February 2021

Senior Storytellers

By Sydney Taylor

In a year so atypical, it may seem like the arts have diminished at Central Magnet. However, some seniors are challenging this idea through their thesis. I interviewed two seniors — Alyssa Williams and Caton Taylor—who are writing a novella and a play, respectively. Let’s hear what they have to say.

S.T.: Let’s talk process. Both of you are creating narratives for your products. How did you come up with characters and plotlines?

A.W: I’ve had these characters since freshman year for another book, which wasn’t very good. I’ve been giving them more development now. Development is about finding the characters, making them their own individual being with their interests and small mannerisms they have. For the plotline, I had a bit of difficulty coming up with mine. It’s hard to go with my topic I have, which is suicide, and not create a plotline that would be romanticizing it. I had to have a meticulous thought process.

C.T: I’m writing a murder mystery play, and those tend to be plot-driven, so a lot of the characters come about out of necessity. My thought process is “I need this to happen. Who’s going to take me there?” That said though, I think the detective character came to me first. When I had this idea, I knew my detective was unequivocally a woman, and I found out through research that that’s not always been the conventional choice. Other characters come about to follow genre conventions, but also to subvert them in a way to make things more interesting.

S.T: What do you think has been the hardest part of having a creative thesis?

A.W: For me, the hardest part would be just sitting down and writing. As a Central student, there’s always a lot of hectic things going on, and by the time you finish all of your other work, sometimes you’re too burnt out to even write a sentence.

C.T: I definitely agree with that. Actually writing the product is the challenge. The thesis itself is broken up into pieces, but you have to figure out when you’re writing your product on your own. You can’t put it off until the last minute.

S.T: What has been the most rewarding part?

A.W: I have a few people who have been reading this as I go along for feedback. When people say that they like specific parts or characters, it feels really good. Especially when they say they related to something, it makes me feel like I am connecting to people.

C.T: Doing the research helped me to see what I wanted to incorporate into my characters, which made the process a lot more exciting. Also, I’ve never written a play before, so doing this has been a new experience that I’ve enjoyed a lot.

S.T: What would your advice be for any students out there who are considering doing a creative product for their theses?

A.W: Make sure you don’t procrastinate on writing the paper or the product. Writing the thesis itself is already difficult, but then you’re writing something else on top of that, which means more page numbers. I would make sure you come up with a schedule for goals, even if you’re not writing for your piece.

C.T: First of all, I would say to go for it! Writing this creative product has been the best part of my thesis and has kept me from getting sick of it. Also, make sure you pick your mentor and your field of study advisor wisely. If you’re doing art of any kind about a particular topic, make sure that these people know about different aspects. For me, my mentor is a murder mystery writer, and my field of study advisor is Ms. Sweet, who knows a lot about dramatic writing. Between the two of them, I have someone to go to for all my questions. Shoutout to Ms. Sweet for being a great advisor!

S.T: This school year has been crazy. What do you think is art’s value in a year like this?

A.W: Writing has always been a way to stay connected to the world and put all of my thoughts into one place. It works kind of like venting, except it makes me happy. It keeps me grounded, especially when things are wacko.

C.T: What I’ve been trying to do with this piece is to both offer escape from and commentary about this crazy world we live in. I don’t know if I’ve been successful, but that’s what I love about art; it can take us away from this world, or it can tell us more about it.

Black History Month: The People Who Aren't Talked About

By Aubrey Walters

February is Black History Month. That means we usually talk about Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks or other activists that fought for racial equality. This time around, though, this month feels different to me, and maybe it does to you, too. I’ve always been content with absorbing what teachers tell us about black historical figures and then moving on. But this year for Black History Month, I wanted to spend my own time researching other black figures that don’t get talked about enough. I found so many black icons who paved the way in pop culture, and I want to share a few of them with you.


Hattie McDaniel is one of these people. She was the first black person to win an Oscar with her part of “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind (1939). You would think that because she won the award people were accepting of her as an actress. That just wasn’t true. In fact, the hotel the awards were held at was segregated, and McDaniel had to fight to even be allowed in. She ended up giving an incredibly moving acceptance speech that night, in which she expressed her hope to “always be a credit to my race, and to the motion picture industry.” Her hope has remained true. By breaking the barrier into the film industry, Hattie has allowed dozens of other black actors and actresses to follow in her footsteps and aspire to win the same award.

I’m ashamed to say that until a couple hours ago, I had no idea who Sidney Poitier was. He was another groundbreaking actor and the first black person to win an Oscar in the best actor category. He played “Homer Smith” in Lilies of the Field (1963), a great, uplifting film of the time. My favorite thing I learned about Sidney is how he refused to play roles that portrayed racial stereotypes. Poiter said, “The impact of the black audience is expressing itself. They look to films to be more expressive of their needs, their lives. Hollywood has gotten that message - finally.” When I read that for the first time, I heard relief and hope in his voice. Maybe our society still isn’t as accepting as Sidney had hoped it would be by now, but we can all continue to hope with him.

The influence of black culture on music has always been so undeniably prominent. Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie each received multiple awards at the first ever Grammy ceremony in 1959. They made some good music in their time— which you should definitely check out— and set the precedent for racial inclusion in the music industry.

Of course, there are so many other black people who have paved the way in pop culture, too many for me to talk about now without going too far over my word limit. That doesn’t mean your knowledge has to end here. This year for Black History Month, take some time to research the black icons who have inspired the current ones, and I promise you’ll be inspired too.

Black History Month (Pt.2): Black Activists Whom You May Not Find In The Textbooks

By: Caroline Humphries (Using for February 2nd issue)


Just over fifty years ago, the Voting Rights Act was passed, a final stepping stone within the Civil Rights Movement, finally granting African Americans the right to vote. But this did not come easily, civil rights activists worked for decades in order for this dream to become a reality. Right off the bat, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcom X, and Ruby Bridges come to mind, but in honor of Black History Month, here are some black activists you may not know about, and how they paved the way to end segregation in the United States.

First up, a young girl from Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2nd, 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger saying, “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it’s my constitutional right.” For this, she was arrested and became one of the four plaintiffs that resulted in the decision that the Montgomery segregated bus system was, in fact, unconstitutional. This incident actually happened nine months before the similar incident of Rosa Parks. Colvin recalled the event in later years and claimed, “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.” Colvin was fifteen. So, there’s your reminder that anyone can make a difference, no matter how old you are. Her bravery inspired many others to stand up for themselves in the face of racial inequality.

The next person being recognized is John Lewis, one of the original 13 Freedom Riders. In case you need a refresher, the Freedom Riders were a group of six African Americans and seven whites who rode segregated busses in the south in order to protest racial segregation. Later, Lewis was a democratic congressman from Georgia’s fifth district and served as Senior Chief Deputy Whip, and many claim he was one of the most influential people in the Democratic Party. Lewis passed away in 2020.

Dorothy Height saw the injustice not only in racial discrimination, but also in gender inequality. For almost her entire life, she fought for African American women so that they could have equal access to education, employment, and voter’s rights. She served as an advisor to President Eisenhower, pushing for desegregation within schools, and also worked alongside President Lydon B. Johnson, encouraging him to place African American women in government positions. Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and received the Congressional Gold Medal ten years later. Height passed away in 2010.

There are so many more influential black leaders in our history that you won’t find tucked into textbook pages, so set aside some time this February, and every day afterwards, to educate yourself on the people who dedicated their lives to ending racial segregation once and for all. Happy Black History Month!

Spotify Banned: The Deathly Quiet Life of Rutherford County Students

By Caroline Humphries

Recently, students have logged into Spotify only to find "error code:4 no internet detected." This is because the Rutherford County School Wi-Fi has blocked Spotify from being used on campus. Albeit the School Board has their reasons, such as wifi bandwidth exasperation (everyone in the school on their phone plus teachers who play videos for their classes and don't even get me started on Zoom), but to us students, this is no less than a tragedy, especially for people like me who rely on music to get through the day. Even as I type this article I am listening to my favorite tunes! I interviewed a few students- Aubree Pelham, Helen Smith and someone who prefers to be kept anonymous- to make sure I'm not alone in my despair.

In the past, did you use Spotify often while doing work in school? What effect has the Spotify ban had on you?

PELHAM: I used to play music from Spotify every day in study hall or in class (if the teacher let us) while I worked. Without Spotify, I feel like I'm not getting as much done because I get distracted easily and don't have as much motivation.

ANON.: Same, Spotify helps me concentrate. I get distracted without listening to music.

SMITH: Spotify being banned has made me less productive because listening to music gives me a sense of motivation.

I think that pretty much sums up how students are feeling without the world of music at their fingertips: depressed, distracted, and unmotivated. *Cues sad playlist* *Error:04* UGH!

In case the opinions of a few kids don't persuade you, the Florida National University researched whether listening to music has academic benefits and was able to find nine scientifically proven (that's right, scientifically proven) ways that it benefits students, including reduced stress and test anxiety, as well as improved performance and memory. There is even such a thing as music therapy, which can cure pain! Now if THAT doesn't convince you on how big an impact music has on students, I don't know what will. My eighty-seven-hour playlist and I will be waiting for the un-blocking of Spotify.

Potential New Address for Central Magnet

By Gabriel Barton


The old state farm insurance building on Memorial Blvd. recently closed its doors in November of 2020, reported the DNJ. It’s been shuttered for almost 9 months due to COVID, and now executive officers have officially closed the doors to the 600,000 sq. ft. building. Because of this, the Rutherford County School Board is discussing it as a potential location for a school. Asst. Superintendent Trey Lee was interviewed by WGNS Radio and said, “There is definitely some interest in the well maintained building...it would be difficult to establish because of the zoning, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to look at it.”

Due to this very broad statement, there is only so much we can assume: Is a new school going to be added to the RCS system? Will it be an elementary, middle, or high school? There’s no definite answer. HOWEVER, an anonymous teacher from Central reports from the faculty grapevine that, “Central might be a candidate for moving to State Farm site.” Some teachers within this “grapevine” are absolutely certain of the move, but others still doubt.

But would it really be all that bad? Central has been around for more than half a century, so maybe it’s time for an update. For the students and faculty at Central Magnet, you know how special the school is. From the one women's stall that might lock you in to the tunnels that supposedly run under the school. Yet, we love it all the more. To some, 701 E Main St. is our home away from home. To others, and especially, it’s just another building.

Murder Mystery

By Gabriel Barton

Inspired by a true story


Ep. 2


I went to the school library and searched for anything relating to 1988, the year Richie Fife went missing. I found multiple photos of Richie and Principal Cullins together: apparently they were best friends. So when everyone blamed Sam Gillis for Richie’s abduction, the hate also rested on Penny Gillis, Sam Gillis’ sister. Did Cullins hate Penny enough to kill her? Cullins would want Sam in jail forever. She wouldn’t want there to be any chance he could be freed by what was on the videotape.

I presented the evidence to Spoon and Charles, but we needed more information: we had to go back to the crime scene. Once inside Penny’s house, I immediately saw blood on the basement stairs. The police said she died by falling when “trying to change a light bulb”. I flipped the switch next to the basement stairs; the light came on. There was no broken glass anywhere, nothing pointing towards an “accident”.

I searched the rest of the house and stumbled upon a cabinet in the master bath filled to the brim with prescription drugs. Nothing was adding up. We walked down the basement and, after searching for a while, heard footsteps above us. We immediately hid in a closet. The figure came down the stairs and slowly walked around, getting closer and closer until I could finally make out a face: it was Lt. Trip!

“What’re you kids doin’? Get outta here!”, Trip said, trying to be as intimidating as possible. We headed for the stairs but stopped in our tracks when we heard another sound of footsteps.

“I didn’t bring a partner”, Trip quietly said in a concerned tone. She went up to investigate, but was too late. From the basement windows, we saw the legs of a figure run across the side of the house, Trip following in hot pursuit. We rushed up and out of the house to meet her; she didn’t get a good look at the suspect. Trip scared off Spoon and Charles, but I stayed behind to get an exclusive with the Lt. while she drove me home.

Later that night, our family dinner was interrupted by the doorbell: it was Principal Cullins.

She told my dad I stole from her (the VHS) and before I could get a word in, I was sent off to my room, grounded and full of shame. Cullins and my dad talked for a while, like the kind of talk only good friends can have with each other, and that was no coincidence. Dad came to my room and explained to me that Cullins and him have been friends since kindergarten. And Penny actually gave the VCR to Cullins so she could make a copy of it and give to him.

I didn’t know what to say… I’d gotten the facts wrong. But I didn’t feel complete shame. I’d gathered new evidence from the crime scene and received anonymous information from Trip, and that’s what I’m going to report about. At the bottom of the paper, I put my house number for anyone who could provide tips about the crime. I didn’t expect anyone to call, but I certainly didn’t expect this person: Sam Gillis called me from jail.

CMS Sports

By Macy Mae

CMS Lady Tigers

Shortly after Kathryn Hays was voted DNJ Area Athlete of the Week, the Lady Tigers were led to a 61-31 victory over Giles County by Addison Melton, scoring a game-high of 26 points, including 6 3-point shots. Nights later, the Tigers suffered a devastating loss, 46-47, to Marshall County Tuesday night. The Lady Tigers still have hopes of going all the way to become district champions, as the District Tournament begins February 15. Our seniors Kathryn Hayes and Anaiyah Smith fight with all they have to make their last year as CMS players their very best!

Boys Basketball

As our Boys Varsity and Junior Varsity basketball team continues to strive towards first place, they take 2 losses to Giles county and to Marshall county. Our senior boys; Corey Greeson, Avery Lambert, Jayden Hernandez, and Gage Swanson; begin their last District tournament as players on the CMS Boys Basketball team.

Our very own Elijah Conard had a striking performance sinking 8/8 three-point shots in a recent win against Nolensville.

February in Film

By Katie Garcia

The month of February has proven to be successful for many existing programs while viewers also anticipate the arrival of new ones. One show people can’t stop talking about is Bridgerton. Originally based on the books by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton details the lifestyle of upper-class families in the early 1800s as they prepare for “the season” where singles are expected to enter relationships. Producer Shonda Rhimes, well-known for her work on Grey’s Anatomy, depicts this story with modern elements such as vibrant clothing, bold makeup, and familiar music. In multiple scenes, viewers hear orchestral remixes of current songs like Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.” This feature combined with the extravagant styling makes Bridgerton stand out. Another component of its success, in contrast to the lack of it in book series it was based on, is the diversity of its cast and storyline, which further adds to its modernity. Many consider the show to be refreshing due to its inclusivity. Bridgerton’s success began when it aired on Netflix on December 25, 2020, and it doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Netflix has multiple shows and movies they plan to welcome. What seems to be the most talked about new addition is the finale of the To All the Boys series. To All the Boys: Always and Forever is supposed to conclude the ongoing story of Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey, portrayed by Noah Centineo and Lana Condor. Their story starts when they come up with a scheme to pretend like they are in a relationship. With the fake relationship, Lara Jean hopes to uphold a reputation, and Peter aims to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. However, along the way, they find themselves re-evaluating their original motives and feelings. Since they faced some difficulties in their relationship in the second movie, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, viewers wonder what the outcome will be of the third. Similar to Bridgerton, the To All the Boys series is based on books. Fans are left to wonder if this final movie will follow the same plot of the books or, like Bridgerton, take a different approach. Regardless, the close of the All the Boys series is likely to live up to expectations.

Another interesting show coming to Netflix this month is a limited series called The Big Day. According to its description on Netflix, it’s an “eye-popping look at India’s multibillion-dollar wedding industry.” This inside look surrounds a unique topic, and it should be exciting to watch. The Big Day is perfect for anyone who may have an interest in other cultures, and it is for sure another production to check out.

If viewers want to take a more classic route this Valentine’s Day, go-to movies like The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice, and 10 Things I Hate About You (and we can’t forget about the whole Hallmark industry) offer their own mix of drama and romance that anyone is sure to enjoy.

Februrary in Film PG

By Katie Garcia

The month of February has proven to be successful for many existing programs while viewers also anticipate the arrival of new ones. One show people cannot stop talking about is WandaVision. WandaVision is a new continuation of stories from the Marvel Comics. It specifically focuses on Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch, and her romantic counterpart Vision. The first episode aired on Disney+ on January 15, 2021, and the final episode of the season is scheduled to air March 5. After all of the difficulties they have endured, Wanda and Vision decide to conceal their superhero identities and settle in a suburban town where they need to keep their powers hidden. Although the show is set in the year 2023, director Matt Shakman keeps the trend of time-traveling consistent. So far, the pair have been seen in sets resembling the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even the 00s. Viewers have loved the interesting creative choices they have observed up until this point, and they can only hope the show will end strong. Regardless, WandaVision seems like an excellent addition to the Marvel Universe.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Netflix has multiple shows and movies they plan to welcome. What seems to be the most talked about new arrival is the finale of the To All the Boys series. To All the Boys: Always and Forever is supposed to conclude the ongoing story of Peter Kavinsky and Lara Jean Covey, portrayed by Noah Centineo and Lana Condor. Their story starts when they come up with a scheme to pretend like they are in a relationship. With the fake relationship, Lara Jean hopes to uphold a reputation, and Peter aims to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. However, along the way, they find themselves re-evaluating their original motives and feelings. Since they faced some difficulties in their relationship in the second movie, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, viewers wonder what the outcome will be of the third. No matter what happens, this close of the series is likely to live up to expectations.

Another interesting show coming to Netflix this month is a limited series called The Big Day. According to its description on Netflix, it’s an “eye-popping look at India’s multibillion-dollar wedding industry.” This inside look surrounds a unique topic, and it should be exciting to watch. This show is perfect for anyone who may have an interest in other cultures and is for sure another production to check out.

If viewers want to take a more classic route this Valentine’s Day, go-to movies like The Notebook, Pride and Prejudice, and 10 Things I Hate About You offer their own mix of drama and romance that anyone is sure to enjoy. All have been considered staple movies since their release because they document everything from heartbreak to true love that many can empathize with. Altogether, February has left film enthusiasts with a fair number of new programs to watch while they remain eager for more.

Single vs. Taken on Valentine's

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that celebrates love and the concept of romance by sending messages of love and affection to significant others. Throughout the years, there has been a constant debate between both sides of Valentine’s Day: The Single against the Taken. The people who are not in relationships view Valentine’s Day as a materialistic holiday that pressures people with high expectations. There are pros and cons from both points of view. In order to investigate the two situations, we interviewed someone who is in a relationship and someone who is single at Central during February, identities of both parties remaining anonymous.

PAW PRINT: What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Taken: We’re going to try and go to an art museum and then go to dinner in sweatpants at Slim Chickens for heart-shaped chicken and waffles because that’s where we went for dinner last year.

Single: I’m going to treat it as a normal day, except maybe feeling a bit lonelier. I’ll probably just lie around watching TV and trying to skip over all the annoying couples posts on Instagram and Snapchat.

PAW PRINT: What is your least favorite part of Valentine’s Day?

Taken: Exchanging gifts is exciting but it can be stressful to find a good gift that a guy would like.

Single: I don’t like Valentine's day because I'm jealous of all the couples that exchange fun and clever gifts. The only gifts are from my parents, and those consist of boxed chocolate where I hate like half the flavors.

PAW PRINT: Do you feel like you would appreciate Valentine’s Day as much from the other POV

Taken: I would still appreciate it because it’s a good time to let your friends know how much you love them and just be thankful for the relationships you have even if it’s not a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Single: Maybe... but at this point I feel like that’s a lot of pressure to make sure Valentine’s Day goes well and to find the gift that is best.

PAW PRINT FINAL THOUGHTS: In conclusion, Valentine’s Day will always remain a controversial date depending on the point of view. This day, whether dreaded or celebrated, will look different for everyone, and you have the ability to make it what you want.