Journalism Staff Feature Stories
Performing Above the Bar , By Cassie Brooks
The Brilliant and Musical Life of a High School Freshman!, By Bailey DeVore
The Never-Ending Verse, By Carolee Mabe
The Not-So-Mad Scientist , By Jasmine Horn
Not a Moment Falling "Flat", By Cassie Brooks
Thinking Outside the Tank: Trevor Daniel , By Jasmine Horn
Artistic Ally , By Morgan McNeely
Finding Haley , By Ashlyn Wood
Robin Happel: A Blossoming Entrepreneur , By Haley Bradshaw
The Cooking Prodigy , By Ashlyn Wood
University School is a kindergarten through twelfth grade school located in the midst of East Tennessee State University. From a far, the building looks calm and peaceful, but as soon as you enter the front doors, the chaos of school surrounds you. There are small first graders happily skipping past stressed out high school students worrying about tests and pop quizzes. Somehow all of the chaos comes together and creates a unique and fun place to attend school.
Junior Jasmine Horn has come to know and appreciate the uniqueness of this school. Jasmine, who always speaks her mind, said she isn’t afraid to be outspoken. She said she enjoys shopping, putting on makeup, being fashionable, and wedding planning (all those girly things) but she also enjoys things like gardening and chemistry.
In fact, Jasmine wants to pursue chemistry as a career after graduating. “I plan on being a pharmacist. I was going to be an anesthesiologist but I am terrified of needles so I changed my mind about that.” Horn said. There are many different branches of pharmacy, but Jasmine knows she wants to be a “compound pharmacist. I chose this career because of my interest in chemistry and I wanted to do something in the medical field.”
Jasmine has done many brave things in her life other than choosing to be a pharmacist. At her younger sister’s birthday party, she saved a little girl from drowning. “It was a friend’s little sister and he was nowhere to be found. I was kind of expecting something like that to happen because I was the only one who could really swim in a pool with little kids.” Some people would consider saving a drowning kid a huge accomplishment and feel like a better, braver person. However, Jasmine said she felt the same. “I did not dive into the pool; I just turned to my side, where she was, picked her up and pulled her out. I did tell her brother about it to make him feel bad though.”
Saving a kid from drowning is not the only courageous thing Jasmine has done, she also drove in a blizzard to get to work. “I felt fine about it; my mom was the one who had a problem with it.” Many people think teenagers are lazy and not hard working, but driving in a blizzard to get to work shows just how hard Jasmine works. She can even carry three plates at once! “It took me a while to learn how to do carry three plates at once. I have been working for about eight months so I guess it took me six months to learn. I did not trust myself at first because I thought I would drop them.”
There are many hobbies and events for teenagers to do these days. Pageantry is one of Jasmine’s passions, but she does not just do it for the glitz and glamour. “I started competing because my friend begged me and then I realized it is a good way to get scholarships.” The Miss America pageant gives out the most dollar amount of scholarship money to young women today. Pageants are also a good way to reach out to your community. Jasmine, who was recently crowned Miss Kingsport, said “It allows me to speak to middle school and high school students about domestic violence. One of my friends was a victim of domestic violence and that is when I realized how important it was for teens to know the signs and effects of it.”
By: Olivia Ledford
Ben Ordway, a sophomore at University school, has a fun loving personally and an athletic nature. Although he has a smaller stature, his size will not defeat him. In fact, his outgoingness towers over most students.
Ben, who was born in Jackson, Mississippi, moved to Johnson City when he was six years old. “My dad got a job opportunity at ETSU in pharmacy so that’s why we moved from Jackson.”
“I really like it here (in Johnson City). I live on a farm which is an adventure every day. I have dirt bike tracks and four-wheeler trails around our land. I’ve only gotten hurt a few times but hey, that’s what makes it interesting,” laughs Ben in a very boastful tone.
On the farm, Ben said they “basically have a zoo. We have about 50 alpacas who are very amusing creatures. We also have dogs, cats, chickens and snakes. At my dad’s house, which is where the farm is, we raise cattle for meat then send it to the local slaughter house to keep half but sell the other half of the butchered meat.”
Besides riding dirt bikes and playing with the animals, Ben possesses many talents in his creative arsenal. “I love playing the trumpet. I have been playing since I was about ten and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. I play with the band here at school because I really like the way Dr. Borden directs the band members. Jazz is my favorite genre to play because I like the energy and tempo of it. For the past couple of years, I have also been playing with the Johnson City Community Concert Band. It’s a really cool experience that I’m so fortunate to take part it. And I like playing the trumpet because well, I’m just really good at it.”
Ben says that he has another talent, long-boarding. “Long-boarding has been a very popular craze lately but I swear I started the movement,” states Ben in a matter-of-factly tone. “I have been long-boarding since I was eleven and really enjoyed the rush it gave me as I would zoom down hills at record speed.” Even though Ben has gotten the occasional bump and scrap every now and then, he still rides with such passion and energy but he has band-aids nearby.
Another passion for Ben is “buying new parts for my Jeep. When I got it about a year and a half ago, it pretty much looked like crap, but with some hard work and elbow grease I got it super cool. I still feel like it’s not perfect yet so I keep buying parts to make it extra cool to live up to my high standards.”
This very unique individual who attends University School is definitely a face to remember and has a laugh that can only be found once in a lifetime. Ben Ordway is truly a special person that can make anyone and everyone laugh till they cry.
By: Jasmine Horn
It seemed like an episode of The Walking Dead. Everyone was slowly trudging around grumbling and moaning with no purpose. All their eyes seemed to be glazed over and bloodshot from sleep deprivation. Then suddenly, a loud bell dings. All the zombies trudged through different doors. There was no label on their bodies to tell them which room to enter. They just did it as if it was a daily routine. A few live ones dashed through the halls scrambling for books hoping not to be late, but the zombies did even notice them because they were dead inside, too. The depressing aura throughout the building was contagious, and I found myself trudging and grumbling into my first period class of journalism.
As the second bell rang, the door would open and shut allowing more zombies to enter the classroom. Then, a tall, curly haired blonde entered the room. She was different than the others. It was not just because she happily towered over the class, which was mainly filled with short girls. (“I’m about 5’8. I think I’ve been shrinking. I’d actually like to be taller, but I think I’ve stopped growing.”) She wore blue and orange tribal shirt with a peach colored cardigan to keep her warm. She also wore a pair of dark wash blue jeans and grey sneakers as well. However, it wasn’t her outfit that set her apart from the rest of us. As she entered the room with plain white walls and dull carpeting, she was laughing. She was actually happy to be at school, or at least she appeared that way. She sat behind me and her blue eyes beamed. After the monotonous announcements, I began to interview the daring girl.
I looked down at a sheet of paper, which could almost be described as a biography sheet. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact the she admitted that she was an awful cook.
“I just never really learned,” she honestly responded after I had asked her why she thought her cooking skills were lacking.
“Is there anything you don’t burn?” I jokingly asked as her happy energy transferred throughout the room.
“Popcorn, or anything I can microwave,” she responded anyway.
I scanned the paper for other relatable things. Then I found something that might have explained her different attitude. She wasn’t from the small, dull city of Johnson City. In fact, she wasn’t even from Tennessee. Bailey was from a land far, far away from the land of 37601. Actually, she only lived three hours and a half away on a street called Patchwork Circle in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I was completely against it [moving to Tennessee]. I was only five years old when we first moved. I was scared. We didn’t know anyone or anything about Johnson City. All my friends were in Charlotte. I did everything a five year old could do to prevent moving, but none of it worked [laughs]. My dad actually works back in Charlotte now. So, we go up there a lot every now and then. I only see my old friends the few times a year we are there,” Bailey explained still smiling as if it wasn’t eight o’clock in the morning.
“Would you ever consider leaving [Johnson City] and going back to Charlotte after you graduate?” I said as I found myself brightening up myself.
She thought for a moment. Her face showed that the idea had crossed her mind, but she never thought about it in detail. She pulled her thick curly hair behind her ear before she finally came up with an answer she thought was perfect.
“There’s thought to [move]. Johnson City isn’t that bad. When I was ten, I started dance here and fell in love with it. Like I said, my dad is working up there. We considered moving there, but my senior year is coming. I’m about to graduate so there’s really no point in me starting all over for my senior year. I would probably be behind. I’ll probably just stay wherever I go to college. If it’s in Charlotte, I’ll be in Charlotte. ETSU isn’t really my first option. I don’t really want to stay here because I’ve been here since first grade,” she replied in detail.
I looked outside at the mid-sized campus filled with trees and mostly high school graduates from neighboring schools of Science Hill, Crockett, and Daniel Boone with a few of our own University School graduates and dual enrollment students mixed in the small crowds. I completely understood what she was saying.
“Did you always like dance, and what’s your favorite form?” I asked.
“Actually, at first my parents forced me to, but it grew one me quickly. Ballet used to be my favorite. Now, I enjoy hip-hop and jazz a lot. So, I guess it’s a tie between hip-hop and ballet. I teach [ballet] once a week for two hours. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you are dealing with a bunch of four to six year olds, it’s a long time.”
Brrrriiiinnggg. The bell signaling the zombies to switch habitats, or classrooms, rang again. Again, Bailey walked out happy and humanly compared to everyone else. I realized that was what had made her different. She was genuinely happy not because she was at school, but she was happy with herself and the choices she’s made. She knew that with hard work and dedication, she can accomplish anything. As I gathered my things, I remembered her response after I had asked her about obtaining the lead role in a dance.
“I was proud of myself. I worked really hard. I worked really, really hard. I was proud that I received the chance to do it,” she said as she smiled to herself remembering that moment of accomplishment.
Morgan McNeely leads a double life. On one hand she is a quiet and unassuming senior, and on the other hand she is a thrill-seeking adventurer who enjoys being out of her comfort zone.
Morgan has an amazing personality mixed with the ability to make any dark day the brightest. The best thing about her is her openness. She is so willing to consider others’ perspectives in order to help them work through their problems.
Morgan, in addition to preparing for graduation, is very active in mostly outdoor activities. She enjoys swimming, ATV riding, tennis, fishing, volleyball and dancing. She is one who will accept dares and takes risks. The strangest dare she ever accepted was to jump off a cliff into Watauga Lake. This dare was given to her by her sister Hunter. Morgan was more than willing to take the challenge from her only sibling. When it was over, she said it was great and even fun.
She also enjoys cooking. “I cook chicken!” Morgan said it was her favorite food.
One of Morgan’s greatest talents is her ability to draw. She likes to expand her art to other aspects of her life such as makeup.
Morgan loves to laugh and make others laugh too! She is one of a kind. In the end Though we may try, no one will ever match the one and only Morgan.
By: Becca Fissel
Cassie Brooks, a senior at University School, is in the journalism classroom preparing for an interview. She has red hair, pale skin, and hazel eyes. Cassie is wearing a yellow strapless sundress, gray Toms, and a rose pink cardigan.
Cassie, who is a strong performer with big dreams, transferred to University School from Ashley Academy because her mom felt she should attend a bigger school.
Music and performing define Cassie. In fact, she is pursuing a musical theater major in college.
Some of her experience in theater include Jemima in Cats at age fourteen. Jemima, who was the youngest cat, got to crawl around the stage and act like a cat. “Cats was cool because each time was different because you got to improve as a cat,” Cassie stated. Another one of her favorite shows she performed was Aladdin because she got to play Princess Jasmine. “That show is what got me out of my shell in high school because I did not talk”, she admitted. Cassie’s almost recent show she starred as Judy Haynes in White Christmas. Cassie explains, “It was my comeback to Community Theater since I was in Cats. That was my first dancing role as a lead. I liked being Judy because I got to wear dresses in the 50’s style.”
In theater she said not everything always goes as planned. She remembered during one performance, her wardrobe was working. “The first time we were going through the song, “Best Things”, the dress I had on was as tight as a dress could get. Halfway through the dance the zipper starts going down and it finally went all the way down. I had to grab the dress and say I needed a moment. Another time during the show on opening night I got a new dress and I ended up not wearing it because a girl zipped it up. I had put a cami on underneath it because it was strapless. Well, the zipper got caught in the cami; I had twenty seconds to change into a new dress. So my dad had to rip the zipper apart in order for me to get out of the dress. Later in the show I am supposed to put that dress back on in a thirty second quick change. The girl said it was not going to fit because the zipper was broken. I ran out on stage holding the back of my dress and delivered my lines. Once I delivered my lines I ran back off and changed into a different dress for the dance.”
Cassie hopes to someday perform in a Broadway show. “I would like to perform in Phantom of the Opera as Christine Daaé”, she exclaimed.
Though she is known as a performer she has other talents, passions, and interests. For example, she is a fan of math. “I like math. Most people hate math, but I have a weird skill at math. It is insanely easy; it comes from my mother we are both very very oddly good at math. Math is like a game; you solve it and you win the game. That is how I got through algebra, especially Algebra two and chemistry.”
She also has an interest in sparkles, rhinestones, and glitter. She puts rhinestones on shoes. “Right now I am working on some red slippers because I have to be Dorothy in every single aspect of my life. It will be my third pair of red, sparkly shoes” she states excitedly.
Another interest she has is organizing rooms. “I have an obsession with containers. The container store is my life; but I can never go because it is in Nashville. I could spend hours in that store. Last time I was in that store I bought two lipstick containers” Cassie states with pride.
Cassie, who is a performer and a star in the making, is also a person with talents, passions, and interests. Remember the name Cassie Brooks because soon her name will be in lights on Broadway.
By: Olivia Ledford
Golden blonde hair, infectious laugh, and a hug that warms anyone’s heart. Who are these characteristics of? The one and only, Carolee Mabe. Born and raised in the south, Johnson City, Tennessee to be exact, Carolee has always been proud of her southern heritage.
“I will always and forever be a Tennessee ‘Vol for life,” states the beaming Carolee. Her passion for the Tennessee Volunteers is undeniable and irreplaceable. Carolee says her plan after graduation, which “couldn’t come soon enough”, is to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“I want to major in kinesiology,” says a confident Carolee.
“What is kinesiology?” I laugh as I ask the question, embarrassed of my lack of knowledge about kinesiology.
“It’s the study of the movements of the body” explains a bubbly Carolee. “I love to help people. It gives me such joy to know that I have helped someone even in the smallest way because my main goal is to spread smiles. Happiness can be shared with one smile at a time,” grins the ever so happy Carolee.
“How are you always so happy all of the time?” I jokingly ask.
“I always try to find the positive out of a situation. Life is too short to go being mad or upset about something. Finding whatever makes you happy is key. Laughter is also definitely the key in remaining happy too,” Carolee laughs her boastful laugh that makes me giggle as well.
“What did you find that makes you happy?” I ask, curious to find out.
“I found a new passion in theatre recently and I fell in love with it!” exclaims a giddy Carolee. “I love being a part of the theatre whether that means acting or being a stagehand, I love it all. Acting can be such a stress-reliever too. There’s a somewhat escape whenever I act, because I can transform into any character and dive into a whole new world; it is fascinating,” Carolee states in the most intriguing way.
I ask her what other things she is good at in her array of talents. Carolee says, “Kids just like me, they always have.”
“What is it about you that kids love?”
“I think it’s probably that I’m such a big kid myself so I can easily relate to them”, laughs Carolee. “I have no shame in playing with them and there is so much to be learned from them as well. The biggest thing that kids need is for someone to just be there for them and show them love. It is also a known fact that I can keep kids entertained for hours so I pride myself with that accomplishment,” giggles the southern-sunshine in a matter-of-factly tone.
This one of a kind, southern belle was truly southern born and raised and anyone can tell just by looking at her passions and interests. She absolutely loves the movie “Steel Magnolias” for it’s southern setting and a very diverse group of characters.
“If you could be one character off of ‘Steel Magnolias’, which would you be?”
“Oh, this is a tough question,” says Carolee pondering about an answer. “Either Clairee or Ouiser. Clairee because she is class with some sass,” laughs Carolee, “Her character is very generous and so stylish and extremely funny. Ouiser is a much more complex character which I find very interesting. She comes off bitter and somewhat rude in the beginning (of the movie) but then it turns out that she actually does have a soft spot deep down.”
Carolee is also a very devoted Christian and loves sharing her faith with others. “There’s just something about being around new Christians who have just accepted Jesus in their hearts that brings such a positive, happy energy about them that I love.”
Beyond her devotion to God, Carolee loves animals, especially pet therapy dogs which her own dog is as well. This happy-go-lucky, ray of sunshine will surely brighten up anyone’s day and we all look forward to how she will blossom in time into that beautiful, yellow daisy that we call, Carolee.
By Ashlyn Wood
Once students walk into this classroom, they are immediately greeted by an air freshener spraying in their faces. There are stacks of world history, government, and economics books on a table in front. There might also be a musty smell considering the classroom is in the basement and it often floods when it rains. The desks are arranged in a total of five rows. There is also a fire escape window on the far side of the room that students often beg the teacher to go out of. This is Mrs. Campbell’s classroom. Students are often greeted with a sarcastic remark or simply told to sit down. If one is lucky and gets there before a lot of people do, he/she will have a chance of having a conversation with her.
Mrs. Campbell is one of the 58 staff members at University School and one of 19 high school teachers. She teaches economics, government, and world history. She also helps Mrs. Bragg with the SGA. At the end of this school year, it will be the end of her third year teaching at our school.
Before she came to Tennessee she lived in Newport News, Virginia, where she taught at a local high school, Gloucester High School, for six years. When asked what her favorite thing about teaching was, she said, “Every day is a different experience and no two classes are alike.”
This social studies teacher is quite popular among the students, especially with the sophomores. She is known for her witty and sassy remarks and her world class sarcasm. “She definitely knows how to shut people up,” says Carolee Mabe who had her for government and economics her sophomore year. Almost every day she starts or ends the class with a story. Most of the time it involves her son and his imaginary friends or random things that he has said. Every student who has had Mrs. Campbell always remembers one or two unique memories from her class. Haley Bradshaw said, “Mrs. Campbell really fostered my love for Bigfoot. At first it was just a joke but then my love really grew.” Mrs. Campbell has had quite a few funny experiences in her classes but her favorite would have to be, “..when my world history students began to refer to Renaissance Art as ‘man-baby paintings.’”
Anytime a student doesn’t understand a concept, Mrs. Campbell will try her hardest to explain to them what it means and will not stop until they understand. She usually teaches with the help of a PowerPoint presentation with a more detailed lecture to go with it. Her teaching style really helps students learn the lessons. The lessons are detailed and memorable, making it easier for students to retain the information.
Students all agree Mrs. Campbell is a great teacher, and our school is lucky to have her.
By: Bailey DeVore
It is a rainy spring day at University School. Little elementary school students jump in puddles and dance in the rain without a care in the world while high school students rush to their classes, try to catch up with friends, and cram in some studying before class. Those who have to go outside to get to class run to avoid getting too wet. There are a few lucky students who were smart enough to remember an umbrella and take their time getting to class. One of these students is Sydney Thomas.
Sydney is a freshman at University School. Standing only a little over five feet tall, one would think she would be easy to miss, but her personality stands tall. She has dark brown hair and brown eyes. She often wears black and blue and has a gorgeous smile.
She began University School as a five-year old kindergartener in Ms. Mary’s class. “My great aunt suggested that I try to get into University School, and I did!” exclaims Sydney. She has not regretted the decision.
There are lots of things for high school students to do for fun. “I enjoy reading, playing violin, spending time with my friends, and playing with my dogs.”
One passion she has had for ten years has been playing violin. “I used to hate playing as a kid, but now I am beginning to enjoy it more. At first it was difficult to start, but my parents and my teacher made it easier to play,” Sydney says. When asked what her earliest memory was she recalls her first recital; “It was the first time I had to play by myself in front of an audience. I was five years old. I remember feeling excited and proud that I was able to perform.” Sydney has grown and learned a lot on violin and is now a very talented violinist.
Sydney, who is very smart, excels in many of her classes. “I hope to go to a good college in a bigger city,” said Sydney, “I want to go to medical school. I would like to be a psychiatrist or a pathologist because I have always been interested in science, and I want to be able to help people.” After she finishes her education, she hopes to live in a big city in America. “I think it would be exciting to live in a bigger city.”
Family is an important to Sydney. “My family and I are very close. We go on walks together, play games, and watch movies for fun.” Her dad, who is from America, is her biggest role model. “He is very intelligent and hardworking, and I hope I can be like him.” Her mom is from China. “I visited China in 2008. I met some of my family and visited famous places like the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and Summer Palace.”
Someday, Sydney hopes to visit Sydney, Australia, “because it’s the place I was named after. I would love to see the Sydney Opera House.”
Life does not always have to be reality. It is fun to escape the stressful world of high school by going to another world through one of Sydney’s favorite things to do: reading. “I love the Harry Potter series!” Sydney exclaims, “I started reading them in third grade, and I became obsessed with them. They made me like reading a lot more.” Another way to escape reality is by watching movies. “The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie. I remember watching it as a kid, and I still love it today.” In fact, Sydney has characteristics from each of the stars of The Wizard of Oz (at the end of the movie). She is brave like the lion, smart like the scarecrow, and caring like the tin man.
It may be hard to balance school work and outside activities while you are a freshman, but Sydney can handle it all. She is an excellent violinist, genuinely kind person, a great friend, and a very valuable member of University High School.
kind person, a great friend, and a very valuable member of University High School.
By Cassie Brooks
While sitting in the stands of a local track meet, one can easily find junior Jarod Smith preparing to compete in the pole vaulting event. He warms up his body by doing a combination of a run, a handstand, and a flip. He is wearing the classic University School track uniform of a white tank top and shorts with “UH” written in giant blue letters on his chest. After a brief chat with the official, Jarod prepares to run his first vault of the competition. He stands a good fifteen to twenty feet away from the pole vault pit and lifts his pole into position. He stands there for a second taping his foot on the ground. Tap… tap… tap… then suddenly springs into a run heading directly for the bar perched high above the ground. He lowers his pole and springs, upside down, into the air and flies over the bar before landing with a soft thud in the cushion on the other side. One vault down, many more to go.
Three years ago, Jarod Smith watched his first pole vaulting meet. His father recommended it because he thought that his son had the potential to be truly great at it. Jarod soon began going to pole vault practices and two weeks later, participated in a meet not unlike the one he sat in the stands watching.
At his first meet Jarod was able to complete a vault of eight feet and six inches. “It was good because not many people vault in eighth grade and most people no-height at their first meet,” said Jarod. If making it over the bar was not impressive enough, this vault also qualified him for sectionals. During his next year, Jarod was able to PR (pole vaulter lingo for “personal record”) at eleven feet and even made first runner up to go to the state competition.
For Jarod, pole vaulting is not the sport for competing against others; it’s about competing against yourself. He refuses to even have a hero in the pole vaulting world to look up to. “It’s not productive to have a hero because you limit yourself to only what they have achieved. You can take from what they’ve done to get to the level that you wish to, but in the end they’re just people too. I know Tim Mack who was the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and he definitely knows what he’s talking about. So it’s productive to work with him.”
Before pole vaulting, Jarod was an active gymnast. He began participating in gymnastics when he was in the first grade and began competing after only three months. For the next nine years, he competed in every event available, though he was the best at pommel horse. On how his history in gymnastics continues to help him in pole vaulting, Jarod said, “It prepares you to have the confidence to do something that can be potentially very dangerous.” Not only did gymnastics give him confidence, they also prepared him physically. “Pole vaulting drills use gymnastics equipment and you are getting to the technical aspects of the vault. Otherwise it’s a lot of bodily awareness because both are very aware of the space that’s around you. You need to know the position you are in the space around you.”
Currently Jarod is in the middle of his junior year pole vaulting season and most of his time is taken up by preparing for meets. All year, even during the summer, he practices every three days a week and currently has a PR of thirteen feet and six inches. While traveling to meets he has explored locations from the Mississippi/Louisiana border to Indiana where he got fourth place at the national meet. He does not have a goal height. “I hope to keep getting PRs and progress because it’s not necessarily getting a certain height, it’s about progressing and improving yourself,” said Jarod.
Jarod has not gone through his pole vault journey alone. He has had the support of his family, his fellow pole vaulters, and the many different coaches that he has worked with. His coach at University School, Coach Alan Cox, however, has possibly been the biggest impactor of his journey. “Coach Cox knows what he’s talking about,” said Jarod, “If you take the time to listen to him he can really help you out, and if not you’re not going to learn anything. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything. You have to choose to learn it.”
Jarod Smith is capable of making it far in his pole vaulting career. He has been given a gift for not only running, but flying. It will most definitely be exciting watching him grow and blossom as he becomes the best vaulter he can be.
Jarod will be competing this week (Thursday) in the sectional meet after winning the sub-sectionals. He also won the prestigious Times News Relay meet. Good luck Jarod.
By Carolee Mabe
Have 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.
By Jasmine Horn
As 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.
By Cassie Brooks
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.