The Jacket buzz starkville high school • 603 Yellow jacket Dr. Starkville, MS, 39759 • www.shsjacketbuzz.com • VOLUME XIX, No. 4 • 02-10-12
r. Martin Luther King Jr. once called Mississippi a place “sweltering with the heat of opression.” We still have room for improvement, but in the 50 years since these words were spoken, we have made huge leaps and bounds on the journey to equality. In this issue of The Jacket Buzz,, we reflect specifically on Starkville’s past while celebrating its present and looking toward its future. In honor of black history month, every story in a black box represents one step forward in Starkville’s history.
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1970 - A Landmark Year . . . Black, white students unified at last in 1970 By Cullom McCormick Editor-in-Chief When the Starkville School District integrated in the fall of 1970, no one knew what would happen. In reaction to integration, people would call in bomb threats to Starkville High School. According to one student, there was even one in the middle of an exam. “People were so fearful and cautious because it was so different from what had been before,” Larry Box, former SSD supt., said. Before integration, the SSD worked under a “freedom of choice” system where parents of both races could choose to send their children to the either the white school or Henderson, the black school. “Freedom of choice was simply an evasion of desegregation,” Fenton Peters, a black former SHS principal
and asst. supt. said. “The black community resented it. Everybody knew that no white students would choose to come to the black schools. The black parents were afraid to send their children to the white schools for fear of things like bodily harm. It was so taboo to mix the races.” But there were a few black students who used the freedom of choice system to their advantage. Class of 1972 graduate Maggie Little came to the white middle school in 1966. She was one of the first black students in the white schools. Starkville’s black community had been anticipating integration for years. Douglas L. Connor, a local Civil Rights leader, approached the Little family before the school year started. After hours of prayer and deliberation, Connor convinced Little’s parents to
send their children to the white schools as a way to test the waters. “They prepared us, saying that people were not going to be friendly when we walked in,” Little said. “When we walked into the auditorium on the first day and sat down, no one moved. We were told that might not happen.” Little didn’t encounter racism until she stepped into the classroom and a white student protested her attendance. Starkville’s teachers integrated before the students in the spring of 1969. The district used a lottery system in deciding which white teachers would go to black schools so as to avoid office politics. Young teachers got as many as five entries, while older teachers got only one. “They felt like this was an assignment that teachers may not want to do, so seniority gave an advantage,” Box
All photos on this page, as well as the headline, were taken directly from the 1971 Yellow Jacket yearbook.
said. A small number of teachers quit when their names were drawn. The next year Starkville Academy appeared across town. Allinda Fahrenkopf, a white Class of 1971 graduate, would have gone to the academy if she had been younger. But because she was already halfway through her junior year, she chose to stay. “My parents were not happy,” Fahrenkopf said. “It was total chaos at Starkville High. They even cancelled the prom.” Although the school was
crowded and the administration was understaffed, there were surprisingly few racial conflicts. “I can remember sitting in class, and there was a fight outside, unfortunately among football players,” Carolyn McKenzie, a white Class of 1972 graduate, said. “There was some talk of someone of a different race looking at someone’s girlfriend. That is literally the only problem that I remember at all. We even voted for a young black lady to be the homecoming queen.” That young girl was named Brenda Rogers.
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Holloway named supt. First black HC Queen remembers crowning By Cullom McCormick Editor-in-Chief
Lewis Holloway, superintendent of Bulloch County School District in Georgia, was announced yesterday as the new superintendent for the Starkville School District. “I got my masters at Mississippi State,” Holloway said. “I see it as an opportunity to return home. I’ve known my entire career that I’d like to go back to Mississippi and use my skills to help education there.” School board president Keith Coble sees Holloway as the best outcome of the board’s extensive search and believes the community can be “comfortable with where we’re at now.” “He’s very oriented towards achievement,” Coble said. “He’s quite aware of the challenges of the common core. But one of the things that impressed us about Dr.
Holloway was that he told us that he was going to come into the district and listen. His intent is to come in here and get up to speed before he makes a strong statement about direction.” Holloway will arrive in Starkville no later than July 1 and says he is going to get a feel for the
Holloway speaks to the public at an open forum on Feb. 6. Photo by Bailey Brocato.
district before taking any major actions. “Every school district is different and has some positive and some negative aspects,” Holloway said. “The culture of the district affects what we’re able to do.” Holloway brought multiple technology-based learning programs at the BCSS. Two of the more successful programs were Fast ForWord and iMath, which instructed students in reading and math, respectively. Holloway wants to bring some of these programs to the SSD, but would prefer to assess the district’s current programs first. Despite the adjustments and difficulties of acclimating to a new district, Holloway is eager to get started. “I’m looking forward to being in Starkville,” Holloway said. “I’ve heard the students are great, and it’s a good community.”
By Bailey Brocato Photography Editor In 1971, the year following Starkville High School’s integration, Dr. Brenda Rogers-Grays was crowned SHS Homecoming Queen. Rogers-Grays was the first African American to be awarded this honor. She had expected her white best friend to win. Her friend was the prettiest white girl in school. Rogers-Grays was so ready to hear the girl’s name announced that she wasn’t even paying attention the first time they said her own name. A few seconds later, someone nudged her to go and accept her crown. Rogers-Grays wasn’t the only one who was surprised. The announcer had to call for her twice to get her attention. “There was a loud roaring from the fans,” RogersGrays said. “[My friend] fainted, and I couldn’t believe it.” Rodgers did deserve the title, though. Throughout high school, she carried a 4.0 grade point average, was involved in the Student Government Association and logged the most volunteer hours as a candy striper. Rogers-Grays made her own dress with money she earned from working at a grocery store. It was pretty, but not as beautiful or expensive as her friend’s gorgeous store-bought dress. At the time, it was tradition for the captain of the football team to crown the queen and then drive her around the field. However, the white captain refused to crown the black Homecoming queen, and called her a racial slur. She just smiled. “My father always made
Brenda Rodgers in her homemade Homecoming dress and the Homecoming crown. Photo taken from the 1972 Yellow Jacket yearbook.
us march to the courthouse,” Rodgers said. “He always said, ‘Christianity first, education second, equality third.’ We had been spat on and kicked and scratched and we would just keep smiling.” Someone from the crowd took the crown and put it on her head. The football coach warned the captain that if he did not drive Rogers-Grays around the field, he would jeopardize his scholarship to the University of Mississippi. “Then the amusement park began,” she remembered. “He slammed on the gas all the way around the field and when he slammed on the breaks I fell into the
front seat. That’s why my crown is crooked in the picture on the yearbook.” She hopes that kids today will understand that with so much positivity in the world, they shouldn’t let a little negativity overcome them. “My dad always told us that it was okay to come in the back door, as long as you plan to go out the front door,” Rogers-Grays said. In recent years, SHS has crowned three black students in a row as Homecoming queen. These students were Whitney Peterson (2009), Chasity Swoopes (2010) and Verlyncia Leonard (2011).
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Football bonded races, “Footloose” coming soon 1971 graduates say By Tyler Griffis News Writer
By Christine Mazzola Sports Editor Before 1970, the phrase “We are Starkville!” may have been misleading. There were two high school football teams in town: all-white Starkville High School and all-black Henderson High School. But that fall, as Henderson closed and segregation ended, seniors of both races had to step up as leaders on a newly integrated team. Retired SHS football and track coach Cleveland Hudson was one of those black seniors, and he remembers some intense tryouts when the teams combined. “We had some guys that were linemen when they left Henderson,” Hudson said. “When they went to Starkville High, they played running back because that could help us win and you played what position best suited you.” The Jackets accomplished that goal with a 10-0 season, an event that eased some of the unrest of the school’s transition. Ronnie Braswell, a white senior on that team, said that football gave the team an opportunity to bond that other students may not have had. “Once you’re bumping heads and taking showers with each other, you get along with people differently,” Braswell said. “You know them a little more intimately than you do when you sit down at a desk next to them.” Current SHS head baseball coach Danny Carlisle was also a senior that fall, and even though a kidney injury as a freshman ended his football and baseball career, Carlisle says seeing that 1970 team’s success
Top: Braswell (left) and Hudson (right) in uniform; bottom: Coaches Jim Craig and Ray Self (left to right). Photo taken from the 1972 Yellow Jacket yearbook.
taught him a lesson that he’s carried through 29 years of coaching. “The kids and the coaches, you can’t see color,” Carlisle said. “In all athletics, you can’t see color. You’ve got to see talent. If you see color, a kid’s going to see right through that.” But even with all the football team’s harmony, it was still a tough year. According to Braswell, the school administration formed a Bi-Racial Committee that year as a “student suggestion group” that it hoped would see past color and unite the school. The group ended up with basically no power. “We had some suggestions, but in the long run it came down to [how] the administration was going to do what it wanted to do,” Braswell said. For the Class of 1971, divisions still remain. Their reunions, including
their fortieth one last year, are segregated. “I wish that we had invited the blacks and the whites to go together,” Braswell said, “but we got started having [them] separately.” Plans to integrate the reunions haven’t yielded much progress. But for those senior boys, now men, on that first integrated football team, what matters now are the memories and friendships they developed that fall. “We respected each other as football players, and we ended up respecting each other as individuals,” Hudson said. “And I’m pretty sure some of those white guys had their doubts about how we were going to get along, just like some of the blacks did. But once we learned each other, once we got to know each other, we found out that all of us were football players. All of us were students.”
This year’s spring musical, “Footloose,” is based on actual events in 1970s Oklahoma. The show is about a high school student who loves to dance but moves to a small town where the local reverend has banned dancing. “This is a good conflict between the youth of the community and the elders,” director Carol Hairfield said. “It’s the struggle of the community, who have lost four youths, and it’s the struggle of this young man, who has lost his father.” Sophomore Steve Jones will play the lead role of Ren McCormick. “I’m kind of nervous because I’m not entirely familiar with the musical itself,” Jones said. “But I think it will be a good experience for me.” “Footloose” has a large cast, so plenty of new faces
‘Footloose’ cast practices in the SHS choral room. Photo by Robert Dandass.
will grace the SHS stage. “We have some actors returning from our one act play, but we also have some people who haven’t done much theatrical work,” Hairfield said. “We’ve got some sports people in it, so we’ll likely have a variety of folks.” Senior Lauren Hughes, who starred as Marion Paroo in last year’s “The Music Man,” will be returning. “I wasn’t in ‘Beggar’s Opera,’ so I don’t know the directing style of Mrs. Hairfield,” Hughes said. “We have a good group of teachers running the show, so I
Musical “Footloose” SHS theater April 12, 13, 14, 15 (matinee) 7:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. $7 per ticket
think it will be pretty good.” Economics teacher Ginger Tedder, asst. choir director Joel Barron, retired SHS theater teacher Paula Mabry and First Baptist Starkville music minister Tom Jenkins will help Hairfield direct. Kelly Hairfield, an SHS graduate, will help with choreography.
Moore teaches more than just shop By Steve Jones News Writer John Moore teaches building and construction at Millsaps Career & Technology Center. But most students don’t know his story. In 1966, prior to integration in 1970, Moore started working at the all-black Henderson High School. Teacher salaries were low, so Moore and fellow teacher Max Fadden even tried to open a small restaurant on the side. It closed down after one year. “No one ate out a lot in those days,” Moore said. “I gave it my best shot, but it just didn’t go through.” When Starkville schools desegregated, Moore started his current job at Millsaps. “There was no racial ten-
sion, maybe a little apprehension, but most [of the students] were young and they bonded and formed friendships,” Moore said. Many families who had a problem with integration pulled their kids out and enrolled them at Starkville Academy, which was built that year. Moore doesn’t remember any racial riots or fights, in or out of school. After forced integration and white students moving to SA, SHS was left with a large population of black students. Many of them didn’t come from rich families. Some had a hard time making ends meet, and most struggled to make good grades. These students were the ones Moore taught.
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February Fridays Every Friday in February, SHS will be honoring black history.
When: Feb. 10. | Place: SHS gym. | Theme: Living Responsibly in an Age of Excuses. | Guests: Rev. Thomas Rogers. Jr, Alcorn State’s Men’s Chorale.
John Moore teaches students construction skills. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
“I taught them with patience,” Moore said. 40 years later, Moore’s teaching methods remain the same. First, he explains what the problem is and discusses it with the students using language they are familiar with. After that, he sets his students loose to work on their projects. “People learn best by
experience,” Moore said. “This way, they learn from their mistakes, if they make any, and everything stays in their minds for longer.” But Moore’s most important teaching tool is respect. He respects his students, and they respect him in return. And by teaching them an employable skill, he teaches them to respect themselves.
When: Feb. 17. | Place: SHS auditorium. | Theme: African American Music. | Guests: SHS choir, band, and gospel singers and string ensemble.
When: Feb. 24. | Place: SHS auditorium. | Theme: African American dance. | Guests: church and dance teams, guest speaker.
Thompson hired Band plays for public as English teacher before state festival By Tyler Griffis News Writer
By Steve Jones News Writer In January, Starkville High School welcomed a new teacher and said goodbye to an old one. English teacher Wendy Brewer resigned at the end of the first semester to help with her husband’s contracting company. After a 15-year tenure, leaving was a hard decision. “I will always be a Yellow Jacket,” Brewer said. “I have so many friends here, and I will never forget them.” But her students are being taken care of, as SHS hired Roderick Thompson, an experienced teacher from Biloxi, Miss., to replace her. Thompson started his new job just days before the semester with almost no preparation. “When my first class started, I was worried I might mess something up,” Thomp-
Roderick Thompson teaches his students. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
son said. “But then the ball started rolling and the whole day went very smoothly.” Thompson doesn’t plan on teaching at SHS for long. He plans to get his Administrative degree. “I would love an [administrative] job if one is offered,” Thompson said.
The Starkville High School band’s Feb. 16 concert is an opportunity to play their program for the public before heading to the state band festival in Ridgeland on Feb. 28. “We’ll have some judges that evening to tell us what we need to work on and where we can improve, and we’ll fix it accordingly,” band director Shawn Sullivan said. The Wind Ensemble’s selection for the concert is “Ignition” by Todd Stalter, “Salvation is Created” by Pavel Chesnekov and “God of Our Fathers” by Claude T. Smith. “We went through a lot of songs trying to find what our program was going to be,” junior Akane Little said. “It was really disorienting, but I think Mr. Sullivan is fully satisfied with the program we have now.”
Band Concert February 16 6:00 p.m.
Demario Jefferson heads the symphonic band. “It’s going well,” he said, “We’re improving well, transitioning from marching band season into concert season.” The Symphonic Band is playing “Too Beautiful for Words,” a harmonious, slow song; “Psalms and Celebration,” a bright, dramatic piece featuring a flute solo by senior Courtney Bell; and “The Lightening Spirit,” which is exciting, fast and full of energy. “It’s going to take a lot of practice for the individuals and for the whole band,” Little said. “But if that comes together it’ll be the best show Mr. Sullivan has played since he got here.”
SHS STARs selected Senior Brian Xu and Advanced Placement European History teacher Ty Adair were named STAR student and teacher, respectively. The STAR student is the seior with the highest ACT score. Xu had a score of 35 and selected Adair as the one teacher who has highly influenced him. Photo by Barrett Higginbotham.
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FOOTBALL & BBQ
Morris’ BBQ built tradition of homecooked football
Morris’ BBQ and Steak House sits glowing in the countryside on a Friday night. Photo by Barrett Higginbotham.
By Tyler Griffis News Writer
Just off of Old Highway 82, there is a little building that is quiet most of the week. But on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, “Morris’ BBQ”, as an old sign calls it, serves some of the most delicious barbecue for miles. Morris’ BBQ started as Sonny’s BBQ Pit in the late 1970s, run by black community member Sonny Nichols, a relative of the Morrises, and was staffed with the Morris family. Nichols has since passed away, but the legacy of their fresh food has stayed in the family. Inside the restaurant are old TVs, MSU posters and Starkville Raiders pictures. Aside from the BBQ, one of the family’s big contributions to the people of Starkville is the youth football team The Starkville Raiders. Nathaniel “Bobby” Morris founded the Raiders in 2004. They became the dominant team in the league, remaining undefeated for
two entire years. That success continues to this day-the seven-to-eight division won the championship. The Raiders are tied to Armstrong Middle School. Parents pay to have their kids play, and the money that isn’t used is given back. Armstrong’s field is their home field, so it isn’t uncommon for the faculty to be seen eating Morris’ BBQ. To be a Raider, one has to learn the values of the team: integrity, discipline and academics. Morris, the parents and the coaches refine the Raiders into better players and people, which is the secret to their success. “All of us grew up together,” Starkville High School senior Dennis Ware said. “We knew how to finish games as teams, not as individuals.” Ware recently signed to play football at Northwest Community College. He attributes much of his success to his time with the Raiders. “Playing for the Raiders opened my eyes and made
me see that I was made for playing football,” Ware said. Many members of SHS’s football team played for them. junior Devin Mitchell, who passed away over Christmas break, was a Raider for six years. His old jersey, #56, will be retired this year. Eight years after its inception, some of the founding Raiders who lead the team to early victories are graduating high school and signing to play for college, giving the new generation even more role models. “It made me feel famous,” he said with a smile. Bobby Morris is so proud of his Raiders that he went right out to support the team right after he married his wife Shlynn in 2004. “It’s just an honor to play with them,” Morris said. “It’s a lot of work that people don’t really realize, but the end result is worth it,” Shlynn Morris said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.” That, and stellar barbecue.
JROTC ready to host meet SGA changes By Kelley Mazzola News Writer On Feb. 18, the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corp will host a local drill meet in the Starkville High School gym. Many of the older cadets feel like the drill team will do well on their home territory. “We have a young team,”
senior Rob Wilbourn said. “But with all the practice, they’ll do well.” Similarly, sgt. major Billy Houston has high expectations for his team. “They’re all the best,” Houston said. “The last time we did this we brought home pretty much all the trophies so we’ll do great.” Meanwhile, the cadet staff and Lt. Colonel Charlese
Webb will organize everything. “You’ll need to get the routine set, the schools contacted, get judges,” Wilbourn said. “It’s a lot to do.” However, unlike some sports, it’s a relatively simple fix, according to Houston. “We already know who’s coming, and we already got our judges from the Mississippi State ROTC,” Hous-
ton said. “All we need is some bleachers and an open space.” Senior Trina Frazier, a member of the cadet staff, thinks that everything will go as planned and the team will do well. “If [the staff] comes early and does their job, then it’ll go without a hitch,” Frazier said. “Overall, we’ll take superior.”
News on web [www.shsjacketbuzz.com] “Biggest Loser” speaks in Starkville by Merve Karan Starkville High School remembers black history by Leah Gibson French club carnations on sale by Steve Jones Dancing with teachers by Steve Jones
prom, HC, more By Steve Jones News Writer
Recently, the Student Government Association changed the way annual events will operate. Prom has been moved to the Starkville High School gym on April 28 instead of the Sportsplex on April 21. “We had to change the date because of Super Bulldog Sunday, and [the DJs] were all booked,” SGA president and senior Wheeler Richardson said. Next fall, the Homecoming Court will include both boys and girls, meaning that there will not only be a Homecoming Queen, but a Homecoming King as well. The SGA also changed the
Who’s Who program. Starting this year Who’s Who will only be for seniors and will be during Senior Week. The traditional categories have been abolished and new ones, such as Most Likely to Trip Onstage, have taken their place. “It was way chaotic being held during a pep rally,” Richardson said. “Too many people were yelling and no one could hear who won.” The SGA also added two new leadership positions. The Liaison will report SGA news to The Jacket Buzz, and the Parliamentarian will keep order during the meetings. All positions will be reelected at the end of this school year.
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Starkville mourns Importance of historically black recent losses colleges, universities disputed By Leah Gibson News Writer
The Starkville School District has experienced several losses since the new year of 2012 began. Laura Carson, an 11 yearold sixth grader, lost her life in a go cart accident on New Year’s Day. Donna Weeks, a bookkeeper at the Millsaps Career and Technology Center, died on Jan.11. This was only a few months after learning that she had terminal lung cancer. And just last week, Starkville High School cafeteria worker Elizabeth Johnson just lost her own daughter, Sinetra Johnson, after a 10-year battle with Sarcoidosis. Sinetra Johnson graduated from SHS in 1999 and would have been 31 years old on Feb. 4.
By Jordan Cohen Opinions Editor
Laura Carson. Courtesy photo.
At their conception, historically black colleges and universities offered a vital opportunity for the nation’s disenfranchised black population. Today, though, their importance is questioned. Black students are no
longer restricted on which colleges then can attend, so many wonder why states continue to fund them. But to those who have actually attended these colleges, their importance is clear. “Historically black colleges are important because of rich history lessons and the deep rooted heritage they provide,” former Miss
Donna Weeks. Courtesy photo.
Sinetra Johnson. Courtesy photo.
Prater fills out his application to Alcorn. Photo by Barrett Higginbotham.
U.S.A. and Starkville High School alumni Shauntay Hinton said. Hinton attended Howard University, a prestigious historically black university whose alumni include Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell and writer Toni Morrison. For today’s graduates, the requirements for incoming freshman at Mississippi State University or historically black colleges such as Jackson State or Alcorn State University are almost identical. Each student must have a minimum of a 2.0 GPA and a minimum ACT score of 16. Historically black colleges have plenty of white students, especially in their graduate programs. SHS principal Keith Fennell received his masters in
education and administration from Jackson State University, a historically black college. “I don’t see that there was any type of difference in the instruction or the education or the program itself,” Fennell said. Students who choose historically black colleges don’t necessairily do so because of their cultural affiliations. “[ASU] is just one of the many schools I chose, [because of] the major I wanted,” senior Michael Prater said. For whatever the reason students attend historically black colleges, Hinton says their value won’t go away. “If you look at the inception of black colleges, you will see an outline of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans throughout time,” Hinton said.
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Carlisle returns for final season By Christine Mazzola Sports Editor
Concluding his twenty-ninth season as head baseball coach for Starkville High School, Danny Carlisle is excited for a strong final year from his team. “I am so looking forward to this,” Carlisle said. “It’s a good group of seniors and there’s some good young players, too.” Carlisle’s goal is nothing short of going all the way. “Hopefully we wind up with a state championship again,” Carlisle said. “That would be an exciting time. A lot of people have a goal of winning a division or having a winning record, but my goal is a state championship.”
First Game Four-Way Friendly SHS Baseball Field Feb. 18 Time TBA
SHS principal Keith Fennell says it was retirement laws that forced an early retirement, though it was Carlisle’s intent to “finish what he’d started.” “I think it’s the best case scenario this spring to stay with that experienced, familiar person to finish out the year,” Fennell said. “I’m glad we got the opportunity to do so.” Fennell and athletic director Stan Miller will head the search for SHS’s new coach, which probably won’t concluded until the post-seaason out of re-
Baseball coach Danny Carlisle. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
spect for other programs. “We don’t want to interfere or interrupt what their focus is for that school, for that baseball season,” Fennell said. “Nobody wants to step on toes where they’re currently happy.”
Carlisle teaches his players to run low between bases with a rake pole as a clearance level. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
Soccer loses rematch
Doss finds home with soccer
By Aaron Remotigue Sports Writer
Alex Mazzola said. “We’re just so experienced, and we play hard with heart. The Yellow Jacket girl’s [Defense] is everything. soccer team lost 2-0 in the Some people say defense second round of play-offs wins championships. We to the Oxford Chargers. can’t get scored on, and The Lady Jackets were disour team—if we get scored trict champions, and they on—we don’t play.” defeated Neshoba Central Albritton says striker and New Hope to advance Noa Hardin was a key part to the second round. of the offensive game this Coach Anna Albritton, year. although disappointed with “We had a really good the loss, is starting to have season,” Hardin said. a more optimistic outlook “We came out really, reon the season. ally strong, but in the end “Our defense has always we just couldn’t pull it out been our strong point,” against Oxford.” Albritton said. “We However, next season build from the back, Albritton says that next and we actually play season she is expecting from the back forMadison Buntin to step up ward. You got to and lead the team. have a strong de“I hope to be a leader and fense in order improve my ball control,” to be able to Buntin said. “We want to do that.” go to the state chamWhen it pionship like the comes to boys did. I this seawould lead son’s highmy team lights, into obliviAlbritton Noa Hardin battles an Oxford player for the ball. Photo by Barrett Higginbotham. on.” says she is extremely happy with beating New Hope after the 2-1 loss to the Lady Trojans earlier on in the season. Defense played a crucial roll in the game as the Jackets shut out New Hope 3-0. “We have good outsides, Jenn and Meghan are fabulous,” sophomore center defender
By Aaron Remotigue Sports Writer Although senior Rasheda Doss is the only African American player on Starkville High’s Lady Jacket soccer team, she hardly even notices the difference between her and her teammates. “At first I didn’t want to play at all, but I learned to
love the sport,” Doss said. “I’m the only black girl on the team, and when I’m around the team it’s not about color at all. I love all those guys.” Doss played outside midfielder in practice, though moved up to play striker for her start on Senior Night in their final regular season game against New Hope on Jan. 20.
Senior Rasheda Doss receives a ball signed by the team from head coach Anna Albritton on senior night, Jan. 20. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
Doss’s two years on the team have had an impact on senior and four-year returner Jenn Henderson, who admires Doss’s personality. “Rasheda has influenced the team in many ways because she is a great example of perseverance,” Henderson said. “She’s been on the team since last year, and she has tried so hard and improved a lot. We have all gotten really close to her and consider her a dear friend. She’s become a good soccer player, and I’m so proud of her.” Carolina Berryhill, starting midfielder for the Lady Jackets’, revels in Doss’s comedic side. “She is probably the funniest person I have ever met,” Berryhill said. “She is always in a good mood. She knows when to have fun, which is all the time. She can become friends with anyone that she meets. When she is in a bad mood then you know it, but it’s hard for her to be in a bad mood. She is a great person and friend.”
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To each their own... Self-segregation based more on interests By Tyler Griffis News Writer There is a perceived difference in black and white culture at Starkville High School. Opinions among the students vary for these differences. Some blame the division on different interests; others say that where a student grows up is a sign of who he or she will be friends with later. Some students point out the similarities, and say there isn’t much difference. 42 years after integration, black and white students generally seem keep to their own race in most social situations.
Of course, this is not true of everyone, but plenty of students notice. “Whites sit with whites, blacks sit with blacks,” freshman Benjamin Bergstrom said. “I have only ever seen one table that was really diverse.” Most students say they choose their friends based on similarity. “We just hang out with people who have common interests,” sophomore Haley Palmertree said. Bergstrom agrees. “I guess we do it because we feel comfortable that way,” Bergstrom said. Freshman Matt Miles feels that interests are a major factor in students’ friend choice,
and besides common interests, most students wouldn’t naturally integrate. “Blacks and whites don’t have a lot in common,” freshman Matt Miles said. “If they sit together, it’s because they have common interests.” However, students of both races actually have very similar interests. American pop culture is largely heterogeneous. For instance, modern music, from rap to hard rock to electronica, all stems from the blues, invented by black musicians in Mississippi. Some students figure it’s all about who they knew growing up. Many students that hang out largely with students of a different race do so because they came from the same neighborhood. “Generally, it’s the way we grow up, and how we inter-
act with each other,” Miles said. According to students and many sociologists, where someone comes from can account for racial prejudices as well, both large and small. The more racially intolerant students at Starkville High School come from homes that espouse racism. “People who do hate people are from rural areas, but those people tend to be the minority,” junior Lacy Claire Whitten said. Whatever the reason, black and white students tend to self-segregate. Some students are confident it’s a relic of the past, and on it’s way out. “Our grandparents tell us about [racism],” Palmertree said, “Our parents don’t really. We won’t tell our kids this, they won’t tell their kids this. It will eventually go away.”
On Feb. 1, two senior soccer players from Starkville High School signed to play collegiate soccer. Addison Watson signed with Missouri State University and Austin Wileman signed with Itawamba Community College. Head coach Brian Bennett and assistant coach Diana Wileman stand behind the players. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
Field coaches work one-on-one By Avery Cohen Senior triple jump runner Sports Writer Jalan Catledge is working with First Meet Heard in one on one training. With spring just around the corner, the track and field team is practicing diligently to prepare for the upcoming season. It’s not just runners on the track; the hot topic this year is field events. “We always do all the field events, we’ve always had high jumpers, we’ve always had throwers, shot put discus, we’ve always had long jumpers, and triple jumpers,” coach Caroline Woomer said. “The only difference this year is that we have enough coaches so that everyone is going to get attention.” The field events have a host of coaches. Megan Holmes is coaching the throwers, returner Kevin Heard is coaching the jumpers, and volunteer coach Jarwarski Beckum is heading the sprinters.
“My coach has been training me personally so I do a lot better this year,” Catledge said. “[I’ve] been doing a lot
Garison Arinder hurls the discus. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
Meet at the Univ. of Southern Mississippi March 2 Time TBA
of leg weights. He’s trying to perfect my style.” Last year, Catledge received third place in the triple jump, and this year he expects to win first or second. Stanley Childs participates in the high jump and long jump competitions for SHS, and is confident that this will be a victorious season. “I’m excited because we have a very, very good chance of winning state this year,” Childs said. “We’ve got all the sprinters and the field events will take place, we have a lot of people coming back, and we have a very good shot.”
Duncan Watson conquers his fears to pole vault. Photo by Barrett Higginbotham.
Pole vaulting joins track By Aaron Remotigue Sports Writer The 2012 track season marks the first year that Starkville High School has a pole-vaulting team. Every Monday night, the athletes on the Jacket pole-vaulting team meet with MSU pole-vaulting coach Steve Thomas. Because there was no vaulting program
at Starkville High, veteran coach Thomas has had to build from the ground up. “That’s what I want with this program is to develop kids, and as they get to be seniors, colleges will recruit them,” Thomas said. “We’re basically starting from scratch because most high schools have never had anyone to coach pole vaulting so
they don’t understand the event.” Junior Duncan Watson has been practicing with his fellow teammates since late December. “I was really ecstatic to try out,” Watson said, “And so far is been great fun. Especially getting over the bar thing yesterday. Just the fact that I was able to do it gave me such a rush.”
Page 12 • 02-10-12
Student race relations good, still far from perfect By Leah Gibson News Writer Starkville High School has come a long way in the struggle to build race relations, but there is plenty of room for improvement. Senior Mike Brand believes that true racism is a reflection of the individual’s upbringing and parents’ beliefs. “Someone was feeding them that negative energy towards black people,” Brand said. “That’s just like somebody going to church. Say you have a Christian and a Buddhist. It’s really hard to tell a true Buddhist how he should live his life when he was raised his whole life
in the Buddhist religion.” Racism can and frequently does go both ways, however. Junior Mitchell Linley experienced racism in middle school during his P.E. class. “It was more like when we would start to play basketball and split up into teams, I would hear, ‘No, I don’t want him on my team, coach, he’s white,’” Linley said. “‘He can’t play basketball.’” Linley silently dealt with the derogatory comments. “I mean, I don’t agree with it, but I didn’t make a big deal about it,” Linley said. “I was just like okay. I just kind of wasn’t given a chance to prove myself as
a person instead of people judging.” Many SHS students believe that self-segregation or de facto segregation is done by coincidence. Many students may see it, but have not made an effort to change it. Personal comfort zones may be responsible for this. However, there are some students that do not have the same feelings about race relations that Mitchell and many others do. “I don’t see it,” junior Gabe Myles said. “If I want to go sit with other people at lunch I could easily just do it without there being a problem. In fact, I do it all the time.”
A racially mixed group of juniors run through a bust’em on the final day of Spirit Week. Photo by Victoria Hearn.
Lady Jackets headed for district Powerlifting helps prep athletes By Matt Mlsna stopped hustling and trying By Aaron Remotigue Sports Writer our best, but they just kind Sports Writer Next Game Next Meet of took it from us in the last SHS/Neshoba vs. Canton in Neshoba Central Tonight Time TBA
Senior Brittany Brown dribbles in the court. Photo by Robert Dandass.
The Lady Jacket basketball team played the Lady Rockets of Neshoba in the first round of the district tournament last night. At the time of print, the results of that game were unavailable. Should they win, the Lady Jackets (12-11) will play tonight (Feb. 10) at Neshoba Central versus Canton. Last night’s game was a rematch of an earlier game on Jan. 31. In that game, senior Brittany Brown scored 27 points, but it was not enough to seal the win, as Neshoba stole a 68-65 game in the SHS gym. “We never gave up during the game, and we never
minute,” Brown said. The Lady Jackets’ season has been built on teamwork and effort from every player. “It’s been a good team effort from everybody doing their part,” girls coach Kristie Williams said. “I don’t want to name just one person, because we have all put in effort to get where we are.” The girls notice the work their teammates put in. Brown’s final season has been filled with “a lot of heart,” and she’s seen the same from her teammates. “We’ve had a lot of hard working girls this year, and I’ve enjoyed being able to play with them in my last year,” Brown said.
Sophomore Taylor Johnston is a defensive player for the Yellow Jacket football team, and like many other athletes, he’s using powerlifting to give him an edge for the fall. “I like how powerlifting challenges me mentally and physically,” Johnston said. “It keeps me prepared for football so I won’t be the weakest guy out there next year.” First-year coach Justin Moss sees numerous new faces on the girls side of the team this year. “Some of the girls have never lifted before,” Moss said. “But I’m just excited about the learning experi-
“It keeps me prepared for football so I won’t be the weakest guy out there next year.”
- Sophomore Taylor Johnston
ence that the rest of the season provides.” Junior Madison Morgan is a first-year powerlifter and a cheerleader on the Yellow Jacket cheer squad. She said powerlifting is something she has wanted to try for a while. “I’ve always liked weight
Girls Team at Ridgeland
Wednesday, Feb. 15
lifting a lot,” Morgan said. “I just worked out at the gym and kept practicing so that I could try out for it. It does help me with cheerleading, because I’m a base.” Morgan said she’s excited about the many opportunities that powerlifting offers. “I met a lot of new people that I didn’t used to be friends with,” Morgan said. “I’m excited about our Division one meet that’s coming up.”
Football seniors sign On Feb. 1, six senior football players from Starkville High School signed to play collegiate football. From left to right: Latajh Bush signed with William Penn University; Kelvin Young and Stanley Childs signed with Itawamba Community College; Erik Rogers signed with Delta State University; and Cory Cannon and Dennis Ware signed with Northwest Mississippi Community College. Photo by Bailey Brocato.
Tragedy unites By Leah Gibson News Writer Junior Devin Mitchell’s death on Jan. 1 brought the Starkville High School student body together in a way that has never been seen before. When Yahoo.com nationalized Mitchell’s story, there were both negative and positive comments posted. Some of them were rude, racist and inappropriate. However, they did not overshadow the many positive comments that were left, some in direct reply to the negative. People that knew Mitchell were appalled and offended, especially his classmates, who said his life was an inspiration. People of every race attended his funeral. His friendliness touched the lives of many, and when he died, Starkville seemed to be reunited. Junior baseball player Max Bartlett saw how his classmates reacted and came together after Mitchell’s death, and it touched him beyond his expectations. “It hurt because I knew Devin was gone; it made me happy because I was glad to see us all come together,” Bartlett said. “Not only did Devin make this student body stronger, he made this community stronger. When you have old and young, white, black, Asian and Hispanic people all come to a funeral, you know that he was something special.” After Devin’s death, the junior class especially was united. Through Facebook, juniors Mikeshia Mobley and Domonique Tate organized a class meeting at the Starkville Sportsplex on Jan. 4. Bartlett purchased and sold 600 armbands that
Junior Devin Mitchell (#32), who passed away New Year’s morning, leads the team onto the field to play Hernado. Photo by Bailey Brocato.
read “Devin Mitchell #32Forever.” The bracelets were meant to help people remember Mitchell, and all proceeds went to the Mitchell family. “Every time I was mad or upset and I saw him, that big smile and goofy laugh would turn my day around,” Bartlett said. “In sports, he always worked hard and he never quit. He led by example.” Holly Travis, junior class president, was the project organizer for a memory book for the Mitchell family. The book consists of thoughts from the SHS student body, faculty and staff. The junior class also sold T-shirts in honor of Mitchell. “As president, I felt it was important that I step up and do whatever I can to help in such a tragic situation,” Travis said. “I understand that putting together a book won’t make his family’s pain go away, but I can just hope it will help them see the positive impact he had on everyone’s life. We will give his family the book along with the shirts we ordered for them.” When junior basketball player Avonte Amos presented the idea of honor-
ing Devin before every game, his teammates and coach immediately thought it was a great idea. The shirts were ordered so fast that they were ready for the following game against Yazoo City. “Their purpose is to serve as an instant reminder on how Devin lived his life by going all out and giving it his all,” Amos said. “He instilled a drive inside of me to give my all in everything I do, just like he did.” The shirts came as a surprise for everyone attending the game, since Mitchell did not play basketball. But everyone was touched to see that his classmates honored him in everything they did. “My plan is to continue the shirts next year,” Amos said. “I even plan on wearing the number 32 on my basketball jersey in the loving memory of Devin.” Bartlett agrees.
02-10-12 • Page 13
Bowling heads to State By Avery Cohen Sports Writer
The Starkville High School bowling team placed in yesterday’s regional meet and will advance to the state tournament later this month. Before the meet, head coach Jim Philamlee said he thought his squad would finish first or second in the North division. While the Yellow Jackets actually finished third, they still earned one of the two wildcard spots that are used to round out the tournament field. Sophomore Daniel Montgomery was confident in his team. “The varsity has been good,” Montgomery said.
Cody Prewitt bowls while his teammates watch. Photo by Robert Dandass.
Tennis sets State as goal By Avery Cohen Sports Writer
Junior Jack Bryant moves to hit a backhand. Photo by Robert Dandass.
The Starkville High School tennis team is just getting ready to play. “I’m excited to go out there and hit that little yellow ball,” senior Brian Xu said. “When the ball comes at you and you hit it back across, that’s exciting to me.” Although only girls singles and mixed doubles were able to attend State last year, the team feels confident that this will be a victorious season. “Since we are in 5A this year, we should go all the way to state,” freshman Hannah Laird said.
First Game SHS vs. Hillcrest SHS Tennis Courts Feb. 28 2:00 p.m.
Co-coach Robert Fyke is excited for the team’s development. “I’m excited about all the motivated players on the tennis team and our potential to win the state championship,” Fyke said. “I expect for us to exceed any successes that we had last year, and I expect for the students and the players to be a little bit stronger all around than they have been in the past.”
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02-10-12 • Page 15
The editorial below is a written collaboration among all members of the Jacket Buzz editorial staff. Ideas expressed represent the majority opinion of the student editors.
Students should accept past, look to the future As students in Mississippi, we aren’t always proud of our history. Upon reflection, we can see injustice, discrimination and segregation. These are things we can’t forget or erase. It is important to remember, though, that this isn’t the entirety of our history by any means. In 1970, Starkville High School took a vital step toward equality. The integration of our school brought a much needed change to our city. Unfortu-
nately, this change wasn’t immediately appreciated by all. It would be ignorant, albeit more comfortable, to gloss over this time in our history and say that this was the end of racism, the end of racial divide in our city. But it wasn’t. It was a start. It was a first step in our long journey to equality. People who are ignorant of this journey and the progress we’ve made are almost al-
ways too quick to judge Mississippi and its people. They make broad generalizations about our state, rutinely implying that racism is a thriving part of our society. They say we are uneducated, ignorant, and unaccepting. However, in doing so they are displaying their own igornance, that is, their blatant igornanec of the countless redeeming qualities of our state. All too often, Mississippi is bombarded with
Malcolm X deserves more recognition PLANET MARS|
We need to stop and ask ourselves what exactly “Black History” means. Is it a completely unbiased chronicle of the struggle of black Americans? It should be. Malcolm X made a deep impact in the Civil Rights movement. He and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. respected each other as major Civil Rights leaders. President John F. Kennedy would call on Malcolm X to break up protests that were getting violent. Just through his presence, Malcolm X could impassion or sooth a mass of people. He was a revered leader all over the world.
The common consensus seems to be that difference between Malcolm X and King is that Malcolm X was violent while King was peaceful. Malcolm X’s message wasn’t of violence, but of self-defense. He was first and foremost, a Muslim, and as such, would never preach violence. Practicing Islam means submitting oneself to peace. So why do textbooks claim Malcolm X was violent? Why does he get a small paragraph in a textbook, while others get pages upon pages? Why is his assassination largely overlooked? As a Muslim who has grown up in America, I see first hand that America’s Islamaphobia started long before 9/11. But there’s no reason to distort history, ignore the impacts others have made, or cause future generations to view Muslim Americans in history in a negative light, simply because of fear or ignorance. History is about honesty.
The Jacket Buzz Cullom McCormick Editor-in-Chief
Merve Karan News Editor
Jordan Cohen Opinions Editor
Mark Anne Hobart Marketing Director
Bailey Brocato Yearbook Editor
Christine Mazzola Sports Editor
R.J. Morgan Adviser
News Steve Jones, Kelley Mazzola Leah Gibson, Tyler Griffis Sports Aaron Remotigue, Matt Mlsna Avery Cohen Photography Barrett Higginbothom Victoria Hearn Robert Dandass Marketing Patricia Kilgore, Jade Andrews
We must tell it all unabridged and unbiased. After all, isn’t the whole message behind the civil rights movement that we should reject bias? That people shouldn’t be afraid of those who are different? The lessons of the past shouldn’t be so easily forgotten. The dead can’t speak up, but I’m sure if King and Malcolm X were alive today, they’d be upset by the imbalance of things. Look back into history, at the causes of the Revolutionary, Civil, and World Wars. Look back at the messages behind the civil rights movement, a celebrated part of our history that wasn’t so long ago. Have we really forgotten those messages? Instead of shying away from what seems to be different, we should take the time to educate ourselves. We would all be surprised to find that we have more in common then we previously thought. The Jacket Buzz is published three times each semester by the Journalism Department at Starkville High School. The Jacket Buzz is a student-run publication committed to providing SHS with objective information regarding SHS. The Jacket Buzz serves SHS as a forum for student expression. Content decisions are made by student editors, and factual errors will be corrected by a retraction in the next issue. Opinions expressed are those of students and don’t reflect the views of others in the Starkville School Distict. Letters to the Editor are accepted and published, excluding those that are deemed libelous or disruptive. Unsigned letters will not be published, and all are subject to editing. Please email all letters and comments to
negative stereotypes, and all too often we face a new type of discrimination in the form of the assumptions made about our state. But we know better. It is foolish to say that our journey is over, that we as a state are unflawed and that every part of our society is just. But we as students in Mississippi should hold our head high with solemn acceptance of our past, an awareness of how far we’ve come and the knowledge to keep moving forward into our undeniably bright future.
Black History Month Crucial It’s Leah’s Way|
According to the Ghana Review, Vol. 1 No. 6, Jan. 27, 1995, Black History Month is not necessary because black people have made no contributions to civilization and therefore have no history to celebrate. Black history has been absent in schools, and when this happens, the myth of black people’s inferiority is perpetuated in the minds of blacks and whites alike. I once read that history is the narration of human events, the chance to learn from the mistakes of others whose past actions continue to impact humans in modern times. If we learned about African American history along with “American” history, better yet, if America recognized African American history as “American” history, there wouldn’t be a need for Black History Month. African Americans are an imperative part of America’s history and should be recognized as such. So what is the importance of Black History Month? It educates young Americans about these contribu
tions that are overlooked in America’s secondary school curriculum. It is an opportunity to understand the impact of slavery and how it has forever changed people’s perceptions of African Americans. It is a time to recognize that the legacy of slavery will forever be a haunting part of our history. Without this month, the world would be ignorant to Black History. It is important to know people who helped to make America what it is today, regardless of their race. That being said, it is important for me to know where I came from in order to know where I’m going. My parents have made it their job to educate me about my history and for that I am grateful. Otherwise, I would lack true knowledge of my history. If young African Americans were more aware of their history, black history month would play a largerrole their decisions. Black History is American History.
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Devin Rajon Mitchell August 23, 1995 - January 1,2012
The Jacket Buzz is the student newspaper of Starkville High School.