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US [r&b]

WINTER 2021


A Letter From The Editors... In the creation of the previous two US magazines, all of us were at school. We all were communicating constantly, seeing each other in the hallway, and were approachable because of the visible smiles. It’s different this time. Of the people that make up the campus, nearly half are at home. Finding a way to represent this school was a new challenge. While reporting and interviewing through Zoom was possible, getting pictures worthy of the stories took a lot more thought than in previous years. In an age when visuals are traits. Taking inspiration from the New York Times Magazine the Greatest Performers of 2020, we knew we wanted to use lights. It took a team of us to get the photo that was just right. The process involved four different types of lights, each of which a staff member had to man. And one person to hold the plugs in place. And another to keep the projector awake. But the results are inspiring and powerful. With the hard work of our staff and the cooperation of the of and what we stand for. The art we create, the sports we play and the journeys we take part in. While we may be seperated by screens and masks, we can still tell eachothers stories. We still remain one.

Happy Reading,

[r&b] EDITORS-IN-CHEIF

Asher Montgomery, Kylie Smith, Carolina Tortorelli SOcial Media Editor Tammy Nguyen PAGE Editors Sarah Ellis, eden kay, Isha Modha, morissey montgomery, Mercy ogunsola, Rohit ramaswamy, isla riddell, Kaylee Robinson, Diego Rodriguez Staff Writers dylan cantrell, Jackson Gore, Brady Johnson, Marley Lambert, meredith yen Adviser Jennifer Mcmullian

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HHSTODAY.COM

TABLE OF CONTENTS 3-The Fencer 4-5-The Christian 6-The Digital Artist 7-The Drawer 8-9-The Entrepreneurs 10-The Inspired 11-The leader 12-The Youtuber 13-The Comedian 14-15-The Flutist 16-The Designer 17-The Two Pretty Best Friends 18-19-The Painter 20-The Injured 21-The Producer 22-23-The Sprinter 24-25-The Learner 26-27-The Warrior 28-29-The Novelist 30-31- The renaissance man 32-The Crafter 33-The Podcasters 34-35-The “High School” Sweethearts 36-37-The Golfer 38-The Individual 39-The Dog Lover 40-The Hunter 41-The Immigrant 43-43-The Unbroken cover photo by Sarah Ellis


Junior Morgan Brody was inspired to start fencing for a couple of reasons. She always found fencing interesting, but it came under her radar because of animes that she watched. The show was either Sword Art Online or RWBY that indirectly inspired Brody to pick up an epee and start fencing. Before Brody started fencing, she looked up to US Olympic Medalist, Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Muhammad is still Brody’s inspiration today. In addition, fencing looks good on college applications. For that reason, Brody’s parents were always on board. Brody learned how to fence at the Tampa Fencing Academy on Memorial small area, she was able to start from ing in matches and teach newcomers to learn the basics. Brody received private lessons every week from the head coach Boyko Krastevitch. She went to group lessons twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 4:30pm to 6:00pm after school. Classes are for all ages and Brody made many friends from 9 years of age to 30. “All the coaches were very enthusiastic and encouraging—their attitude really helped strengthen my play,” she said. Brody played recreational fencing there was one time when Coach Boyko arranged a competition at the academy for those who had an interest in competThe best memory that Brody has is

MORGAN BRODY THE FENCER

STORY BY MEREDITH YEN PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

how to fence. She gave them red and blue plastic rapiers to practice on, gave commands like advance, retreat, extend, lunge, disengage, etc. along with helping with their form and footwork. “I love this memory the most because I remember how intimidated I was my grown enough in my play to teach those just starting out like I had, and that Coach Boyko trusted me enough to do so,” she said.

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DAMION HUYNH

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THE CHRISTIAN

Dressed in his Sunday best, Junior Damion Huynh is on the purple lit stage at the Grace Family Church, spiritually communing with his fellow peers in the crowd. With a smile on his face, he acts out scriptures of the Bible with friends his age. Growing up, Huynh’s parents had a loose attitude towards the Christian faith. His father was passive because he wasn’t committed to a

Christian because of her upbringing. They did not set strict schedules for church attendance nor did they force God’s teachings onto their children. “They simply didn’t talk about anything religious when I was younger,” Huynh said. During Huynh’s early middle school years, his mentality consisted of strong atheist and skeptical feelings on the faith and its followers for preaching old biblical texts, “I didn’t believe any of [the teachings] because I didn’t see the point in believing in something that wasn’t there,” he said. As eighth grade year approached, Huynh found himself struggling with the loss of his grandpa. He began to experience a series of sadness and frustration because he was trying to balance his schoolwork and family life. It began to take a toll on his mental health. It took to open himself up to the idea of turning onto faith to overcome those struggles and wanted a set of principles to help him control his reactions to life challenges. In the following summer of 2018, Huynh attended Clash camp, a summer camp organized by the Grace Family Church in Tampa Bay. His parents signed him up as a camper after they started to attend church more regularly. This opportunity allowed him to befriend peers who are also in the process of establishing their own relationship with God. Forming these new relationships was one of his favorite memories from the trip and the overall experience encouraged him

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

to search for volunteer opportunities on the weekends. The camp consisted of pastors giving messages and live musical performances and for Huynh he said, “The worship was completely out of this world and I’ve felt the presence of God with me.” “When I got back from camp, I got really plugged in with the church and started carving out my own path,” he said. Huynh’s schedule now consists of youth gatherings on Wednesdays and attends services on Saturdays and Sundays. Every Saturday he volunteers in the Zone, an area where around 100-150 children of all ages hangout after the service. On stage, Huynh and fellow volunteers conduct games such as, “One Minute to Win it” and reenactments of scriptures from the bible. He enjoys asking his small group questions as he bonds with them over Bible stories. “Since I was new to everything, I was also learning along the side with them,” said Huynh.

“I want to help Generation Z connect with God because it completely changed my life” Huynh believes that as the years go by, the more his generation distance themselves from faith. “I want to help Generation Z connect with God because it completely changed my life,” he said. Compared to his younger self, he now knows how to deal with his stress and anximemorized scriptures. In moments where he catches himself becoming insecure, belittling himself, or even lying to himself, he reminds himself for him. Huynh decided to be bold and hop on the trend of downloading Tiktok over quarantine last March. The video sharing app attracted young teens and adults into participating in trendy dance challenges

and more. “I would describe my videos as a relatable and fun introduction to Christ for our generation” he said. He currently has over 3,000 followers and is considered to be on the #ChristianTok side of the app. Huynh uploads videos when he is free and has ideas on how to make the bible’s teachings funny. He uses his platform to converse with other Christian creators for ideas and collaborations and often receives messages from followers thanking him for his inspirational posts. With the new option on the app to receive a creator fund, Huynh said that he is not planning to make any money because it was not his initial goal. He plans to continue making videos to reach the Generation Z audience. Huynh takes pride in his own have it any other way. “You have to give it a chance, I will not convince be the one to open your mind and heart to it,” he said about Christianity. He acknowledges that it is completely normal for Christians to doubt their beliefs. “I think my doubts only strengthen my beliefs because you’re believing in something you can’t see, there is something special to that,” said Huynh. He added on that, “You don’t feel God. Faith isn’t the same as feeling. Faith will fade if you base it off a feeling and it will not last.” Along with his participation at the Grace Family Church, Huynh is also the Vice President of the sports ministry called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) at school. He plans to continue his work with his church and his message to those who are still skeptical or are reluctant to open their mind to faith is, tianity, if you’ve been hurt by the church or Christians, it was that specan inject their own cultural ideas and claim it as ‘what God says’ when that’s not always necessarily the case. I want you to know that you are loved.”

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Sitting alone at her bedroom desk, iPad

The Digital Artist 6

To read more about Beverly and see examples of her art, visit hhstoday.com

BY EDEN KAY Yuliya Beverly STORY PHOTOgraph BY TAMMY NGUYEN


Junior Pearlyana Fields

The DRawer PEARLYANA FIELDS

STORY BY DIEGO RODRIGUEZ PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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CALIANA ROSSITER & JAshaWn Taylor 2


THE ENTREPRENEURS Bored one day over the quarantine summer, tired of lounging around, Junior Caliana Rossiter had an idea. Her boyfriend, Jashawn Taylor, a 2020 Hillsborough graduate, had some extra money from his job at Home Depot. So, the couple, who enjoy cooking together, decided to make chicken wings one morning at 6 am. They bought some regular party wings and fries from the frozen section at Walmart. They picked up some sauces there as well. “We’ve seen our family cook chicken wings and stuff but we thought we should do it our own way. We just added our own seasonings and stuff. We tasted it and were like, wow,” Rossiter said. Like they usually do when they cook, they posted their food on their social media pages, this time asking if they should sell it. Friends swiped up, telling both that it looks good and they wanted some. Selling wings opposed to other foods was a natural choice to the couple, because of the versatility and how easy they are to cook. “Everybody eats wings, everybody eats fries. They’ll know what they’re getting,” Rossiter said. younger siblings and his grandmother, whose kitchen they were using to make the wings. think it would be as popular as it was. Taylor’s friend’s younger brother was shoutout on social media. “Then his brother wanted some, then his friends,” Rossiter said. “It started growing. People from Hillsborough wanted to buy food. We delivered it, they shouted us out, from there more people knew. From there, almost all of Tampa bought from us, people from a lot of different schools.” Once, Rossiter’s mom, a nurse at Tampa General Hospital Clinic, had her coworkers order from the couple for

lunch. They started cooking around 9 am so that they could make 11 orders for delivery. The amount of friends ordering from their individual accounts soon grew too confusing. So they made an Instagram for their business, @goodd.eatts. People could order Honey BBQ or Hot and Spicy Wings with a side of fries, or pretty much any color lemonade imaginable by direct messaging that account, then sending the money through Cash App. Rossiter and Taylor would take turns driving when making a delivery, the other riding in the passenger seat. Selling four wings and fries for six dollars, six wings and fries for eight dollars, eight wings and fries for ten dollars and so on, Good Eatts generally made anywhere from $50-$200 on any day they were open.

“We had to tell people that it’s going to come back but we can’t do it right now because of our lives, too” The ultimate success was a learning orders, Rossiter and Taylor delivered four wings to someone who ordered six. Luckily, the customer was a friend who consistently ordered, so they gave him an extra two for free the next time and he didn’t mind. Another issue was Taylor’s work schedule at Home Depot. Because the when Taylor worked, they weren’t open, or they stopped early. On days when there were a lot of orders and they became unorganized, the couple could grow aggravated with each other. A solution though was the help of Taylor’s 12-year-old sister, who wrote down orders recieved through Instagram DMs in a notebook bought from Walmart while Rossiter and Taylor were cooking or delivering. They paid her by making her wings, or sometimes with money.

STORY BY ASHER MONTGOMERY PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN As the business advanced and more ingredients were needed each trip, the couple moved from purchasing ingredients from Walmart to the House of Meats, then to Restaurant Depot, which sells food items in Bulk. Usually, Restaurant Depot requires a membership and proof of business ownership, but during the beginning of the pandemic, the store was letting everyone in. The pair realized that they were missing some appliances that would make the process easier, such as a deep freezer. When school began again, to the dissapointment of Goodd Eatts’ many regulars, the couple decided to put the food service on hold. “We had to tell people that it’s going to come back but we can’t do it right now because of our lives, too,” Rossiter said. “[Taylor] was going to do it alone, but it’s a hard job to do by yourself, and I didnt want to be distracted from school.” Goodd Eatts was put on hold, people ask if they can place an order. “People are ready for us to start it back,” Rossiter said. Before they do that, they need to buy the appliances they need. The plan is to start back up over the summer again. Rossiter and Taylor have been together for four years after meeting at Stewart Middle School. They said they think starting the company helped their relationship grow because they had to work together to achieve a common goal. They learned more about each other’s personalities in a different light than usual, such as how they react when under pressure, and when the other person needs a break. After high school, Rossiter plans on getting a permit so that they can get a food truck to continue what they’ve started. Taylor is working to save up for that. The name Goodd Eatts has stuck with them. They like how they can use the name for any type of food they might decide to sell later on.

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It’s Friday night and young Joseph Sipp

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JOSEPH SIPP Jr

THE INSPIRED STORY BY DYLAN CANTRELL PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

10 To read more about Sipp, visit hhstoday.com


THE Leader

The Lady Terriers

TYRA KENNEDY

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STORY BY EDEN KAY PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN To read more about Kennedy, visit hhstoday.com

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After the lunch bell rings, a heard of students

TIANA EPPS

THE YOUTUBER

STORY BY MERCY OGUNSOLA PHOTOgraph BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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Sophomore James

JAMES BOGGS

THE COMEDIAN

STORY BY MARLEY LAMBERT PHOTOgraph BY TAMMY NGUYEN


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The bell rings to signal the start

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THE FLUTIST

KAYTLIN BAZAN-Barron

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STORY BY KAYLEE ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH ELLIS

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THE TWO PRETTY BEST FRIENDS With their arms interlocking, best friends, juniors I’Aissa Jenkins and Aaliyah Anderson, stroll through the hallways, most likely laughing at the trouble they got into over the weekend. The duo met sophomore year and never would have thought they would be best friends today. Jenkins and Anderson met in Ty Davis’s biology class sophomore year. They had mutual friends but didn’t automatically click. Jenkins and Anderson didn’t think highly of each other when they -

I’AISSA JENKINS & AALIYAH ANDERSON

actually got to know her that I found out she was really cool.” Aaliyah I thought she was a little wild because she’s a preachers Jenkins let the rumors she heard about Andeson clowded her about Aaliyah that were going around, really bad rumors and I didn’t want to be friends with someone who was doing this that and I found out those rumors were lies.” Jenkins and Anderson began talking more in class and it wasn’t until the summer that the two declared themselves best friends. Jenkins and Anderson would go out to eat with family or by you want to call it.” Jenkins favorite experience out would have to be the day she met walking around the mall after that.” Since Jenkins and Anderson became closer, they have majorly being careful of what I say to people, she brings out the outgoing side of me.” Prior to meeting Jenkins, Anderson would have few verbal and physical altercations with students. Since then, Anderson has become more aware of the things she says to people and how her words may create problems. Jenkins mentioned how having girl best friends in the past has last best friend did some shady stuff so I didn’t want a best friend showed me that you can’t let people walk over you, and that there are some situations where you have to stand up for yourself.” Jenkins laid back energy drastically shifted once she met Anderson. She’s broken out of her shell more and learned to stand up for herself. Jenkins, in previous years, didn’t have as many friends as she does now. Her advice to people who struggle with makings friends

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STORY BY MERCY OGUNSOLA PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN


Two years in the making, ‘SHANGR-ILA’ s is an upcoming label with great operation. ‘SHANGR-ILA’ is a creation by makes many types of clothes from jeans to t-shirts to jackets. Anything from music, to art, to even inspiration for what he creates. His main made and worked for several top brands in the fashion industry. The fashion industry opened his eyes through the many different aspects needed such as creativity and deteror the money that comes with a big label, he just wants to express his artistic nature has produced two pieces which were reon a short sleeve, had the brand name and a temple with an eye as its halo. The second design came as both a long sleeve

for error,” he said, meaning many things can occur that can set someone back. For Creating that perfect look, the one that everyone looks at and goes ‘wow!”; that’s unordinary, to show things differently.

JACK WILKINS

THE DESIGNER

of things that interest me.” Jack is able to show his vision through his label and his motivation, he can express himself in ways his friends and family have never seen before. ing clothes, he is able to use his vision to promote his brand and draw customers in. the greats.” The label ‘Shangr-ila’ is on the rise, the future of the clothing industry is here.

STORY BY BRADY JOHNSON PHOTOgraph BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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ELLA DANG


THE ARTIST Two women, side by side, one the antithesis of the other. A snake-lady strangling herself with her own body.

painted on its wings, resting gently on a lilac background. A sad and disheveled blue man gazing off to the left. A painted skateboard with a woman and an array of clouds around her. These are just a few of senior Ella Dang’s art pieces. Ever since middle school, Dang has used painting and drawing as a creative outlet. However, once she entered high school she put art on the back burner. In a new environment, she lost track of her passion and was fully consumed by her rigorous workload. Since she never saw art as a future career, Dang decided to take psychology instead of art in high school. In the end however, she was happy with her decision. It wasn’t until her sophomore year that she rediscovered her hobby. In middle school she looked at art as more of a task — not something she took pleasure out of, but a weekly assignment she had to complete. Now, she treats art as a leisurely activity. “I think I just do it whenever I have free time,” Dang said. “I kind of wish that I had more of a schedule, but I think that’s another reason why I didn’t take art in high school… I’d get really stressed out in middle school because I’d have a new project every week… I’d rather do it on my own time and have the freedom to make what I want.” When she was younger her preferred medium was chalk pastels, but due to the cost of the materials she has since shifted toward acrylic paints. This isn’t the only reason why um though. “I change my mind a lot, so a lot of times I’ll start with one thing, but it ends up being [something completely different],” she said. “I never really go into painting with an idea of what

STORY AND PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH ELLIS I’m going to do, I just kind of add on as I go, and acrylic is really easy to layer.” ing over old works that she no longer likes. She takes pleasure in knowing that she’s the only one who knows about the hidden work beneath the Dang appreciates the fact that her work doesn’t have to be permanent. “I hate things that are set in stone, so the fact that I can just change it whenever I want is really satisfying to me,” she said. Dang relates her art to her life and the way that she likes to live — never planning things halfway, always going all in and seeing where it takes her.

“It used to bother me that all my thoughts were so chaotic and I couldn’t choose a single direction to go in. Now I use my chaotic imagination as a way to make my art more interesting” Her most personal and favorite thoughts. The piece is called “Self Sabotage” and is acrylic on canvas. It depicts the head of a woman with the body of the snake, but she’s choking herself with her body. “I started with just drawing the head and I didn’t realize [she would become a snake], but once I made it I decided to name it ‘Self Sabotage’ because she’s choking herself,” Dang said. “it’s supposed to represent our consciousness overthinking and ruining what was once [a] good idea.” Through practice, Dang has learned that not all of her art has to have a deep meaning behind it. “Sometimes some people will feel a different way about it. That’s what I learned, that people will interpret art in so many different ways that sometimes your

[original intentions aren’t] conveyed… that’s why I stopped going into every piece with an intention.” Creating art has also been a coping mechanism for her. “I think I use [art] as a distraction a lot of times, because when I’m [drawing or painting] I’m just thinking about what I’m doing [right then],” Dang said. “It’s a good distractor, because… I can put on music and just paint for a whole day and I won’t get bored of it.” She also enjoys the freedom of expression that art provides her with, and that she can make something and be the only person who knows her motivations behind it. “Part of why I prefer making more abstract art is because for me, art is an escape from the real world, so I don’t want it to look like something you’d see in real life,” she said. The pandemic has also affected how she looks at art. Dang was an senior year, and one perk that she found was that she had more time to create. Whereas before the pandemic she would devote all of her time after school to homework, the lack of commute opened up more time for her to work on her hobby. “I feel like my art gives insight to whatever’s going on in my imagination at the moment. Especially after feeling restricted when I took art in middle school, I try to take full advantage of my creative freedom,” Dang said. As a child she always had trouble staying focused and would daydream a lot. Instead of doing her work, she would draw on the back of her school worksheets or use her mom’s makeup brushes to paint with. “Something about the fact that I’ve reverted back to what made me happy as a kid feels really whole. It used to bother me that all my thoughts were so chaotic and I couldn’t choose a single direction to go in. Now I use my chaotic imagination as a way to make my art more interesting.”

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THE INJURED

When senior Xenia Bond was only nine months old, her great-grandmother taught her how to swim. Her love of swim led her to join the Hillsborough County Swim Team in sixth grade. From the start, she had a tireless work ethic. “I just remember going from school to practice and not getting out until like 9:30 [p.m.],” she said. Once she entered high school, she also joined Hillsborough’s Swim Team, but this was more for leisure than anything. “[The] high school swim team was just for fun,” Bond said. “I wanted to meet new people — I was at a new school [and] I only had classes with juniors and seniors, so I didn’t know anyone my age.” Her work on the Hillsborough County Swim Team, however, was a different story. Bond’s competitive demeanor led her to rise above and beyond her fellow athletes. She was incredibly fast; the best time she ever got was 19 seconds for a 100 meter swim — just during a practice, at that. Before Bond began her training in eighth grade, her coach needed to make sure that she had what it took to be an Olympic swimmer. That observation process took eight to nine months according to Bond. The training itself consisted of lots of drills. Bond’s coach loomed over the pool, timing her as she swam from one end to the other. He harped on her for holding her breath for too long, as it became a safety hazard — since Bond started off swimming at such a young age, holding her breath for long periods of time came naturally to her. However, her biggest struggle was turning once she got to the ends of the pool. Bond sustained an injury during a practice one day. She dove too deep into the water and ended up hitting the bottom of the pool. When she

XENIA BOND

lower back. nally spoke up about it. She thought that she could just deal with the pain, but once it became evident that this would not be the case, Bond told her mother about her back. One of her main reasons for not saying anything traces back to her competitive nature. “[Getting to compete in the Olympics] was just something I really wanted,” she said. She also, however, had long term goals in mind. “I saw [the Olympics] as an opportunity to pay for college,” Bond said. The pain was constant from there on out. “Swimming, … not swimming, out of the pool, in the pool, [my back] just hurt,” Bond said. Once her coach found out, he was furious — not because she was injured, but because she swam on the injury for so long. Because of the severity of the injury, Bond had to stop her training alto-

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Since then, while Bond has swam for leisure, she has not stepped back in the pool competitively. “I have yet to [really] get back in the pool. … I’m scared because I know I’m not going to be as good as I used to be,” Bond said. To this day, she still has back problems. “I do regret not saying anything sooner,” Bond said. But, like many people, she believes in learning from her mistakes. She’s since learned that if she injures herself in a sport, she needs to stop. “That process taught me [that] competing and winning isn’t everything,” Bond said. “I’m still really competitive, but I know how to lose now.”

STORY BY SARAH ELLIS PHOTOGRApH BY TAMMY NGUYEN


Sitting at the back of the class Freshmen Matthias Embry silently recites lyrics from his favorite artist, J, Cole. Averaging over 18 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify ‘@M.E’ continues to get his music out there. Embry produces music from his PC, using his creativity, friends who rap using his creativity, friends who rap and sing and an internal melody. Embrys music is similar to that of the background music you would hear while watching an add for a game coming out soon, or music you and your best friend would listen to while looking at the stars. The vocals in Embrys songs add anoth dimension to the pieces he creates. One of Embrys most popular songs ‘I fade away’ averages over 200 thousand listens and features underground artists like Tulips Ballad, and CAT DAD. His fascination with producing music began in early 2000’s, he spent most of his time listening to artists like T-pain, Akon, and Justin Bieber to name a few. derstand how music worked, I listened to ‘Recess’ by Skrillex” he said. “Thats when my interest in music production peaked.” Skrillex is and electronic music producer that Embry has been a huge fan of for a while. Among Skrillex, Embry has a list of music producers who have become Raspy, and his parents who have supported his decision to produce music.

MATTHIAS EMBRY

THE PRODUCER

producer that Embry makes music with. “Hes motivated and inspired me to make music.” he said. Lacking a proper process to make his music, Embry continues to leave his listeners wanting more. “I just sort of make music when I’m inspired,” he said. “Over the years Ive just learned things by experimenting.” when it comes to the music makes his connection with it feel more like a hobby rather than a job.

STORY BY MERCY OGUNSOLA PHOtoGRAPH BY Tammy Nguyen

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The SprinTer He was just a receiver for the football team. But when his coach asked him to join track in his freshman year, he committed. He saw it as training to be a quicker receiver, to be able sprint faster than the defense and to take off as soon as the football touched his hands. To score more touchdowns. But he’s got a name that sounds like it’d belong to someone fast.

Erriyon Knighton... 22


Then, there he was, a year later, at the AAU Junior Olympics in Satellight Beach. It was August, and sweltering. He remembers hearing people cheering, and that it helped. He knelt on the track. The gun went off. He tore away from the rest immediately, a blue sweat band around his head, long blue spandex shorts and tank top to match. 20.33 seconds is a short amount of time to change somebody’s life. With that time for the 200 meter dash, he set a new national record at the Amateur Athletic Union, and became the US no.1 mark. He says, though, not much has changed for him personally, except that he gets more respect. And, with his recent signing with Adidas, he has more money than he’s ever had, most of which goes into the bank. Some goes to his phone bill and some to his mom. As for his own mentality, it’s pretty much the same with an increased obligation to work hard. “I’m just being,” he said. “Chilling, like I’m a normal person.” was Coach Joseph Sipp, the head track coach and a football coach. Knighton didn’t notice he was fast until that Junior Olympics race. Sipp says he saw the speed as soon Knighton joined the football team. Knighton’s mother wasn’t suprised either. According to her, he was always running, even as a toddler. If she asked him to put his toys away, he would do it running. Knighton started playing football when he was seven. His dad played basketball, but Knighton knew that wasn’t for him. When Sipp asked Knighton to join the track team, Knighton thought his coach just wanted him to be a faster receiver. Knighton noticed that the workouts for track were much harder than football. There were strength workouts in the weight room and conditioning on the track. “I was a little fast,” he said, “but I got faster.”

meet. He raced the 100 meter dash at Wharton High. Sipp said Knighton wasn’t expecting much of himself. But when he took off from the line, he was brought some awkwardness in his hips and he ended up letting the guy behind him beat him, so he placed second. While at Hillsborough, Sipp has watched and coached several athletes who eventually became professional, or who were given full track scholarships. “I knew [Knighton] was right up there with them,” he said. After his freshman year, Knighton joined a summer track team. “I wanted to do track all year long,’’ he said. Over the quarantine summer, the sum mer Knighton made the AAU record, Knighton trained with Coach Sipp and a coach from AAU. He said he didn’t see track in his future until after the Junior Olympics, and his motivation for working so hard before that was pure pride. “I wanted to be better than everyone else,” he said. That goal was accomplished on that fateful weekend in August. He was just a fraction of a second off Usain Bolt’s world record in the 200. The next day he ran the 100 in 10.29 seconds: a new U.S best time. “I was just running,” he said. “It wasn’t hurting me, I just kept running.” It wasn’t long after that Knighton got a call from Adidas. They told him they saw a lot of potential. “I was a little surprised, but not really. But I was though, but not really,” he said. “I don’t really show emotions toward stuff like that.” It took a month to decide. Knighton thought about the possibility of being recruited for college track that would be taken away with the Adidas contract. In the end, he had help from former Hillsborough football and track star Jeremiah Green in making the decision to go ahead and sign. As a professional athlete, signed by

everything Adidas. Knighton continues to show up to school. He considers himself a good student; he gets all his work done. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t goof around in class though. He’s got goals outside of running. He’s not allowed to run for a college track team, but that’s not going to stop him from going to university, especially since it will be paid for by Adidas. He thinks he’d like to study medicine, because he has family members that could help him out, like his mom, a nurse. In his junior year now, Knighton practices with a personal coach four days a week. He hasn’t run a meet since the Junior Olympics, but he has more coming up in April. Due to the Adidas contract, Knighton can’t run for Hillsborough anymore. He misses it though. During his personal training, Knighton practices wherever he has permission. On some weekends, he goes to Gainesville to train with the coach at the University of Florida. His training involves a lot of leg workouts, like cleans and squats. He likes the weight training, but it hurts. “If you want to get better, you have to enjoy the training part too, as much as you like running,” he said. Knighton doesn’t love running, but he likes it. He still has a lot of self-motivation. He thinks it would be much harder for him to keep working if he didn’t. He says there are a lot of people he doesn’t know that hate on him out of jealousy. “Some people don’t know what’s going on — they think I dropped out of high school, but I be here everyday,” he said. “They’re looking from the outside in. At the end of the day, they really just help me. I feed off of stuff like that.” Aside from his professional running carreer, Knighton lives a relatively normal teenage life. Switching back and forth from his parent’s houses, visiting grandparents and cousins on the weekends, going bowling with his mom, and dreaming, not too unrealisticly, of

to wear Adidas merchandise and sprint. They send him gift cards in the mail so he can order Adidas gear online or in the store. At school, he’s decked in

STORY BY ASHER MONTGOMERY PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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ANA LEJIDO


THE LEARNER attending the University of South Florida, Spanish teacher Ana Lejido was on the verge of tears. She had already had enough. Her brain had exploded. She wanted to understand the content of the course, but it was nearly impossible. Her English comprehension wasn’t with the class. If her classmate needed four hours to do a research paper, she needed eight. At one point in time, she remembered telling her husband “I cannot do this.” But she persevered, practicing her grammar every single day. Her English skills really started accelerating when she started working because it forced her to have real conversations. It’s like she tells her student, “you need more time and more effort.” Lejido’s experience learning English

STORY BY ROHIT RAMASWAMY PHOTORGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

more reassurance, so he asked relatives to report to him whether his daughter was happy with her decision. And beBefore immigrating, Lejido had a few expectations of America. She wasn’t completely sold on the idea of the American dream, but she was They portrayed the American people as having less familial values than in Spain while also presenting America as a land of opportunity, and a great place for young people. Lejido’s journey to America was quite easy. The immigration process was very simple because her husband was a citizen, as well as the fewer reguFlorida.

in her Spanish classroom: more time, more effort, and more communication. “We are humans, we need to communicate,” she said. Lejido was raised in Spain. She took French in middle school which explains her initial lack of English. She was a young woman with many friends, and she valued these friendships greatly. In fact, she considered her husband her best friend. However, her husband had recently immigrated to America and Lejido was forced to make an important decision- does she stay in Spain or immigrate to America to be with her husband. She decided on joining her husband, and eventually it was time to break the was sad. The US was very far away from Spain, and 20 years ago, there was no Zoom or Skype for communicaSpanish traditional household. Lejido’s mother had passed away, making Lejido the last woman in the family. And now, she was leaving too. However, he was a sensible man that respected her decision

“We are humans, we need to communicate” ica was the diversity. She hadn’t seen this many different ethnicities together except in movies. With Black, White, Hispanic and Asian people, the melting pot of different races was a completely new concept to her. It presented a stark difference between the Spanish and American cultures which forced her to her assimilate with all the changes were asking questions, communicating, and learning- principles she’d later emphasize within her own classroom. Lejido initially wanted to teach history, but the elementary school near Spanish teacher. “Why not teach Spanish?” she asked herself. “It relates to history, and it’s my language.” The fact that she was able to change her job from history to bility of this country to her. “In Spain,

to study in the university, you needed to do an extra year of school. In America, it’s ok to study one semester whenever, and you can work at the same time you study.” Being able to work while attending the university was a game changer for Lejido because she was able to practice her English grammar while simultaneously engaging in conversations. She Spain. Later, at USF, she got her master’s degree in foreign language. Lejido opted to have many older friends, rather than join a large community, so she can learn more about Old Tampa. Nowadays, many people from South America speak Spanish in Florida, so she doesn’t feel alone, but 70 years ago this was not the case. It was much harder to adapt for non-native English speakers and she wanted to learn about their experiences. Lejido would characterize herself as a learner. Various opportunities in Amerprofessional, and personal views. She learns every day, such as learning how to work technology and canvas from students, which was important at the start of the pandemic. While she learns all the time, it also feels like she teaches all the time. “Hardest part about teaching is that to teach, and it is exhausting,” she said. Luckily, there are many more positives to being a teacher. One of her favorite parts about being a Spanish teacher is the growth of a student from freshman to senior year. Or when they have a Spanish conversation with her as alumni. Her favorite part about Hillsborough High school is the ambiance. The students, her coworkers, and the faculty are so sweet, and she feels inspired walking down the hallway seeing portraits of the past students of Hillsborough. “Everyone is history,” she said.

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GAURI SHAH THE WARRIOR

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THE NOVELIST

It isn’t often that you see young writers pursuing their work so early on, especially starting in highschool. Freshman FRANCISCO MONTEAGUDO is setting high expectations as he’s astonishingly close to finishing the first book in his current trilogy project...

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FRANCISCO MONTEAGUDO


Using his Macbook Air or at-home PC, Monteagudo can pretty much write anywhere and at any time. Sometimes, he even writes in class when his work is complete. Mainly however, he writes whenever he’s ing. If he’s not doing schoolwork, gaming, making digital art, or hanging out with friends, he’s probably writing. Fortunately enough, Monteagudo doesn’t need many boosts to start writing. He can handle his writer’s block very well. “With writer’s block, I just go write something else! Right now, I’m writing Story of Sol: DAWN and another more mature book called Embers Rising. Whenever I get bored of one, I switch to the other and vice versa,” he said. Some authors take years don’t possess those management and planning skills. Monteagudo spends anywhere from less than an hour to over a month writing a chapter, it all depends on whether or not he’s engaged. Monteagudo has been a fan of writing since elementary school and his love has only grown since. He occasionally assigned a little activity of independent writing time for the kids to work on. Loads of loud children, a colorful classroom, composition books, cheap pencils and crayons—the nostalgia of being a kid. “I’d write short, little stories. It really progressed all the way up until from writing for middle school,” he said. Once he got into middle school, he realized that the environment was more grown-up. There were no more excessively colorful classrooms, toys and “kiddy” supplies, and most of all, there was no more fun, independent writing time. From this point forward, there was nothing to do but actual assignments. Over time, he has gotten back into

writing and he’s grateful that he did because of his passion towards this work. Monteagudo is also a good example of how it’s never too early to take novel at the age of 13, and now his work has potential to be big in the future. He began writing his novel from an idea he got playing Minecraft with his friends. “It didn’t even start out as a novel actually.... About a server], we were talking about a war for our clan and I was like ‘Oh you know what, I’m bored right now and I want to write a bit’ and it all went forward from there...,” he said. His work progressed and branched out, far from Minecraft, and developed into a full-on novel.

“They’re attempting to piece together the strange sort of relation they have with the sun and avoiding the dark monsters that come into the night” Monteagudo’s current project, Story of Sol: DAWN, is book one of what he hopes to be the Story of Sol trilogy. He specializes in and prefers when it comes to literature. His project was inspired by his experiences with friends and his underlying love for fantasy. He says others have described it as “a piece of art” as the readers can feel like they’re a part of the fantastical missions and experience the loads of thrilling action scenes. Story of Sol tells the story of four people, or Guardians as he calls them, in SolDream, and Blade, are very out-ofthe-ordinary and add a fantastical, fun aspect to his work. These four Guardians have to survive in a mysterious fantasy world they come across and discover their origins at the same time. “They’re attempting to piece

together the strange sort of relation they have with the sun and avoiding the dark monsters that come into the night,” he said. Monteagudo also has them to be the highlight of his writing, it’s none other than energizing and he truly enjoys putting in all the hard-work and effort. When Monteagudo writes, he likes to tackle issues with characters because he believes that they truly advance the plot. There are a few characters from time-to-time that hold a special place in his heart, projecting the authenticity of his work.

ner journey of his character throughout the story] is fairly complex with how he begins mute and over the course of the story, speaks more and journey, and their friendship hold a special place in his heart and are extremely important to him and his work. He also believes that characters “good story”. When designing characters, there’s certain characteristics each one has to portray their individuality. Monteagudo’s dynamic personality correlates with his characters as he has his own quirk(s) that make his work personalized and different. “I give the protagonists a similar type of power-up, they all have some sort of color around them and it basically indicates when everything is in overdrive or like enhanced,” he said. He tends to like the storytelling element of writing over “fancy words” because he believes it’s important to keep the reader engaged.

STORY BY EDEN KAY PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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THE RENAISSANCE MAN NATHAN KARAKORN

Standing in senior Nathan Karakorn’s kitchen, watching him pace around in his -

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Junior Anabelle Gonzalez, owner of Resinbynena, -

THE CRAFTER ANABELLE GONZALEZ

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STORY BY KAYLEE ROBINSON PHOTOGRAPGH BY TAMMY NGUYEN


RONAN SALIGAME, LIAM COLLINS & KEVIN JOHN

Like most during -

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THE “HIGH SCHOOL” SWEETHEARTS

She was the new math teacher down the hall. meeting of the year, neither of

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Florida. So, when they went on their

Wehrman.

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ALEXANDRA & ANDRES FLOREZ

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big change as track was a major part of her life and worried about if it was the best decision to make,

Her feet are perfectly lined up to her shoulders and the sun is shining down on her, her visor keeping it from blinding her. The club is held tightly, with her hands on top of one another. She adjusts her placement once more before her arms swing back and then swiftly foreword, hitting the ball, only a small dust of cloud following after it. For junior Azriel Webb, there’s nothing else she’d rather be doing. Webb has only been seriously playing golf since June of 2020, reaching Regionals after only playing for four months. For the last three years, she had been running track. The switch came after she realized that she wasn’t happy competing in the sport anymore. She would dread practice and grew a dislike for running. “For me, I know I love something when I put my all into it, like I just get so passionate about certain things and that’s just how I feel about golf,” she said. Besides the game itself encouraging her to continue, her grandparents have been supportive of her

STORY BY ISLA RIDDELL PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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especially since Webb would be entering the sport at such a late stage. But after seeing her passion and success, they are her number one fans, doing all they can to help and attending all of her games. “Any time there’s resources or anything they can do to help me, they’re right there,” she said. Even though she received the support of her grandparents, there were others who didn’t want Webb to pick up the sport seriously, insisting that she should stick with track because golf would be too hard. She mentioned that people within and outside of her race discouraged her, saying that it wasn’t a sport for people of color. “That made me want to play it even more because I wanted to prove them wrong,” she said. An inspiration in this has been Maria Fassi, a Mexican golfer who’s experienced similar criticisms that Webb’s received. However, after the season, she’s gotten much more support, with people seeing her strengths and potential after going to Regionals. “Regionals was a wakeup call,” she laughed. “It really showed me what golf looks like and what competing at this level looks like.” Webb was intimidated to be playing against girls with ten years

of experience and who play in nationals. Despite the nerves, others there saw her potential, with many coming up to her grandparents and telling them that she should continue the game; one of those people being a man who worked with LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) events. “Regionals was my favorite match because there were so many people that told me to keep going,” she said. Other than outside encouragement, Webb has the self-motivation to do all she can to improve in the sport, practicing every day of the week from anymediately leaving school for practice. To her, golf is almost like an addiction, saying that nothing is more satisfying than hitting a good shot or parring a hole. Every new game and good performance, encourages her more. She even journals everything she learns from her practices, seeing every mistake as an opportunity to improve. Webb says that “no matter what, if you want something, I feel that you should go get it. Whatever the constraints society might put on you, you should never ever back down. When you want it, you’ll get it.”

AZRIEL WEBB THE GOLFER


THE INDIVIDUAL LUIS RODRIGUEZ

It seems that no matter where one is on campus,

STORY BY ISHA MODHA PHOTOGRAPH BY TAMMY NGUYEN

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THE DOG LOVER STORY BY CAROLINA TORTORELLI PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH ELLIS

NECHELLE SWEENEY

After months and

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TRAVIAN MITCHELL

THE HUNTER In the mornings

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THE IMMIGRANT MICHAEL RAMOS Michael J. Ramos

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SARAH ANDREWS 42


THE UNBROKEN

STORY BY MEREDITH YEN PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH ELLIS

Senior Sarah Andrews has suffered from scoliosis since an early age.

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A special edition of the [r&b] Florida’s First High School Newspaper Hillsborough High School 5000 N. Central Avenue Tampa Florida 33603 Winter 2021 Volume 122 Issue 2

Profile for HHS Today

Us  

Special edition of the [r&b], Florida's first High School Newspaper

Us  

Special edition of the [r&b], Florida's first High School Newspaper

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