By Sally Absher

West View Elementary Celebrates School Coupon Book Sales

When the 2016 School Coupon book campaign kicked off, West View Elementary principal Beth Blevins challenged her students to sell at least 450 coupon books – a goal they broke last week.

Principal Blevins celebrated by kissing a pig and dancing the “Nae Nae” in front of the student body. (According to Buzzfeed, the Nae Nae is “an easily modifiable celebratory dance, invented by Atlanta quintet WeAreToonz.”)

The pig, named “Hubert,” is owned by the family of a West View student. Reportedly, Blevins put lipstick on before kissing the pig, which much easier than trying to put lipstick on a pig.


South Doyle Middle School Receives New Flags

Last week, South Doyle Middle School received a new U.S. flag and Tennessee State flag, donated respectively by Congressman John Duncan, Jr. and State Senator Becky Duncan Massey.

Senator Massey told the Focus that Officer Matthew Gentry, one of the South Doyle MS Resource Officers, emailed her to ask if she could help get a new U.S. flag for the school, as their current one was in bad shape. She suggested he contact Congressman Duncan’s office about a new U.S. flag, but that she could donate a Tennessee State flag. Both flags had previously flown over the respective (U.S. and Tennessee State) capitals.

During the flag presentation ceremony at South Doyle Middle, Senator Massey recited the Pledge to the Tennessee Flag, which is recited every day the TN Legislature meets, immediately after the Pledge of Allegiance:

“Three white stars on a field of blue,

God, keep them strong and forever true.

It is with pride and love that we

Salute the flag of TENNESSEE.”


Knoxville Film Festival Recognizes Local Middle/High School Students

The Third Annual Knoxville Film Festival, held September 17 – 20 at Knoxville’s arthouse theater, the Regal Downtown West Cinema 8, was a great success. The Student film competition featured eleven short film entries from area Middle Schools and High Schools.

Each student/team of students created a short narrative or documentary film about whatever subject they chose. The film had to be between 5 minutes and 20 minutes in length. Entries were judged by a qualified panel of judges who evaluated each eligible Entry based on the following judging criteria:

• Creativity (50%)

• Technical Merit (50%)

Winners in the Middle School/ High School competition received cash awards ranging from $250 to $500 for the high school awards, and $100 to $250 for the middle school awards. High school awards were provided by Ted and Carla Hatfield, and middle school awards were provided by Jim and Becky Dodson. Carson Newman sponsored the Student Filmmaking competition.

Student award winners included:

Middle School

1st Place: Unknown Courage, Andrew Faulkenberry (Northwest Middle School)

2nd Place: I Was There, Rebecca Rainey (Northwest Middle School)

3rd Place: Crossing the Rhine, Rose Farahi (Northwest Middle School)

High School

1st Place: The Guardian, Austin Bradley (L&N Academy)

2nd Place: 2015 Safety Animation, Jacob McDaniel, Jacob Manges, Zach Bradley (L&N Academy)


Regal Cinemas Launches “My Way Matinee”

As public awareness of autism has increased, businesses are finding creative ways to support families of children who have autism. WBIR reported last week that Knoxville-based Regal Cinemas wants to make going to the movies easier for families who have kids with autism.

In their “My Way Matinee” program, movies are shown in a “sensory friendly” environment. Because some people with autism experience sensory overload in situations that are too bright or loud, these showings will keep the sound turned down and the lights turned up.

The audience can “feel free to cry, sing, should, and dance” during performances. The program premiered on September 26 with Hotel Transylvania 2, and will take place locally once a month at the Regal Pinnacle theatre in Turkey Creek. All My Way Matinee screenings begin at 10:30 am. Check the listing at for films and dates through December.

Ridgedale School Celebrates New Playground. KCS reports that thanks to a generous donation from Ridgedale Baptist Church, a new playground has been built for the students at Ridgedale School. The playground area includes fencing, mulch, and multiple playground structures. The estimated dollar value of the donation is approximately $28,000.

Ridgedale School is a Middle School Alternative Program whose mission is to ”motivate students to problem solve and make positive choices that will enhance academic, social and behavioral capacities by fostering supportive relationships in a safe, caring and academically appropriate environment.”

In an era when funds raised from school coupon book sales are increasingly being used to buy laptops, iPads, and other technology devices, the lowly playground is often neglected. But kids need physical activity, and a playground will last for many more years than the average three year life span of a technology device.

Thanks to the Ridgedale Baptist Church pastor and congregation for recognizing and meeting this need in their community. Ridgedale Church not only donated the funding, but built and installed the playground. All elements of the playground are in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Some equipment is designed for students with specific sensory and physical needs.