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Volume 10 Issue 3 Dec. 2012 $3.00

MERI BLACKBURN takes a new path

Aye, Papi! Wellness Policy What’s wrong with rap?


December 2012


VIEWPOINTS Hopes and DREAMs 12Documented and undocumented students will both see benefits from the passage of the DREAM Act. BY DORY MACMILLAN

NEWS for testing 16AsTime finals approach, students and teachers will being preparing in a variety of ways.


Good tidings 22During the holiday season, various Clarke Central High School clubs promote volunteer activities.

Photo by Porter McLeod

Cover Story




Pickled possibilities

CCHS parent and entrepreneur owns Phickles Pickles, a locally-run business.



36 Chief Keef

Keef’s debut album Finally Rich is filled with violent lyrics but lacks originality. BY AARON HOLMES


Dr. Meri Blackburn marks the next chapter for the 2012-13 school year as Gifted Collaborator/International Baccalaureate Coordinator and School Scheduler. Photo courtesy Ella Sams

Right: ELEPHANTS OF STYLE: Realism and the status quo are not boundaries for the artwork of Clarke Central High School freshman Ella Sams. Sams’ work debuted in the gallery box outside of E. B. Mell Auditorium, an honor typically reserved for seniors. “She’s in Art I, but she has the skills of an (Advanced Placement) art student,” CCHS Art department teacher Jeff Barnett said, “She has excelled in every assignment I have given her.”

Pizza Uncovered 35Variety writer Susanna Conine-Nakano discovers the art and history of pizza-making.


SPORTS Elbow room 40CCHS wrestling program has finally settled into a space of their own. BY JENNY ALPAUGH Cover photo by Porter McLeod Cover design by Chloe Hargrave and Porter McLeod

December 2012


Left: PARADE SHUTTLE: On the first Thursday of every December, the local Christmas parade takes place in Downtown, Athens. This year, Clarke Central High School’s marching band, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and the Varsity cheerleading team particiapted in the parade. | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 3




Editor-in-Chief: Chloe Hargrave Digital Managing Editor: Hannah Dunn-Grandpre Print Managing Editor: Jenny Alpaugh Junior Copy Editor: Aaron Holmes Viewpoints Editor: Dory MacMillan News Editor: Loran Posey Variety Editor: Chloe Alexander Sports Editor: Gabrielle Saupe Photography Editor: Porter McLeod Business and Public Relations Manager: Haley Hunt Sarah Hoyt Web Master: Austin Defoor Graphics Editor: Radford Brosius Staff Writers: Shari Armour, Brittney Butler, Susanna Conine-Nakano, Ethan Crane, Geneva Hinkle, John Hubbard, James Lumpkin, Teana Mathews, Louise Platter, Chad Rhym, Makayla Richards, Kaitlyn Scott, Maria Velasquez, Robert Walker


t the end of a distribution day, I wince every time an ODYSSEY Newsmagazine, a product that a 26-person staff slaved over, lies on the floor or in the recycling bins. So why do we do it in the first place? We’re journalists. We want to. Our role as journalists is to serve as the storytellers and truth seekers of the school. We aim for all of our content to be fair, accurate and balanced and that it reflects the interest of the student body.Most importantly, we strive to give a voice to the voiceless. At the end of a distribution day, seeing our final product vandalized is defeating. I feel as if all the work we’ve done, not for our own benefit, but for our readers, has been wasted. It is not our job as journalists to hover over our readers’ shoulders and make sure each article is read. Our job is to provide content that is what students want to read, as well as what they need to know. The ODYSSEY Newsmagazine’s editorial policy states that each issue is “published with the intent to inform, entertain and give voice to the Clarke Central High School community.” It is for this main reason that guest writers, 26 staff writers, cartoonists, photographers and a business staff are willing to spend many hours, weekends and nights crafting a forty-page book. Contrary to what people may think, we don’t spend these hours at school, go on extensive shoots or conduct lengthy interviews for the awards. “Altruistic editors and writers (work for the school publication) because they care about the society in general,” Dean Hume, an advisor of a nationally award-winning publication and a former teacher of mine said. Majority of my Saturdays are spent staring at computers, designing and communicating with the rest of the staff in one room for several hours. And to be clear; this work is voluntary. It is work we are happy to do. This kind of dedication is common in student publications across the nation. We share the same pride, love and passion for our publications and readers. Recently, I attended the National Scholastic Press Association Fall Conference in San Antonio, Tex. where students like myself came from coast-tocoast in order to connect and learn from others. And, quite frankly, the work that all student journalists do for their readers has been taken for granted. Nationally, the media is considered the fourth branch of government. As a student publication, we strive to serve that same purpose at a local level. We seek to offer insight into new policies, to showcase personalities and to critique the on-going events occuring in our school and community in addition to offering an open public forum for discussion. That is why we continue to do the work we have been doing for ten years, despite the discarded ODYSSEY Newsmagazines. We will continue to put forth this effort in hopes of informing our community. Below: DOWN THE DRAIN: After distribution day, ODYSSEYs can be found lying around the school. Is this an acceptable response to our commitment as student journalists?

Adviser: David A. Ragsdale ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE Clarke Central High School 350 S. Milledge Avenue Athens, Georgia 30605 Phone: (706) 357-5200, Ext. 17370 Fax: (706) 357-5269

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 5

Photo by Porter Mvleod

The ODYSSEY is published monthly. Published opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone other than the staff. The ODYSSEY is a student produced newsmagazine, published with the intent to inform, entertain and give voice to the Clarke Central High School community, as well as to educate student journalists. Each issue is an open public forum for student expression under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Student journalists are provided with opportunities to investigate, inform, interpret and to evaluate: all traditionally accepted functions of the press in America. The ODYSSEY staff is committed to reflect the mission statement set forth by Clarke Central High School. The goals of the staff are to provide fair, accurate news and commentaries, as well as to serve the interests of the school and Athens’ community. Advertising must conform to the guidelines set forth for editorials. Publication of advertisements does not indicate an endorsement by CCHS or by the ODYSSEY. Students pictured in advertisements are not given monetary compensation. All advertising rates are available upon request from any ODYSSEY staff member. The ODYSSEY is a member of the Quill and Scroll Honor Society, Georgia Scholastic Press Association, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, National Scholastic Press Association and Southern Interscholastic Press Association. Corrections of errors and omissions will appear in the next issue.



Choose or lose: Election 2012 Readers felt that the article effectively compared the differences in the political platforms of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The compare and contrast layout was praised for its simplicity in showing the divergence of the candidates’ views. In addition, the portraits were applauded for adding aesthetic appeal to the spread.

Facing the issues

Hearing a different perspective

The article “Election 2012: National Face Off ” by Aaron Holmes and Louise Platter provides clear information on both of the candidates’ standpoints on major issues that have a large impact on the American public. The layout made it easy to compare and contrast between both candidates. In addition, the visuals greatly added to the spread. -- Marina Byrne, sophomore

In reply to Geneva Hinkle’s rating on Apple’s newest innovation, EarPods, I was not content with the two and a half stars it received. The new design not only provides stronger protection from sweat and water, but an earphone that is stable in the ear. At the same time, Apple was focused on improving sound quality. Although this new design may not have noise-cancelling technology, it resolved an issue that many people had with earphones: they wouldn’t stay in. With EarPods we now have a reasonably priced earphone that fits comfortably in our ears and an audio quality that rivals high-end headphones. -- Harrison Boza, senior

Easy to inform Both articles of “Election 2012: National Face Off ” by Aaron Holmes and Louise Platter were wellwritten and very timely. Although many students don’t even think about politics, the comparison/ contrast format of the articles was simple enough for all to follow and gain some insight. -- Sharon Barnes, CCHS English department teacher

Hitting home The story I loved was “Being in between,” by Teana Mathews; this story was very truthful. It also made me think back on the bad decisions I made by not taking AP courses. If I had changed my willingness to learn and the people with whom I was learning, I would more likely be successful in school now. -- Jerel Wright, senior

Glad to be on break


he article is well-written and the important issues were delineated very well.

-- Zehadi Alam, sophomore

Chicken soup for the sole

Classic information I liked the article “Classic City Clash” by Kevin Mobley because it tells the reader about the rivalry between Clarke Central High School and Cedar Shoals High School. It states all the facts about the stats between both teams and how they rank against each other. I think that there should be another page with more pictures, so it can capture the reader’s attention a little more. Other than that, it was a good article. -- Montel Wall, senior


ODYSSEY Newsmagazine

I agree with the sentiments expressed in the article “Lengthening the break,” by Aaron Holmes. Having the whole week off for Thanksgiving was beneficial in many ways. It allowed students and teachers to relieve stress by relaxation, created more family time and allowed for a more enjoyable break. It certainly gave me the opportunity to spend more time with family. Overall, it was an interesting article. -- Jared Warner, freshman

Corrections/Omissions November 2012

In the Table of Contents, “Gangnam” is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 6, Conor Blankenship’s last name is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 8, “God” should be capitalized. On pg. 13, Martaisa Manago’s first name is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 14, the deck refers to the 2012-13 school year, not 2013-12. On pg. 14, “school” is spelled incorrectly in the photo caption. On pg. 24, “casual” is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 25, Maria Velasquez’s last name is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 26, “restaurateur” is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 33, in the Audibles,“prestige” and “sophomore” are spelled incorrectly and “its” should have been used instead of “it’s.” On pg. 36, Rodney Willingham is a senior, not a junior. On pg. 36, “Shoals” in “Cedar Shoals” is spelled incorrectly. On pg. 39, Coach Tim Stoudenmire’s last name is spelled incorrectly.

I really liked Emily Watson’s column on insecurities. I liked the article because I know some people who are insecure about themselves and now, I can help them get over the things that are really bothering them. I hope that this will help them to get over their insecurities. -- Queniterrah Carter, junior

Letters: E-mail us at, or drop off in the main office, in care of the ODYSSEY. We ask that all letters be under 250 words and signed and we reserve the right to omit or edit any letters received. Insulting, unsigned or libelous statements will not be considered for publication. All letters may be edited for clarity and space. Advertising: For ad rates e-mail us at business@odysseynewsmagazine. net. Online: Comment online at our website,


December 2012



The ODYSSEY staff’s opinions on this month’s issues.

Pickled pink Athens entrepreneur and mother of three, Angie Tillman, has turned a favorite hobby into a successful business to help support her family, all while buying and selling locally.

Phonymania Those who rail on professional wrestling for being staged should keep in mind arts like theater and ballet. Just because it’s choreographed doesn’t mean it doesn’t have entertainment value.

Art with heart Clarke Central High School artists, like freshman Ella Sams, and their astounding passion for art inspire us to better appreciate the CCHS art scene.

Ho-ho-horror As the holiday season approaches, decorations go up at CCHS. However, decorations such as trees and “Merry Christmas” signs leave out students who celebrate holidays other than Christmas at this time of year.

Glad to help out Even though CCHS no longer has marketing classes for the 2012-13 school year, the Glad Shack remains open, thanks to the help of junior varsity cheerleading coach Laura Cofer. Serving it up Many CCHS students are getting into the holiday spirit by participating in service projects through several clubs at school.

Students teaching students College students who are student-teaching at CCHS can provide a different method of teaching for students. However, more than a third of the student body feels that their presence does not create a productive learning environment.

Our Take A

rt is important; that is undeniable. But whether or not art is being fully appreciated by Clarke Central High School students is debatable. When was the last time you paused to gaze at the art that fills the main hallway? Not just glancing or stopping only for a second when you recognize a friend’s name, but when have you really looked at and admired the art? Each piece of art required time and effort from its respective artist. The creative process that must occur in order for an appealing piece of art to be created is far from simple. We have numerous highly-talented artists within our school. Their pieces are displayed both in the hallway and outside the Miller Jordan cafeteria. According to CCHS fine art department teacher Jeff Barnett, the display case outside the cafeteria can be considered a “winner’s circle.” The best of the best is displayed in this case, put here for other students to enjoy. We walk by this case each day on our way to the cafeteria. “I just hope that (students) take the time to acknowledge the hard work that goes into the pictures on display. Because often times, with any of the fine arts, you see the end result, but you don’t see the work behind it,” Barnett said. The art displayed often takes weeks to create. In our fast-paced world, these artists are among the dwindling few who have the necessary patience to craft pieces that require hours and hours of careful and focused work. “Technology is getting faster and faster, and students’ attention spans and patience are getting smaller and smaller,” Barnett said. “They have programs now where you can mimic a painter’s style. It’s innovative, but there’s no substitution for the process of creating art, coming up with the idea, mixing your own colors.” The benefits of creating art and viewing it, whether it’s visual art, music or drama are innumerable. For artists, musicians and actors there is a sense of accomplishment when their diligent work is acknowledged and respected by a peer or teacher. Art is also a wonderful medium for expression. Any kind of emotion can be put into a piece of art or a piece of music. Both positive and negative emotions can be channeled into something constructive through art. “(Art) is one of the best means of expression,” Barnett said. “For some it’s relaxing. It’s also a familiar phrase that ‘there are no rules in art.’ There are no formulas or equations.” Unfortunately, too few CCHS students take advantage of this expression, or take the time to simply enjoy the creations of others. If we fail to take the necessary time to appreciate art, its full potential to positively affect CCHS students cannot be reached.

Cartoon by Audrey Hinkle

-- Compiled by Viewpoints staff

Above: EXAMINE THE ART: Numerous Clarke Central High School students spend multiple hours creating original pieces of art. They deserve at least a few minutes of appreciation.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 7



What is the American Dream? “Being able to get an education, have money, take care of your family, take care of yourself (and) have a house.” -- Erin Cawthon, CCHS English department chair

“The American Dream is whatever a person wants the most out of this country.” - Kenneth Brown, sophomore

“I think most Americans want to go to college, start a family and maybe own a big business.” -- Hannah Rollins, freshman

“The American Dream is a good education, a good career, a family and lots of shiny things.” -- Jade Hendry, senior


decided to be a dancer in the first grade, after a field trip to the Morton Theatre where I saw girls nearly my age put all of their heart into totally synchronized movement while being watched by a live audience. Even at a young age, I knew this was exactly how I wanted to express myself. My mother agreed to let me take dance lessons. As an artist herself, she greatly appreciates the importance of having a creative outlet. Since then I have been dancing at the East Athens Educational Dance Center and performing at the Morton Theatre for the annual production. This year will mark my seventh year dancing there, but this year has been very different from the rest. The G.I.F.T.E.D. Performing Ensemble is the highest level of dance the EAEDC offers, and after last year’s annual production I finally decided to audition for it. As I expected, G.I.F.T.E.D. requires much more dedication and commitment than the rest of the programs. Our dance teachers now expect only the best from us. The dancers in my group, many of whom have been dancing years longer than I, aren’t easy on newcomers either. Their critiques are brutally honest but extremely constructive, as they only intend to make us better dancers. On top of the pressure that comes with being a dedicated dancer, my first year of high school has begun. This year I’ve committed myself to actually studying for exams and not procrastinating to do homework. Taking the time to balance my dedication to dance and schoolwork makes juggling the two a lot easier. Sometimes, I even find time to hang out with friends and do girly things like see the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn — after I go to dance, of course. Dancing is one of the many things I love in life. I may dance because of the skills I gain and the creativity that adds diversity to my life, but that isn’t the only reason I dance. Dance also makes me a more disciplined person. Through it I’ve learned many lessons. I’ve learned how important it is to make an effort in everything I do, how to work together with other people to create something beautiful and how to express my emotions in a meaningful way. When I was younger I didn’t realize how important it was for people to share these special feelings. Now I know that dance is how I can and need to express myself — for myself, and for whoever is watching.


Left: PASSION THROUGH PERFORMANCE: Clarke Central High School freshman Lela Jenkins found her passion at a young age and she has chosen to express herself through dance.

“Mostly to get money. It’s all about the money.” -- Jesus Ramirez, junior

Cartoon by William Kissane


December 2012


Preachin’ about student teachin’ Two Clarke Central High School students argue whether student teachers provide a helpful service or are detrimental to the learning environment.


ho was teaching?” “The student teacher.” “Again?! I hate it when she teaches. I never get anything she’s talking about.” Let’s face it: most Clarke Central High School students have heard or participated in a similar conversation. It is true that student teachers are especially unpopular when they stop observing classrooms and begin to teach. While I am sympa- BY AURORA FONSECA thetic to the fact that they are still learning, student Guest Writer teachers are often detrimental to student learning in the classroom. Because student teachers lack experience, they can’t always effectively get their point across. If they cannot adequately explain a subject, then their students are at a disadvantage and do not receive the education they are expected to have. When student teachers become the instructor for the classroom, it is often difficult for students to adjust. Because student teachers don’t carry the same amount of authority as the fully-trained instructors, they often are unable to manage the classroom. Students can take advantage of their inexperience, causing behavioral problems and disruptions. Once a student teacher has lost control of a classroom, it can be very difficult to reclaim, causing even more lost instruction time and putting the students even further behind. These issues are frequently exacerbated, when student teachers are left alone with the students. Although they might be capable adults, they still require supervision in the classroom. When they lack the guidance of the primary teacher, they can teach things that are not entirely accurate to students who have no means to know the correct information. Student teachers who don’t know what they’re talking about can often create large problems when students are taught incorrectly lead to confusion. Once something is learned the wrong way, it is generally difficult to correct the situation. Student teaching may be a necessary process, but at times it can be a disservice to the studetns attempting to learn new material -- leaving them iritated and confused.


ighty-seven minutes can seem like an eternity for students. However, when student teachers take over the class, I have observed many students sit at their desks with new-found energy, eagerly awaiting the instruction from a different instructor. Teachers at Clarke Central are typically exciting and stimulating, but when something -- or someone-- new is added to the class, these student teachers can spark a new light in the subject’s interest. BY HANNA HARPER Student teachers are extremely beneficial to Guest Writer students. When one instructor is preoccupied, the other will almost always be another available to provide assistance. Personally, waiting for ages with my hand raised has become a game of patience, and often times I lose or even forget my question. This is eradicated with student teachers. A student teacher also tends to be closer to the students’ age, which can make it easier or more comfortable for a student to communicate and, overall, connect with the teacher. It’s also important to remember that the student teacher is there for their own sake, not just for helping out a group of rambunctious high school students. They are there to earn an education degree, or at least gain some sort of knowledge in the teaching field. So, in a way, we’re helping them in return for their effort. Judging from past experiences, student teachers can bring something new to the table that usually helps me find more interest in that class. While my teachers provide a fulfilling educational experience, having a fresh face in the classroom that is ready and happy to help is additionally encouraging.

Cartoons by William Kissane

Left: NERVOUS WRECK: Some Clarke Central High School students feel that it hinders learning in classrooms when student teachers begin to teach. They sometimes seem unable to manage classrooms or effectively explain their lessons. Above: CLOSE RELATIONS: In contrast, other students feel that student teachers help CCHS students feel more comfortable in school, since they are closer in age.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 9


Constant cover up Clarke Central High School restrooms are repeatedly covered in graffiti, requiring frequent, extra and unnecessary tasks for the custodial staff.


BY ETHAN CRANE Viewpoints Writer

s I walked into the first floor restroom, the faint odor of paint hit me. The graffiti on the walls that had made me both chuckle and cringe had been shrouded by a shiny coat of beige. It is not a shock to walk into the bathroom to find toilet paper draping the ceiling like party streamers with mountain-like formations of it heaped on the floor, fresh graffiti on the wall and overflowing sinks stuffed with trash. The initial shock of walking into such a situation wears off quickly, as the appalling mess is all

too common. Seeing crude or gang-related messages tagged along the sides of stalls and next to sinks does not give our school a positive image. The scrawl makes both students and visitors feel uncomfortable and often unsafe.

“The custodians could be concentrating on or fixing something else. There are a lot of things to be done, and it’s harder when you spend 30 minutes trying to get (graffiti) off the wall.” -- MICHEAL BROOKINS, Clarke Central High School head custodian Is this what we wish to show as our public face? Students may not consider bathrooms to be integral to educational instruction, but the reality is our facilities are used by students every day, as well as visitors to CCHS. Because students generally do not report graffiti in the bathrooms, faculty and staff members are left to be the reporters of restroom conditions. “We always notify the custodial staff immediately when we see (graffiti) because we like to get it off as soon as possible,” CCHS assistant principal Dr. Sheila Dunham said. “We’ve learned that graffiti begets more graffiti which begets more graffiti. If we leave it on there, the entire wall will get covered because students may think that we don’t care.” It is not always convenient to remove this graffiti, however, due to fumes released by paints and mark removers. As result, the bathrooms cannot be re-painted or cleaned using these products during school hours, causing a prolonged exposure to undesirable bathroom conditions for many. “(CCHS) has more problems than just getting graffiti off the walls,” CCHS night head custodian Michael Brookins said. “The custodians could be concentrating on or fixing something else. There are a lot of things to be done, and it’s harder when you spend 30 minutes trying to get (graffiti) off the wall.” School resources are being used to try to keep our bathrooms looking


Cartoon by Marina Byrne

Left: SPRAYING SLOGANS: Clarke Central High School bathrooms are repeatedly defaced and damaged by students, both in the form of graffiti and damage to the rooms’ fixtures. This problem could easily be stopped by the effort of students and would help to relieve an additional burden from the school’s custodial staff.

presentable, which is a waste of time and energy for the custodial staff. While making sure that graffiti is kept to a minimum is important, completely removing it from the bathrooms is a lofty aspiration. CCHS has multiple bathrooms on each floor, making it hard to monitor continually, thus adding a further burden to the administration and the custodial staff. Putting the burden of having to constantly re-paint parts of the school’s many bathrooms is not fair to CCHS’ custodians, who work hard to keep our school as clean as it is. Students must make more of an effort to disregard bathroom messages and to furthermore discontinue the spread of graffiti in the bathrooms. Collectively, the school building and its facilities represents CCHS students. We should be embarrassed that the bathrooms have been continually defaced and mistreated. Although bathrooms seem to be a minute, forsaken corner of CCHS, they are facilities we cannot, and should not, treat like trash.

December 2012


The facts of the matter

Saving Josiah

The stereotypes created about Muslisms lead to detrimental assumptions about the Islamic religion.

After a year of progress, Josiah Tedder has made large improvements and will continue to do so.


hen a tragedy occurs, the people harmed seem to automatically blame a certain person or group. In general, people should not jump to such conclusions, but this is often done in regard to Muslims around the world. After 9/11, many Americans blamed all Muslims for the attacks instead of the one BY RUQAYAH BHUIYAN group that did it. Not all Muslims are terrorGuest Writer ists and not all terrorists are Muslim. One of the major stereotypes about Islam is that it is a religion of war. In reality, Islam is a religion of peace that teaches respect of others and their religions. Misinterpretations of the teaching of Islam, even by Muslims, have led people to believe that the only way to resolve anything is through violence. It is important not to judge Islam is a religion of peace that teaches respect a religion or culture without and understanding of first understanding it. others and their religions. A majority of Muslims around the world do not agree with any sort of war, including myself. I personally don’t agree at all with the ideals of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Many people also believe all women in Islam are oppressed, but this is not true. In Islam, we are equal to men in the eyes of our god. If a Muslim woman chooses to wear the headscarf it doesn’t mean they were told to wear it by their father or husband. I wear the headscarf, or hijab. My parents did not force me or even say I needed to. I chose on my own to wear it, and I have no regrets. It is important not to judge a religion or culture without first understanding it. It’s easy to search for information or ask questions, and knowing the truth can help end the cycle of misinformation. It is the worst thing to be ignorant of a subject and still feel entitled to judge it.

Cartoon by Lois Songster

Above: BATTLING STEREOTYPES: Stereotypes against Muslims across the world lead to misconceptions about Islam and its followers.

Above: BROTHERLY LOVE: Josiah Tedder (left), son of Clarke Central High School media specialist Kacy Tedder loves to play with his brother, Asher. Josiah’s diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder does not interefere with his playtime with his brother.


ince last year’s article on my son, Josiah Tedder, great strides have been made in battling his Autism Spectrum Disorder. With continued early interventions with occupational therapists and speech therapists each week, Josiah is making much progress. He is served by Clarke County School District with early interventionists BY KACY TEDDER Guest Writer visiting him, as well as weekly speech sessions with a district speech and language pathologist. Josiah has superseded everyone’s expectations with how well he has progressed in just one year. He continues to amaze everyone with whom he comes in contact! As he told me one night at bedtime, “Mom, I am going to do great things one day!” I certainly agree. Josiah is also involved in many extra-curricular activities and is able to participate in them due to the great strides he has made. He participates in weekly piano, dance and music lessons, and loves to play soccer and basketball. He also enjoys attending Sunday School classes and youth group classes at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, playing in the park, riding his bike, reading books to his little brother, Asher, playing with puzzles and practicing addition problems. He has a wide range of interests and talents and excels with each endeavor in which he is involved. There are still ongoing battles for insurance coverage for his therapy sessions, as well as for many other families who have children with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is my hope to one day work with legislators in developing a law, “Josiah’s Law,” to help fund the vital therapies that families need, as well as hold insurance companies accountable for their coverage for these families. There are many small battles left to fight in order to get the proper insurance coverage for Josiah and his Autism Spectrum Disorder, but we are tackling them one at a time. Hopefully, one day, “Josiah’s Law” will help families to overcome these very overwhelming and frustrating battles. I have been asked to speak at various Autism events in the state of Georgia to discuss Josiah’s journey with the Autism Spectrum Disorder in hopes of helping others who are faced with this challenge. I am in the process of working on my second book that will detail my family’s journey with the Autism Spectrum Disorder, hopefully opening the doors for others who are beginning on this very overwhelming, but incredibly rewarding, journey.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 11


A DREAM deferred Although passage of the DREAM Act has been made a partisan issue in the past, its enactment would benefit all Americans.


n Christmas Eve in 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama said very bluntly: “Something we can do immediately that I think is very important is to pass the DREAM Act.” To the cheer of the crowd, Obama described the importance of allowing all students to have opportunities for higher education, hoping to avoid creating “two classes of citizens.” Less than a month away from the four-year anniversary of this statement, the Defense, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act still has yet to be passed. After 71 percent of Latino voters supported Obama in the 2012 election, it is past time for Obama to fulfill his promises. And activists and DREAMers, a name used to describe undocumented people who would qualify for the DREAM Act, are working to ensure he does just that. In Georgia, various organizations, such as the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance, work to support undocumented students’ plight for greater rights. GUYA, led by undocumented youth, aims to provide “dignity and justice for the Immigrant Community in the state of Ga.,” according to their website. Given the activism, the support and the hope spawned by this issue, it is difficult to find a reason the DREAM Act has not been passed. As this legislative session begins, it is important to clear up misconceptions and urge legislators to vote in favor of the DREAM Act. It is easy to poke holes in the arguments of the opposition, and there are multiple reasons why the passage of the DREAM Act would benefit the enitre country. The DREAM Act is a comprehensive piece of legislation with strict stipulations. It is not amnesty, a common misconception, and one that prompted Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to oppose the DREAM Act in 2007. According to the 2010 legislation, in order to be eligible for the DREAM Act, one must be cleared by the FBI, graduate from high school or receive an equivalent diploma and advance into a post-secondary program, whether educational or within the military. After two years in that program, an undocumented person is eligible to receive a green card and become a permanent resident. Some legislators who have opposed the DREAM Act, such as Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., feel the DREAM Act incentivizes illegal immigration. This is also untrue. To qualify for the DREAM Act, undocumented students must have entered the country before the age of 16 and be younger than the age of 35. They must have also been physically present in the U.S. for five years continuously, and they must meet all of these stipulations prior to the passage of this law. 12 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE |

The enactment of the DREAM Act also would stimulate the economy. In a study conducted in October 2012 by the Center for American Progress in conjunction with Partnership for a New American Economy, Juan Carlos Guzman and Raul C. Jara found that 1.4 million new jobs would be created by 2030. This would cause a 19 percent increase in earnings, which would equal 148 billion dollars. With 1.4 million new jobs, 10 billion dollars in increased revenue and 181 billion dollars from the economic impact, the total economic effect of passing the DREAM Act would create 329 billion dollars for the economy. Beyond any of the stipulations of the law or the bountiful economic impact, the main reason I personally support the DREAM Act is because I am a student. As students, we all walk down the same hallways; we complain about the same cafeteria food and we all desperately seek freedom from our parents. Whether or not one of us is documented has never even crossed my mind. As a student and person, I would be negatively impacted if undocumented students, our classmates, were excluded. My life, my friends and my educational experiences would be completely different. By passing the DREAM Act, our economy will grow; more DREAMers will be able to reach their full potential and students around the country will not lose the necessary and poignant voices of undocumented students in our schools. Passing the DREAM Act should be common sense for everyone. For those who want to get rid of these students, let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face.

Cartoon by Lois Songster

Above: A DREAM COME TRUE?: Many undocumented students were brought to the United States as toddlers and have grown up feeling like the U.S. citizens. It is necessary to enact legislation that would give them a fair chance in the country to be successful.

December 2012


Umbrella covers and ice-cream trucks Living life with an eccentric father has been anything but boring.


ho needs a beach umbrella cover if they don’t have a beach umbrella? advertising it. In the rationale of my dad, if the umbrella cover is on sale, we do. His simple red and white magnetic business cards are everywhere. For as long as I can remember, my dad has had an obsession with He sticks them on mailboxes. Random cars. The refrigerators of anyone’s sales. He loves the clearance racks at grocery stores. And don’t bring him near a house we visit. yard sale unless you want to bring home hundreds of items you don’t need. For a week, his business card was even on a billboard in Atlanta because This is only one of my dad’s numerous strange attributes. he won a contest he entered at Office Depot. He’s a half-Cuban, who grew up speaking both Spanish and English, yet he Everyone suspected him of lying when he told of us his prize, but lo and pronounces the Spanish word for cheese like Qway-so (queso). behold on our way to Atlanta, there was that familiar red and white card on a He’s always been an entrepreneur with milrotating billboard. lions of ideas. At the age of 7 he sold everything He even considered opening a beauty While we’re on the subject of in his room he could bear to part with for a times when his supposed lies turned shop after buying the supplies of one out to be true, let me tell you about whopping five dollars. This profit was used to begin his candy bar business. the time we made the news. that went bankrupt. My dad also had his own ice cream truck It was about two years ago when when he lived in Florida, luckily this second more than 8 inches of snow fell in encounter with the ice cream business was much more successful than his first. A Athens. Our power was out, so we headed to our neighbor’s house because few years earlier he had been fired from an ice cream shop for falling asleep while they had a gas burning stove. filling cones. “By the way,” he said. “I just talked to a Fox 5 News reporter; they’ll be He’s also wanted to start a zip lining business. He’s had his own vending here in about 30 minutes.” machines. He even considered opening a beauty shop after buying the supplies of “Sure,” we said. “Whatever you say.” one that went bankrupt. None of us believed him for a second. His business ideas are too good to keep to himself, so he has to share them An hour later we heard a knock on the door. with almost everyone he meets. We sent my younger sister to open the door, and soon, we heard her yell, Talking is one of my dad’s greatest loves. Once he starts a conversation with “There are some people with microphones and cameras here!” someone, whether it is about one of his ideas, or something else, they should Apparently he was driving around town when he saw a news reporter expect the conversation to last 30 minutes. If they’re lucky. outside a grocery store. He The best strategy is to just struck up a conversation and smile and nod and wish that just happened to mention he’ll stop talking. that the neighborhood was Though it’s very unlikely coming together to survive this wish will be fulfilled. My the terrible snowstorm. Like dad can talk for hours on end I said, my dad will talk to about almost any topic. And anyone. he’ll talk to anyone. As the holidays approach Literally anyone. my dad’s strange personality The mailman who’s trying only becomes stranger. His to finish his route; the sick newest idea is pull-down lady in the doctor’s waiting blinds with a picture of a room who just wants to be decorated Christmas tree on left alone; the waiter who isn’t them, so when they’re pulled even taking care of our table. down, neighbors think you’ve Once you get sucked into decorated. a conversation with him, But I don’t wish for a expect to be given one of his second that I had a more business cards. He owns “normal” dad. If I did, who his own air conditioning would be there to call the business and is constantly Fox 5 News Team? Cartoon by William Kissane

Above: GOOD ‘OLE DAD: Upon winning a contest hosted by Office Depot, my father’s famous business card that can be found on him at any time could be seen for a week on a billboard in Atlanta, Ga.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 13

News briefs

(Christmas Parade picture)

Above: SPREADING CHRISTMAS CHEER: On Dec. 6, the Athens community gathered to watch the annual Christmas parade. Several CCHS students participated in the parade for their respective activities.

Seniors with a secret

This school year, Clarke Central High School announced the reinstitution of the Secret Senior program, a voluntary program that aims to build stronger relationships between students and teachers. “If you choose a teacher you don’t know, you get to know them through the gifts you give and get. That was the main reason I did it,” CCHS senior Katie DeLoach said. “It’s also kind of cool because they don’t know who you are.” If a senior wishes to participate, they select a faculty member, yet their identity remains a secret. Throughout the year, the senior and the faculty member exchange gifts and small tokens of acknowledgement or encouragement. “It’s a way to connect seniors and teachers, a way to set the senior class apart,” CCHS foreign language department teacher Ellen Harris said. “Clarke Central would benefit from stronger senior leadership, and maybe this could become a way to encourage that a bit.”

Parading around town A

nnually, Athens-Clarke County holds its Downtown Parade of Lights that takes place every first Thursday of December. The parade began at the intersection of Dougherty and Pulaski St. at 7 p.m. Many Clarke Central High School students were able to participate in the parade, including students from the CCHS Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, CCHS Marching Band and CCHS varsity cheerleading team, who paraded through the streets of Downtown, ending at City Hall. “Seeing the crowd’s reaction to us when we marched up the first hill was a great feeling,” CCHS sophomore Gedia Powell said. According to Powell, the Marching Band spent time practicing fundamental marching skills for the parade two times a week, for three weeks, to make sure their routine was polished. “For all the practice we do, it definitely pays off in the end,” Powwell said. “We work really hard.” Outside of participating in the parade, students were also able to enjoy different aspects that night, such as the many awards.s. Awards such as “Most Original Float,” “Best Use of Lights” and “Best Use of Theme” are given out to different participants. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was one of the themes being taken on this year. “The judging was my favorite (part of the parade) because they announce the names of the winners from the school or program,” CCHS sophomore Connor Blankenship said. Blankenship also feels that participating in the parade is beneficial for CCHS. “Participating in the parade is important for CCHS because it gives us publicity in the community,” Blankenship said. -- Brittney Butler, News Writer


Photo by Porter McLeod


Paving an open road

Georgia Open Road is a driver’s education program that can now be taken at the Athens Community Career Academy. This program prepares students for the Georgia Department of Driver Services’ driving exam. Georgia Open Road instructors Elise Johnson and Cindy Murphy started the Open Road Program to promote safe driving among teenagers. “Car crashes are the number one killer of teens,” Johnson said. “There’s not much emphasis put on (safe driving) in the school setting.” Georgia Open Road was originally located only in Oconee County, but is now collaborating with the ACCA. The purpose of the partnership is to provide easy access for Clarke County students looking to participate in a driver’s education course. “We want students to get their driver’s licenses, but more importantly than that, we want (them) to get home safely every single day,” Johnson said. Both Johnson and Murphy have previous background working with students as high school counselors and are aware of the importance of driver’s education. “All of the schools that we’ve ever worked in, we have lost students to car crashes,” Johnson said. “And from a counseling perspective, that’s devastating. That’s why we do what we do.”

Cans for a cause

Clarke Central High School participated in the 32nd Annual Can-A-Thon this fall to benefit the Athens Area Emergency Food Bank. Over 1,100 canned goods were collected by CCHS faculty and students. “I felt like (CCHS) needed to be participants,” CCHS Principal’s Secretary Cheryl Lee said. “We needed to participate, step up and put Central in the game.” Collection boxes were located throughout the school, including in the media center, the counseling office and the main office. CCHS’ goal was to collect over 1,200 cans by Dec. 5. “We’re just trying to reach out in as many ways as we can because we’re pretty fortunate,” Lee said. “Times are tough for everybody.”

December 2012

Photo by Maria Velasquez


I heard that

“ ” “ “ ” “ ”

If you know that somebody is sick, don’t kiss them. MEGAN COLE, Clarke Central High School nurse, offering advice to students as flu season begins.

It was just interesting how the people interact and it’s good to get into a rotation with other people you don’t have classes with.

ELISA POLLEX, CCHS junior and German exchange student, on her experience in the drama club.

I think the Wellness Policy is a good thing. Hopefully, it’ll teach life-long healthy eating habits. STEPHEN HINSON, CCHS social studies department teacher, on the Clarke County School District’s new wellness policy.


Technology rolls in

he Clarke County School District’s new two-for-one technology initiative, a goal to provide one technological device for every two students, is now in full swing. In late November, Clarke Central High School received 504 new netbook computers to replace the previous set of laptop computers, purchased in 200X. In addition to the netbooks, the CCSD also purchased 96 new desktop computers to replace the computers in three CCHS computer labs, Lab 201, Lab 301 and Lab 302. “The new technology will make it easier to share relevant information with students,” CCHS social studies department teacher Hannah Wechsler said. “They are faster and, therefore, more convenient to use.” Wechsler also believes that new netbooks are more userfriendly than the previously used laptops. “The test round went well. We had no major problems,” Wechsler said. “The batteries last a long time and the students were able to log on and off quickly.” CCHS junior Analisa Boza has an opposing opinion. “The keyboard is so small,” Boza said. “When I set my hands down to type, I either press two letters or my palms hit the mouse and it messes me up.” However, Wechsler believes that the new technology being introduced into classrooms will enhance the learning environment of CCHS. “I’m excited that we will have these carts in addition to the computer labs,” Wechsler said. “I look forward to planning lessons that incorporate the use of this new resource.”

I like the new netbooks because they run faster than the old laptops. They work for my small hands but I think they’re too little for bigger people. CLAUDIA GORMAN, CCHS freshman, on the 504 brand new netbook computers that were purchased by the Clarke County School District.

Below: HAND IN WHAT YOU CAN: Clarke Central High School participated in the 32nd Annual Can-A-Thon with the goal of collecting over 1,200 cans. “I felt like (CCHS) needed to be participants,” CCHS Principal’s Secretary Cheryl Lee said. “We don’t realize how fortunate we are sometimes, so we need to reach out and help others however we can and this is a great opportunity to do so.”

-- Brittney Butler, News Writer December 2012

Photo by Maria Velasquez

Above: TAKING ON TECHNOLOGY: Clarke County School District’s two-to-one Technology Initiative provides one netbook to every two students in CCSD schools. Clarke Central High School students, such as sophomore Perrin Aycock, have already used the newly introduced netbooks.

-- Compiled by News Staff | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 15


Cutting calories The Clarke County School District’s wellness policy was revised by the school board and the new policy was adopted for the 2012-13 school year. News Editor

Photos by Maria Velasquez


he Clarke County School District, in an attempt to ness of individuals,” Lanoue said. “Are there things that we can do differently, as improve the health of its students, adopted a rea school, that can impact you as a person in terms of your own wellness?” vised wellness policy on Aug. 9. The policy, which According to Farmer, the 2006 policy the Clarke County School Board adopted was originally implemented in 2006, is designed in a way that puts an increased aimed to provide school-level guidelines on nutrition and physical activity in emphasis on healthier food options in schools. order to promote a healthy school environment. “The wellness policy starts to look at some of the things we do as an orga“The decision (to establish the wellness policy) was a federal mandate,” nization,” CCSD Superintendent Dr. Philip Lanoue said. “We can’t control Farmer said. “Section 204 of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act directed all everything and we can’t control what you’re eating at home, but I believe we school districts participating in the federally funded child nutrition programs to can make a difference.” establish a local school wellness policy for all schools in the district.” According to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia ranks second in the The revised policy was intended to build upon the same ideals by establishnation in childhood obesity, with nearly 40 percent of Georgia children being ing more specific goals for nutrition education, physical activity and nutritional either overweight or obese. The CCSD educates roughly 12,000 students, guidelines. meaning that an estimated 4,800 of those students are at risk from problems “(Following the 2011-12 school year), school districts were encouraged to associated with childreview their local wellness policies and hood obesity. “The Wellness Policy starts to look at some of the begin implementing the new require“I think the policy ments (set forth by federal guidelines),” things we do as an organization. We can’t control Farmer said. is important to help promote student The wellness policy also required the everything and we can’t control what you’re eating school wellness and reduce district to establish a plan for at home, but I believe we can make a difference.” implementation. Parents, students, repchildhood obesity,” CCSD Nutrition Direcresentatives of the school food authortor Paula Farmer said. ity, the school board and the public Dr. Philip Lanoue, were included in the development and “Childhood obesity Clarke County School District Superintendent implementation of the plan. is resulting in health problems that previ“The goal is to help students establish ously were not seen until adulthood, including high blood pressure, diabetes life-long healthy eating and exercise patterns,” Farmer said. “Studies show that and elevated cholesterol levels.” students with better nutrition have better attention spans, better class participaThe wellness policy, which was written in accordance with Georgia state law tion and higher test scores.” and federal guidelines, offers CCSD students healthy and nutritious food opThe new wellness policy has most directly impacted the foods being served tions, along with opportunities for physical activity. in the cafeteria. While the changes have not been drastic, there has been an “We have a goal to examine all policies and procedures that impact the wellincrease in the amount of fruits and vegetables offered. “There are more healthier options and I’m seeing more people picking up salads,” CCHS senior Trevor Redmond said. “I’ve been around this school for four years now and there are a lot more fruits and vegetables. I think it’s a great thing and it is helping students get healthier in their lifestyles.” The school district, while implementing the new wellness policy, hoped to avoid upsetting students or creating any negative responses, BY LORAN POSEY

Left: A WELL-ROUNDED MEAL: The Clarke County School District’s new wellness policy has brought healthier options and an increased variety of fruits and vegetables to the Clarke Central High School cafeteria. Students like CCHS senior Trevor Redmond approve of the change.


December 2012

NEWS Right: HEALTHIER IS HAPPIER: Clarke Central High School senior Roderick Crawford enjoys a salad during lunch on Dec. 4. More fruits and vegetables are now being served throughout the Clarke County School District as part of the new wellness policy, which aims at providing students with healthier food options.

“The goal is to help students establish life-long healthy eating and exercise patterns,” --PAULA FARMER, Clarke Country School District Nutrition but requirements took precedence over student opinion. “Student opinion is important, however, complying with federal guidelines is a requirement, not an option,” Farmer said. While it is a priority of the district to create healthier schools, Farmer believes that it is possible for students to have an impact on CCSD decisions. “Students can get involved in making their schools healthier,” Farmer said. “Because many of the changes that are being implemented through the Wellness Policy directly impact students, (their) input and support is important and will enable healthy changes to happen more quickly.” Lanoue approves of the direction that the new wellness policy takes the district in, but understands that the CCSD cannot control every aspect of student health. But he is optimistic about what the district can control: food options at schools. “I think that our goal is this: when you come to school, we’ll work with healthy choices,” Lanoue said. Lanoue and Farmer both believe that the Wellness Policy represents a greater commitment and responsibility that the CCSD must respect. “The CCSD has a role, as part of the larger community, to model and actively practice through policies and procedures: the promotion of student health, physical activity and good nutrition,” Farmer said.

Fundamental CCSD Beliefs

Clarke County School District Wellness Policy Adopted Aug. 9, 2012 - Children need healthful foods and need opportunities to be physically active in order to grow, learn and thrive.

- Community participation is essential to the development and implementation of a successful district wellness program. - A strong district wellness program will have a positive, lasting effect on students. Compiled by Loran Posey Information taken from CCSD wellness policy

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 17

Photos by Chloe Hargrave

- Good health is essential to foster better student attendance and achievement.


Photo by Maria Velasquez

Above: GLAD TO BE HERE: Clarke Central High School freshman Trevor Jackson ponders buying school supplies from manager Laura Cofer in the newly stocked Glad Shack. “I think it’s important for students, parents and the community to have access to CCHS spirit wear,” Cofer said.

The Glad Shack still stands

Previously operated by school marketing classes, the school store has undergone changes due to the Career Technical and Agricultural Education department’s relocating to the Athens Career Academy.


ormer Clarke Central High School marketing “I think it’s important for students, parents and the community to have access teacher Vickie Shell and her students opened to CCHS spirit wear,” Cofer said. “Our school and district often get a bad rap, the doors to the Glad Shack multiple days each and we need to do all we can to promote a sense of school spirit.” week of the 2011-12 school year. Another change to the Glad Shack is to its inventory. Last year, snacks and “I think having a spirit store is imbeverages were available for “We need to do all we can to promote a sense purchase in the Glad Shack, but portant for the CCHS Community,” CCHS junior varsity football assistant food and drinks are no longer of school spirit.” cheerleading coach Laura Cofer said. available due to the latest Clarke However, students are no longer County School District Wellness -- LAURA COFER, Policy. The policy was adopted involved in operating the school store because the Career, Technical Clarke Central High School JV football assistant cheerleading coach on Aug. 9, and its goal is to proand Agricultural Education departmote healthier diets for CCSD ment was relocated to the Athens students. Community Career Academy at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. “It’s kind of a contradiction if we’re going to try to prepare healthy (food) and With the departure of the CTAE programs, the formerly student-run store is then sell chips and sodas all day long (in the Glad Shack,)” CCSD Superintennow operated by the CCHS athletic department. dent Dr. Philip Lanoue said. “There was no one to run the school store, so the athletic department asked According to Lanoue, the Wellness Policy will have a lasting and positive effect (CCHS Principal Dr. Robbie P.) Hooker if it would be permissible for the athletic on students. The policy contains guidelines that limit what foods and drinks can department to run it,” Athetic Director Dr. John Ward said. “(Profits) go into a be sold in CCSD schools during the day based on their nutritional values. general athletic account, used primarily to purchase uniforms for the different “Students can get involved in making their schools healthier,” CCSD Nutrition teams.” Director Paula Farmer said. “Many of the changes that are being implemented Cofer manages the Glad Shack with help from the CCHS Young Life chapter through the wellness policy directly impact students.” leaders, who are all University of Georgia students. However, students like CCHS sophomore Mariah Isbell are not pleased with According to, it is “A non-denominational Christian ministry that the wellness policy’s results on the Glad Shack. reaches out to adolescents through building meaningful relationships.” The “The Glad Shack is pointless if it doesn’t sell food,” Isbell said. “You can go in Young Life volunteers use the Glad Shack as a platform to get to know more there and buy clothing, but other than that, what really is the point to having CCHS students. it?” “(It is) a really cool opportunity just to be in Clarke Central for lunch and just While students like Isbell have been disappointed with the changes, Hooker is seeing (students) more,” Young Life leader Alex Finkhousen said. pleased with the Glad Shack’s new operational protocol. According to Cofer, in addition to fundraising, another reason the new Glad “It’s nice to see (students) at the (football) game come spirited with your Shack functions to promote school spirit and build sense of community. (CCHS) clothing,” Hooker said. “If you go to high schools that really have team spirit, they believe in it, they wear it. They buy this stuff.” BY BRITTNEY BUTLER News Writer


December 2012


The final factor As the semester comes to an end, end-of-course tests and final exams can be stressful and impact both students and teachers.


s the holiday break approaches, final exams and didn’t get it before, they can study hard and show me that they’ve got it in the end-of-course tests hold precedence throughout end so it can work for them.” Clarke Central High School classrooms, affecting Teachers and staff members are also given additional responsibilities when the 20 percent of each student’s grade. The tests provide an opportunity for teachend of the year approaches, concerning both their methods of teaching and the ers to review and conclude the curriculum. effectiveness of those methods. “(The EOCT) is such a high risk test,” CCHS English department teacher Brian “We have students who are not passing, and hopefully it will click in the last Ash said. “You want your students to do well on them because it reflects on couple of days before the EOCT,” Russell said. “So, you try to make sure that you.” they are working diligently in the book and working during class time. There’s Although all classes have some form of a final grade, whether it is a project or just the overall stress in making sure and hoping that everyone passed; just a multiple choice exam, eleven core classes are also required to administer an thinking daily ‘what more can I do?’” EOCT. According to CCHS junior Fantashia Wester, however, EOCTs and finals acTypically consisting of two online sessions, both allowing approximately 60 counting for 20 percent can also be a factor in determining whether or not a minutes to complete, EOCTs are allotted two days. student passes a class. “I think there’s enormous pressure on some of the (students) to do well, “If I end up failing (the EOCT), I wouldn’t want to end up taking the course probably too much,” Ash said. “It’s just the nature of the beast.” over again,” Wester said. “(The EOCT) is a waste of time because I feel like it Teachers begin review shouldn’t stop a person from going on to the next for these finals as early as grade as long as they’re still passing the class, but “I always tell my kids they should be November and continue they fail the End-of-Course Test.” to do so until the testing Although final exams and EOCTs require both stronger at the end (of the semester) period. Each teacher has time and effort from students and teachers to practhan they were at the beginning, so this tice, they also provide students with remediation their own method for review. opportunities while preparing them for the future. is like another chance they have to be “In our (EOCT) packet, “For some people testing is overwhelming, but successful.” we have six units that we I think if you plan appropriately it shouldn’t be -- VALERIE RUSSELL, as overwhelming,” CCHS principal Dr. Robbie P. cover; so I take a unit a Clarke Central High School math department teacher Hooker said. “Stress during the holiday season, it’s day,” CCHS math department teacher Valerie like that in college as well.” Russell said. “For the first six days we just go through vocabulary words and all of the standards and what they mean. The last two days, we review everything.” Ash has similar teaching methods, yet he prefers to stray away from the provided booklets and instead attempts to make the material more engaging. “I like to do a lot of things to test (the students’) stamina, where they have to read for long periods of time and answer questions from an excerpt or some reading passage,” Ash said. “That’s the best way to prepare for that test, rather than just flip through the book and talk about metaphors and similes.” Although Ash believes EOCTs may prove to be overwhelming for students, Russell feels the resulting grade compensates for the test. “I always tell my kids they should be stronger at the end (of the semester) than they were at the beginning, so this is like another chance they have to be successful,” Russell said. “If they BY GENEVA HINKLE News Writer

Right: CHOOSE THE BEST ANSWER: As a part of the End-Of-Course Testing, classes will prepare for the tests by either studying exam packets, or working on projects within the class.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 19


Photo by Porter McLeod

Above: PART OF THE SCENERY: International Baccalaureate/Gifted Collaborator Dr. Meri Blackburn serves as a helping figure in the school for teachers, administrators and gifted students. “I have absolute confidence in her intellect and work ethic and everything that goes into the product that she has that I would have absolutely no problems putting my name next to hers on a document,” CCHS Associate principal Mary Thielman.

Changing roles International Baccalaureate/Gifted Collaborator Meri Blackburn has new responsibilities for the 2012-13 school year.


ormer foreign language department teacher anyone with advanced classes,” Blackburn said. Dr. Meri Blackburn now resides in Room 131, Blackburn’s responsibilities last year included teaching, grading papers and where she meets with teachers and seeks to creating lesson plans, which required her to spend extensive hours outside of provide improvements for the school. school. This year her work takes place during school hours, and for the most Blackburn assumed the role of the International Baccalaureate/Gifted Colpart includes meeting with faculty. laborator in addition to her duties as School Scheduler in August. “Last year when I left here, no matter what time it was, I went home and I “I really enjoyed teaching and being with kids, so that is an adjustment, but worked for another two hours. Now I feel (all) the stuff I have to do is here,” I was talking to someone the other day and they said, ‘You know you can do Blackburn said. more good for the school out of the classroom,’” Blackburn said. CCHS English department teacher Brian Ash finds Blackburn’s new responsiBlackburn was initially offered the position for the 2011-12 school year, bilities very helpful. but chose to continue teaching. The following year, Blackburn was offered the “There (are) less teachers this year than there were last year, and she’s picked position again. up a lot of that slack and weight because she can and she knows how to do “I was asked two years ago if I would do this last year, and I said I would all of it. I don’t think they would ask her to do it if they didn’t think she’d do a think about it and I decided that I wasn’t ready to leave the classroom so I actugood job at it,” Ash said. ally said no because I needed more student time. Then it was reintroduced to me as a job for this “There (are) less teachers this year than there were last school year and I thought about it and I came back and said yes,” Blackburn said. year, and she’s picked up a lot of that slack and weight In her new position, Blackburn faces tasks because she can and she knows how to do all of it.” concerning teachers, as opposed to spending a significant amount of time with students. “With my Gifted Facilitator job, I’ve been spend-- BRIAN ASH, ing more time with teachers. But, I’m kind of focusClarke Central High School English department teacher ing in the ninth and tenth grade classes because of IB. But the Gifted part of me could work with BY CHLOE HARGRAVE Editor-in-chief


December 2012


Meri’s Evolution Information compiled by Chloe Hargrave


Senior Meri Marino participated on the varsity football cheerleading team and graduated from Clarke Central High School. Photo courtesy of Gladius

2001 Blackburn completes her fourth year as a foreign language department teacher at CCHS.

Photo courtesy of Meri Blackburn


Photo courtesy of Gladius

Although she often works with teachers and administrators, Blackburn’s new role is not considered an administrative position. “She has gone through the Rising Stars program, which made her eligible for a leadership certificate meaning (she) can serve in a K-12 school,” CCHS Associate Principal Mary Thielman said. “Her certificate allows her to do the same thing. She just hasn’t been employed by the district as an administrator.” Although Blackburn is not recognized as an administrator, she is welcomed by CCHS administrators to contribute another voice. “She is not responsible for (some administrative tasks, but) she does provide leadership, voice and direction to some of the most critical programs or initiatives,” Thielman said. Blackburn may not be able to spend 90 minutes with students every day or be considered a disciplinary figure, but as a way of incorporating her voice, Thielman welcomes Blackburn when counseling students. “Because she has such a good relationship with many (students), if I have a (student) and I just need another adult voice I will frequently ask her to come down and say, ‘I’d like to introduce you to so and so. They’re having trouble in this course or this social setting,’” Thielman said. Despite the time she does have with students, Blackburn finds the separation from kids is the hardest part about the new position. “Not having students (is tough). Kids come and see me throughout the day and I mentor a couple students, so I see them which is good, but it’s different. I’m adjusting, but it’s tough,” Blackburn said. Although Blackburn is not able to spend as much time with students as in the past, she still spends time outside of school hours facilitating clubs such as the Humane Society Club and Relay for Life. “She’s a lot of fun she’s always willing to take anyone in and have a lot of people and willing to do the work,” CCHS junior Josefine Streipen said. In the beginning of the year, majority of Blackburn’s work involved scheduling. Now that the scheduling period is over, she has explored other parts of her new position. “It’s really early right now, I’m not sure what neat little turns it will take this year, but I’m starting to catch my breath,” Blackburn said. As Blackburn grows into the position, she still finds different aspects of her responsibilities. “I’m learning more and more about my job and it’s very exciting,” Blackburn said. “I’m starting to get to my groove now and I think my groove is going to be a good place.”

Blackburn leaves CCHS for one and a half years to pursue a family. While gone, Blackburn was on the school council for CCHS.

2008 After being away from teaching for two years, Blackburn returns as Scheduler along with her teaching duties. Photo by Porter McLeod

December 2012 odysseynewsmagazine.

2012 Blackburn leaves the class room to work as International Baccalaureate/Gifted Collaborator.


Community Changers As the holidays near, Clarke Central High School service clubs reach out to the Athens community in order to make a difference.


Photo by Porter McLeod

ith temperatures falling and winter BY BRITTNEY BUTLER approaching, the spirit of the holidays News Writer has descended upon Athens, Ga. and, specifically, on Clarke Central High School. As a result, CCHS clubs including Beta Club, Interact Club and the National Honor Society (NHS) participate in service projects during the holiday season. “I think that community service can reflect positively on our school,” CCHS senior and NHS President Nida Javaid said. “Clarke Central is not always seen in the greatest light, and the more projects we do in the community, the more people will become aware of our work.” According to CCHS’ NHS chapter membership paperwork, the club is based on outstanding character, scholarship, leadership and service. Members must meet the minimum cumulative average grade requirement of 93 percent and also must have a teacher recommendation. “(The purpose of NHS is) to promote community service and excellence in academics,” Javaid said. “It helps to encourage students to help out their community and world.” In addition to NHS’ projects, CCHS’ Beta Club participates in multiple holiday community service projects. CCHS foreign language department teacher and club sponsor Katie Holder says Beta Club is an honorary service club, which stresses scholarship, service and character. Members must maintain an 85 percent cumulative average. “The holidays, for a lot of people, are a very hard time,” Holder said. “It is a time for family (and) for those people who are not with their family, it can be a really hard time.” In November, the Beta Club participated in “The Big Thank You,” a project Above: SAYING THANKS: Clarke Central High School senior Lois Songster sits in which students collected letters to send to American soldiers on active duty down to write to a letter to an American soldier as a part of the service project for Beta Club, “The Big Thank You.” overseas. The letters will arrive to the soldiers in time for the holidays. “The whole point (of “The Big Thank You”) is to express gratitude to soldiers who are not with the people they love during the holiday season,” Holder said. service should not only be focused on during one time of the year. Completing community service projects like “The Big Thank You” are an “I think a lot of organizations focus on the holidays and certainly it’s imporintegral part of Beta Club. Similarly, community service is important to the tant,” Dunham said. “But there may be as much of a need at other times of the CCHS Interact Club. year when everybody’s not so focused on (helping others.)” “Community service is important because when you sacrifice your time to CCHS sophomore Yung Kipreos also plans on volunteering over the help others, not only are you assisting those in need, but you are also gaining a holidays. According to Kipreos, community service can be an advantage when perspective of how much it means to those you are helping out,” CCHS junior it comes to applying for college, in addition to the positive moral reasons for and Interact Club President Baylor Ward said. “It makes your service worthvolunteering. while.” “(Colleges) look for volunteer hours, and if you don’t According to the CCHS have them, you will be at a disadvantage,” Kipreos said. “When you sacrifice your time to Agenda Book, the Interact Javaid believes that, because colleges look for comClub provides students with munity service, it can encourage students to participate help others, you (gain) a perspective the chance to take part in in volunteer work. service projects that provide of how much it means to those you “Community service is definitely something that for the community as well as looks good on applications and is encouraged, if not exare helping out.” further students’ internapected,” Javaid said. “(But) for some students, the desire tional understanding. to get into a good college can pressure them to go a little -- BAYLOR WARD, overboard with activities that they typically look for.” “We are working on an Clarke Central High School Interact Club President international service project According to CCHS Principal Dr. Robbie P. Hooker, where we raise money to community service is about giving back to the Athens provide thousands of meals community, rather than what is received in return. to those in need around the world,” Ward said. “(Over the holidays,) we will be “(Community Service) has always been (taught) in the household I grew up volunteering at soup kitchens and helping with toy giveaways.” in,” Hooker said. “Just seeing someone get a hot meal (or) seeing someone While increased community service involvement can be seen during the holi- being able to get in clothing, it’s worth it.” day season, CCHS Associate Principal Dr. Sheila Dunham believes community 22 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE |

December 2012


A major breakthrough Clarke Central High School was recently recognized as a nationwide Breakthrough school based on data, extra curricular activites and other requirements. Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Porter McLeod


larke Central High School will be awarded as a breakthrough school at the National Association of Secondary School Principal conference held in February. A breakthrough school is determined based on student achievement and data provided through an application. “( Winning this award) validates that we are moving in the right direction as far as improving student achievement. We will continue to improve student achievement as long as we continue to believe all students can learn and continue to increase rigor in all classes,” CCHS Principal Dr. Robbie P. Hooker said. If a school meets the qualifications as a Breakthrough School, it must then be nominated. Anyone has the ability to nominate a school, but the school “must support the nomination with documentation,” according to For CCHS, the School Improvement Leadership Team made the decision to apply for this award. “I wrote the application for the award this summer,” CCHS English department teacher Ginger Lehmann said. “I was promoting the school but I was just doing that by talking about all the different things that we are doing.” In order for a school to qualify for this award, 40 percent or more of the students must be eligible for free or reduced priced lunch. Each school must demonstrate student achievement and include three different areas of Collaborative Leadership, Personalization and Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. A school can display Collaborative Leadership through professional learning communities, shared leadership and student and staff leadership development. In order to achieve Personalization within a school, according to, the students and faculty must incorporate “attention to all students, mentoring and school and community connections.” Lastly, a school must provide rigorous school work to all students; differentiation in instruction, data based decision making and opportunities for career development. “I wrote a lot about the different programs we’re doing here -- tutoring programs, Glad Time, the Blitz Sessions for the graduation test. I also collected data on how many kids are taking (Advanced Placement) courses and what our AP scores look like,” Lehmann said. In order to further judge the school, representatives were sent from the MetLife foundation, a foundation holds a goal of “empowering people to lead healthy, productive lives and strengthen communities,” according to, to tour the school. BY CHLOE HARGRAVE

Above: BREAKING GROUND: Clarke Central High School principal Dr. Robbie P. Hooker suggested to the School Improvement Leadership Team that the school apply for the Breakthrough award sponsored by the MetLife foundation. After clearing several rounds, CCHS has been titled one of the top ten breakthrough schools in the nation.

“Anyone who goes (to CCHS) knows there is a lot more to the story than just (data) so I’m really pleased that they came out to the school and walked around and talked to the kids to get more of an accurate idea of what’s happening here,” Lehmann said. In addition to the tour, the representatives also met with CCHS students. “The administration chose a group of students to represent the diversity of the student body. They were able to talk to students from all levels of academic experience and (about) what their experience has been like,” Lehmann said. According to, each school selected will be given a $5,000 and will be featured in Principal Leadership, NASSP’s magazine. For CCHS, this monetary prize will be used to provide additional Professional Learning. “(I’m excited because) now everyone will get to read about the great things that are happening at CCHS in the May 2013 issue of NASSP leadership magazine,” Hooker said. Hooker believes that the reasoning behind the award is a clear representation of the students and faculty at CCHS. “The biggest factor that contributed to us receiving the award was the three year improvement in student achievement. They were also impressed with our schools desire to see all students achievement. It was very noticeable that we have a very caring teaching staff,” Hooker said. Lehmann feels the accomplishment has made an impact on the morality of the school and will positively impact CCHS’ reputation. “Well, we have a lot of pressure on us a lot of time and we are constantly faced with things like the GAPSS review and the targets that we’re not meeting,” Lehmann said. “So anytime we have any positive recognition or feedback that we are receiving it builds moral for the school community.”

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 23


A learning experience College students who participate in a student-teaching program have the opportunity to gain teaching experience at public schools, including Clarke Central High School.


ach year numerous college students can be found at Clarke Central High School. Some are observers, some are volunteers and some play a more important role in a CCHS students’ learning experience. These are student teachers. Student teachers are college students who teach under a supervising teacher in order to gain experience in the classroom. “It’s nice to be a part of somebody’s growth process and to see that they take your suggestions and your experience and apply it and grow,” CCHS mathematics department teacher Summer Tuggle said. “It makes me feel good. I might be helping make their first year a little bit less daunting.” Teachers at each school request to have a student teacher to have in their classroom. The heads of each department then go to CCHS Assistant Principal and former student teacher Dr. Sheila Dunham to give the list of teachers who made requests. Dunham then sends the list to the district. “The school district sends lists from all 21 schools to the different institutions,” Dunham said. “Let’s say we’re talking about (University of Georgia), they’ll send a list of these people who have been approved to have a student teacher and (UGA) pairs them up.” The process continues with the prospective student teacher’s resume that includes what they would want in a mentor teacher and their self-described BY RADFORD BROSIUS Graphics Editor

learning style. “Basically student teachers’ resumes are sent to these schools where teachers have a chance to look through them and choose the student they think will be best for them and their classroom,” CCHS English department student teacher Kate Towery said. “University students are emailed in the summer before they’re student teaching about where they’ll be and who they’ll be working with. Mentor teachers look through these resumes and decide who they want to help mentor based on how the student teacher would like to teach and learn about teaching. Whoever the student teacher is placed with determines the way they learn about teaching. “(Being a student teacher) is the only way to gain experience before you’re out there without a net. I think the mentorship under a teacher is really important,” Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education Peg Graham said. The student teaching process differs between subjects. For instance, while English student teachers are present throughout the year, math student teachers are only present for 12 weeks of the year. In order to attain the qualifications to teach English, college students must first take one full year of classes in a two year student-teaching program to learn about effective teaching. Once their classroom is determined, and in their second year of the program, student teachers are labeled as practicum students and observe a

Right: TEACHING TO LEARN: Clarke Central High School math department student teacher Brian Pidgeon assists CCHS sophomore Katie Elliott-Gower with a math problem. Pidgeon worked with CCHS math department teacher Eric McCulough for the first semester of the 2012-13 school year. Photo by Porter McLeod


December 2012

NEWS classroom for the first semester. “At the end of the semester, we are required to teach no less than two weeks of a unit that we create and we plan for. We choose the text; we choose the assessment materials. It’s at that point that we’re kind of kicked into the pond,” Towery said. Math student teachers may experience a more complex system. “The first lesson, I teach one block and they model what they saw me do for the next block. Then for the second unit, I try to give them the opportunity to teach it, but they teach it using my materials,” Tuggle said. “The third unit, they’re teaching and creating all the materials.” Graham believes that the student teaching program benefits both students and student teachers of all subjects. “It’s not only that the student teacher might bring in a different perspective and different insights into culture, but just different representations and different ways of explaining things to individuals and to classes,” Graham said. Once the teachers are placed in the classroom, the learner-mentor relationship begins. “I liked the person that I had for my supervising teacher (when I student taught). She ended up becoming my mentor over time,” Dunham said. “She went on to become head of the department and assistant principal here. As the years passed, I looked up to her as a mentor. It was a good relationship.”

Graphic by Radford Brosius and Shari Armour

“(Being a student teacher) is the only way to gain experience before you’re out there without a net. I think the mentorship under a teacher is really important,” -- DR. PEG GRAHAM, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education

Dunham believes student teachers are an important asset to the schools’ learning environment. “I think it’s very beneficial to us to have student teachers,” Dunham said. “It gives our students additional resources.” However, students have varying standpoints on the effects of student teaching. “(Student teachers are helpful) because they have made me able to learn in a different way,” CCHS senior Jovanny Duran Salgado said. While some students see student teachers as a positive addition to the classroom, others feel differently. “Some student teachers are still learning the material that they’re teaching and that makes it a little difficult because if you don’t know it like the back of your hand, it’s going to be hard to teach it to people who don’t know it at all,” CCHS senior Morgan Maxwell said. Student teachers think of the process as both a learning and growing one. Some student teachers also wish to learn how to make their classroom engagin. “I try to stay energetic about it, try to do different things and make math enjoyable. Really if you can motivate the students intrinsically then they’re going to do better,” CCHS mathematics department student teacher Brian Pidgeon said.

Above: ASKING THE STUDENTS: On Dec 4, 300 students were asked if they felt whether or not student teachers were helpful in the classroom. According to the pool, 188 students, 63 percent of the total, answered yes, while 112, 37 percent of the total, answered no.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 25


Photo by Maria Velasquez

Above: DECK THE HALLS: In November, holiday decorations were placed on the front and back exterior of Clarke Central High School, a tradition completed every year. “Decorations are very generic. There are large wreaths that go up at the front of the school,” CCHS Assistant Principal Dr. Sheila Dunham said. However, the school’s choice of decorations has garnered responses including objection and support from students and faculty members alike. “They’re not as inclusive as people think,” CCHS sophomore Anna Grossman said. “Christmas decorations represent christmas.”

Conflicting opinions Each winter, arguments flare over secularized holidays, and the constitutionality of establishing the celebration of Christmas in public schools.


hen students returned to Clarke Central High doesn’t,” Grossman said. “When you see those decorations, you’re bomSchool from Thanksgiving break on Nov. 26, barded with a certain religion. You’re constantly reminded that you’re not a a transformation had occurred. The school’s part of it.” brick façade was decorated with wreaths and ribbons, and further plans were anGrossman feels the only way to ensure an absence of religion is to ban nounced to place a small pine tree holiday celebrations in schools altogether. in the main lobby. “They should leave Christmas com“When you see those decorations, you’re “Our decorations are pretty pletely out of school. They should leave bombarded with a certain religion. simple. We always put up wreaths all holidays out,” Grossman said. “I’m not around the school,” CCHS Assistant we should celebrate Hanukah; that You’re constantly reminded that you’re saying Principal Dr. Sheila Dunham said. would be totally wrong. Religions should “And we have a Christmas tree in stay at home.” not a part of it.” the front lobby, or, rather, a holiday Other students, such as CCHS junior tree. It’s not just for Christmas.” --ANNA GROSSMAN, Cassie Tye, see value in celebrating the The First Amendment of the U. S. Clarke Central High School sophomore holidays in school, as long as it is done in constitution states that the governmoderation. ment will “make no law respecting “Everyone has a right to their own an establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof.” Students, therefore, religion. If somebody wants to come in and celebrate Christmas, let them,” have the right to celebrate any religious holiday in schools, as long as the school Tye said. “Just don’t throw (religious beliefs) on everybody else.” does not establish this celebration as mandatory. Tye also sees no issue with Christmas-themed decorations in schools. She However, CCHS sophomore Anna Grossman believes that the school’s choice believes having such decorations does not necessarily discriminate against of decoration is unfair, and establishes a celebration of one holiday in particular. any religious or groups. “They think that by calling it a holiday tree, it then involves everyone, but it “(Christmas) isn’t necessarily a religious holiday. I know people who go BY AARON HOLMES Junior Copy Editor


December 2012

NEWS to Christmas celebrations who don’t even celebrate that religion,” Tye said. In past years, public schools across the country were subjects of debates relating to the celebration of Christmas. According to a report by the Columbia Broadcasting Corporation, Larry Harrison, a Midlands, S.C. pastor, and his family denounced the local school district in 2011. Harrison claimed that Christmas greetings and Christmas decorations were not welcome in schools, despite refutations by the school board. Holiday celebration in public schools has also been a topic for politicking on the national stage. In a video uploaded to YouTube last winter, then-presidential-candidate Rick Perry (R-Texas) said there was “something wrong in this country” when children couldn’t “openly celebrate Christmas in schools.” However, according to Dunham, students and staff are guaranteed freedom to celebrate religious holidays at public schools such as CCHS. “If anyone has ever said, ‘You can’t say Merry Christmas,’ I haven’t heard of it,” Dunham said. “However, people should think about what other people celebrate, and that not everyone is celebrating the same holiday.” Dunham also feels that the Christmas theme of holiday decorations is not typically a topic of major controversy at CCHS. “They do look pretty Christmas-y, a lot of my clothes are red and green in December,” Dunham said. “I’m not trying to put Christian beliefs out there; it’s just fun and festive. Most people aren’t offended by that.” While a variety of opinions exist today with regard to holiday celebrations, according to Dunham this diversity was a large shift from her own childhood. “Over (the) years, what we call the holidays has changed. When I was growing up, everybody said, ‘It’s time for Christmas break.’ Now, most people talk about winter break. I don’t have a problem with winter break, but I also don’t have a problem if somebody says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.” While Dunham considers most people in CCHS to be sensitive about religions while celebrating holidays, the CCHS administration has no set guidelines in regard to school decorations. “Administration hasn’t told people to (not put up decorations),” Dunham said. “I think people are just very aware of different cultures. Not everyone’s beliefs and backgrounds and ethnicities are the same.” For many teachers, the holiday season and its festivities can serve as an opportunity to expand students’ cultural awareness. According to Dunham, various CCHS staff members make an effort to represent a wide range of religions in their classrooms. “Teachers want to take the opportunity to teach people about other customs. It’s an excellent time of the year to do that; it’s really a teachable moment,” Dunham said. CCHS English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher Jodi Bolgla agrees that the holiday season should serve as an opportunity to educate students about various religions. “I think that CCHS could make its decorations more inclusive,” Bolgla said. “Now that we are moving toward the IB program, the school could make decorative billboards that reflect a variety of winter celebrations: Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Los Pasadas and many more.” CCHS junior Jennifer Hobby sees similar benefits of holiday celebrations, and also believes that they can serve as an opportunity to display the school’s cultural range. “In Clarke Central, we’re diverse,” Hobby said. “If we’re going to celebrate something, it should be the diversity of ethnicity and religion we have here.”

Tenacious tidings When the issue of how to celebrate the holidays is raised, a wide variety of opinions exists at Clarke Central High School. “We live with a seperation of church and state, and this is a publicly funded school. Religion and religious celebrations should stay at home.” --ANNA GROSSMAN, CCHS sophomore

“In Athens, and at Clarke Central, we are diverse. I don’t see anything wrong (with decorations) as long as they’re going to decorate for every religion.” -- JENNIFER HOBBY, CCHS junior

“I don’t put up decorations in my classroom. If I ever did, I would put up decorations celebrating winter, not a particular holiday. But I do welcome good wishes, no matter the occasion.” -- JODI BOLGLA, English for Speakers of Other Languages Teacher

“When I was growing up, everyone said, ‘It’s time for Christmas break.’... (Decorations) aren’t trying to put Christian beliefs out there, they’re just fun and festive. Most people aren’t offended by that.” -- DR. SHEILA DUNHAM, Assistant Principal

December 2012

“If someone wants to celebrate their religion, let them. I know people who go to some celebrations who don’t believe in that religion. (The Holiday season) isn’t entirely religious anymore.” -- CASSIE TYE, CCHS junior | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 27


A passion for pickles Phickles Pickles owner Angie Tillman uses pickled vegetables to save her family and support Athens’ local economy.


ows of pickled carrots, okra and green beans sit on Phickles Pickles owner Angie Tillman’s porch. Little do passersby know, those pickles have saved Angie’s large family and have supported the local economy. “I still remember the very first person who came to the porch. Jana Hollingsworth bought a six pack of beans, pickled beans, 36 bucks,” Angie said. Angie’s passion for local businesses began in her childhood in Albany, Ga. Her grandparents owned a farm on which she spent her weekends. “I can’t say that I loved it (then), but I do now. I look back on it I’m really lucky to have these memories and this way of life,” Angie said. Angie moved to Athens in 1992 to work for Athens’ First Bank. She later met her husband Phinzy Tillman, a builder, who often made pickles, using a recipe from his childhood, as a hobby. “The recipe is an old recipe, anybody can make it. It originated from my husband’s friend’s grandma,” Angie said. In 1997 Angie quit her job at the bank in order to stay at home with her two children. She also worked as a teacher’s aide at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. During this time, Angie’s family grew to include one more child, increasing its size to five members, Kat, Billups and Rosey. In 2008, during the economic downturn, Angie and her husband were nervous about the stability of his job. “I have three children and I was watching him come home every day, stressed out and worried, about how he was losing houses,” Angie said. Business was steadily declining and Angie’s life seemed to be filled with financial stress. BY LOUISE PLATTER Web Staff

Left: WORKING HARD FOR HER FAMILY: Phickles Pickles owner Angie Tillman and Clarke Central High School freshman Kat Tillman prepare jars of their famous phickles to sell to customers. “I’ve always loved cooking and I’ve always loved creating things,” Angie said. “I used to paint and just play around the house all of the time with food. It’s a little bit nuts, but that’s me.”


December 2012

Photos by Maria Velasquez


Left: FAMILY BUSINESS: Sitting just a few feet away from the ‘Pickle Porch,’ from left, Kat, Rosey and Angie Tillman are the faces of Phickles Pickles. “This is kind of my life, making pickles,” Kat said. Right: PICKLE PARADISE: Rows of pickled vegetables wait to be purchased on Angie Tillman’s ‘Pickle Porch’ at 100 Athens Town Blvd. “I’ll say on Facebook ‘The porch is stocked!’ I’ll usually take a picture to show you what’s there, and I’ll tell you about the prices for the day,” Angie said.

“We were really worried. It was very stressful in our house,” Tillman said. “My husband wasn’t telling me everything and he was afraid of what was about to happen.” Angie decided to save her family. While her husband was away on a hunting trip, she decided to pursue a new business venture “It was always kind of in the back of my mind that we would one day sell these pickles,” Angie said. “I just stayed in my pajamas all weekend and within two days we had the Phickles Facebook page talking about our pickles.” Angie did not expect a hugely popular reception to her homemade pickled vegetables, but hoped that it would aid in supporting the family. “We got a business license and started selling (the pickles) on Facebook. I didn’t think that it was going to be anything; I just thought that I could make some cash at home and it just grew,” Angie said. In the early days of Phickles Pickles, Angie would post her latest batch of pickled vegetables on Facebook and take orders from her friends. She would then leave those orders on what she calls “The Pickle Porch” for their shoppers to pick up on their purchases when convenient. Angie’s business grew exponentially through Facebook. It became clear that Angie would be able to support her family from Phickles Pickles. “Orders started coming in and I couldn’t keep up with the orders. We started selling to Bell’s Food Store here in town. I always say, Bell’s pays the rent at our facility because they were the first big client,” Angie said. By 2010, she was distributing to the entire southeast. “It’s all around the southeast; we do the panhandle of Florida, and the other side of Florida, up to the coast. It’s kind of like a big circle, Tennessee and back around,” Angie said. Once Angie knew that her family’s finances had stabilized, she began to pursue other goals. Angie decided to focus on her a passion for keeping the local community alive. “We only sell to locally owned businesses. People are always saying, ‘Oh, wait till you’re in Whole Foods (or) wait till you’re in Earth Fare,” Angie said.

“They’ve already asked me but I sell to the local shops that are right across the street from those big stores.” Due to the unique nature of Angie’s products, local businesses that stock her pickles have seen an increase in customers. “The store owners are telling me that people who would never have come in before are coming in just because the pickles are there,” Angie said. Angie is grateful to be based in Athens due to the city’s tradition of supporting local businesses. “I think it’s just really cool how Athens is so local-supporting. That’s helped Phickles work because we started here in Athens, a town that really likes to support local,” Angie said. Angie appreciates that the business that saved her family and has contributed so much to Athens’ community of local businesses had also brought her family together. “It has brought us closer. We don’t have a choice. We’re all right there together,” Angie said. Every Saturday, Angie and her oldest daughter Clarke Central High School freshman Kat Tillman work at a farmer’s market in Atlanta together. “I wouldn’t know a lot about what’s going on in her life because with three kids, if they’re all in the car together it’s usually just telling them not to fight with each other,” Angie said. “To have one on one time with her every Saturday is pretty cool to me.” Kat is thankful for what Phickles Pickles has added to her family. “Before Phickles, I think that my life was just kind of like an average life. You know, come home, talk about what I did that day, and not all this crazy pickle stuff,” Kat said. “I love it though. I feel really unique and different.” Angie intends to continue expanding her business within the local community for as long as she can. “We’ve kind of made our business about the community and it just feels good,” Angie said. Find more at

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 29


Cultural Buzz Life of Pi

Steak & Shake, 2033 West Broad St.

Founded in 1934, Steak ‘n Shake is a widely known and enjoyed fast food restaurant, best known for its famous steakburgers and milkshakes. On Nov. 15, it opened a new location at 2033 West Broad St. in addition to its 35 others, inciting a Steak ‘n Shake frenzy in Athens. Outside of the vintage, ‘50s-style restaurant sits an old school Chevrolet, along with a large, decorated bulldog. Upon entering, customers are greeted by a polite hostess that promptly states how long the wait will be. Due to the recent opening and popularuty, the wait is usually about 30 minutes long, but the length depends on the day and time. During prime lunch and dinner hours, the wait is often up to 45 minutes long and the drive through can take about the same, an astounding length for a supposedly “fast-food” restaurant. Despite the long wait and having to sit outside until a table is ready, there are a variety of meals to choose from, including a “Veggie Melt” for those who prefer not to eat meat. Steak ‘n Shake also offers chili, steak franks, steakburgers, sandwiches, salads, milkshakes and many different desserts to choose from, all which are of the highest quality, especially when compared to other fast-food options. The wait may have not been pleasant, but the food was well worth it. Located a few minutes from Clarke Central High School and affordable for students, it is a restaurant that many students will enjoy for years to come.

-- Haley Hunt, Business Manager

Breaking down The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 2 falls flat despite hype and crazed fandom. Directed by Bill Condon and based on the bestselling novel by Stephanie Meyer, the recent premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two on Nov. 16 has prompted varying responses. Overjoyed critics are calling it “the best in the series,” and “breathtaking,” while other reviews have been more antagonistic, claiming it is “only appealing to the voracious fans.” Based on the predictable plot and lack of character development, the latter critics have driven the stake into the heart of this tired series. The ever-monotone main character Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is somewhat famous for her lackluster and dull delivery in the previous movies. This does not change when she becomes a bloodthirsty, newborn vampire in the most recent chapter. The overall performances from other star roles also appeared lacking in ebullience, to say the least. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), Bella’s vampire husband, is a prime example of this lack of enthusiasm. Pattinson seemed as though bored with the story and impatiently waiting for his next role. In addition, the movie’s several cheesy, sitcom attempts at humor made matters worse. Although some of the audience got a kick out of the chintzy lines, others were uncomfortably eyeing the exits. This movie, with Breaking Dawn Part Two, with full full pun intended, pun intended, sucked the life out of viewers, as they drifted to sucked the life out several sleep early into the plot. Moviegoof several viewers. ers should have been able to stay awake, considering that this “midnight” premiere showed at only 10 o’clock. However, the movie’s slow progression and unmoving scenes could have been the visual Nyquil that induced such immediate sleep. Regardless of the artistic weaknesses of Breaking Dawn Part Two, Twihards have shelled out more than $250 million in ticket sales to get their vampire fix. Although the movie was devoid of any taste or sophistication, the majority of the fans of the popular series had their thirst quenched.

-- Hanna Harper, Guest Writer Left: SHAKIN’ IT UP: Clarke Central High School senior Anna Hunt dons the famous Steak ‘n Shake hat. The iconic fast food restaurant is famous for its steakburgers and variety of sweet, frozen treats. Photo by Maria Velasquez

Life of Pi, the movie adaptation of the much beloved novel by Yan Martel directed by Ang Lee, was released on Nov. 21. Life of Pi is the the story of a boy named Pi (Suraj Sharma) stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with only a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker as company, as told by his adult self (Irrfan Khan). The story itself is what gives the movie any sort of virtue—it leaves out many grittier aspects of the novel that make it so breathtaking and only provides a pretty story for the average viewer. It seems as though, in the end, the director intended for it to be more of a visual spectacle than the actual story of a castaway. -- Chloe Alexander, Variety Editor

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Stephen Chbosky has finally graced fans with a movie version of his 1999 novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, released on Sept. 21. Logan Lerman stars as the awkward freshman, Charlie, who deals with flashbacks and other psychological problems from his childhood. Charlie befriends senior siblings, Sam (Emma Watson) and Patrick (Ezra Miller), who have an excellent dynamic and embodied their characters in both quirky and serious scenes. Exploring real issues and emotions that face adolescents as they journey through high schools, Perks is just as relatable a story 13 years after its initial publication. Even if specific experiences differ, the ideas presented are universal. -- Hannah Dunn-Grandpre, Digital Managing Editor

Photos by Chloe Alexander and Louise Platter

December 2012


Cultural Buzz Take Me Home, One Direction

The popular English-Irish boy band One Direction released its sophomore album Take Me Home on Nov. 9, thrilling preteen girls everywhere. The album was praised by fans and critics for providing the same disgustingly infectious pop style that One Direction is originally famous for delivering and musically, the songs are catchy enough to stick around for weeks. However, despite the infectious tendencies, their lyrics are vapid and repetitive. Those in search of catchy pop music may have found their perfect match with Take Me Home, but listeners who require more substance and depth in their music will want to look elsewhere.

-- Louise Platter, Variety Writer

Snapchat, Snapchat, Inc.

Available for Apple and Android devices, Snapchat is an application that combines picture and text messaging into one creative bundle. The application lets users create their own personalized username and password and conveniently uploads their contacts, as well as identifying friends who have already created a Snapchat account. Users have the option of setting the duration their “snaps” to be viewed by their recipients, but they have a time limit of 10 seconds. Users can also add up to 28 characters of text to their photo. For the more creative, there is a built in paint brush tool to personalize each photo. Snapchat is a fun and easy alternative to boring text messages.

-- James Lumpkin, Variety Writer

good kid, m.A.A.D city Kendrick Lamar

Rihanna’s next move Unapologetic is a disjointed mix of attempts at heartfelt ballads and classic party anthems. Barbadian recording artist Rihanna released her seventh studio album, Unapologetic, on Nov. 19 to her largest initial success in her eight-year career. Unapologetic, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, combines elements of rap, R&B and pop and continues to adopt more mature lyrics and subjects, a trend that has been seen since her early albums in the mid-2000s. Rihanna brings an impressive lineup of featured artists to accompany her on Unapologetic, such as Eminem, Odd Future and her on again, off again boyfriend, Chris Brown. The album also includes samples of the songs “Pony,” by Ginuwine, and “The Unapologetic serves as Way You Make Me Feel,” by the battlefield for two Michael Jackson. One could speculate over distinct styles in which the nature of “Nobody’s Fenty aims to firmly Business,” the song on which Brown is a featured artist, with place her feet. Brown and Rihanna informing the listeners repeatedly that “their love is perfection” and that “it ain’t nobody’s business,” shocking after the two singer’s infamous breakup after a 2009 domestic violence scandal, in which Rihanna was the victim. While Unapologetic has potential to be a breakthrough album filled with heart-wrenching, personal songs, the overall composition is disappointing. The album includes several power ballads in which Rihanna’s vocals are stunning, but she quickly reverts back to songs about sex and money. The presence of loud, flashy songs such as “Pour It Up” and “Phresh Out the Runway,” filled with vulgarity and profanity, detract from the record’s appeal. Unapologetic serves as the battlefield for two distinct styles in which Rihanna aims to firmly place her feet. While the singer has great experience as a vocalist, she chooses to succumb to the industry’s love of big money and nights on the town, sacrificing better songs for those that are sure to top the Hot 100 and bring her great success. -- Ethan Crane, Viewpoints Writer Right: UNUSUAL RAP: Rapper Kendrick Lamar has wowed audiences with his debut album, good kid, m.A.A.D. city, released Oct. 22. Since its release, it has reached #2 on the United States Billboard 400. Photos by Chloe Alexander

December 2012

Photo illustration by Chloe Alexander

With the release of his latest album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, on Oct. 22, Kendrick Lamar has established himself as an expert storyteller. City is a series of tracks that piece together one night in Lamar’s hometown of Compton from various characters’ perspectives. The record’s themes are surprisingly weighty: topics such as alcoholism, downtrodden women, disenfranchisement and gang violence are set to low-key beats and soft piano riffs. In fact, the tracks and production of City seem at times to serve primarily as mere vessels for which Lamar to spin his yarns. That is not to say there is a lack of musical talent—the combination of Lamar’s narrative prowess and classic rap thrills is what completes the album. City also features a smorgasbord of guest artists, each of which brings something unique to the table. In Poetic Justice, a song about a fragile relationship, Canadian R&B artist and heartbreak connoisseur Drake is featured. Similarly, in the album’s final song, Compton, Lamar brings out his mentor Dr. Dre for some oldfashioned Rap Braggadocio. Upon its release, City debuted at #2 on the United States Billboard 400. The album’s success is a victory for the Rap genre: Lamar proves that expertly crafted lyrics, smooth flow and listen-ability do not have to be mutually exclusive, all while compiling an intricate mosaic with an over arching theme: “ain’t no city quite like mine.”

-- Aaron Holmes, Junior Copy Editor


Surreal Talent Clarke Central High School freshman Ella Sams’ skill level within art does not match her age. For her, it’s purely about passion. BY JAMES LUMPKIN Variety Writer


lmost every day, Clarke Central High School freshman Ella Sams can be found sitting in her room, toiling with her latest creation. Her piece is intricate, seemingly professionally drawn. However, Sams is not a lifelong artist, nor is she a professional one. Ella is a student with a passion for art. “I love art. I have two hours of art now and it’s not enough for me. I want more,” Ella said. Ella’s love of art began in the second grade. “We all had to draw a portrait with surrealism,” Ella said. “I remember (my portrait) having a lot of animals and being very symbolic.” Ella has adopted surrealism as her primary style and applies it to many of her pieces. Her favorite artist, Salvador Dali, was also a surrealist. “I like how (Dali) did (pieces) that weren’t necessarily normal,” Ella said. “His melting clock is one of my favorite and (his) most famous.” Since her discovery of the genre, Ella has expanded on her surrealism skills. Ella appreciates multiple aspects of the style. “I like surrealism because it’s a subconscious thing. It just comes out of you in a way that you really don’t mean for it to happen,” Ella said. “I did this work of art recently, it ended up 32 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE |

as a self portrait with a nightmare in the background and it was coming onto my face.” Many of Ella’s pieces, such as her self portrait, began as merely a wisp of an idea. “I really don’t know where it came from. I knew my face was going to be in there and I was going to have something in the background,” Ella said. “Somehow I got a tree turning into an octopus and a tire swing falling into it.” According to CCHS fine arts department teacher Jeff Barnett, Ella exhibits a high skill level in regards to her age and grade. “She’s in Art I, but she has the skills of an (Advanced Placement) art student,” Barnett said, “She has excelled in every assignment I have given her.” Ella has gained recognition for this level of skill by earning a spot in the art display case in front of E.B. Mell Auditorium. “She is one of the very few in the display case,” Barnett December 2012

VARIETY Art courtesy of Ella Sams

said. “(The case) is usually for the upperclassmen. It’s the winners circle.” In one of Ella particular pieces, she illustrates a color wheel through the feathers of a parrot. Barnet feels this is one of her strongest pieces. “Her creative color wheel is one of the best I have seen in all my sixteen years of teaching,” Barnett said, “She’s short in stature but she’s like a giant when it comes to her art skills.” While she is unsure of the origin of her talent, Ella believes that it may be in her genes. “My mom is an artist, but she is a graphic designer,” Ella said. “I think that’s where I got it. She really hasn’t taught me anything, but I think it’s in my genetics.” The arts are not the only thing Ella’s heart, she also has a passion for animals and often volunteers rescuing animals in her free time. “I have always liked drawing animals more than people,” Sams said. In her piece titled “Rebels,” Ella puts a creative spin on The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover that features a neon colored elephant. “Rebels” blends both of Ella’s passions like many of her pieces. Despite most of her time being focused on her art, Ella is having difficulty deciding between pursuing a veterinary career and being a professional artist. “It’s really hard to decide,” Ella said. “It would be sad to give up on art as a career.” Despite her indecision of the road ahead, Ella is just currently focused advancing her artistic talent. “For the future I just want to keep art in my heart,” Ella said. “Whether I go on the path of veterinary medicine or some other path, I want to always have my (art) skills.”

“She’s short in stature, but she’s like a giant when it comes to her art skills.” -- JEFF BARNETT, CCHS art department teacher Opposite page: THE EARLY SNAKE CATCHES THE BIRD: Many of Clarke Central High School freshman Ella Sams’ quick sketches, including her piece that depicts a bird and a snake in pen ink, earn her admiration from her peers “I like to call her ‘The Freshman Sensation,’” Fine Arts department teacher Jeff Barnett said. Left: UNREAL ART: When given the task of creating a self portrait for her Art I class, Sams took a note from her idol and created a piece using a technique that has intriqued even the most imaginative art critics. “I cant go a day without drawing,” Sams said. “A lot of times, I will just go home and listen to music and just draw.” Above: TIGER TIGER BURNING BRIGHT: Sams draws upon her love of animals for inspiration for many of her pieces. “I have noticed that I am not very good at drawing people and I am better at drawing animals,” Sams said.



Rap is dead Current rap culture has ruined what used to be a socially aware and intelligent genre.

for competition between media broadcasting companies, opening the market for major record labels to take over the music industry and independent radio stations. According to Chuck D, these record companies, not all ‘90s rap was smart and critical, there was at admit it—I hate rap. Loathe it. Despise it. Its while attempting to compete with other labels, least room for such. Now it seems as though every meaningless lyrics, misogynistic tendencies and created the image of a man draped in chains and rap artist out there only talks about money, drugs, never-ending use of the term “get money” are covered in tattoos with a scantily clad woman on and women. the downfall of our society. each arm and capitalized on it. What happened between then and now? Why On Nov. 27, I was made aware that Carlton DougNow, we as a society willingly and greedily swaldo modern rap artists only care about the fame las Ridenhour, commonly referred to as “Chuck D” low up this image and treat is as something to be and riches rather than actually saying something and a founding member of the ’80s and ’90s rap idolized. worthwhile? Why do we, as a society, spend our group Public Enemy, would be giving a lecture at This has been the case for the past decade. the University of Georgia titled “Rap, Race, and Real- hard earned money on this empty music? The fact that rap is now centered around a speChuck D opened up his speech that night by ity,” advertised as a critical take on the current state cific image says something about the current state critiquing the current state of rap. of the rap genre. of the genre itself. “Greed, narcissism and negligence is perpetuI was initially confused. What exactly is Public It says that rap is not substantial; it is the sweet ated in this culture,” Chuck D said. Enemy? If it lies within the rap genre, what could cotton candy that will rot your teeth and leave you He opened my eyes to the drastic change that Chuck D have to say about it? Curious, I listened to hungry again in an hour. to one of their albums, Revolverlution, released July the entire rap genre has undergone between the It says that their rap is not from or for the heart. ‘90s and now and why exactly it happened. 23, 2002. It is not art. It is a ploy for money that will most In 1996, President Bill Clinton passed the TeleI was astounded by what I heard. likely pay for strippers and a blue Lamborghini. communications Act. This deregulated and allowed The lyrics were meaningful and It says that rap is not worthwhile politically motivated, offering rich anymore. “Greed, narcissism and negligence is social commentary about the current My enlightenment has shown me American society. And they didn’t men- perpetuated in this culture.” this: I was justified in my vendetta, tion cash money once. -- CHUCK D, but ignorant. Rap was originally some“That ain’t got nothin to do with co-founder of Public Enemy thing worthwhile and meaningful. It rap/Check the facts/expose those cats/ promoted change. It challenged the Who pose as heros and take advantage social norm. The rap that I had known of blacks/your government’s gangster, was not. so cut the crap/A war’s goin on, so where you However, despite the dire situation at?” Chuck D raps in “Harder Than You in the current rap industry, the light Think.” may be beginning to shine through Collectively, Public Enemy obviously the clouds. Artists such as Kenhad things to say about the society drick Lamar, Frank Ocean, and they lived in and Chuck D led the Tyler the Creator are breaking way. They were critical. They into the music industry with wanted to change the way people insightful lyrics about society thought. and heartbreak. They cared. Unfortunately, 2 Chainz “If I die bury me inside that is ever present and intelLouis store,” 2 Chainz raps in ligent rap artists are far and his most popular track, “Birthwide. “Birthday Song” will day Song.” still be blasted from one 2 Chainz doesn’t seem to party to the next. care. Eventually, 2 Chainz While it can be argued that fans will soon learn that his image is merely what it is -- an image. Once this Right: A NEW GENrealization kicks in, those ERATION: Rappers such as 2 Chainz (right), desperate to emulate the have left Public Enemy lifestyle and “swag” of rap founder Chuck D (left) artists will be left with only disappointed with mora pile of chains and a feelals and values of the modern rap genre. ing of disappointment. Cartoon by Raul Medrano



December 2012


The art of pizza

Photo by Porter McLeod

Above: MOLDING THE CRUST: Clarke Central High School sophomore Susanna Conine-Nakanao creates an authentic Italian Margherita pizza at Ted’s Most Best, located at 254 W. Washington St.. The first step of the process included pressing out the dough into a disk large and thin enough on which to put toppings.

While creating my own pizza at Ted’s Most Best, I learned that “American pizza” is much different than traditional versions.


lthough everyone is familiar with pizza, they might not know the history behind this food. Most Americans eat pizza that has a thick crust and assorted toppings that are usually far from fresh. Despite the fact that this is the type of pizza that comes to mind when most Americans think of this popular food, the first versions only included very few wholesome toppings. Pizza in the United States has become “Americanized.” Papa John’s, Dominos and Pizza Hut lead the United States pizza chain industry, according to USA TODAY, published in May 2010. Differing greatly from authentic Italian pizzas, these pizzas tend to be greasier than their Italian counterparts that use pre-chopped toppings instead of fresh ingredients. According, in 1889, Queen Margherita of Savoy and her husband asked to have pizzas made for them after becoming bored with their accustomed diet. She liked the fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza best, causing the pizzeria to name it “Pizza Margherita.” Ted’s Most Best, at 254 W. Washington St., a renovated tire storage building located on Washington St in downtown Athens, Ga. It is one of the restaurants in Athens that offers the Pizza Margherita on their menu, along with other kinds of pizza, calzones, subs, salads and paninis. I had the opportunity visit the kitchen of this pizzeria and learn the art of making an authentic oven-fired Italian pizza. This was my first time making an authentic pizza, a process that requires both practice and skills. BY SUSANNA CONINE-NAKANO Variety Writer

When I stepped towards the counter of toppings, I did not know much about how to make a pizza, except the dough needed to be made into a circle, topics had to be added and then it must be baked. My first misconception about pizza was that I thought making any type of pizza included tossing the pizza in the air. However, this only happens when the pizza is larger. Instead, the size of the dough is expanded by tossing the dough back and forth between my forearms while turning it in a circular motion. I struggled with this and got the dough a little tangled, proving that my hand-eye coordination is not up to par. My pizza only took a couple minutes to cook after the fresh mozzarella and basil was added. The pizza had to be placed near the fire and rotated so the crust would be evenly baked. When the pizza had to be turned, the blazing hot air of the oven made it a little trouble for someone with short arms. I made a mental note to not put the pizza too far back in the oven next time. Once the pizza was out, I sprinkled a couple more pieces of basil on it. My mozzarella had melted into one gooey blob, making it appear less appetizing than my expectations. The original pizza has certainly evolved. Creating an authentic pizza at Ted’s Most Best has prompted an interest to research more about the history of it. The history of pizza is rich, and there is more than Pizza Hut, Papa John’s or Dominos.

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 35


Rebel without a cause Only two words can describe Finally Rich, Chicago rapper Chief Keef’s first album: Clinically insane.


eleased on Dec. 18, 2012, Chief Keef ’s debut album, Finally Rich, is equitable to that one acquaintance that at first seems overly-passionate, but, in time, proves to be nothing more than all-out crazy. The album begins mid-sentence with an irate, expletive-ridden tirade, presumably by one of Keef ’s supporters, about plans to physically harm anyone who “talks bad” about Keef. Ironically, this is also the most coherent moment in the album. Chief Keef ’s rapping career began when, at the age of 16, he released a locally-successful mix tape in Chicago. Keef gained national attention when fellow-Chicago rapper Kanye West organized a remix of Keef ’s song “I Don’t Like.” Chief Keef is a prime example of a 21st century rising star. It’s been proven by rappers such as Trinidad James of Atlanta and Kreayshawn of Oakland that one hit Youtube music video or viral mp3 can lead to a million-dollar record deal. Keef is yet another product of such an arrangement. Following his sudden rise to fame caused by his first hit single, “I Don’t Like,” Keef signed a $3 million agreement with Interscope Records, and announced the imminent release of his debut album, Finally Rich. Since then, Keef has become known for controversy. In addition to criminal charges of Weapons Possession and Parole Violation, Keef was banned from imagesharing platform Instagram for posting sexually explicit photos. Since the inception of his career, Keef ’s image has been founded in violence. According to a report by the Chicago Sun-Times, When Keef ’s rival rapper Lil Jojo was shot to death following inflammatory statements about Keef, he gloated about the death on his Twitter page. In the wake of these incidents, rapper Lupe Fiasco denounced Keef, claiming that he was “scared” by Keef ’s antics. Keef responded with a tweet threatening to “smack” Fiasco, which was later removed. This brutal attitude is exacerbated in Finally Rich. Keef raps over typical trap-style beats about selling cocaine and killing. Not a single song passes throughout the duration of the album without a reference to a crime of some sort. Conversely, it is nearly impossible to find a verse that expresses an emotion other than undirected anger. As a rap album to be judged with lyrical message aside, Finally Rich disappoints. The production is amateur and uninspired, and Keef lacks a significant flow. After extended listening, the shouted choruses and auto-tuned hooks blend together into an indiscernible mess. As a whole, Rich puts forth the air of a rapper who desperately desires fame and attention, and makes up for his insecurity by throwing gory threats and stark boasting. Despite Keef ’s initial success with a high school audience, Finally Rich and its lack of value will ultimately prove nothing more than forgettable noise. BY AARON HOLMES Junior Copy Editor

Right: “I DON’T LIKE”: Despite Chicago rapper Chief Keef’s sudden fame boost resulting from both negative and positive press, his debut album Finally Rich fails to impress.

36 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE Photo illustration by Aaron Holmes|

December 2012


December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 37

Photo courtesy of Alan Posey


The box score

Above: WIN-WIN: The University of Tennessee Football team won against Georgia State University on Sept. 8. UT is the home of Clarke Central High School alumnus and varsity offensive lineman Alan Posey, who uses skills he gained while playing for the Gladiators in college football.

Martial law

Clarke Central High School students have the opportunity to learn Mixed Martial Arts through the 21st Century Afterschool Program, coached by Hardcore Gym instructor, Ross Hagerman. The MMA club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:45-5:45 in the former Family Consumer Science room. Hagerman hopes to teach the students skills that include anger control and thinking about the moves they choose. “I want all my students to learn an amazing sport from world class coaches,” Hagerman said. “I also want my students to see that Mixed Martial Arts is (between) athletes who have training to hone their skills.” Each participant has the ability to gain what they wish from the MMA club, whether it is self-control, anger management or simply an appreciation of the sport. “I hope to learn how to control my anger. When you get angry and just start swinging, you get tired and you don’t know what you’re doing,” CCHS freshman and MMA participant Douglas Merritt said.

Continuing excellence


hen he committed to University of Tennessee back in 2010, Alan Posey, offensive lineman and graduate of the Clarke Central High School class of 2011, had scholarship offers from 15 schools. Posey has now seen playing time at a major Division-1 school, and feels that CCHS provided him with the skills necessary to compete in college football. “The characteristics that were instilled in me like commitment, discipline, toughness, effort and pride are what help you be successful in all aspects of life,” Posey said. Quenshaun Watson, running back and member of the CCHS class of 2012, also was a highly-touted college prospect his senior year. He was ranked as a 3-star prospect by recruiting services such as ESPN, Rivals, Scout and 247Sports. Posey and Watson played for the first time together early in the season on Sept. 8 in a 51-13 win for UT against Georgia State University. Posey paved the way for Watson’s 27 yard performance on seven carries, which included a touchdown. “It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it, but I knew I had to get to the endzone,” Watson said. Watson finished the season having played five games after GSU, including carries against four SEC opponents. He totaled 66 yards on 23 carries. Posey’s only playing time this season was against GSU. Watson believes that he would not be the same player today if not for the valuable lessons he learned at CCHS. “The thing that sticks out the most about the football program is it really helped me become a man. It’s a great program, and I thank all the (CCHS) coaches for all they have done,” Watson said.


-- Kevin Mobley, Web Staff

Harris has it

Clarke Central High School graduation coach Lawrence Harris joined the CCHS Aqua Glads as the new assistant coach the 2012-13 season. “I found out that Clarke Central had a team. I reached out to (Emily Dowd) and asked her if she was in need of any assistance,” Harris said. “And from there, it was born.” Harris has an individual goal that he hopes accomplish for the benefit of all the swimmers. “I’m writing grant letters to get the swim team sponsored for our needs. I’ve been trying to get things donated, so that the swimmers don’t have to purchase it themselves,” Harris said. “It’s not part of my job, but I just want to do it so we can get the equipment we need.” Harris is confident each swimmer has the ability to succeed and improve. “My personal motto is you can do anything if you put your heart into it. So, I try and instill that into people, but not just into swimming, but to their lives. That would be great,” Harris said. December 2012

A tough season


he Clarke Central High School football team ended the season with a record of 5-6, a drastic change compared to their 10-2 season last year. “The season didn’t go as well as expected; good things happened and some bad things happened,” CCHS Defensive Coordinator Ahren Self said. “We are used to winning around here, or (being) disappointed.” The Gladiators started the season off with two consecutive losses against Marist High School and Central Gwinnett High School. The Gladiators then went on a three game winning streak, facing Loganville High School, Apaclachee High School and Salem High School. The football team broke their winning streak when they played two of their toughest opponents. “The Flowery Branch game we did not play our best, but the Heritage game we lost the lead after (junior quarterback Cameron Johnson) got hurt. Those two games were very tough, and our opponents were really good too,” CCHS Athletic Director Dr. Jon Ward said. The Gladiators finished the season off strong with wins against Winder- Barrow High School and cross town rival Cedar Shoals High School. “It’s good that we qualified for the playoffs. It ended on a good note by winning our last few games. We were never able to sustain a long streak, they just released the schedule for the playoffs, and we have the second hardest,” Ward said. CCHS was cut in the first round of the playoffs with the loss against East Paulding High School. “It was obviously disappointing for our kids. Both the coaches and players felt like we could’ve won that game. We missed opportunities that they capitalized on and we didn’t make the plays we needed to make,” Self said.

-- Chad Rhym, Sports Writer



We’re stronger than we were last year, but we need to give more of an effort.

CONNER BLANKENSHIP, Clarke Central High School sophomore on this year’s swim team and their progress from the previous year.

We just lost to Heritage, and ever since we lost Jaquan Dowdy nobody seems like they want to play defense.

NICK MOSS, Clarke Central High School sophmore on the boys basketball team losing their undefeated status.

We have a swim team? I didn’t even know we had a team until you told me. MYRON WATKINS, Clarke Central High School junior on her discovery of CCHS’s swim team. -- Compiled by Sports Staff

An early start

The Clarke Central High School boys soccer team recently began preparing for their upcoming season. Interested players have attended involuntary conditioning sessions each Thursday for the last few months. Chris Aiken, the newly appointed Head Varsity boys soccer Coach, feels that this opportunity extended to players has helped individual athletes, and the team as a whole. The group participates in a wide variety of activities that helps them prepare for the season in multiple ways. “The main goal is to provide a weekly opportunity for players interested in soccer to improve strength, speed and agility before tryouts,” Aiken said. “Players who attend are given the proper instructions on how to lift weights, run speed ladders and build core strength.” Not only do the conditioning sessions allow the team to improve physical performance, but it also allows the players to collaborate before the season begins. “The soccer season is short, but with the added workouts in the fall, players are able to work together prior to the first day of tryouts,” Aiken said.

December 2012

Right: NEW FACE AT THE POOL: Lawrence Harris is the newest addition to the Clarke Central High School coaching unit. Through his position as assistant coach, he attempts to motivate students to perform to the best of their abilities at meets. “You can do anything if you put your heart into it,” Harris said. | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 39


A space of their own Photo by Porter McLeod

Decisions made by the Clarke Central High School athletic department have led to a newly designated room for the wrestling team.


ntil this year, the wrestling team has held practice in what is commonly referred to as the “small gym.” Each day, the transfer of mats onto and off of the floor of the gym marked the beginning and end of practice. The wrestling team did not have a space exclusively for their use until CCHS Athletic Director Dr. Jon Ward made the decision to convert the small gym into the weight room. It was then that the previous weight room was transformed into a wrestling room. “(CCHS head wrestling Coach Timothy) Stoudenmire has done an excellent job with our wrestling program. This will give them a closed environment and their own space,” Ward said. Stoudenmire feels that having a designated room for the wrestlers will be beneficial. “The biggest thing with the new wrestling room is (that now) we’ve got a place to call our own,” Stoudenmire said. “We can close and open the door BY JENNY ALPAUGH Print Managing Editor


at our discretion.” Athletes for other various sports would often walk through the small gym during wrestling practice. The new mat room has eliminated such distractions. “There are always people coming in and out during the wrestling season. But in there we can just focus on whatever we’re doing,” CCHS senior Andrew Giegrich said. Although the mat room is smaller than the gym, Stoudenmire is content with the size and recognizes other positive aspects of the space. “Our wrestling room, just aesthetically, it’s beautiful. Size-wise I can practice 40 kids in there at one time. I can stand up and work 40 kids at one time and have nobody touch anybody and that’s just a wrestling coach’s dream, it really is,” Stoudenmire said. Stoudenmire has also observed the wrestlers becoming more conscientious about keeping their new space clean. “It’s like having your own house. When you live at home with Mom and Dad, you don’t take care of your stuff nearly as well. But when you’ve got your own

December 2012


“I think (Stoudenmire) did a wonderful job of using that space, He has place that’s yours, be it your house or your own practice room, you develop a climbing ropes, he’s going to have conditioning bikes in this room,” CCHS lot of pride in it,” Stoudenmire said. Assistant Wrestling Coach Philip Walter said. “I think it’s a good area that Wrestlers no longer have to spend the extra 15 minutes required to take fits the wrestling team. They’re a close knit group of guys with a close small out and uncover the wrestling mats. The cleanliness of the mats is also easier compact room.” to maintain. Walter also believes the designation of a space for the wrestling team is “We don’t have to roll up the mats at all, we can just keep them out and we an acknowledgment of the program’s achievements. The team placed fifth can keep them cleaner,” CCHS junior Blake Mustard said. “Sometimes you’ll out of 94 AAAA teams at the state duals in roll them up and you will January of 2012, finishing the season with still have dirt in them. Now “The biggest thing with the new wrestling a 40-5 record. you can just mop them.” it shows them the support Stoudenmire has reroom is we’ve got a place to call our own.” from“I think the school that they were given their painted the mat room along own spot. Their success has been seen with many other improve-- TIMOTHY STOUDENMIRE, and noticed, and because of their success, ments. All of these changes Clarke Central High School Head Wrestling Coach they see the rewards,” Walter said. are being made to maximize the benefits of the room.

Featured: A PLACE TO CALL HOME: Clarke Central High School wrestlers utilize their new wrestling space on Nov. 29. When what is known as “the small gym” was conDecember 2012 weight room was transformed into a wrestling room. “We don’t have distractions | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE verted to a weight room, the former now. We can walk in close the door and get it done.| 41 That’s the biggest thing, we’ve eliminated distractions,”CCHS head wrestling coach Timothy Stoudenmire said. “It’s really nice for wrestlers to have their own place.”


The Glads top the Cats The Clarke Central High School Varsity Basketball team defeated Apalachee High School on Novmber 30.


he Clarke Central High School Varsity Basketball Team was 5-0 and No. 1 in the 8-AAAAA Region when they faced Apalachee High School on Nov. 30 in Winder, Ga. The game began with CCHS junior Leroy Legette (6’3’) jumping against AHS senior forward Cameron Blakley (6’9”) at jump ball, surprising many in attendance with the smaller Legette winning the tip. “At the beginning of the game I was thinking that we need to have a good game, because we lost to that team (last year) so I was just focused, and ready to play,” Legette said. CCHS began the game aggressively on the defensive end resulting in several steals. “We were just trying to stay focused and get these wins, because they are in our region. We lost to them twice last year and we just wanted to make a stand to just show everyone what we’re really about,” CCHS junior guard Austin Johnson said.” “We got word Saturday that we are the only undefeated 5-a team, we just got to keep it going.” Legette threw down a dunk off of a steal in the opening minutes of regulation. At the end of the first quarter, the Gladiators led the game 26-13. The second quarter CCHS lost their 13 point lead. AHS’ senior point guard Qua Cleveland seemed to be Apalachee’s only energy source, single-handedly changing the game’s intensity. After the Wildcats went on a run of fast breaks, Legette raised the bar when he dunked on an AHS player for an “and-1.” “I knew the guy was going to try to jump and block my shot so when I jumped and I saw him under me I felt like I owned him, and he was just one of my posters.” Legette said. CCHS began the third quarter with only a slight lead of two points. Blakley grabbed a couple of rebounds and used his height to his advantage in the post. An altercation later occurred between the two point guards, Thompson and Cleveland, due to the intense atmosphere of the game. Both of the guards received technical fouls in the small dispute. After the altercation Thompson was aggressively driving to the basket, and playing a higher level of defense, the score was 53-41, with the Gladiators leading. The Gladiators pulled away from the Wildcats mid-third quarter, when junior forward Cameron Johnson and junior guard Austin Johnson contributed with their scoring and rebounding coming off the bench. The Wildcats seemed to be too far behind in the third quarter to make a comeback. “Defense and just playing together won us BY CHAD RHYM Sports Writer

the game, and we have keep our heads where they need to be and not get a big head about all of this,” Johnson said. As the gladiators were beating Apalachee by more than ten points, CCHS head coach Andre McIntyre decided to put the freshmen Rayshawn McCall and Desmond Sorrels and sophomores Braxton Haley and Kedrick Smith in for the final seconds to give each player an opportunity to experience Central’s victory, winning the game 77-60.

Legette was chosen as Maxpreps player of the game. The forward recorded a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win against Apalachee. Legette leads the team in scoring and rebounding this season. “It feels good It’s our first high school undefeated season (so far) we’re feeling good and we’re going to keep going hard, Being the only AAAAA team that’s undefeated feels like we’re at the top,” Legette said.

“We lost to (Appalachee High School) twice last year and we just wanted to make a stand to show everyone what we’re really about.” -- AUSTIN JOHNSON,

Clarke Central High School junior Photo By Porter McLeod

Above: FADEAWAY: Clarke Central High School junior forward Deiuntre Cox makes a fadeaway jumpshot to compliment his 23 points in CCHS’s 77-60 victory over Apalachee High School. “It was a good game for us. It was great to get a region win and we met our goal to lock down their 6’9” center. It felt good to get the win,” Clarke Central’s junior small forward Leroy Legette said.


December 2012


Taking wrestling to the mats

Cartoon by John Hubbard

Clarke Central High School students do not like World Wrestling Entertainment and 98 percent of students think it is fake. However, for the most part, it’s only misunderstood. Above SMACKDOWN: The sports entertainment provided by World Wrestling Entertainment goes generally unappreciated by the students of Clarke Central High School. What many student fail to realize is the high degree of athleticism and creativity required to produce WWE.


larke Central High School’s wrestling program’s first meet was held in November, but when most students hear the word wrestling, they do not think of CCHS’ program, but ROBERT WALKER Sports Writer rather huge men in costumes jumping off ladders for World Wrestling Entertainment. Even though this is what comes to mind first for most, 84 percent of students surveyed dislike the WWE, and only 2 percent believe that all the moves performed are actually happening. Although WWE is far from reality, the term “fake” is not completely accurate. Outcomes are predetermined, but the athletes actually engage each other and the pain they feel is real. A major misconception of the general public is that WWE is a competitive sport. However, the company bills itself as “sports entertainment” which is what it is, real athletes performing amazing stunts with fictional storylines. Storylines are the backbone of WWE. Without them, it would only be random people in costumes wailing on each other. Some of the storylines are strange and trusted, like the Undertaker killing his family, but others are seemingly real life situations. December 2012

Do you like WWe?

One of the most important and relatively unknown jobs in WWE is the position of booker. According to the Bleacher Report, an American digital sports publishing company owned by Turner Broadcasting, a booker determines the outcome, promotes feuds and creates storylines. Most matches only have the finishing moves set up, the majority of moves are mostly improvisation by the athletes. Veteran wrestlers improvise moves throughout the match. Although the matches are planned, the booker and the athletes are the only people who know what the outcome will be. To the tens of thousands of fans, the results are not known. A booker has to ensure that the winner he picks will not take lessen viewership because a popular athlete loses. This can happen if a superstar with a large following is beaten. So upsets must be carefully decided, in order to lessen the negative impact on viewership. WWE athletes are not weak or non-athletic by any means because the stunts they perform require both strength and speed. If they were not real athletes, the WWE would not be able to have challenging events like “Hell in a Cell” or “Tables, Ladders and Chairs.” Many of the athletes are often larger than football players, such as the Big Show, who stands

84% of students dislike WWE

*300 students polled on Nov. 30 by Sarah Hoyt and Robert Walker Infographic by Hannah Dunn-Grandpre

7 ft, 441 lbs. These athletes are not just men wearing tights; they are huge men who are extremely athletic. Even though the WWE may not be liked at CCHS, students still think of it before the school’s squad once wrestling is mentioned, due to the popularity of the events with 5 million people tuning in, according to What people don’t understand is that it’s entertainment, not a competitive sport. However, that does not mean that they are not real athletes. If you don’t think professional wrestlers are real athletes, then you can tell the 7 ft, 440 lbs. Big Show yourself. | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 43


BCS-busted College football fans know the Bowl Championship Series has been unfair and mistake ridden.


been waiting to exalt Notre Dame back to its throne, and SEC fans will be kept he Bowl Championship Series has faced happy, as they can extend their six-year reign over college football. Perfect much scrutiny and has been characterized situation right? by unfairness since its beginnings. And then Wrong. there’s the fact that Northern Illinois – yes, NorthGeorgia, loser of the SEC Championship on Dec. 1, will not even make a ern Illinois – is in a BCS bowl. BCS bowl, despite being ranked in the top three leading into the game against The BCS, a committee of university presidents, Alabama, as No. 3 Florida will slide into that spot in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. athletic directors, and executive director Bill BY KEVIN MOBLEY Hancock, describes its system as “designed to ensure Though Georgia has had a relatively easy schedule, how could they be led into Web Staff such a letdown? that the top two-rated teams in the country meet in Speaking of Florida, Gator fans will always wonder what could have been the national championship game.” this season, despite winning four games against teams that are currently ranked Nonetheless, since the national championship game was created in 2006, in the top 15 of the BCS standings. The kicker: Florida’s only loss is to No. 3 there is one fundamental problem that shows up. What if there are more than Georgia, and now they can’t jump two teams that could make a case to be in into the title game over Alabama. the title game? Shouldn’t an entire season, filled with With this outcome decided by Take a look at this year’s situation. The quality wins, speak more to the system? the system, along with similar situsystem avoided criticism by working itself ations in 2007 with Georgia and out, as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams leading Texas in ‘08, the BCS has picked into Nov. 17, Kansas State and Oregon, against teams that are not conference champions. lost to teams ranked behind them. Kansas State even lost to unranked Baylor in Shouldn’t an entire season, filled with quality wins, speak more to the blowout fashion, setting up a sneak peak of a playoff that college football fans system than one game? have been waiting for. Guess not. However, change is coming. Notre Dame beat Southern Cal on Nov. 24 The BCS said it would be transitioning to a playoff following the 2014 taking the first spot, giving SEC champion season. The deal was finalized on Nov. 12, putting the finishing touches on Alabama the second spot. what fans have been waiting for: a proven champion. There are some kinks The college football media has in this plan, as there are only four teams, and a BCS selection committee will choose them. But this decision shows that the system is starting to catch up. There can never be a completely uncontested champion in college football; the sport cannot replicate the 68-team NCAA tournament that basketball has. A four-team playoff makes sure that the regular season keeps its importance. As Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Cartoon by William Kissane Above: AND IT ALL FALLS DOWN: After yet another year of unfortunate rankings, top flight teams such as the University of Georgia, find themselves playing in the Captial One Bowl rather than the Bowl Championship Series. The BCS is crumbling right before the eyes of college football.


December 2012

December 2012 | ODYSSEY NEWSMAGAZINE | 45

Featured photo: EYES ON THE PRIZE: Clarke Central High School junior guard Jaquan Dowdy evades Apalachee High School senior shooting guard Rakim Peters during a game at AHS on Nov. 30. The Gladiators won the game 77-60. “We lost to (AHS) last year,” CCHS junior forward Leroy Legette said. “I was focused; I was ready to play.


Photo by Porter McLeod



A spectator sport With a new understanding and appreciation, basketball no longer goes over writer’s head.

Austin Johnson Grade: 11 Sport: Basketball Years experience: 6 GPA: 3.5


End of season goal: “Win a region championship, and go deep into the playoffs.” Favorite game memory: “Playing at Cedar Shoals High School my freshman year.” Role model: Kobe Bryant What coaches say: “Austin has been on varsity for the past three years, and he brings a lot of leadership to the team. He’s an outstanding shooter, but he really impressed me this season with his defense early in his career. Now he’s becoming a well-rounded player. He’s playing defense and rebounding the ball.” -- Andre McIntyre, Head Coach ODYSSEY Star Players are selected based on their academic standing and commitment to

teammates, their sports program and Clarke Central High School. Star Players are selected each month by the Sports staff based on interviews with players and coaches.

Alexis Nailing

Grade: 10 Sport: JV Cheerleading Years experience: 4 GPA: 3.5 End of season goal: “To improve my attitude on the team and with my fellow team mates” Favorite game memory: “When the team is getting along and we’re getting positive feedback from everyone.”

ast year, if I happened to be in the stands during a Clarke Central High School basketball game, I would socialize at the concession stands by the end of the first quarter with no intention of rushing back to my seat to catch the rest of the game. BY CHLOE HARGRAVE Before I took the time to really Editor-in-Chief sit down and learn what the sport is truly centered around, I saw nothing more than two groups of overly competitive players sharing the same goal: win the game. However, after the recent Clarke Central vs Apalachee game, at which I actually paid attention to what the players were doing, I have a new appreciation for the sport and it no longer goes over my head. Now as I sit in the stands, I’m glued to my seat while closely watching the players’ moves and their reactions that follow. With this newfound appreciation, I regret not recognizing these passionate performances earlier. Instead of stopping to watch the NBA Finals last summer, I spent my time catching up on the latest Kardashian drama. In a town where college football is publicized and revered in almost every local publication, there is a general lack of recognition for other sports -- specifically basketball. In football, many fans become overwhelmed with competitiveness because of simple team spirit, but are missing the reason why the game has reached that intensity in the first place: the players’ passion. In basketball, the players’ faces are hard to miss. Spectators can see each drop of sweat that rolls off the players’ faces as they successfully execute a freethrow. At the next basketball game, try to avoid the constant socialization and take a second to truly look at what the passion players display in the game. This is what they have been practicing for each day. This is what they have thrown their souls and bodies into, and it’s clear out on the court. Above: FLY BY: After truly capturing the passion that is displayed in basketball, I’ve found a new appreciation for the sport.

Role model: “(My) sister Ebony Moffett because She inspires me to do well in life and work hard.” What coaches say: “She is a good cheerleader who gives her all when cheering.” -- Sedaris Sharp, Head Coach Graphic by Rad Brosius


December 2012


1. Development. “I picked up my first board when I was



four. I started seriously skating in 2008 and did that for about two years. And then, the local park (Zion Skate Park in Watkinsville, Ga.) shut down and I couldn’t skate anywhere else, so I kind of quit skating. I got back into skateboarding last October and am doing better than I was before.”

2. Vert expert.

“I’m not really what you would call a “street skater.” I skate ramps. Street skating is kind of like kickflips, stairs and handrails. But when it comes to ramps, that’s where I’m good. That’s called “vert skating.” Ramps are miniscule when it comes to vert skating, because there are vert ramps, bowls, mini ramps and irregular half pipe. I skate them all.”

3. It's therapeutic. “I’ve had two (injuries) on the same ramp in Atlanta. The first time I had a contusion on my femur and I couldn’t walk for a while. The second time I chipped a bone in my knee and stretched a ligament. And I’ve had other small, minor injuries, but nothing I couldn’t recover from in a week. Skateboarding to me is kind of like music to or art to somebody. Everything else in the world just disappears and when you don’t have (skateboarding), everything else in the world, all that stress, just starts coming on to you. And when you really want to (skate), but there is something literally stopping you, it’s just the worst thing in the world.”

4. The locals. “The typical skater is what we would call a local. Skating is what their passion is. If you’re really involved in (skateboarding), then your mind really get’s involved with it and it’s on your mind all the time. The locals are people who are completely dedicated, and you can tell that they’re dedicated, because when you see them skate, you can tell that they’re really enjoying it and having fun. It’s weird, it’s just kind of something you can sense. Society back in the day considered skaters like punks, so it’s almost like in a sense that if you’re all missfits then you’re all family. It’s cool. Everybody has each others back.”

5. Big man on board. “When most people look at me, they automatically think I’m not a skateboarder, which is obviously because of my size. It’s weird though, because I think that’s what drives me most. To be honest, I really want to go pro, so that I can show these people who think they can’t do something because they’re too heavy, that you can do it. The only thing that’s stopping you is you. I love going out to parks and seeing the looks people give me, like he doesn’t belong here, what is he doing here? Because after that, I skate, and they’re like, ‘Oh wow, he’s better than me.’”




December 2012

ODYSSEY Newsmagazine issue three  

Volume 10, issue three