March 2021, PT.1

International Women's Month

By Olivia Woods

March is International Women’s Month, and in light of that, I wanted to discuss some of my favorite inspirational women whom you may not have heard of.

The first is Alyssa Carson, an aspiring astronaut. She was born in Louisiana in 2001 and is currently studying astrobiology at the Florida Institute of Technology. Carson is more than just a student, though. She is the only person to have attended every NASA space camp offered. In addition, at age sixteen, she became the youngest ever graduate of the prestigious Advanced Space Academy. Carson is already planning for her future trip to Mars and has gained some popularity from her TikTok & Instagram accounts (@nasablueberry) detailing her experience. Carson’s message is to work hard and follow your dreams.

Next is Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriyya Al-Qurashiya (also written as Fatima al-Firhi). Her family migrated to Fez, Morocco from Kairouan, Tunisia. They were originally low-class but became wealthy as time went on. Eventually, her father died, so she and her sister Maryam were left with his wealth. It was with this money that Fatima founded the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyan, in Fez in 859 AD. The site was originally a mosque and later transformed into a mosque/learning center hybrid. The university is still running to this day, with students coming from Morocco and West Africa. Al-Qarawiyyan was the blueprint for the now countless universities serving students all across the globe. Fatima al-Firhi died in 880 AD, but her legacy will forever live on. Without her, we students would not have the opportunities of higher education and earning a degree.

Last is Cicely Tyson. Born in 1924 and starting her career as an actress in 1948, she worked for roughly seven decades in at least 30 movies and 50 shows, as well as some theatre productions. You might’ve seen Tyson as Constantine Jefferson in The Help (2011), Gloria Dump in Because of Winn Dixie (2005), or her iconic lead role in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974). Whichever of these characters you’ve watched, you’d see that each represented a strong, wise black woman. With her impressive array of awards such as her 1974 “Actress of the Year” Emmy or her 2020 “Television Hall of Fame”, she paved the way for future black women in the film industry, showing them that they can defy society’s expectations and experience extreme success. Although she unfortunately passed away this year at age 96, she will always remain one of America’s most inspirational Hollywood women.

Behind the Scenes: Prom Show Edition

By Sydney Taylor

One of Central’s most treasured traditions is the Prom Show, a time to get high school students excited about the big day. A tradition that (thankfully) hasn’t gone anywhere in a year with so much change is the annual prom show dance. To take you behind the scenes of the show, I’ve interviewed the two talented juniors who choreographed this dance— Elizabeth Woods and Amy Hopkins— to hear what they have to say about the experience.

S.T: What has been your favorite part of choreographing the dance for the prom show?

A.H: It was definitely nice to be creative because we haven’t had much of a chance to do anything performance-wise this year. So it was nice to be a part of something where you could let that creativity out.

E.W: Me and Amy had a lot of fun looking for a song that matched the theme. Compared to class dances where you just get one song, it gave us a lot more creativity with songs and choreography.

S.T: What challenges have you faced with putting this together during a pandemic?

A.H: We did socially distanced partner work, but dancers couldn’t touch. We also had to spread everyone out, so not everyone could be on stage at the same time.

E.W: It was kind of difficult to find practice times and places. We ended up having to practice in my backyard, even in the winter time. We also only rehearsed with half the people at a time in case contact tracing were to happen, and we were also outside wearing masks.

S.T: What made you choose the song that you did?

A.H: Well, we knew we wanted to go with a vibey song for the dance.

E.W: Yeah, we picked a song that sounds dancey like a prom song should be, but also relates to the theme of the prom, which is still a surprise.

S.T: What does dance mean to you?

E.W: With dance, I think of a lot of different things. I think of the creativity it provides and the community it provides. You have your friends from dance, and you also have your teachers that you feel close with and comfortable when receiving feedback. You also get to know everyone so well.

A.H: It does form that community. A lot of my close friends are from dance team or my studio. Dance also provides that safe space for me to express myself, to take all those emotions from the day and just put it into my dancing and leave it all out on the floor.

Pop Stars in a Pandemic: Female Artists Share Their Stories

By Jadyn Hayes

While 2020 proved to be one of the worst years in recent history, two iconic women used their time off from concerts, signings, and meet-and-greets to bring their heart-wrenching stories to our homes. Within the past six months, we have seen: Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions from Taylor Swift, which aired on Disney+ on November 25th, 2020; and Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil from Demi Lovato, which will air on YouTube on March 23rd, 2021.

Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions is an intimate conversation between Taylor Swift and the viewer, covering everything from her inspirations for songs to the production process for each track. She not only gives us a beautiful performance, but also a detailed description of what the songs mean to her. She covers painful topics such as heartbreak, identity, and gaslighting.

“It is definitely one of the saddest songs on the album,” Swift says on “Exile,” featuring Bon Iver. “There’s this beautiful moment in the beginning of a friendship where these people have no idea that one day, they’ll hate each other. And try to really take each other out.”

On “Mirrorball” she says, “It’s a metaphor for so many people who feel like they have to be on for certain people. You have to be different versions of yourself for different people. You learn that every one of us has the ability to become a shapeshifter.”

Later, talking about “Mad Woman” she says, “The most rage provoking element of being a female is the gaslighting. For centuries, we’ve been expected to absorb male behavior silently.” This is expressed in the chorus of the song, which says “And when you say I seem angry, I get more angry / And there’s nothing like a mad woman / What a shame she went mad / No one likes a mad woman / You made her like that.”

Swift encapsulates what many felt during the peak of the quarantine with this documentary. “The pandemic and lockdown runs through this album like a thread because it’s an album that allows you to feel your feelings and it’s a product of isolation. . . . This lockdown could have been a time where I absolutely lost my mind, and instead this album was a real floatation device for both of us.”

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil has been announced as Lovato’s personal account of her struggle with drug addiction and mental health. In reference to a near-fatal overdose in 2018 she says, “I had so much to say over the past two years, wanting to set the record straight about what it was that happened.”

“I crossed a line that I had never crossed before…I snapped,” Lovato says. “I had three strokes. I had a heart attack. My doctors said that I had 5 to 10 more minutes.”

She talks about the aftermath of her overdose, saying, “I dealt with a lot of the repercussions and I think they are kind of still there to remind me of what could happen if I ever get into a dark place again. I’m grateful for those reminders but I’m so grateful that I’m someone who didn’t have to do a lot of rehabbing.”

Lovato says she wants her testimony to help people who are going through a similar battle. “That was ultimately my purpose in putting this out . . . to be able to help people who have been on the same path as I have.”

These two talented and successful women have brought us documentaries with music that has current and relatable themes, stories that give us a look into their personal struggles, and footage that displays how real and human they are. Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato have shown us power and productivity in the midst of a painful pandemic.

COVID-19 Anniversary

By: Caroline Humphries

The month of March has rolled back around, and few are pleased to see it. In case you’ve forgotten, on Friday the 13th last year, we students were ecstatic not having to go back to school for another two weeks after spring break because of school cleaning…but then we never came back. Since then, many trends, headlines, and that one month all Americans decided they wanted to learn to bake banana bread have come and gone, but one thing we can’t seem to shake is good old COVID-19. This virus has caused us a lot of trouble, and gone are the days of sentences starting with, “once this Corona thing is over…” So, it makes sense that even with the coming of Spring, there are few warm welcomes to greet this “COVID Anniversary”. It’s easy to get depressed about the current state of the world, but that’s why it’s important to remember the good things. While these by no means outweigh the lives lost to COVID-19, they’re still some things to think about.

The world started to spin at a slower pace. People began to live in the moment again. Some picked up new hobbies: drawing, songwriting, or learning an instrument. I asked around about some other hobbies that were picked up over the still months of 2020, and some of my favorites I heard were crocheting, writing, vinyl collecting, and cooking. As well as this: families were quite literally forced to spend time together. Lots of Monopoly games and family movie nights were enjoyed this past year, reminding us how precious quality time is. The constant movement and business of the modern world can be overwhelming and cause us to take the little things for granted. Even now, as things are falling back into some sense of normalcy, I find myself forgetting to live in the present. It’s interesting how these extraordinary circumstances made everything so simple. To this COVID anniversary, as the saying goes, remember to stop and smell the roses.

Grammy Nominations and Predictions

By Katie Garcia

One of the most talked about events every year is the Grammys. This is the time when up and coming musicians make the transition into the world of stardom and fan favorites earn more titles. Typically, the Grammys are a night filled with stunning red carpet looks and show-stopping performances. Although this year may be different amidst the pandemic with multiple safety precautions and lack of in-person attendees, March 14 is sure to be a night to remember for all nominees.

This year is especially important to the first-year nominees. This talented list includes artists such as Noah Cyrus, Doja Cat, BTS, and Harry Styles. All have experienced amazing years for their careers. Noah Cyrus released her first EP titled The End of Everything, which earned her a spot in the Best New Artist category. Doja Cat is also nominated in this category among additional ones. Her success is linked to her single, “Say So,” which rapidly gained popularity through social media. Doja Cat is also nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. South Korean boy group BTS is the first ever K-pop group to be nominated for a Grammy. Following the release of their first ever all English song, “Dynamite,” they have been honored with a nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Though BTS has attended the Grammys in the past, they have never appeared as nominees. In 2019, they presented the award for Best R&B Album, and, in 2020, they performed “Old Town Road” with Lil Nas X. Harry Styles is nominated in three categories: Best Music Video, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Pop Solo Performance. His album Fine Line, released in December of 2020, proved to be an essential soundtrack of the year for many. Even if these artists do not win a Grammy this year, they have certainly accomplished major career milestones with their nominations and can only anticipate further success.

The lineup of artists in this year’s Album of the Year category will make for an interesting show, and many people have made predictions as to who will win. Currently, the favored nominee seems to be Taylor Swift for her album Folklore. This is particularly impressive since she released this album with barely any promotion or advertising. Swift is no stranger to the Grammy Awards, with her astounding 10 wins and 41 nominations. She released Folklore on July 24, 2020, and it has been a hit ever since. Notable nominees in this category are Jhené Aiko for Chilombo, Coldplay for Everyday Life, Dua Lipa for Future Nostalgia, and Post Malone for Hollywood's Bleeding. Viewers will have to tune in to the 63rd Grammy Awards this month to confirm if Taylor Swift will secure her 3rd Album of the Year win or if another musician will receive the coveted award.

Regardless of the award outcomes, this year's Grammy show will be memorable and entertaining. Multiple artists have the opportunity to truly establish themselves and prove their purpose while others can verify their status in the music industry.

Tiger Athletics

The Lady Tiger’s season ends after suffering a 3 point loss in their postseason tournament, but not without the celebration of their brand new locker room! And with that, the season isn’t quite over for all of them. Kathryn Hays, Kaitlin Polly, Olivia Hart, and Addison Melton were named to the District 12-AA All-District Basketball Team!!

As for our Men’s Varsity, their team prevailed until suffering a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals of their post season tournament. Our Tigers showed great courage and battled hard to the very end, but ultimately came up 2 points short as the final buzzer sounded.

Upcoming sports show great promise for Central Magnet as our tennis team, soccer team, baseball team, softball team, and track team all begin their seasons and grow as teams. Excitement grows in our community as our track team strives to go out with a bang, and make their last year in a Large Schools division their very best. It will take hard work and major talent, but our athletes are ready to show bigger schools who’s boss! After this season, they will be glad that CMS is no longer a threat as they leave the big league.

Murder Mystery Ep. 3

By Gabriel Barton

“I have a tip about Penny’s death”, Sam Gillis, Penny’s brother, told me over the phone. The next day, dad and I went to the jail to talk with him. I know I’m not allowed to bring in pen and paper, but dad taught me to remember info by turning them into song lyrics. When we got to the jail, officer Ed Quinlin told us we couldn’t see him because he was put into solitary.

It didn’t make any sense. We were scheduled to talk to him; he wouldn’t all of sudden be put into solitary. That night, I overheard mom and dad read the transcripts of Sam Gillis’ court case from 25 years ago. She read Frank Briggs’ witness statement (he was one of the boys standing right next to Richie Fife when he was abducted, along with my dad). Frank claimed to have seen the letters GLM on the van’s license plate. It was no coincidence those were the same first letters of Sam’s almost identical white van. However, after looking closer at the VCR video of Richie’s abduction, mom discovered the van had no license plate.

Two days later, I met up with Spoon and Charles. We started to make an investigative pinboard connected with red yarn lines and evidence pictures. Then it dawned on me: who are the people in charge of putting inmates in solitary? “The officers,” Charles said. He was right. Ed Quinlin is Sam Gillis’ assigned officer, and I bet Quinlin didn’t want me talking to Sam about Penny’s murder because he knew I would find out something. What if he…

I called Trip immediately and told her she had to look into Ed Quinlin. I actually followed behind her on my bike to Quinlin’s house. There was no one home when we got there, so I snuck in a back window while Trip was distracted. I only needed a few seconds to look around. Dad taught how to look for the right evidence. By the time Trip angrily caught up to me, I was already holding in my hand a prescription bottle of medicine labeled with Penny Gillis’ name on it.

The story was out: Officer Ed Quinlin told Penny Gillis that if she didn’t supply him with drugs or money, he would make sure her brother wouldn’t survive prison. When she tried to put a stop to the transaction, he killed her.

When my dad asked why Penny had kept the kidnapping VCR for two years before showing anyone, I simply told him it was because Penny knew he was the only one she could trust to make the truth known. Penny knew the whole town didn’t want the real truth about Richie’s abduction to come out. But there was still the question of who recorded the kidnapping…

I learned from Principal Cullins that the VCR I took from her office was just a copy. She had the original. I felt like there was something missing from the copy, and sure enough after I snuck back in her office to retrieve the original I saw an extra 10 seconds of film before the kidnapping. A 10 year old boy was up close to the camera, testing it out. Spoon, Charles, and I did some digging and found out it was this kid everyone called “Bird Man”, and it was my dad who first started calling him that back in middle school 25 years ago...Bird Man was still alive and in town. We asked him about the tape, and he said he set it up to watch birds fly by, but when he saw the kidnapping, he immediately turned it into Sheriff Briggs, Frank Briggs dad. Bird Man said the Sheriff took the tape, gave him $40 to not tell anyone about the tape and that he would be legally charged if he did.

Why Graduate Early?

By Kendall Tate

Because Central is such an overachieving school, there are many students that push themselves further in order to graduate early. With this new challenge, they must take classes online to gain their required credits. This is a lot of hard work on top of the already rigorous schedule that Central has for those graduating normally. To learn more about the struggles and stress involved in graduating early, I interviewed two hard-working students at Central Magnet- Catherine Gibbons and Loren Hines- that have experienced this difficult undertaking.

PAW PRINT: Why did you decide to graduate early, and what has been the hardest part?

Gibbons: This school environment I feel is very toxic and that I didn’t necessarily belong here. The hardest part was the workload that came along with it.

Hines: I wanted to graduate early due to some personal reasons. I felt like I was capable of doing it when looking at what credits I had. The hardest part has been keeping up with the Central workload and the online class I have on top of it.

PAW PRINT: What do you want to do after you graduate?

Gibbons: I want to be an occupational therapist.

Hines: After I graduate, I want to go to college for Marine Biology.

PAW PRINT: Would you recommend graduating early to next year juniors?

Gibbons: Not really, it doesn’t give you any special benefits and I did it for my own personal growth.

Hines: If you have a decent work ethic and a good amount of credits under your belt coming into junior year, I dont think it’s a bad idea to graduate early, but be prepared to miss out on some senior class activities with friends from your class.