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LIFTING THE MASK MANDATE

By Nash Rutledge

Cities across America (including our own Murfreesboro) and around the world have started to lift their rules on the use of face coverings and/or masks. This is because more and more people are being vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease. But is this really a good idea?

For the masks to have been mandated in the first place, they must have some benefits to their use, yes? Well, it has been proven by researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) that proper use of face coverings substantially decreases the number of oral aerosols emitted into the air. While nothing can result in a 100% decrease in aerosol emission, surgical masks reduce the infection risk by 85%, per the NIH (Spitzer). Mask use can multiply the protection when all members of an interaction are wearing them. Face coverings are also relatively easy to use and are cheap to manufacture, making them optimal to disperse among a population. It's easy to see why face coverings and masks are popular methods for quelling contagion.

The face masks have some drawbacks, however. For one, some of the aerosol particles, such as CO2 and other simple asphyxiants meant to be exhaled, get deflected back into the user (Spitzer). Second, the masks can give a false sense of security, daring wearers to disobey other disease-countering measures like physical distancing and handwashing. All too common are the people who like to get very close to someone and defiantly reassure them with "I'm wearing a mask, so it's fine that I'm close to you." Third, mask use can impair the transmission and comprehension of both verbal and nonverbal speech, according to NIH. Not everything can be perfect all the time.

So, thinking of the aforementioned pros and cons of mask use, is it a good idea for the governments of the world to loosen the rules on face coverings? Even if those who are vaccinated can't suffer from COVID-19, the jury's still out on whether they can transmit it. However, if they can't transmit, does everyone need to deflect simple asphyxiants and cellular waste back into their nose? And if the vaccinated can still transmit, perhaps we all need to mask up a little longer until vaccine production increases. But don't lose hope for the day when we can freely show our faces and let everyone smell our wonderful breath that we've been selfishly holding back the past year.

Source: Spitzer, Manfred. "Masked education? The benefits and burdens of wearing face masks in schools during the current Corona pandemic." Trends in neuroscience and education vol. 20 (2020): 100138. doi:10.1016/j.tine.2020.100138.

THE ASTOUNDING ACTORS OF ONE-ACT PLAYS

By Sydney Taylor

The spring semester for the CMS Theatre Department does not look the same as it usually does; in light of the pandemic, there is no musical gracing the stage this semester. Instead, audiences will be treated to one of the most creative, student-driven endeavors the department has ever done- the one-act plays.

Along with each of the plays being written and directed by Theatre IV students, the shows are also entirely cast from students in Theatre classes. According to the actors, having a student director makes the rehearsal process somewhat different from one with a teacher. Actor and CMS junior Becky Klukowski notes that the main difference for her is "I know my student director from the start… we all know each other and its a little easier to understand our different visions." She is also more confident with a student director, observing that it "makes it easier to take acting risks." Senior actor Colten Schmidt notices the way that directors and actors help each other through the process, saying "being able to work with the student directors to bring to life the play they've been writing for the whole year has been my favorite part."

The actors of these plays have also learned valuable lessons from the experience. Klukowski appreciates how much she has learned from her director Landry Chapman, who asks each cast member to share one positive thing each rehearsal. Klukowski says it's "a lovely reminder there is usually at least one reason to smile, and I appreciate her acknowledgement of us as actual people instead of just students or actors!" Schmidt has learned that "even in a time of a pandemic, we can still have fun and do something that we love. In our case, it's a production." Needless to say, the work for this production has been a learning experience for all involved.

The performance of this collection of one-act plays will be on Friday, April 23rd at 6:00 P.M. in the auditorium. And don't forget to check back here for a review of the performances!

6 CUTE PROMPOSAL IDEAS THAT WILL GUARANTEE A “YES!”

By Caroline Humphries

Prom season is rapidly approaching, and with that comes promposals. If you are not in the loop of what this means, it's a cute play on the words "prom" and "proposal." Oftentimes, people will make grand gestures to their significant other or close friend to get them to be their date to prom.

If you're stressing over the perfect way to get a "yes" out of a certain someone, you've come to the right place. Here are 6 cute promposal ideas that no one could turn down.

1. Number one we've got a classic, but still very sweet: the flowers in the locker. There is something about flowers that really tugs at people's heartstrings. It's simple, but being caught by surprise by a multitude of flowers is bound to make anyone blush

2. Next is a little more on the dark academia romance side, so if you're into that keep reading. Write a poem! I guarantee there's not a single soul on the Earth who wouldn't just melt at a love poem. Even something simple, it doesn't have to be anything award winning. As long as it's heartfelt, it should do the trick (you can also submit that same poem to our website)!

3. Next is balloons! This could be anywhere, maybe in their car, their room, or their locker, as long as balloons are involved. A clever idea with this one is writing "yes" on most balloons and "no" on a few others. Then you can pop the question and have them pick a balloon as their answer. This is a super fun idea; balloons always give happy vibes and will definitely result in a yes.

4. This idea is best for the organized. A scavenger hunt would be super cool! By scavenger hunt I mean set up clues that will eventually lead to you asking them to be your date. Anyone will be flattered by the amount of work that is put into such a set up. You may need some friends to help you out with this one.

5. Last, but certainly not least, is the sweet talking. Literally. I've seen tons of ideas that go with this theme, such as opening a pizza box to see, "I know it seems cheesy, but will you be my date to Prom?" Or maybe sushi that says, "Will you roll with me to prom?" You see where I'm going with this. Everyone loves food! Your person is guaranteed a sweet treat, and you're guaranteed a date!

6. This one is not the most original, but it sure is cute. However, this will only work if you have a dog, (I suppose a cat could work, too, but they aren't terribly cooperative). You can attach a poster with a string and have your furry friend wear it like a necklace. The poster should have a cute phrase, maybe "prom would be 'ruff' without you." I mean come on, who could look into the eyes of a dog and tell it no?

I hope some of these ideas sparked some inspiration in any of you seniors...Now go ask that certain someone to prom!

ENGLISH ROYALS SPILL THE TEA

By Aubrey Walters

Historically speaking, the citizens of England have not been too happy about hearing our opinions on matters of their own (they're still mad they didn't get invited to our tea party). And while that may be true, the British monarchs have been a frequent topic of conversation in America for quite some time. What really started was the untimely death of England's Princess Diana and the debate over whether it was really an accident. Regardless of what you think happened (12-year-old John Mulaney looks pretty suspicious to me), you'd be lying if you said you haven't been hearing about the royal family more recently.

In an interview with Oprah, Prince Harry (Diana's son) and his wife, American actress Meghan Markle, discussed the terrible treatment they've received from his family. While they talked about a lot in the hour and twenty-five-minute interview, I'll just catch you up on the main points because, let's be honest, who really wants to watch the whole thing?

Since Harry and Meghan announced they would be stepping back from their royal duties in an Instagram post on January 8th, 2020, their relationship with the rest of his family has seemed a bit rocky to say the least. The interview reaffirmed to us that they will not be returning to the royal family and that the tension has become worse. Harry said he is on great terms with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, but the same can't be said for his father and brother. He opened up about the fact that while he is on speaking terms with his dad, Charles, his relationship with his brother is not as great. Harry expressed that what is best for the both of them right now is space, and he hopes things will work out eventually.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation was the fact that someone in the royal family had "concerns" about how dark the couple's now 1-year-old son was going to be before he was born. While Meghan refused to reveal who exactly made these comments, possibly to preserve whatever ties have not yet been broken, there has been lots of speculation over it. Some people don't believe these claims and others wonder if this is a part of the reason Archie doesn't hold a prince title.

On a happier note, Meghan revealed that the baby she is currently expecting is in fact a girl. The couple is very excited to have both a boy and a girl and have decided that two kids are enough. They are looking forward to the new addition to their family and their life outside of the royal palace.

FOR THE STUDENTS? OVERVIEW OF "TEACHER DISCIPLINE ACT"

By Bebe Falkner

Across the volunteer state, students go into schools with budgets stretched thin and classrooms overfilled. One in five of those students live in poverty - often suffering with a lack of opportunity. Since June of 2020, Tennessee House and Senate have passed bill SB2252 back and forth, making amendments and dotting the I's before it is given to Governor Bill Lee. This bill, introduced to the floor as the "Teacher Discipline Act", is setting out to give teachers the opportunity to omit students from their classrooms. Not a "go to the principal" or "stand outside for me to come talk to you," but rather a "you are no longer enrolled on my roster." It is important to note that this is after multiple disruption to the classroom at the teacher's discretion. But it is even more imperative to note that teachers are human, too. This is an obvious statement to be made, but we forget that even our biggest cheerleaders have bias'. Those in favor of the bill, such as Senator Joey Hensley, make the argument that discipline in the current school system is not being effective. "Many times, [teachers] try to discipline a child, send them to the principal, the principal sends them right back to the classroom," Hensley argued. While those opposed to the bill seek to help find resources and help for those students, Senator Page Walley pointed out that "The problem is getting that student the help they need so they can be reinstated into the classroom and achieve academically and behaviorally."

At our own school, problems with disruption in the classroom are few and far between. But at many high schools it is an everyday occurrence. After reading through the bill, I ask if it really is for the benefit of the students? Oftentimes, students that are disruptive find themselves struggling to understand the course material. They will act out in hopes of concealing other problems. In classrooms where they don't have the support and guidance of a teacher to help them, they fall even more behind. Concerns of this bill highlight how this will affect students in minority groups and with disabilities. As mentioned earlier, one in five children live in poverty in Tennessee - which is linked to causing academic disabilities. If they aren't able to receive help at school, where are they going to get the guidance needed to grow? Education is not a game where students and educators are on opposite teams. No student wants to be seen as a problem or pushed aside as unworthy of help. There are big implementations that come with a bill like this - with very few that broaden a future for students. Legislation is for everyone: get involved, learn the facts, and use your voice for those who can't.

GRAMMY RESULTS AND REVIEWS

By Katie Garcia

As we near the end of the award show season, this year's Grammy winners will continue to celebrate their victories. Although this year's Grammy awards had to follow proper safety guidelines, they still offered show-stopping performances that made for a great night. Harry Styles opened the night with his popular single "Watermelon Sugar," which he was nominated for under the Best Pop Solo Performance category. Styles' night only got better when he secured the Grammy in that category, making that his first ever win. He also earned nominations in the Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Music Video categories. However, Dua Lipa won Best Pop Vocal Album for Future Nostalgia, and Beyoncé's work in Brown Skin Girl earned her Best Music Video.

This was not Beyoncé's only achievement of the night; she now holds the record for most Grammy wins and nominations as a female artist. With the addition of her four newest Grammys--Best Music Video, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, and Best R&B Performance--Beyoncé surpassed the record previously held by Alison Krauss. While Krauss earned 27, Beyoncé ended the night with 28, not to mention her 79 total nominations.

Taylor Swift was another artist to make history by becoming the first female artist to receive three Grammy awards in the Album of the Year category. In 2010, she won the award for "Fearless", and she won it for the second time in 2016 for 1989. Her 2020 album "Folklore" claimed the title this year. Swift was favored to win this award due to her unmatched ability to tell stories through music. This prediction turned out to be correct, and Swift is now ranked among Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, and Stevie Wonder as one of the few artists to accomplish this incredible feat.

Aside from Styles, the night featured many other showings that were just as good. Performances by Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Post Malone, Taylor Swift, and more proved their individual prestige that qualifies them to be Grammy nominees. This year's Grammys also gave opportunities to foreign artists such as Bad Bunny and BTS. Bad Bunny even won his first Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. Though BTS was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, they did not win. Regardless of wins, both Bad Bunny and BTS provided amazing performances alongside every other artist.

Ultimately, the Grammys 2021 was a record-breaking night that included a lot of firsts. Prior to March 14, many artists were simply first-time nominees. Now, they are first-time Grammy winners. This was a breakthrough year for many, which made this year in music an unforgettable one. To conclude the award season, the Oscars will take place on April 25. Oscar nominees can only hope to find as much success as many Grammy nominees witnessed this year.

INTERVIEW WITH STUDENT DIRECTORS

By Claire Olson

Even though COVID has affected so many after school activities and performances, the theatre program has been lucky enough to put on four student-directed one-act plays! I sat down with Senior Landry Chappan, co-writer (with Becky Klukowski) and director of Wheel of Luck, and broke down her experience with the play.

How have you enjoyed theatre this year?

"I absolutely adore theatre, what's actually super cool is that we've had a different teacher every year for the past four years so it's kind of like a new adventure to see what it's gonna be like. I absolutely adore Mrs. Sweet. I feel like her personality is just perfect. I end my day there, it's my 7th period and so… having her calming energy. Plus, I'm friends with everyone in there because we've been in that class together for so long, it's just a good opportunity to be creative especially since throughout the school day there aren't a lot of creative opportunities so having a whole class dedicated to that is really nice.

Is there any specific thing that inspired you to write this play and go the way you did with it?

What a story, so a couple years back I knew we were probably going to have to write 10 minute plays or something like that, but it never ended up happening because teachers left or COVID and I had already been thinking of ideas and I had this idea "what if I had a game show and it was just kind of not really making fun of game shows but it not very well put together, in a nutshell it's fun chaos" and so I kind of had the idea already and then we went into this year and it was like okay we're gonna be doing one acts and I already had an idea. So, the way we did it, we had to come up with two ideas and then Mrs. Sweet picked the one that she wanted us to pursue and she chose this one, and so that's where the show came from….

Is this your first time directing? How have you enjoyed it?

Yes, you don't even understand how long I've waited to direct…In a way, behind the scenes has been a bit of a disaster… because i'm doing everything for the first time and the show reflects it in a way that's like oh it's meant to be chaotic, so it balances out. I've had three rehearsals so far and it gives me so much joy, something about it just feels really right for me, I don't really know how to describe it, but something about it just clicks…. It's great to see people act in front of you, something you've written.

What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?

Definitely rehearsals!

What do you look forward to the most?

I'm looking forward to when we have all the technical aspects involved and all the cast... when we have set and costumes and all the cast is there. I'm looking forward to that moment when everything just clicks…

JUSTICE LEAGUE REMAKE?

By Kendall Tate

In 2017, The much awaited DC movie Justice League premiered in theaters all over America. High expectations quickly turned into disappointment for the many loyal DC fans who were excited to go watch the next part of the comic book storyline. They supposedly had a budget of over 250 million dollars, but fell short on the deliverance and character development. There seems to be a reason for this shortcoming, and that has to do with the directors.

The movie Justice League had to deal with a switch in directors during post-production. Initially Zack Snyder, one of the biggest filmmakers/directors in the DC universe, was the one in charge of making Justice League. Unfortunately, due to family tragedy, he and his wife Deborah Snyder, who was a producer for the first film, had to take a break from working on the movie. At least, this was his initial claim.

In a recent interview, Snyder said, "I had no energy to fight [the studio], and fight for [the movie]." Exposing the fact that he had issues with the Warner Bros over how he wanted to make the film. In replacement, Joss Whedon stepped in as director to take over for Snyder. Snyder's original purpose for the movie was to have a darker, longer, less jokey movie; however, Whedon roughly re-shot about 75% of the original movie, and has even gotten abuse allegations from an actor on set of the film. When Whedon's version hit the box office, it was largely criticized and shamed by angry DC fans all over the world.

After the first movie was released, hashtags began to pop such as #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Many fans campaigned to see the original cut and Snyder's intention for the movie after the disappointment of the first Justice League. WarnerMedia was looking for a way to boost up HBO Max. Because of this, they asked Snyder to release his version of Justice League. Initially, Snyder said no for many reasons, "One, you get the internet off your back, which is probably your main reason for wanting to do this. Two, you get to feel vindicated for making things right, I guess, on some level. And then three, you get a bad version of the movie that you can point at and go, 'See? It's not that good anyway. So maybe I was right." However, Warner Brothers were persistent in asking. Snyder eventually agreed but only under the impression that he doesn't get paid, so he can have the creative freedom he initially wanted and is not in debt to anyone. Zack Snyder's Justice League came to the streaming service HBO Max on March 18th, 2021.

MURDER MYSTERY EP. 4

By Gabriel Barton

Inspired by a true story

The principal came to personally escort me to her office from class. I had a visitor waiting for me: the mayor. Yesterday, I posted the VCR recording of Richie Fife's, the mayor's son, kidnapping online. It can be good he's here.

"Where's this video been for the last 25 years?", he asked. I told him about Bird Man turning in the tape to the police station, but the Mayor claimed the Sheriff had never seen it. Of course, the sheriff would say that. The election for county sheriff was just around the corner. Why would he admit to losing a crucial piece of evidence while in the race? Not to mention he personally convicted Sam Gillis for the kidnapping. He'd never admit a mistake like that.

Later that day, Charles and Spoon brought it to my attention that many people are saying the abduction video proves nothing, that Sam Gillis, the alleged kidnapper, could have removed the license plate beforehand, as there was no license plate on the van in the video. The only way to prove Gillis' innocence was to find his van. This led us to Sally's Junkers, the town's junk yard. After searching for a while, we finally found it. We didn't find anything ground breaking inside, but when we stepped out, suddenly the van began to shake and rattle: it was being fork-lifted. We stepped back and watched it get placed in some kind of machine. But that was just what I needed: a step back to see the full picture. I saw the gas cap was on the opposite side of the van than it was in the video. Sam was innocent!

I reached for my camera to snap a pic, but it wasn't there. Suddenly, the machine started and Spoon, Charles, and I watched as the van was crushed to a flat. Soon after, we saw Sheriff Briggs count out at least $200 to the woman who operated the crusher, possibly the owner herself. I couldn't believe my eyes.

When I got home, the sheriff's daughter, Katherine, was waiting for me. She told me her dad watched the video of Richie's abduction 25 years ago when it was first presented to him by Bird Man, but threw it away. Katherine, standing close by, dug out the tape and gave it to her mom, Anne. Anne then kept it for the next 24 years until she gave it to Penny Gillis a year before Anne died of cancer. She didn't want to leave this world knowing her husband had convicted an innocent man.

NATIONAL BRAIN INJURY AWARENESS MONTH: JACKIE CHAN

By Jadyn Hayes

March is known for many things - St. Patrick's Day, the Ides of March, and Women's History Month, to name a few. But while the earth turns green, don't forget something else the color and month represent. March is the month of the green ribbon, symbolizing National Brain Injury Awareness.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, "There are more than 5.3 million children and adults in the United States who are living with a permanent brain injury-related disability. That's one in every 60 people."

When discussing TBIs (traumatic brain injuries), the first name that comes to mind is Jackie Chan, the martial artist and movie star who performs all of his own stunts.

In 1986, Jackie Chan was filming Armour of God II when he suffered a TBI that nearly killed him. The scene required him to leap from a ledge into a tree. When he attempted the jump, a branch broke, causing him to fall over 40 feet to the ground, where he landed on his back and hit his head on a rock. Upon impact, his skull was fractured, and his brain was pierced.

If he had not been rushed into surgery immediately, Jackie Chan would have died. He has permanent hearing loss in his left ear, chronic neck pain, and a brutal scar on his eyebrow.

"I still have a metal plate in my head and can feel the indentation from the impact," he says.

Thankfully, the actor made a full recovery and continues to do what he loves at the age of sixty-six! For more information on his inspiring story, check out his autobiography, Never Grow Up.

In light of Jackie Chan's near-death experience and the stories of 5.3 million other Americans, please stay safe, be careful, and wear a helmet when jumping into trees!

CMS SPORTS

Soccer

Our JV boys soccer team suffered a hard loss at the first game of the season, losing 0-3, but they didn't go down without a fight. Alexander Marion and Keoni Yadall battled to the very end, taking multiple shots at the goal!

WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A GREAT ATHLETE

Ever wonder what it takes to be a great Athlete? As a Softball player, Ashley Davis explains that it's her drive and determination that makes her a great player this season. But Drive and determination isn't all that is needed to be a great player; basketball player, Olivia Hart, explains that focus and mindset is crucial to be a great player.

Senior basketball star, Katherine Hays, comments that being a great player means thinking about your team instead of focusing on yourself.

And while many people invest their time and energy in sports because they're great at it, that's not always the case. Senior soccer and Basketball player, Jayden Hernandez, says he it's not just winning for him. He enjoys the numerous bus rides as a team and coming together on the weekends to play.

I suppose the only way to truly know what it takes to be a great athlete is to get out there and kick the ball around yourself.

STICKY NOTE SAMARITANS

By Gabriel Barton

A few weeks ago, you might have seen the middle school lockers decorated with more than just their name and the casual cross country sticker. When taking a closer look, you saw "Let tomorrow worry about itself" or "be nice to everyone". I don't know about you, but seeing such hope and joy in these difficult times certainly brought my spirits up. But we're left wondering mainly two questions: who put the notes there and why?

My investigations led me to middle school English teacher Mrs. Nicole Davis, sponsor of the Junior Beta Club. While she admits to have come up with the idea, she was also very quick to pass on the spotlight to her faithful Junior Beta club members.

Riley Lichtenwalter, a relatively new Beta Member, says "I wanted to be able to surprise people with a positive note to brighten their day."

"It always makes me happy when I get notes of encouragement, even if they are small they can make your day better. I thought this was a great idea to share positivity with others", says Kate Hamiliton who has dedicatedly been a part of the club for 3 years!

Likewise, the most rewarding part of being part of the club "is inspiring people and serving our community" claims Reese Martin.

And if you haven't gathered a complete thought about what Junior Beta is about, Alyssa Lanier puts it as, "very fun and a good way to serve and become a leader in our community. I stand for the Lord! I am a proud Christian and I love getting to show God's love to our community." Additionally, Victoria Leigh Gravitt, first year Beta member, details how she "wants to be a role model for other students. to know no matter how hard the challenge, they can always try to succeed. Even if you don't, you can walk away knowing you tried your best, and not let your defeats define who you are. I feel that Beta club is supposed to be a role model club for others to achieve great things too!"

Lastly, in the words of AnnaMichael Patrick, 2 year Beta member, "Junior Beta is super fun and you should totally join!!"