Feature Story

banner



Our Journalism Staff has compiled several *feature stories* for our website.  Enjoy!

 

The Never-Ending Verse

By Carolee Mabe

pictureHave you ever tried to explain a color to someone who is colorblind? It is hard to fully capture the essence of a calming blue or a sensual red without saying the name of the color. We take the color at face value and rarely delve into the deeper meanings and feelings that color holds. This is how I feel when writing about Ms. Bevan. I could say that she is an incredibly intelligent, strong woman with a love of her students (her kids as she calls them). I could tell of how she has opened student’s eyes to a love of English, self-expression, themselves, other religions, and humanity in general. I could share stories until I am blue in the face and my fingers fall off. Nothing that I say or do, though, can do this woman justice, for like a color there is so much more to Ms. Bevan than the initial perception. Whether you have Ms. Bevan for English, continue to visit her after you have graduated, or observe her wandering with a purpose through the halls, every encounter with her is a lesson in self-empowerment.

Ms. Bevan is a proud Miami girl. “She talks fast and thinks fast like a dolphin,” recounts Sophomore Ashlyn Wood.  After graduating from Miami Edison Senior High School, she earned her BA in English and Humanities from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. She later earned her Masters in English from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her teaching career began in Donna, Texas but shortly thereafter she returned to Florida teaching at various schools.  She came to University School in 1995 and has taught all levels of English, World Religions, and Creative Writing.

 Her biography sketches a picture of someone devoted to teaching. However, it only shows a portion of her impact on education. Her former and current students finish the painting of Ms. Bevan, the teacher who has done so much more than just teach English.

Katie Mominee, a 2011 US graduate, said, "My view of life before Ms. Bev was very one dimensional. I hadn't really given thought to Buddha's journey of enlightenment or that Muslims wake up for the simple reason of praying. I didn't know that I could find myself in a character such as Grendel or be able to express my spirit through a poem. There isn't much I can say about Ms. Bev that feels like enough. She is a light in that school, she is a light in my life, and she is a light that the world needs. I will forever cherish the experiences I had in that corner classroom with walls that did nothing but encourage us to be free."

            Members of the Journalism class who had taken classes from Ms. Bevan said, “We love how she calls her classes’ tribes. Everyone adds to the tribe and no one is the chief.” Sophomore Becca Fissel summed up her experience in class with Ms. Bevan this year saying, “I love how she does not give up on students. She makes it her mission to make sure that they understand something they do not and remember it. She pulls out examples and writes her own until the student comprehends the material.”

Emily Hoover, a senior of the class of 2015, said, "There are so many reasons to be thankful for Ms. Bevan. She has inspired me to be the best me in class and outside school. I have never met a person so selfless and yet so in tune with herself. In her class I have learned to love myself, be comfortable with myself, and trust myself. She is one of the biggest role models in my life, and I love her dearly for so many reasons: for loving and caring for her students, for helping us when we need her, and for always treating us with respect. Thank you, Ms. Bev, you truly taught me how to seize the day."

Emily’s sister, Sarah Hoover, a 2007 graduate, said “All through high school, the older kids talked about this really wacky, cool teacher that they loved so much. I was encouraged to make sure I took her Creative Writing/World Religion class when I was a senior. When the time came, I made sure to sign up. I had always loved writing, and I was curious about what the religion class would entail…Her classroom was always dim as she never turned on the overhead lights, sometimes she had music playing, and there were all kinds of student art lining the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Her energy was always positive, encouraging, and non-judgmental. Sometimes she would lead us in meditation to prepare ourselves for creative experiences or to open our minds to new religious opinions we hadn't encountered before. I never felt threatened, embarrassed, or overwhelmed there, like I sometimes did in other classes. As an introvert, I had always been shy, but in her class I discovered a passion for poetry and courage to get up and speak my mind. Her room soon became a type of refuge for me as I started to explore my inner thoughts, creativity, and questions about my spiritual beliefs as I learned more about religions outside the one I'd grown up with. Ms. Bevan herself was always there to support us as we learned new things and expressed ourselves, and she always made sure to stand by us. She was our ally. Picture Dumbledore and his army. That was us: a peaceful, open-minded, creatively-charged army of young minds who were sparked by this amazing woman and her abundant love for the students who she considered her own children. Without her mentorship and love, I might not have been open to exploring anthropology as a career option in college, and that thought amazes me because I can't picture myself as anything but an anthropologist. To this day, The Bev is the best teacher and mentor I've ever had in my life, and I will always be grateful that I was one of her students. Namaste, Ms. Bevan!”

Josh King, another 2007 graduate shared his love of Ms. Bevan. “I was fortunate enough to have Ms. B for both AP English and Word Religions/Creative Writing; both classes prepared me for college in their own ways, but more importantly they helped groom who I've become since high school. AP English made college writing a breeze, and while other students groaned at the idea of writing papers, all I had to do was use the tools Ms. B gave me to receive high-grade papers time after time. Creative writing forced me to think outside of my comfort zone, and to try and convey my thoughts, emotions, and dreams in ways I never would have known if not for that class. World Religions expanded on that journey and taught me so much about not only the differences in people across cultures, but more importantly their similarities.  I use this knowledge every day to help connect with people of all walks of life, and I owe Carol Ann Bevan a sincere 'thank you' for lighting the flame. I graduated with a degree in psychology and ended up becoming a professional MMA fighter of all things; however, I still have a love of writing, and that love has led me to contribute as a freelance journalist for the past several years with multiple published articles. I'm often asked where a psych major that fights as a profession learned to write with any degree of skill, and my answer always starts the same way: ‘I had this amazing teacher in high school’...Thank you, Ms. B....for everything.”

To talk about Ms. Bevan without referencing The Dead Poets Society is like trying to eat peanut butter without a beverage. The students in the movie are relatable and Robin Williams’ character encourages his students to think freely like Ms. Bevan does which is why she shows it to her classes every year. A favorite quote from the movie that applies to Ms. Bevan and her classes comes from Williams, who said: “To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

            Though we may just contribute a verse to the magic that is life, Ms. Bevan’s verse for sure has already formed many powerful, different stanzas and is continuing to be written.

 

Ms. Bevan is not afraid to laugh at her own mistakes and to admit her faults. She does not put on airs or place herself on a pedestal of knowledge. Like a mother bear she will defend her kids from tormenters and even themselves. She is so much more than an English, World Religions, and Creative Writing teacher here. She is a guardian, a counselor, a preacher, a friend, a loving spirit, a source of empowerment, a voice of reason and an overall just good person. More than what she is though is what she means to the lives she has touched. 

  

 

The Not-So-Mad Scientist

By Jasmine Horn

 

pictureAs University School high school students walk through the halls or sit by the lockers in the mornings, they usually stay clear of room 303A. The students are usually too involved with gossip to pay attention to anything other than the latest news, actually. Room 303A is a lab filled with models of organs, refrigerated dead animals, and limp skeletons. The room is the teaching area for arguably two of the hardest classes in the entire school, Anatomy and Advanced Placement Biology. Both courses and freshman biology are taught by the same teacher, Mr. Daniel Tadlock.

            Mr. Tadlock can be easily spotted through the crowd of teachers and students. He can typically be found wearing a plaid button-up shirt tucked into a pair of dark wash jeans or slacks. To complete his daily style, he usually wears a pair of tennis shoes -- New Balance brand to be exact.

“Close-toed shoes are very important during lab time. Safety first,” Mr. Tadlock explained as he pointed to a sign about the importance of safety googles.

He is a very “punny” teacher. He always finds a way to tie in a corny joke to any lesson, which helps students remember the important ideas. He has only been at University School for five years, but he is no rookie to the teaching game. He is qualified to teach chemistry, biology, and anatomy at the high school level. In his years before becoming a UH Buccaneer, he taught anatomy and biology at other schools in the area. Although he can teach chemistry, he usually veers towards the life sciences. In fact during the summer of 2008, he spent his free time as an education intern at Sea Life Park, Oahu, Hawaii.

“I worked in the education department in a park to educate visitors about animals, oceanic life, and conservation,” he said explained nonchalantly.

Based on his response, the internship was fun. It seemed like a bigger deal to me than it did to him. I began questioning him about Hawaii as if it was a completely different planet. He shrugged his shoulders as if it was something everyone did. (“I just found it online and thought it’d be fun.”) 

            Overall, Mr. Tadlock is not only an interesting person but an excellent teacher. He’s been teaching since his first few years of college, and it seems to have stuck with him.

“His classes may be hard, but he pushes us to challenge ourselves,” Anatomy student Bailey Devore praised.

            “…And he always gives us the information to prepare ourselves for our tests. Like, everyone is given an equal opportunity to pass. He wants us to pass,” Olivia Ledford added.

            “I started thinking about it [teaching] in undergrad. I worked as tutor and I was a lab assistant during those years. You do a lot of teaching in those positions, and I guess that’s when I started thinking about it,” he responded after asked when the thought of teaching first began.

            “Do you really enjoy teaching or is it just a job for you? Be honest,” I asked.

            “[Laughs] Yeah, I actually enjoy teaching. If I didn’t, I‘d be doing something else I hope. It upsets me to think that there are teachers that don’t really care about what they are teaching or their students… I don’t really even have a favorite subject that I teach. There is something interesting in all of them. There are unique things I like about each, and I hope to share that interest with other students,” Mr. Tadlock responded.

            The bell rang, and no one seemed to avoid the class. A bunch of bright-eyed students, who were laughing and joking around, entered the room. Mr. Tadlock settled all of the students down, and pointed to a model of the heart.

            “I guess you all could call this place home because home is where the heart is,” he says as he snapped his fingers.

           

 

Not a Moment Falling “Flat”

By Cassie Brooks

          pictureThe teachers at University School are all integral parts of the working machine. A train, for example:  with English teachers working as the wheels churning the train to new knowledge through books and discussions; science teachers being train cars, each filled with new experiments and hands on learning; and math teachers as the coal, thinking up just how much energy is needed to push learning to the next level and into the future. On every train there must be “conductor” and this would have to be Dr. Borden.

          Dr. Borden has played a big part in making University School what it is today. His knowledge of the school will amaze anyone. He can regale anyone with a long list of University School directors past and explain how each impacted the school differently. He is a staple here. Senior Cassie Brooks recalled, “I remember sitting in the back seat of an ETSU van driving back to University School from All State in Memphis. It was a really long drive and Dr. Borden was able to fill all of it with stories about what all has happened at UH and some of the students who have walked down its halls.”

          Dr. Borden is amazing at what he does. He can take young middle schoolers, hand them an instrument, and a few years later, he can have them playing in a full orchestra. He can begin the school year with a group of 30 choral students who do not know the difference between a sharp and a flat, and by the year’s second semester, he has trained this same group of students to sight read a brand new piece of music mere minutes after receiving it. He can be faced with a theatre student who is scared of even talking in front of just a few other students, and by the end of year performance, he has this student strutting her stuff on stage with new found confidence that the student never knew she was capable of. “I used to play bari sax in band with Dr. Borden and I could keep up with the band just fine, but when I joined choir, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a hard time reading the base clef music for the life of me, but I’ve now gotten to the point that I actually know what I am being told to do in the music. It has really helped me with my confidence when singing,” said junior Jarod Smith about what Dr. Borden has taught him.

          After you have taken any type of class taught by Dr. Borden, whether it be chorus, band, contemporary issues, or theatre, there is no way that you can walk away without a mind full of his stories that always come with a punchline ending. Some, like his story about Quasimodo’s bell ringing replacement being “Carol” of the bells, are yearly staples that are tried and true and become part of tradition. Then there are also stories and jokes that one has to listen closely not to miss, such as his story about his son singing a song backwards to get out of doing pushups in basic training. “My favorite type of Dr. Borden joke would have to be his puns,” said senior Katie Powell. “They’re so punny!”

          Dr. Borden has a devoted group of students. Many of his students come back and take his classes year after year when they do not need any more arts credits to graduate. There are even students that wake up and get to school an hour early every year, just to get to take his chorus class. One of these students was senior Ally Powell who, when explaining Dr. Borden said, “Dr. Borden is the best chorus teacher ever, and he’s the best band teacher ever and theatre teacher ever. You know what; he’s probably the best person ever!”

Many teachers at University School have come and gone, but Dr. Borden has been here through thick and thin spreading his passion for music with the next generation of artists.

 

Thinking Outside the Tank:

Trevor Daniel

By: Jasmine Horn

 

          If someone was to replace the walls with glass, one would see something that resembles a fish tank. All sorts of high school students swim through the halls on the third shelf of University School. They are all goldfish. They all dress similarly. The girls are either in a sundress or a basic shirt and jeans. The boys all have on some form of the hipster patterns that can be found at Pacsun or Zumiez, which is where most of them get their clothes. All the students are moving around in similar directions. They are all conversing about the same thing. I didn’t finish my homework. The soccer game last night was great. I don’t want to be here, etc.

As all this boring conversation is going on amongst the plain fish, Trevor Daniel, an eighteen year-old senior and the one Tetra-fish in the school, parks his navy blue Jeep Liberty in the parking lot. Everything about him is unique compared to the others. On the sunny Friday morning, he casually strolls up into the school with swagger. He could usually be found wearing a bucket hat, an odd patterned button-up shirt, and a pair of shorts that barely pass dress code. However, this day he wore a long sleeved black Polo shirt, a pair of loafers, and he kept the trend of short khaki shorts. It’s hard to miss the tetra fish and its unusual way of swimming that doesn’t blend in with everyone else’s path. I instantly changed from a boring goldfish to a happy, laughing clownfish in his presence. Everything that he said was different and hilarious. He was entertaining, and I was interested in how daring he had been.

          “What are your interests? Like, what are the things you are good at?” I asked intrigued.

          “I’m good at golf most of the time, if that’s what you mean,” he said somewhat unsure of his talents.

          I was somewhat surprised that he played golf. It wasn’t something that all the students were trying out for, and it definitely wasn’t even ranked in the popularity contest of sports. (“My dad played it. Actually, he forced me to play it. Based on the stereotypes other schools have about UH, it just seemed like the stereotypical thing to do. It’s weird to think that everyone thinks we are all spoiled rich kids. I think I’m a pretty chill guy.”) He laughed to himself for a moment, imagining himself driving to school in a Bugatti or Bentley. He joked about taking a yacht to school.

          “So do you consider your dad a role model?” I asked after I finished laughing.

          “Yeah, I guess. He’s a good guy. He’s a caring father. I want to have a family, in the future, not now of course. When I do, I want to be like him. In the sixth grade, we moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to little ol’ Johnson City. I loved Atlanta. I still do, but he made it seem okay,” he explains.

          I was so young when my family moved from Knoxville to Johnson City. I couldn’t imagine the experience of leaving a group of friends, hobbies, and the home I would have been living in for at least twelve years. I changed the subject quickly going back to light-hearted conversation. He pulled out a pair of headphones and stuck one in his ear. He instantly whipped his hand about and began to oddly dance.

          “What’s your favorite type of music and who is your favorite artist?” I asked.

          “Rap, for sure. I hate when people ask me about my favorite rapper. There are so many good ones. I guess if I had to choose a favorite it would be a dude named Kevin Ape. He from somewhere in Asia, but I love his music, though,” he responded as he kept flailing.

          His watch shook with his hands. All of a sudden, the bell signaling that there were only five more minutes until announcements rang. The school of goldfish frantically swam about each aiming for their classrooms. One of the freshmen bumped into both of us. Instead of getting frustrated or angry like most, Trevor just shrugged his shoulders and went his way with the headphones in his ear. Trevor was calm and went through life with a positive attitude. (“I’m not perfect. No one else is perfect, either. So, I don’t like to judge. Just let people be happy doing what they want to do.”) He didn’t care to be different, and he didn’t care if people didn’t like his style. He was confident, and bold. I guess he was just being himself. In high school, that is one of the bravest things anyone can do.

         

 

 

Artistic Ally

By Morgan McNeely

                Throughout high school we all develop many talents; some are good at sports and others are good at academics. For Senior Ally Powell, her talent is singing.  Ally, with her beautiful, black, spiral curls, had already started to hum before the interview started.  This just proved she really loved singing and her voice was too beautiful not to share.

                Ally credits her father for her love of music. “He started letting me listen to his opera CDs and ever since then I’ve been singing. I was a member of my elementary school choir in fourth and fifth grade. The following two years I did not participate in choir. I have currently been in choir from eighth grade to twelfth grade. I love it.”

                Ally has received many awards for her singing. For instance, she has placed first for voice part in ETVA’s All- East for the last two years. She explains that she “generally sing alto II in choir, but for my solo singing I generally sing lower mezzo-soprano.”  To prepare for her choir shows, she said, “Once I learn the song and know my notes, I sing it over and over again until I get it right.” This explains why she is always humming or singing a song as she goes through the hectic halls.

                Ally wants to be a music therapist. She explained that a music therapist works…… . “I won’t be specifically singing, but I will still be involved heavily in music.” She explained that as a music therapist, she will use “music to help and improve overall health of an individual.” 

                When she is not singing, Ally “really loves learning about the human anatomy. One of my favorite things about anatomy is when we have dissections because stuff like that doesn’t gross me out like most girls.”

                Ally, who was wearing a blue quarter sleeve shirt and comfortable looking blue jeans,  also enjoys doodling and baking pastries. “I really love to draw faces.”  Ally is not only a well-rounded student, but also a student that is blessed with the amazing ability of art.

 

 

Finding Haley

By Ashlyn Wood

While walking down the halls of University High, you probably won’t be able to find this person. At just a little bit over five feet tall, one of University High’s finest students stands tall. Haley Bradshaw, also known as Klein Haley, is one of the sixty-one seniors graduating this year on May 29, 2015.

Haley is best known for her blog which has been up and running for over two years.  She proudly said that on April 5, 2015, she hit 8,000 followers. Her blog is special because “it’s got my photography on it that I had to take for journalism. I make my own posts and I’m connected with some of my followers. It’s just my little space plus I make money so that’s always good.”

The journalism staff’s go-to tech support admits she really isn’t that handy with computers. Besides being able to code her own blog with HTML and being fairly good with Photoshop, she says she doesn’t really know how to do much. “At this point, I cannot do much in programming, but I’m getting there. I’m learning to program different things.” So far, she knows how to use Photoshop, Java, Flash, and Jeroo.

When she is not working with her blog, she might be found watching her absolute favorite TV show, Finding Bigfoot. Haley says that she watches it religiously. “My mom and I were talking this morning and I was like, ‘Mom, I know more about the history of Bigfoot than the history of the United States.’ That’s really sad. Like, I’m addicted.” Her obsession started when she was at the beach with fellow senior, Carolee Mabe. They were flipping through channels when they came across the show. She went all the way to Knoxville to see the cast members at a meet and greet. She even got to take a picture with them. When asked how much she loves Bigfoot, she responded with, “Is that even a question? I mean, do I breathe?”  There is a possibility that there could be a hunt for Bigfoot soon. Haley says she wants to arrange a night investigation with a few of her friends.

Unlike most students, Haley really enjoys school. She said that she would go to school forever if she could. Although she says she has a love-hate relationship with chemistry, she’s enrolled in ETSU’s honors chemistry program for next fall. Her favorite part of chemistry was the experiments. “The experiments were really fun once we got to AP Chem because we were working with chemicals that could kill you. We were bonding all of the time especially when we were doing experiments because it was like we got to do them together with only three of us in a group.”

When she is not studying or trying to find Bigfoot, Haley enjoys volunteering and has volunteered more than 400 hours.  One place that is especially important to her is the local Ronald McDonald house. In fact, she is there every Wednesday afternoon helping out. She chose this particular place because the Ronald McDonald house was there for her and her family when she was younger. “My parents had to use it when I had surgery. So, it’s like giving back to the people who helped us when we needed it.”

To foster her spirit of volunteering, Haley guides the school’s Key Club as its president and is almost always at every single event the Key Club sponsors.             Overall, Haley is a very kind hearted person with an undying love for Bigfoot and a huge passion for helping others. She will be one of the most remembered members of the Class of 2015. 

           

 

 

banner Robin Happel: A Blossoming Entrepreneur

By Haley Bradshaw

Few students have the chance to experience what it is like to own and operate a business while still working on obtaining their high school diploma. Senior Robin Happel, however, has accepted this challenge and found a way to combine something she absolutely loves to do with the once-in-a-lifetime experience of learning how to start and maintain a business.

            Robin is the founder and CEO of Kiwi Fur: Gallery of Fine Arts and Commercial Arts. “I started it the New Year’s before last. That was when I got a basic start to it. I had the website set up and so on. It took a while after that to get it going!” According to her webpage , the name for the business – whose trademark is an anthropomorphized kiwi – was “inspired by the fuzzy outside of these fruits, not by the birds as some people guess.”

             Upon visiting her website (kiwifur.com) one is immediately drawn to the vibrant colors and eye-catching banners that display Robin’s artwork. According to her webpage, Kiwi Fur’s mission “is to make the world a bit more quirky and creative than I found it.” Her website features prints, t-shirts, tote bags, and phone cases, all decorated with Robin’s artwork. “I also sell candy!” says Robin. “I think I bought some for Ms. Squibb for Christmas this year!”

            Robin has also written two books! Her first book, published on June 2, 2014, is titled Los Monstruos de la Noche.  It is a children’s book written in Spanish (with English translations available upon request). Her second book, Living in Ink, a haiku book, was published on September 26, 2014. Robin explains, “Both books are art oriented and the haiku book has ink paintings throughout!”

            Robin only has to worry about supplying artwork to go on her products and doing a little bit of advertising. Production is something she outsources. “I had to find different platforms I could use to sell my products. I just upload my photos and artwork, and they handle the production and the shipping for me! I plan on building my business over the summer and also once I’m in college.”

            Robin explained some of her proceeds will be used to support ALS research. She is sponsoring a project, called “Fish For Gary” for a close family friend who enjoys fishing and has been diagnosed with ALS. It is an art project using fish designs to support and encourage him. She is asking the University School family to help.  She is seeking any drawings, designs, creative writings, or pictures of fish. She will use these to provide not only comfort to her friend, but also as a way to raise money for ALS research. She plans to donate the proceeds from that project to ALS research. If anyone would like to help, please contact Robin for more information.

            Art is something Robin has always loved! “I took art classes when I was little, and my dad would always get me ice cream afterward, which made me want to go even more!” Her favorite thing about art is the freedom she has in expressing herself. “You can always improve; you can go back and fix your mistakes! There’s always room to get better, and there is also no right or wrong thing to do with it!” Robin has twice shared her creativity with us by drawing the covers and supplying inside artwork for the elementary/middle school yearbooks.  She has also shared her talents in the yearly art shows Ms. Squibb sponsors.

            With such a head start in the art industry, there is no telling where Robin will take her artwork and her business next! 

 

The Cooking Prodigy

By Ashlyn Wood

            This six-year student at University School is sadly graduating in the near future. Rachel Marie Johnson, one of the sixty-one seniors graduating on May 29th, reflects on her time at our school. “In all honesty, even with its flaws in dress code and whatnot, I have loved UH. I’m glad I have spent this chapter here.”

            She acknowledges that 8th grade was her favorite year. “It was simple and easy. I still had time to hang out with my friends a lot. It was a good year.”

            Rachel plans to attend Northeast State in the fall and major in business/accounting. She dreams of opening her own restaurant because she is able to cook reallyyyy well. “Originally I thought it (cooking) just looked like fun but the more I did it, the more I saw people’s reactions to it and my motivation changed.” She said her favorite thing about cooking was being able to put her whole heart into something and experiencing the impact it makes on her day. This aspiring cook values her mom, grandmother, and Paula Deen very much because of their influence on her as her role model. They have really inspired her to cook and have been quite supportive in her dream..

            One of her favorite meals to prepare is chicken cordon bleu with a cake for dessert. In preparation for making her dream come true, Rachel works part time with a local catering company several times a week. As part of her job, she gets to cook for their customers.

            Besides cooking, cheerleading is one of Rachel’s favorite things to do. This year will conclude her third year on the cheerleading team at UH. She worked hard to get where she is now. She admits that there were some dramatic moments, but she spent some great years with some great girls. “Many won’t believe me, but it was difficult. It’s time consuming and some nights it makes it so hard to do your homework, but it was worth it.” You could always see her smiling and cheering on the sidelines at every game, even if she wasn’t having a good day.

            Rachel has left a lasting imprint on our school with her charming looks, passionate attitude, and most definitely, her amazing food.

 

 

 

 

 

direct edit