Community Notes for April 23, 2009

Almost Dead Poets’ Society selects February’s Poet Laureate

Blount County’s Almost Dead Poets’ Society, a group of poetic senior citizens, has selected Elizabeth Bourne of Blount County as its Poet Laureate and Storyteller for the Month of February.

Bourne is a recent addition to the society, but has a long history of involvement with the arts; she paints, plays the piano, and creates pottery, and now she writes poetry as well.

Before being invited to join the Almost Dead Poets, Bourne had never before tried her hand at poetry, believing it to be, as she puts it, “not my cup of tea.”

In spite of her original resistance to poetry as a medium, Bourne has thrived as a poet, and was rewarded by the Almost Dead Poets Society with one of its highest Honors.

The group meets at the Everett Senior Center on the second Tuesday of each month at 2:30 p.m. and welcomes visitors. For more information, call 865-983-9422.

MMS band performs at All-State Band Clinic

The Maryville Middle School Symphonic Band, comprised of sixty-eight 7th and 8th grade band students, was chosen to perform for the Tennessee Music Education Association’s annual All-State Band Clinic in Nashville on April 16.

This is the highest honor a student instrumental group can receive within the state of Tennessee, and the Maryville Middle Band is the first group to be invited from Maryville. Music Educators from every county in the State of Tennessee had the opportunity to hear the band in their 45-minute concert at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in downtown Nashville.

The group was chosen based on a taped audition. Each year, only two bands are chosen to perform for the state music convention.

Local athlete wins photography competition

Jonathan Mulkey, a member of the East Tennessee Rowing Organization (ETRO) and Smoky Mountain Rowing Center (SMRC), was among the four winners of Concept2’s Rowtography Contest in February.

Mulkey’s sepia-toned photograph won first place in the “Inspiration and Motivation” category. The winning image featured SMRC coach Chelsea Pemberton calling out instructions to ETRO crew members as they practiced proper rowing techniques on Concept2 ergometers.

Concept2 received more than 600 entries into the contest, which was divided into four categories. Mulkey and three other photographers won new Model D with PM3 indoor rowers for their award-winning artwork.

ETRO offers a variety of rowing programs for men and women of all ages with a focus on athletic training, regatta preparation and personal development. ETRO is a non-profit organization and a member of US Rowing.

To view the winning photos, visit Concept2 online at

For more information about ETRO, visit; to learn more about SMRC, visit or contact Adam Stoermer at 865-256-2739 or at

Carpenters’ students get trees for Arbor Day

Students at Carpenters Elementary School were treated to a special Arbor Day celebration this year; each of the 600 students received a sapling to be planted in the area surrounding their school. The program was a joint effort of Carpenters Elementary, Blount County Soil Conservation District, the Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission, UT Master Gardeners and Keep Blount Beautiful.

The Willow, Sawtooth Oak and Redbud trees were presented to students on Monday, March 9 in celebration of Arbor Day. The Forestry Division of the Tennessee Department Agriculture provided the trees to the City of Alcoa and City of Maryville as a part of the Tree City USA program, and the Parks and Recreation Commission will be in charge of distributing the trees.

Fred Goins, Principal of Carpenters Elementary, expressed his excitement that 600 new trees will be planted in the vicinity of his school. “The trees will give the children a sense of ownership for their community,” he said, “and they will grow up with the trees. Later in life they will remember the positive experience and how it made them feel. Carpenters Elementary is going green and it’s just the right thing to do.”

Mr. Goins, with Arbor Day education in mind, searched for a tree donor for over a month before a lucky confluence of events brought Carpenters Elementary together with Keep Blount Beautiful, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Blount County Soil Conservation District.

Arbor Day is a nationally-celebrated holiday that encourages tree planting and care. National Arbor Day was founded in 1872, and is officially celebrated on the last Friday in April. In Tennessee, however, it is celebrated on the first Friday in March due to the earlier planting season.

Two Maryville residents selected as Clemson Summer Orientation Ambassadors

Maryville residents and Clemson University students Jennifer McAmis, a language and international trade major, and Amanda Whaley, a sports marketing major, have been selected as 2009 Summer Orientation Ambassadors.

One hundred thirty Clemson University students applied for the 30 available ambassador positions. Individuals had to submit an online application and a letter of recommendation and have a 30-minute individual interview. Five team leaders and 25 new ambassadors were selected.

“This year’s orientation ambassadors are an exceptional group of young men and women who will help welcome our newest members into the Clemson family this summer,” said Dena Kniess, associate director of new student and sophomore programs.

Ambassadors must possess skills for success, including reliability, responsibility, confidence, flexibility, dedication and enthusiasm. They must also be comfortable discussing delicate issues with parents and students, be able to relate to people from diverse backgrounds and demonstrate a desire to learn about Clemson University.

During orientation sessions, ambassadors must act as resident advisers to orientation participants and take part in all orientation events.

PE students at Maryville Middle School hooked on target fishing

This spring, Maryville Middle School physical education teacher David Clark has a new angle on getting kids involved in sports, spending more time outdoors and becoming more physically active: fishing.

For the first time, target fishing has been included in the PE curriculum for all students in grades 7 and 8 in the Maryville City Schools. Target fishing involves casting a line out to a target, which is placed on the ground, and participants are awarded points for precision.

On Tuesday, March 24, Maryville Middle introduced Target Fishing to students in each PE class in all periods throughout the day. Professional angler Ott DeFoe and Dave Prosser, who is donating a variety of fishing equipment to the school, were on hand to work with students and answer questions. A bass boat was on display for students as part of the day’s events.

According to the staff of the physical education department, introducing students to new sports with fun, hands-on experience is a great way to encourage healthy habits.

While participation in organized sports is very popular, students heading for high school may not have the skills or desire to continue in highly competitive sports like baseball, football, or volleyball. Fishing, on the other hand, can become a life-long pastime to be enjoyed with friends and family, and this region boasts some of the best fishing waters in the country.

Students celebrate American Legion Boys and Girls County Government Day

The American Legion Boys and Girls County Government Day took place on Thursday, April 2 at the Blount County Courthouse and the Justice Center. Area high school students from Freshmen to Seniors convened in the County Commission Room in the Courthouse at 7:30 a.m. to register, then attended a short ceremony and orientation. Officials working in the building came by to visit, and some delivered welcoming speeches to the students. Roy Crawford, Blount County Clerk, explained the duties and functions of various offices within the county government to prepare students for their visits.

After opening ceremony, the students were divided into 5 groups and given tours of the offices in the courthouse. The groups were also bused in a Sheriff’s van to the Justice Center to visit the departments housed there. Vans carried groups of students back and forth between the courthouse and justice center until lunch time, when the students gathered at the American Legion Post 13 building on Waters Road for a meal of hot dogs and hamburgers.

Afterward, they returned to the Justice Center to visit a courtroom in General Sessions Division II, during which time Judge William Brewer explained courtroom procedure for the actual cases tried before the group. Students also heard a testimonial from a reformed criminal and addict about her experiences and the justice system.

The event was sponsored by the American Legion Post 13 Auxiliary Unit 13, the Veterans Affairs Office and Blount County governmental officials.

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