News, 2011 - 2012

Saturday, May 26


Last evening the students presented their closing program, with singing and recitations. Their bright, happy grins reflected the dawning realization that school was really out for the summer, and they would be free of studies for awhile. They performed well under pressure, and did a great job with every part of the evening.


After the teachers gave each student their individual awards, the high school Class of 2012 students gave their speeches, which were very well done and enjoyable to listen to. When they were finished, and the commencement speaker had given his speech, the school Administrator called the graduates to the stage to award their diplomas. They accepted their diplomas with huge smiles and much relief.


When the formal program ended, the graduates hosted a celebration in the Fellowship Hall, where we all enjoyed refreshing snacks and good conversation with each other as we relaxed.


The Year-End School Picnic began this morning at ten o'clock, with a ball game. The school board, with some help from others, put on a delicious lunch of grilled chicken with salads and desserts. This meal was quite filling for everyone, which slowed down the fathers when they played ball against their sons; sadly, the fathers still won the game. But it was close for awhile! Maybe next year the sons will win. It could happen!


We hope you all enjoy your summer.


Cramming is done for this year!


Friday, May 18


This guy was just outside the back door, stalking Miss Rosita's class and making them uncomfortable, so he was relocated to the back of the property by the fence row.


Friday, May 11


Today was a big day! After meeting at 7:00 a.m. for instructions and prayer, the whole school went to Sea World for our year-end field trip, and it was great! The older students especially enjoyed the rides, such as Kraken and Manta, while the younger students watched a lot of animal shows, including sting rays and dolphins and killer whales, oh my! The Pets Ahoy! show had dogs, cats, birds, a pot-bellied pig, a rat, and even a skunk playing all sorts of games; it was amusing.


Field trip day was a warm day, and the occasional cloud cover was a welcome relief, bringing a cool breeze. Lots of students were thrilled to get soaked in Shamu Stadium, when the orcas used their tails to throw water across the crowd! Riding the Journey to Atlantis also raised a splash, and that felt good, but the crowd-pleaser was the Manta; some students rode it a half-dozen times or more.


Walking through Shark Encounter, students were excited to see several different kinds of sharks, with lots of fish and manta rays, swimming around and even overhead. Looking up at the belly of a shark is a rare experience. At the Manta Aquarium, students were allowed to reach into the pool and touch passing rays; they said the rays feel soft and slippery. Others opted to travel to the top of the 400-foot Sky Tower, where they were treated to a truly bird's-eye view of Sea World and the rest of Orlando.


By 4:30, it was time to meet at the gate to leave. Some arrived at the exit gate with clothes still soaked from Journey to Atlantis, but they didn't seem too upset about it. Others said that the roller-coaster rides left their tummies, um, less than settled, but they recovered quickly. After slogging through a traffic jam on I-4 and I-75, we ate supper at Cici's Pizza, then headed back to the school house, where we arrived safely, thank God, around 8:30.


What a day.

Tuesday, May 8


The Third-Quarter Honor Roll students had the distinct pleasure of visiting the largest commercial printing company in Sarasota, Coastal Printing, Inc. They employ around 50 people, and fulfill about 300 printing jobs per month at an average contract rate of $1,500 each. They work in a five million dollar facility, and spend approximately $8,000 per month on their electric bill. Their presses run 24 hours a day every day except weekends, which means they shut down from Friday evening until Sunday night at 10:00, when they start up again. They spend about $100,000 on paper materials each month. Paper and ink are all recycled as much as possible within their facility; when those resources are exhausted, the materials are sent elsewhere for final recycling. The ink, for instance, is sent to Texas, where it is burned to produce electricity. They have an extensive range of clients, including Boar's Head, BP (petroleum), Coldwell Banker, Tattoo Factory (for Disney/Pixar, Dr. Pepper, etc.), and Sun Hydraulics.


Terry Rayner (whose business card says he is the "COO, Compass, Trailblazer" for Coastal Printing) gave us a personal tour of their facility. Originally from England, he lived in Texas for 20 years before moving here. Have you ever heard someone say "y'all" in a British accent? It's hilarious. He showed us the complete production run, explaining how lasers etch aluminum plates, which are then used by computers to transfer ink to paper. He explained what offset printing is, and why "RGB is a bigger color space than CMYK" - because it has white [paper] coming through! Interesting stuff; at least, he made it interesting for us. We all enjoyed hearing him describe the process, and we even learned a few things.


Stepping out the front door of Coastal Printing, the students voted for Subway as our lunch destination. The Subway staff at the corner of Bee Ridge Road and Beneva Road takes good care of us when we crash their place with 20 people. After lunch, we went to the Colonial Oaks park gym for almost three hours of Extreme Indoor Kickball, Team Two-Square, and basketball games. This wore them out. To rejuvenate their spirits, we took them to 7-Eleven for Slurpees. That helped.

Thursday, April 26


The Great Duck Caper went down during second period this morning, when a Wood duck with about two dozen ducklings ambled into the school yard. Kindergarten and first grade students were all over them, trying to love on them, but frightening them out of their wits. They scattered, of course, going every which way, peeping frantically for mama duck. Naturally, we felt an obligation to be heroes, and reunite them.


Behind shrubs, under bushes, around corners, on hands and knees we went after them, eventually herding the little fuzzballs into one larger flock. A hawk dove in, touching the corner of the school roof, then dropping like a rock to snatch a duckling, before zooming off into the sky. Your children's mouths gaped in shock and dismay, then shut firmly in righteous anger, and the battle was set.


Snatching ducklings here, there, and, it seemed, everywhere, we gathered them and walked them across the field. Leaving the shelter of a tree, they were exposed, and a nasty crow immediately took advantage of the situation by plucking another duckling and lifting off into the sky. Again, students were outraged.


Moving out across the field toward the next stop, which was a large old oak, our worst fears were realized: like lightning, the hawk was back! She dove into the flock of tiny waddlers, greedily plucking her hapless victim. However, the fearless principal saw her plan, and charged bravely into her path, furiously waving his arms. She was startled (and afraid, too!), and dropped the downy duckling promptly. It was a small victory for the saviors, but the hawk lives to hunt another day.


Eventually the flock was reunited in the neighbor's yard, where we watched them heading toward the pond. Later in the evening, they were seen huddling in the safety of a culvert, where no hawk or crow could spot them to decimate their numbers.


You should have been here.

Thursday, April 12


Miss Susie and Miss Rosita took their students on a Field Trip to the Urfer Family Park for play time and fun. The children had a great time exploring the playground equipment - climbing on the rock wall, spinning on the circle roller, and balancing on all kinds of stuff! It was the best kind of fun!


Suddenly it was lunch-time. Growly tummies were satisfied at Chic-fil-A: those golden nuggets of chicken are really yummy! After lunch, the whole gang piled into the Fruitville Library for some relaxing book-browsing. Students were soon exploring all kinds of other worlds, as the books carried them to places far away, where they could effortlessly lose themselves in their tireless imaginations as they avidly studied the fascinating pictures on each marvelous page.


Then it was over, and they all landed back at school, where mom was waiting.


Tuesday, March 13


Your Honor Roll Students went on a Field Trip today, to Southeastern Guide Dogs, in Palmetto. They invited everyone into the main hall of the puppy kennel, where they gave strict instructions about how students should interact with the puppies. Here, everyone got disinfectant for their hands. After instructions, the students were ushered into the play area, where they were seated on the floor in a big circle; then the handlers brought the puppies out to play.


Seven yellow Labrador Retrievers and one black Lab, all from the same litter and only six weeks old, swarmed across the floor, looking for friends. They frolicked around the room, dancing from one student to the next, climbing into laps, chewing on shoelaces, biting each other ("No bite!"), tumbling, sliding, and kissing ("Ewww!") anyone who picked them up. After about twenty minutes of rough-and-tumble play, their energy levels began to taper off, so the handlers collected them and took them back to their rooms.


After disinfecting everyone's hands, the students filed out to an area where they saw another younger litter of puppies being handled by volunteer staff members; by the age of nine weeks, every puppy is totally comfortable with humans, both friend and stranger. Then they go to a private home where they live until formal guide-dog training begins around 14-20 months of age.


Since our tour leader didn't show up, the next two stages of our visit to Southeastern Guide Dogs had to be cancelled, which was disappointing. We checked out the tiny gift shop, then left to get lunch after browsing at Super Target and Sports Authority.


By overwhelming vote, the students chose to eat at Chic-fil-A, which was yummy. From there, we went to Colonial Oaks Park (they weren't answering their phone), where we learned the gym was reserved for others, because they were hosting 70 school children on Spring Break.


With limited options available, the students chose to go to Island Park. There, they hunted crabs, waded in the surf, posed for pictures, spotted dolphins, and climbed trees. Before long, it was time to leave for 7-Eleven, where everyone got Slurpees. Except Jason. He got iced coffee. He liked it.

Friday, March 9


Track & Field was held today, under warm sunshine with brisk breezes gusting about. Starting at 9:00 this morning, the students were running, jumping, throwing, and climbing all day. Competition was tough but friendly, and the students showed good sportsmanship as they cheered for each other. Lots of ribbons were won, lots of memories were made, and lots of faces were baked in the sun.


The school board, with help from the school moms, had plenty of good food waiting for the energetic youngsters at lunchtime: hamburgers with all the fixings, fresh veggies, chips, brownies and lemon bars, ice cream, and even fresh garden tea! Wow, that was refreshing!


Thanks to everyone who helped make the day a success; special thanks to the parents who helped in facilitating and scoring the events-- we appreciate your participation and support.


Now get some rest.


Friday, February 24


Today, Miss Susie's class had a special project. They were "working" in the school kitchen this afternoon, making gingerbread cookies! Taking turns, they each got to cut shapes from the cookie dough that was rolled out on the countertop. After baking, they enjoyed their handiwork, and even had enough cookies to give one to every student in school that day! They were yummy treats, and didn't last very long.

Thursday, February 23


Last Friday evening was our 5th Annual Banquet. The school board did an excellent job planning the evening, Alvin Zook worked his special charm preparing food, and the students cheerfully and efficiently served it. It was a lot of work, but the evening was enjoyable, including entertainment by grades K - 3rd.


Special thanks to Alvin Zook, of Zook's BBQ & Catering, for the magnificent BBQ work he did with the chicken, beef, and potatoes. It was simply delicious.


Thank you for joining us for this special event. We appreciate your support and interest in our school.


Wednesday, February 15


Our chapel time this morning was a real treat! As popular as always, the famous duo of Bro. Mel & Scruffy gave us a pep talk on treating others with kindness. The final take-away was this: Be Kinder Than Necessary. You can join us for part of the chapel talk right here.

Friday, February 10


Bubblegum Day in the Big Room is kind of noisy:

Thursday, February 9




Recently, one of the SMS SuperMoms, Bek K., came to school and served us a hot lunch, which we enjoyed immensely. After the meal, she mentioned that she had been trying to decide what she should make for the hot lunch, and had wondered what other SuperMoms had prepared for previous meals. She suggested that the hot lunch menus should be posted on this website, so our SuperMoms can see the Hot Lunch Menu History, and be more comfortable putting together a menu of their own.


Because of Bek's suggestion, we are pleased to announce that this website now has a page dedicated to all our SuperMoms' Hot Lunches. You will find it on the menu at the top of this page, on the left side, under Special Lunches Schedule. After clicking on Special Lunches Schedule, another menu button will appear under the Special Lunches Schedule button, labeled Hot Lunch Menu History.


There you will find a history of the hot lunches we have enjoyed, beginning today.


Thanks for all you do for us!


Friday, February 3


To celebrate 100 Days, the older students each brought a banana to school for a special project.


For this project, they did not need scotch tape, or fishing line, or even a screwdriver. They all shuffled out to the front porch, where they were shocked - shocked! - to find the table loaded with the raw materials needed for making banana splits. They each had the privilege of manufacturing their own, and then they dug in eagerly, so it didn't take long until everyone was scarfing their healthful, imaginative, fruit-and-dairy creations. They loved it. Especially because they [Yolanda] could even put chocolate on twice! (Feast your eyes here.)


After they finished putting away their banana projects, everyone headed back inside to wrap up goal setting and cleaning jobs.


Every one of them took their banana projects home with them.


Tuesday, January 31


Today is the 100th Day of School, and that requires celebration! Miss Susie's and Miss Rosita's classes enjoyed a day of fun and games (with maybe a little work thrown in), and candy, and Fruit Loop crafts, and balloon popping, and pinata demolishing, and even a trip to The Fruitville Hill for a picnic lunch.


Miss Susie's class had the great fun of breaking the pinata, and Miss Rosita's students were thrilled to have the job of popping the one hundred balloons floating around her classroom. All the students took these responsibilities seriously: it was a big deal! With things like finding one hundred "hidden" Hershey's chocolate Kisses around the room, and drawing prizes out of paper bags, it was an exciting - and exhausting - day for these youngsters.


Great memories!


Monday, January 16


It was a smashing success! The aging pumphouse was quickly torn down today by eager students wielding crowbars and sledge hammers. The strong young men of the Big Room vigorously attacked the little building and reduced it to a shivering pile of sad rubble, then tore it limb from limb and deposited it unceremoniously in the dumpster. It took less than an hour.


The pumphouse, a fixture on the school property for many years, was then replaced with a rock. Yes. A rock. A hollow rock. You should see it.


Thanks, young men, for making speedy work of hauling away the old structure. We appreciate your excellent work. The school grounds looks better because of it.


Please don't climb on the rock.


Thursday, January 5


*********  SEVERE WEATHER ALERT  *********



As you can see for yourself, even the park benches are dying...


Wednesday, January 4


No-Bake cookies! What a great math project! Measuring and stirring and mixing... and eating! These cookies were delicious! Good work, students.

Thursday, December 22


Last night the SMS students put on a beautiful Christmas program for all of us. From youngest to oldest, they put their hearts into it. They worked hard, and it showed in their recitations, poetry, and singing. They are wonderful students, and the quality of their characters showed through on their faces and in their eyes. Last night's program was a treat! Thank you, students. We hope you all have a splendid Christmas celebration and a relaxing, enjoyable time away from school.


See you in January!


Wednesday, December 14


Today the Honor Roll Students went on a field trip to PGT in Venice. PGT is a custom window and door manufacturer employing more than 2,000 people in six buildings on their corporate campus.


When we arrived, we were welcomed by Maggie and Tom, who gave us a guided tour of the PGT manufacturing facility. We toured the full length of their largest plant, which is a quarter mile walk, round-trip. This building covers 25,000 square feet. PGT has 19 different unique assembly/production modules, each of which may produce anywhere from 100 to 200 window or door units per shift, with two shifts running per day. Right now, they average around 2,000 units every 24 hours. The atmosphere among PGT employees was relaxed but professional, and everyone we met greeted us warmly. Rumor has it that even the president and CEO, Rod Hershberger, wears jeans and the company's logo shirt to work every day. One fellow, however, was grumpy, and refused to change his attitude in spite of some very perky waving from several young ladies in our group. Because of the inviting cafeteria and company game rooms, some of our students decided they might like to work there some day.


After the tour, we gathered in the main lobby downstairs to decide where we should eat lunch. Because of complications, they voted twice, and the vote carried for going to Subway for lunch. It was delish! After we ate, we needed to fill a few minutes before the gym at Colonial Oaks Park would be available, so we dropped in on Red Bug Slough for about half an hour. At the gym we played a raucous game of Extreme Indoor Kickball, and followed that with a competitive round of Team Two-Square. You will be glad to know that tradition held, and we ended the day with Slurpees.


Thursday, December 1


Our annual Christmas program will be held at Sunnyside Church on Wednesday evening, December 21, at 7:30, God willing. You don't want to miss it!


The picture below is a play-dough rendering of what the 2nd and 3rd grade art students imagine the nativity of Jesus to have been. Isn't it adorable?

Saturday, November 12


Last night was the annual Science & Art event at school. The students worked hard to come up with their projects, and they certainly wowed us with their skills and talents.


Several of the art projects were especially beautiful. The students had lots to offer, including everything from boats to airplanes, cookies and soap, photography and painting, wood-craft, marble-craft, and potato-based electrical engineering.


Of course, the school board had a pizza supper available, with all the trimmings: pop and chips and ice cream... every child's dream. All in all, it was a good evening. Go here to see it all for yourself.


Tuesday, October 25


With some students gone, Miss Rosita's class finished work early and walked to 7-Eleven for treats. No wonder they're smiling!

Tuesday, September 20


We lost a hickory tree in the front school-yard. It died a while back of un-natural causes, and was cut down last week. Nathan O. came this morning to grind out the stump. Now nothing remains but a pile of hickory shavings. The students were given an unexpected lesson in stump-grinding, but, sadly, were not able to operate the machinery. Thank you, Nathan, for taking care of the stump.


We miss the old tree.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Today was the first day of school for the Kindergarten class. They came sailing into their classroom with bright smiles and new backpacks, ready to jump into a whole new world. Their moms helped them put away their new school stuff and get them  settled in, then it was picture time. They were very patient through the whole process.


It was an exciting adventure, and they did very well on their first day. By participating in some academic exercises in the forenoon (learning letters, saying numbers), they earned a nap after lunch and story-time. As a bonus, the schedule included a game of memory in the afternoon. All in all, it was a big day.


They make a very good Kindergarten class.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Miss Susie's students had a Show & Tell event yesterday, and the students each brought something special to class. Joanna brought a special cup-cake shaped container of lip gloss, Holly brought a favorite doll, and Connor brought tadpoles and a frog.


It was great.


They each took their turn showing their special items to the class, and telling them what they liked about them and where they got them. Miss Susie took a turn also, showing them her unique collection of refrigerator magnets.


Would you like to see for yourself?


Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Today was a special day for last year's 4th Quarter Honor Roll students - they earned a field trip to G.Wiz Science Museum, where they toured the special exhibit "Odyssey's Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure."


We had a few minutes to spare before the museum opened, so we went to the Tenth Street Boat Docks, and scavenged the beach rocks for crabs. One feisty little crab spent the day with us, riding in one of the girls' purse pockets.


It wasn't long until we were outside the doors at G.Wiz, where we took a few group photos, then met Lionel, a funny staff member who welcomed us to the museum. After some instructions from Lionel, we went upstairs to the exhibit where we met Douglas, a former college professor, who was on hand to answer any questions about the shipwrecks. "Odyssey's Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure" was a fascinating exploration of artifacts recovered primarily from the SS Republic. We saw ship's china, wine and beer bottles, cannonballs, figurines, hair combs and toothbrushes, gold and silver coins, pirate's cutlasses, and even the skeleton of a (dead) pirate. The skeleton was fake, everything else was authentic. The students could try their hand at the helm of a ship, piloting it through high seas, or they could work the controls of a robot arm to pick up a coin from the "ocean floor" in a recovery expedition.


After the shipwreck exhibit we all went downstairs to the hands-on science museum, where all kinds of experiments were tried. Brain-wave races, gyroscopes, cracking safes, measuring hand-grip strength, creating patterns with strobes, checking heart rates, meeting a skink named Steve, running sprint contests, blowing ginormous bubbles, arc-ing electricity, holding Little Boo the corn snake, and puzzling over brain benders... it was great fun.


We left there and went to McDonald's for lunch; after lunch we went to the Colonial Oaks Park gym for basketball (two old men against three young whipper-snappers) and Team Two-Square (that was a close game.)


Then it was over.


Thursday, August 25


Our old friend and helper, the ever-reliable Canon photocopier, has been struggling lately with lots of paper jams and general all-around crankiness. Today, for the last time, it begrudgingly spit out one last, inky, crinkly, messy, unreadable photocopy, then sourly wrapped some wires around a spinner deep in its innards, and crashed, never to copy again.


What shall we do now?


The search is on for a replacement, but these are costly decisions. Would you like to contribute to funding a copier for our school office? Just tell a board member, and they'll be happy to accomodate your generosity.


Thank you in advance.


Here is a snapshot taken just before it was "boxed up" and carted out.

Wednesday, August 24


The 2011-2012 school term officially opened today, and the students are settling in quickly. Their study habits are coming back, and they are digging into their work with energy and enthusiasm. A new school year brings new subjects for some, new friends for others, and new challenges for all.


Miss Susie and Miss Rosita are past the initial (minor) apprehensions, and are building relationships with their little charges. Their students have lots of bounce, and the sparkle in their eyes is a joy to see.


Come visit the school sometime this year; just poke your head in the door - we'd be glad to show you what's happening. The students like to have visitors. 


Friday, August 12


Great news! The Yearbooks have arrived! Your students did good work in putting it all together, and the yearbooks are nicely done. You will definitely want several copies, so we are making them available on Monday evening at Orientation, August 22, 7:00 - 8:30. The cost is offset by our valued advertisers, and we thank them for their support. This brings your cost down to only $10.00, and that's an excellent deal. Get a copy for each child in school as a keepsake, get a copy for Mom and Dad to share, plus another copy for each set of grandparents, because they don't want to be left out.


This yearbook is filled with great memories. You'll enjoy it.

Here is a list of supplies you need to provide for your student. Please keep these items well-stocked throughout the year.



Pencil box



Crayola-brand Crayons, 24 count

Construction paper

Drawing/Doodling paper


Kindergarten mat for naps

Small blanket

Small pillow
Markers (washable)





GRADES 1st -- 3rd

KJV Bible with Old and New Testaments

Good supply of pencils and erasers

Wide-ruled notepaper

Drawing pad

Construction paper (for 1st Grade only)

Crayons, 24 count
Markers (washable)


12-inch ruler with inch and centimeter markings



Pens (optional)

Colored pencils, 24 count

Pencil box
Trash receptacle, desktop size

Desktop knick-knacks to be kept at a minimum




GRADES 4th -- 12th

KJV Bible with Old and New Testaments

Good supply of pencils, wood or mechanical (with a half-dozen lead refills)


Blue or black ink pens

Colored pencils, 24 count

12-inch ruler with inch and centimeter markings

Note paper

Optional items: pencil box, crayons

Desktop knick-knacks to be kept at a minimum



Saturday, July 23


You are magnificent! Thank you for coming to schoolhouse cleaning today! You got a lot of work done, and the school and playgrounds look great. After the carpets are cleaned, the students' offices can be put back into the classrooms, and the teachers can begin setting up their rooms and preparing for the return of your children. There is more information in the post below about the beginning of school, so check that out.


Thanks for helping with the work!

The school house will need cleaning before we can start another school term, and that cleaning is scheduled for Saturday, July 23. We will begin by 8:00 in the morning. Many hands make light work. See you there!


Parent-Student-Teacher Orientation is on Monday evening, August 22, 7:00 - 8:30. Come check out the classrooms and the teachers before The Big Day, and meet your friends that you haven't seen all summer. Students, if you would like to bring your school supplies this evening and put them in your desk, you are welcome to do that. If you prefer waiting until the first day of school on Wednesday, that's fine, too.


School begins on Wednesday, August 24, at 8:30 am. As always, the doors open at 8:10. This day will be a half-day of school, dismissing at 12:00 noon, so you do not need to pack a lunch on the first day. Students should be picked up within 15 minutes of dismissal. Don't be nervous, parents: we promise to take excellent care of your children.


Your staff for this term:

    Grades K-1: Miss Susan Yoder
    Grades 2-3: Miss Rosita Schrock
    Grades 4-High School: Mr. Jason


Florida's Sales Tax Holiday is a great time to save on back-to-school clothes and supplies. This Sales Tax Holiday will be August 12-14. Just thought you'd like to know.