mila Vazquez, DeKalb Hospital.
Leadership DeKalb is an adult leadership enhancement program. This program is for individuals who are or show the desire for the role of community trustees. Participants will study the county in-depth; strengthen leadership skills; and build a network of fellow leaders through Leadership DeKalb classmates, alumni, presenters, and current leaders in business, services and our community. Leadership DeKalb shapes our county’s future with knowledgeable, effective and active leaders.

Cannon County Lawyer to be Disbarred After Pleading Guilty to Theft Charge

An investigation by agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in a Cannon County attorney pleading guilty to theft and agreeing to disbarment for at least five years.
At the request of then-16th District Attorney General Bill Whitesell, TBI Special Agents began investigating Dale Peterson on July 16th. Peterson had been an attorney representing the Riverside Center medical facility in Woodbury. The services he provided included filing documents and paying filing fees on behalf of the facility. During the course of the investigation, agents learned that between March 2012 and July 2014, Peterson stopped filing documents with the Cannon County Clerk’s office and kept the filing fees for himself. As the investigation began, Peterson admitted his role in the theft and assisted agents in returning files to the Clerk’s office.
On Thursday, Peterson pled guilty in Cannon County to Theft over $1000 through a criminal information plea. He agreed to be disbarred from the practice of law for no fewer than five years and to pay restitution in the amount of $20,551. Peterson was booked at the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department after his court appearance.

SES Students Honor Local Veterans (SEE VIDEO)

A Veterans Appreciation assembly program was held Friday morning at Smithville Elementary School in recognition of Veteran’s Day.
Kelly Birmingham led students from pre-K to the second grade in singing “God Bless the USA” and other patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.
Adrienne McCormick read the following “Veterans Day” poem by Cheryl Dyson:
“On Veterans Day we honor all,
Who answered to a service call,
Soldiers young, and soldiers old,
Fought for freedom, brave and bold
Some have lived, while others died,
And all of them deserve our pride,
We’re proud of all the soldiers who,
Kept thinking of red, white, and blue,
They fought for us and all our rights,
They fought through many days and nights,
And though we may not know each name,
We thank ALL veterans just the same.”

Veterans attending the program were:
Edsel Frazier, U.S. Army in World War II
Eric Atnip, U.S. Marine Corps in Desert Storm/Desert Shield
Walter Johnson, U.S. Army in the Korean War
Joe Goodwin, U.S. Army, a POW in Germany during World War II
James Spradley, U.S. Air Force in Vietnam
William Edmonds, U.S. Army in Vietnam
Paul Cantrell, U.S. Navy in Korea
Erin Vaughn, U.S. Army
Darrell Young, U.S. Navy
Gary Davis, U.S. Army in Vietnam
Don Rigsby, U.S. Air Force in Vietnam
James Cantrell, U.S. Air Force in Korean War
Edward Frazier, U.S. Army in World War II
Chad Polk, U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq
Ronnie Redmon, U.S. Air Force in Vietnam
Alan Stengel, U.S. Navy and Air Force in Vietnam (USS Enterprise, USS Kitty Hawk, and USS Saratoga)
Connie Ketzner, U.S. Air Force
Scott Buckley, U.S. Navy in Desert Storm
Jimmy Sprague, U.S. Army in Operation Just Cause
William Russell, U.S. Marine Corps
Michael Hattaway, U.S. Air Force
Corbin Keith, U.S. Army in Korea and Vietnam Wars
Mark Collins, U.S. Air Force in Panama
Dale Pedigo, U.S. Army
Richard Widener, U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam
Melvin Young, U.S. Army in Vietnam
Clyde Thomas family. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War
Guy Mathis, U.S. Army in World War II. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star
Bill Winter, U.S. Army

Woman Airlifted After Wreck

A 45 year old woman was airlifted after a one vehicle wreck on Highway 56 south near Sink creek on Tuesday.
Trooper T.J. Withers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Cynthia Smith was driving north on Highway 56 in a 2003 Dodge Durango when her vehicle went off the road, overturned and struck a utility pole guide wire. The Durango came to rest upright on an embankment.
According to Trooper Withers, Smith was forced to apply her brakes to avoid hitting a tractor trailer truck in front of her, which had to stop abruptly due to a motorist who had pulled out in front of him.
Smith was airlifted from near the scene and flown to Erlanger Hospital.
Members of DeKalb EMS, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and the Sheriff’s Department were also on site.

Smithville Police Department to Host Cops for Kids Christmas Party

The Smithville Police Department would like to announce that they will be hosting their 3rd Annual Cops for Kids Christmas Party.
The event is held to provide relief around the Holidays for any family that may be going through a difficult time due to illness, loss of income or other circumstances. The goal of the event is to help lessen the stress on families and provide them with a fun evening of food, fellowship, gifts for their children and, of course, a visit from Santa. This event is by invitation only and anyone wishing to attend must fill out an application. Applications may be picked up at the Smithville Police Department or can be printed online at
Cops for Kids 2014.pdf (69.12 KB)
Applications must be turned in no later than Monday, December 1, 2014. They may be returned to the Smithville Police Department or mailed to SPD, Attn: Cops for Kids, 104 East Main Street, Smithville, TN 37166.
Anyone who would like to donate gifts may do so by bringing a new, unwrapped gift to the Smithville Police Department, Cash Express at 126 East Bryant Street in Smithville or the Dollar General Stores in Smithville and Dowelltown or you may give your donation directly to a City police officer. Deadline for donations is December 5, 2014.
For more information regarding applications, donations or general information, please contact Beth Adcock at 615-597-8210 extension 1.

Director Mark Willoughby and DCHS Named A.F. Bridges Award Winners

The 2013-14 A.F. Bridges Awards were announced this week, recognizing 63 individuals and nine schools from across the state including Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and DeKalb County High School.
Director Willoughby was named “School Administrator of the Year” in Athletic District 4.
The A.F. Bridges Awards, named after the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s first executive secretary, include awards for School Administrator of the Year, Principal of the Year, Athletic Director of the Year, Female Coach of the Year, Male Coach of the Year, Official of the Year and Contributor of the Year.
In addition to individual honors, the A.F. Bridges Divisional Awards are presented to schools that “have had no reported unsportsmanlike conduct incidents during the previous school year and have displayed an overall positive effort to teach, expect and demand a positive atmosphere of sportsmanship at their particular contests,” according to the TSSAA. DeKalb County High School was among award winners in this category in Class AA.
“Being recognized for one of these awards as a school or individual should be seen as one of the highest honors in high school athletics in our state,” TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress said. “Those who receive the awards truly reflect what high school athletics should be about, and that’s good sportsmanship and good citizenship.”
The awards are to be presented at this week’s regional meetings.