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October 31, 2013 • Volume 11 • Issue 2

Northridge High School • 2901 Northridge Road • Tuscaloosa, Al• 35406

Emergency procedures reviewed In the news

Sophie Fairbairn Assistant Copy Editor


ode Red, as defined by Dr. Isaac Espy, principal, is “a state mandated indication that something bad is happening. It does not necessarily involve an intruder;” but could be “a medical emergency, such as a heart attack,” Espy said. Listed in the school safety manual there is an emergency plan that addresses natural disasters, plane crashes and other “undesirable events.” “All my years as principal, we have had to secure the building for various reasons.” Espy said. Depending on the situation, the school would result in a lock down or “other active safety measures for students.” The school would “respond on a second to second basis.” “In the event of an actual emergency,” Espy said, “my team,” consisting of security, personnel and administrators “would evaluate our need for action and communicate the situation to other authorities.” The school would need to “inform law enforcement immediately.” Espy said. Espy would then call the central office administration and the fire department. “We would keep as many people informed as possible,” Espy said. Though, “in order to keep the school calm,” Espy would be explicit when sharing information of the situation and the expectations for action. Espy would “make every effort” to make sure every student was in a “secure location.” If a student should be found wondering the halls during Code Red, the student should find the “nearest available classroom or secure area.” “Students are to remain in class behind locked doors until further notice,” Espy said. “That is all.” Every two years, the school is required to review a school safety plan, where each teacher is prepared for an unexpected emergency. Janice Drane, registrar, has prepared a short and simple plan to keep her students safe. “I would take the kids to my secret vault area,” Drane said. “No one would know we were back there.” Drane would wait in this vault with the students, talking with them in whispers “to keep them calm.” Victoria Evans, physics teacher, has prepared a more elaborate plan to keep her students from becoming “fish in a barrel at the mercy of some psycho terrorist with a gun.” In Evans’ plan, she must “immediately walk to the door, turn the light off, and tape paper over the window.” She would direct her students closest to the back window to “unlock and open the window, push out the screen, and put a chair up to the window.” These students would then begin to climb out the window one at a time. Evans would then direct her students in the front half of the room to “turn tables up

on their ends, and carry or push them as quickly and quietly as possible,” in order to form a barricade. “This would make it difficult for a shooter to get through and would serve as a barrier to bullets,” Evans said. When students have climbed out of the building they “would scan the area for danger (i.e. shooters in the back parking lot or at Verner Elementary).” The students would “spread out and run in a zigzag erratic pattern at top speed.” They would then be directed to run for cover in places such as “trees or buildings on adjacent properties.” “I will be the last person out,” Evans said. Evans plan was inspired by the experience of a former Colombian student of hers. “She used to attend a school that had regular “guerrilla drills,” much like we have fire and weather drills,” Evans said. Even with her plan, Evans wants to improve Code Red by creating “a true drill in which all students’ practice going through a plan and staying calm and silent.” “All of this took only 1.5 minutes when we practiced. I think we could get it under 1 minute with more practice,” Evans said. Foster Beck, senior, said she agrees with Evan’s prep plan. “They need to prepare us better,” Beck said. “We need to have more drills where we do more than just hide and do nothing inside the classroom.” Evans claimed “the natural reaction is to panic, where everyone tries to get out at one time, resulting in very few people actually getting out.” “With any catastrophic event, survival usually depends on people being smart, being prepared and working together,” Evans said. Evans has weapons she is prepared to use against the intruder. “I have two hammers handy,” Evans said. “Also a box of heavy weights (mass sets that are 2kg or about 4lbs) to make available to students.” Beck said she is willing to use weapons or violence in order to stay safe. “I have the right to protect myself,” Beck said. Beck considers the science hall to be a protected hall. “They could use the chemicals as a weapon by throwing acid at the intruder or making bombs,” Beck said. Espy is in the process of making the building more proactive, in order to prevent any need for violence in the classrooms. “All outside non-school human beings are required to check in at the front office,” Espy said. “Anyone outside this category could be considered an intruder.” The school is improving security by securing entrances to the building with new storefront barriers and buzzer systems. “We scan driver’s licenses and print photo ID passes,” Espy said. Espy said he does not believe the school needs “secretive codes to thwart the progress of an intruder.”

Evans sticks with her plan. “Being calm, and following the plan,” Evans said, “or anything I can do which is counter to (the intruder’s) expectations serves to weaken and outsmart them.” In order to get through a Code Red situation, “we need easy and understandable terminology,” Espy said.

Photo by: D’aja Patrick

Drill: Gregory Stewart, senior, carries out Code Red procedures as he climbs out the window to demonstrate how a student should flee an intruder.

If there was an intruder, what would you do? “I would go straight out the window and straight to my car,” Corey Nevels, senior Nevels


“I would just do whatever my teacher told me to do,” Shy’keel Hardaway, freshman


“I would probably get everyone to hide in the corner. It seems like the safest route,” Jacob Cowles, senior




“I would try to hide somewhere so the intruder wouldn’t find me,” Morgan Harrison, junior “I’d call on Jesus and bundle myself in the corner with books or anything I could use as a weapon,” Tracy Braggs, senior “I would climb out the window. That’s what we practiced in Dr. Evans’ room,” Jack Hubner, senior

Information compiled by Sumona Gupta and Rebecca Griesbach. Designed by Renu Pandit. Photos by Sumona Gupta.

Excessive wire donation useful to art department Sujitha Peramsetty Guest Writer Phifer Wire donated 1500 lbs. of wire to our school’s art department. Richard Nowell, art teacher, said he contacted them for a donation, so he could save fee money for other supplies. “I didn’t need all that much,” Nowell said, “but it was a very generous donation.” Carlton Jones, senior and art student, agreed. “Wire is expensive,” he said. Jones and sophomore John Austin Parker transported the wire to the school. Jones and Parker went to Phifer Wire, asked for a certain employee and went to a loading dock. After the wire was inspected, it was forklifted into their trucks. Nowell keeps the wire in his room. Art student Becca Tindol, 12, said they could make “sculptures out of wire.” “If he tells us we need to, I’ll probably make people or words,” she said. Nowell said Phifer Wire was feeling the “community spirit.” “They can use the donation as a tax deduction,” he said. He said another reason for the donation could be that many students have parents that work at Phifer.

Band performs at Cavalcade Rebecca Griesbach News Editor The band left Northridge at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3, for Tuscaloosa County High School (TCHS), where the Crimson Cavalcade, band competition for the Tuscaloosa area, was held. Head drum major, Connor Latham, said he was excited for the competition. “The band is going to kill the competition at this year’s Crimson CavalCain,” Latham said before the event, renaming the event in honor of John Cain, the band director. About 20 bands from the West Alabama area showed up to the event, followed by a performance from the University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band. Northridge performed at 8 p.m. The band performed three songs through the decades: “Twist and Shout,” “Ain’t No Mountain,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Ken Ozzello, director of bands, said he loved Latham’s salute. “I enjoyed your show very much [he said about the band’s performance.] I encourage you to spend some time on marching fundamentals,” Ozzello said.

Drum Majors page 8

Football Page 7

Rowing team Page 7

2 Opinion

The Northridge Reporter October 31, 2013

Our Thoughts

Code Red drills insufficient, drills must be broadened


n today’s world, it is of extreme importance that schools have adequate and efficient plans in the case of a school intrusion or catastrophe. The many tragedies that have occurred in our nation of late have made the need for school safety even more pertinent. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said, “While even a limited plan is better than no plan at all, neither schools nor police should confine themselves to a ‘one size fits all’ planning protocol.” The method of merely quietly sitting in a corner and waiting the intruder out is not always appropriate; therefore, the school should vary its routines in response to each situation.

While the “sitting duck” method has its benefits, including concealment and lower potential casualty rates, students will not always be in a position where this method is practical. For instance, if an intruder were to enter the school when students were not prepared to follow the current “hide-andhope” method, how would they proceed to defend themselves, hide, or flee? The Northridge Reporter believes that the school’s administration should develop and execute a series of versatile Code Red drills, applicable to numerous situations, in order to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff to the highest degree possible.

Art by: James Niiler

agree (10) disagree (0)

Olivia Mills continues to touch many James Niiler Feature Editor

Nii le

I never knew her until after she died. But I’m ever so grateful to have r known her. ‘See You at the Jag’ was an event that was held in Olivia Mills honor on Sept. 26. I decided to cover ‘See You at the Jag,’ simply because nothing like this has happened at our school before. But I little suspected the motivation behind this event. In the week before ‘See You at the Jag,’ I heard snippets of news that a teenage girl had been in a very bad car wreck and was hospitalized. It was only when I began

interviews for my story that I truly heard of the girl known as Olivia Mills. From what I have been told her by her friends and from what I have read online, she was truly a wonderful person. She always shunned the spotlight yet never tired of helping others. She worked to bring her joyous faith to those who had none. She was an artist and a humanitarian. She became upset when she felt she wasn’t doing enough for others. She was always selfless, and her life was filled with love. When I see that a Facebook page devoted to her has 40,000 and more ‘likes,’ not because of anything that is remotely selfcentered or arrogant, but because of the love she had for others, I

know this is no ordinary person. Her life’s aspiration was to become a missionary. And although during her life she led many to Christ, and even went on several mission trips, I feel her real work is only just beginning. Talking and reading about Olivia has made me, and many of us, extremely sad for a beautiful life that was cut so short. But I know now that Olivia has finally gotten the attention she deserves, and that even after her death, she will continue to minister to others. A famous prayer attributed to the medieval St. Francis begins, “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.” In life and death, Olivia truly exemplifies the spirit of this prayer. Let us all strive to follow her example.

Homecoming memories Won football game 54-0

Mask the mustangs

1st place floats - seniors

King, queen announced D’Aja Patrick Photographer

Six seniors crossed the football field as homecoming court on Friday, Oct. 18. Seniors Katrina Struthwolf and Mercer Boatright were crowned Homecoming Queen and King. Previous queen Beth Gabriel crowned Struthwolf, and Boatright was crowned by previous king Charlie Gross. Struthwolf said she was surprised to be initially nominated. She did not know fellow seniors put her name on the ballot for homecoming court until just a week before Homecoming. “I was nervous; it was an exciting kind of nervous. I was honored to be on the field next to those two girls [senior Sami Atkins and senior D’Erika Lyles]. It was an amazing experience,” Struthwolf said.

It felt magnificent and surreal to win king. Mercer Boatwright, senior

Journalist of the Year 2013 • Bailey Thomson Award for Editorial Writing 2013 • Rick Bragg Feature Writing Award 2009 • NSPA 6th Place Best of Show 2013 • NSPA 5th Place Best of Show 2012 • NSPA 1st Place Best of Show 2011 • NSPA 5th Place Best of Show 2008 • NSPA 8th Place Best of Show 2008 • NSPA 9th Place Best of Show 2006 • CSPA Gold Medalist 2005-2011 • SIPA All-Southern 2003, 2005–2012 • ASPA All-Alabama 2003–2011 • NSPA All-American 2004, 2008, 2011 • Best SIPA Newspaper in Alabama 2003–2007 • NSPA News Story of the Year 2005 • SIPA First Place News Story 2007• SIPA First Place Review 2009

Northridge High School • 2901 Northridge Road • Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 • (205) 759-3734 ext. 295 Editor-in-Chief *Renu Pandit Feature Editors James Niiler News Editor Rebecca Griesbach Opinion Editor KeamBria Washington

*Denotes state, regional and national award winners Business Manager Twitter Editor Sumona Gupta Lauren Curtener-Smith Photographers Facebook Editor D’Aja Patrick, Camri Mason *Renu Pandit Web Master Adviser James Niiler *Susan Newell

Entertainment Editor Copy Editor KeamBria Washington Lauren Curtner-Smith Sports Editor Infographics Editor Camri Mason Sumona Gupta Asst. Sports Editor Art Editor Keshaun Byrd Sophie Fairbairn Beat Editor Artists Sumona Gupta, Rebecca Griesbach *Renu Pandit Editorial Policy: The opinions in The Northridge Reporter are The Northridge Reporter reserves the right to edit letters and those of the students and not of the faculty or administra- verify allegations. The newspaper is distributed monthly. tion of Northridge High School or the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education. It is the policy of The Northridge Reporter to Tuscaloosa City Board Policy: It is the official policy of the Tuscaloosa publish all non-obscene, non-libelous, signed letters to the City Board of Education that no person shall, on the grounds of race, editor, regardless of the opinion expressed in them. Letters color, disability, sex, religion, national origin, age or creed, be excluded must be submitted to Susan Newell in room 109 or emailed for participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subject to discrimination under any program, activity or employment. to

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The Northridge Reporter October 31, 2013


ROAD TO RECOVERY The Remarkable Story of a Girl Fighting to Regain Her Life Sami Atkins recovers from accident, tries to restore her previous life Lauren Curtner-Smith Copy Editor People did not know if she would live or die on Easter Sunday March 13, 2013, yet by Oct. 17 she walked across the football field as a part of the Homecoming Court. Senior Sami Atkins was in a car accident at 3:15 p.m. near Wise Acres. Jennifer Atkins, Sami’s mother, said that the road was “snaking” and wet from the rain earlier that morning. Sami was driving to her grandmother’s house from the Arby’s where she worked, Jennifer said. Sami does not know if she hit a manhole, but her car hit a telephone pole on the driver’s side door, crushing Sami, Jennifer said. “My husband’s niece saw the accident and was able to call 911,” Jennifer said. Sami was rushed to DCH hospital with her father Billy Atkins, who rode along with her. Her mother followed behind them in a car. Atkins was then life flighted to UAB where the doctors said the first 48 hours would determine if Sami would live. The trauma doctors told Jennifer, “If you have a God, pray.” The doctors discovered that Sami had broken her pelvic bone and had a serious head injury, breaking her left orbital and left temporal, Jennifer said. Sami was put into a medically induced coma for 14 days to reduce brain activity, so her brain could start to repair itself. A tube was inserted into Sami’s skull to relive intracranial pressure, Jennifer said. “Sami woke up on day 19,” Jennifer said. “We thought, let’s just wait and see.” While Atkins was in the hospital, her parents took turns updating a Facebook page called “Get Well Sami Atkins,” Jennifer said. “It was the easiest way [to let people know what was going on]. That way we could answer multiple questions at once,” Jennifer said. “It feels good and comforting to have multiple people praying [for me],” Sami said.

Photo by: Camri Mason

Senior Court Sami Atkins, senior, is escorted across the football field by Mercer Boatwright, senior, during halftime at the homecoming football game. on Oct. 17. Mary Ruffin Moore, English teacher, had Sami in her class before her accident. She said she was sad for Sami. “I announced to my students to bring items to Sami and her family that would make her hospital stay a little more comfortable,” Moore said. In the hospital Sami had occurrences called “storming.” “Storming is when the neurons try to get their paths lined up. Bruising wouldn’t let [the neurons] get from point A to point B,”

Jennifer said. Some side effects included “high adrenaline, high heart rate and high sweat. Sami was like a cartoon character - we would wipe the sweat from her face, and she would be covered in sweat within a matter of minutes. Sami would shake, which could last for a couple of hours, Jennifer said. “The worst was when she stormed for 48 hours,” Jennifer said. The storming caused the muscles in

Sami’s left arm to shorten because her muscles were seized and locked up for so long. “Therapy helps to stretch her arm muscle out,” Jennifer said. Sami spends every Wednesday and Friday at physical, occupational and speech therapy, Jennifer said. At occupational therapy she learns motor skills and how to function in her braces. “I grab stuff and put it where it’s supposed to go,” Sami said. “Sami works on buttoning clothes. It takes two hands,” Jennifer said. Sami gets frustrated at therapy. “Things slip out of my left hand [due to the shortening of the muscles from storming] where I could easily grab it out of my right,” Sami said. “With recovery there are peaks and plateaus. When she hits a plateau, they send her to day therapy,” Jennifer said. Sami said her leg jumps because it has a tremor. “It hurts if I stand for a long time,” Sami said. The hospital said that after six months, Sami would still not be able to be in large groups, have conversations and possibly not walk. “It’s amazing to see the things they said she wouldn’t be doing and to look at the things she is doing,” Jennifer said. Sami first entered large groups again at church. “She absolutely loved it,” Jennifer said. Before her accident, Sami weighed 120 pounds, Jennifer said. In the hospital, her weight dropped down to 84 lbs. “[The weight] is all back now because I eat Taco Casa every day. Mom said her checkbook is getting low. I still like to shop and buy things,” Atkins said. Sami’s life has changed in a multitude of ways because of her accident. Her selfless attitude uplifts others. “Before my accident, I wanted to become a nurse to deliver babies, but now I want to be a speech therapist because that’s my favorite therapy,” Atkins said. Atkins said she is not usually upset about

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The Northridge Reporter October 31, 2013

TIMELINE OF A STRUGGLE March 31, 2013 3:15 p.m. Sami Atkins is driving from work at Arby’s to her grandmother’s house when she wrecks her car. Severely injured with heavy brain damage, she is immediately whisked to DCH Regional Medical Center.

The same day 4:00 p.m. Sami is airlifted from DCH to UAB in Birmingham. She arrives at the hospital at 5:30.


The same day 8:30 p.m. Trauma doctors assigned to Sami tells her family, “If you have a God, pray.” These first 48 hours would be critical in determining whether or not Sami lived. She is placed in a medically induced coma.

Frightening time Sami Atkins, senior, is treated at DCH and Children’s Hospital.

Photos by: Jennifer Atkins

April 25

June 8

July 3

Sami is moved to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

Sami speaks her first words since the accident.

The feeding tube Sami had been using is removed.

April 18

May 17

June 20

September 12

After 14 days, Sami regains consciousness after sitting up.

Sami returns home.

Sami successfully attempts to walk.

Sami returns to school on this day. She continues to attend during fifth and sixth periods.

her circumstances, but said that she some“Don’t call me handicapped or disabled. times argues with her siblings because they That’s a big no,” Sami said. call her handicapped. She said she treasures a few close friends “You just don’t do that,” she said. through this experience. “We just talk it out [to resolve the isSome of the people she said she is most sue],” she said thankful for are senior Kersey Hunt, forHer relationship with her brother has im- mer student Calloway Newman, former proved because before her accident, Atkins students Davis and Alex Jordan, former used to baby her little brother, whereas student Andrew Allen, homeschooled stunow that Atkins sometimes needs help, he dent Evan Appling and Tuscaloosa County can reciprosenior Kasee Rodgers. cate and baby Hunt said she and Sami her, Jennifer became close friends before said. the accident. The com“She is one of the stronmunity also gest people I know. [After reached out Sami Atkins, senior the accident] she never gave to the Atkins up or let anybody bring her family. down. She is so sweet and Right after the accident, Jennifer did not funny. When I first went to see her, I didn’t really know how it take it, but when I saw get paid. Meals were delivered to the Atkins house, her, she was just as sweet and funny as and monetary donations were given to the before. If anything had changed about her family since Jennifer was not paid for the since her accident, it would be her strength to get through things and her outlook on first ten weeks after Sami’s accident. People took care of Sami’s brother and life,” Hunt said. “Calloway gave Sami a cross necklace. sister, Jennifer said. Sami said she would like friends and The deal that Sami and Calloway have classmates to know, “I’m not handicapped, is that Calloway wins football games for and I’m not special.” Sami, and Sami does her best at therapy,” “She’s alive; she’s not dead. Don’t be Jennifer said. scared of her. She’s still Sami,” Jennifer Newman and Appling took Sami for said. walks around her neighborhood when she Sami said, “I am the same Sami. I have first came home from the hospital. Sami short hair, and I sound different. I didn’t was still in her wheelchair. The walks were turn into a man.” a good way to entertain Sami because she The best way for students to help Sami was not talking then. To communicate, is to encourage and cheer her on, or maybe Sami would flop her leg in and out of her help her pick things up, Jennifer said. wheelchair to signal for the boys to push “Just don’t help her put her shoes on her slower or faster, Jennifer said. because she might kick you with her leg “I used to run cross country and track. I tremor,” Jennifer said. finished the Mercedes Half Marathon [be-

Don’t call me handicapped or disabled. That’s a big no.

fore the accident] in about two and a half hours. My goal is to run again,” Sami said. Sami hopes to do the Run or Dye race soon, Jennifer said. Sami’s doctor told her that she was the perfect age to recover from the accident. “He told me any older, I’d be out of luck, but any younger I’d be too small,” Sami said. Sami started texting before she started talking. There were a few days where, according to Sami, everything was “Dang, that’s crazy!” or “Dang, that’s interesting!” “She would pick a word out of her brain and that would be the word of the day,” Jennifer said. “My vocabulary is getting stronger,” Sami said. “I used to have a three Sami text message limit, but now I’m unlimited.” Sami’s routine used to include sleeping really late, but now she wakes up earlier to get ready for school. She comes to school for fifth and sixth period and will start coming for Library Assistant in the mornings soon but only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays because she goes to therapy, Jennifer said. “After school I come home and chill with my grandma. Mrs. [Monica] Urban comes over at 3:45 p.m. to help with math,” Sami said. Sami’s fifth period class is English with Carter Hill. “She does really well. She participates in class work and participates in group work. She works hard and likes group work because that way she is able to socialize with the other students a little more,” Hill said.

Hill said Sami’s work ethic is exceptional. “Sami is in the top ten percent of my class. She is above average,” Hill said. Sami’s life has changed drastically because of her accident. She is completely codependent on those around her. Right after her accident, Atkins used diapers and was on a feeding tube. “All of her food had to be mushed into baby food consistency. We put formula in the feeding tube,” Jennifer said. “I don’t remember the feeding tube,” Sami said, “but I have a scar from it. I call it my gunshot wound.” Life has changed for Sami because she was used to having more freedom before Atkins, senior her accident. “Now I’m an overprotective mama,” Jennifer said. “People say I can’t do things when I think I can, but I can’t. Like I can’t go to the mall by myself,” Sami said. “Sami can’t drive yet either—,” Jennifer said. “Yes I can,” Sami interjected. “I drove the lawn mower the other day! I can do anything,” Sami said. Sami’s advice to students on driving is to be careful. “Don’t drive crazy. [On] wet days, be super careful. Don’t work on Easter,” Sami said. Sami’s advice to those who are going through experiences similar to hers is this: “Go and give it your all. Don’t give up.” Sami Atkins, certainly, has not given up.

Go and give it your all. Don’t give up.



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The Northridge Reporter October 31, 2013

Beemer takes students overseas for the last time Rebecca Griesbach News Editor Students from former teacher, Barbara Beemer’s, French class packed up their bags and said “Au Revoir” to the States for 11 days this past summer. It is Beemer’s fifth and final time to take students to France. She said it is thrilling to see students applying what they have learned in her class. “It’s so much fun to see the students use their French or learn new expressions and to see them experience the culture,” Beemer said. “It makes learning a foreign language real because they can really use it. And they can all fall in love with France!” Sophomore Shelley Parks, who

went on the trip, said the group took a six to nine hour flight from Birmingham to Atlanta to Paris. She said the group landed in Paris safely despite a few mishaps along the way. “The lady who checked our luggage [at the airport] sent it without the tag. It was hard to communicate with her because of the language barrier,” said Parks. Senior Anna Laura Killian, who also went on the trip, said the group’s first flight was late, which them to almost miss their flight from Atlanta to Paris. Aside from the airport fiasco, Beemer said communication was fairly easy for her students. “With a little vocabulary and some gestures I think everybody

could get by,” Parks said. “And Beemer said. they eat so slow!” Beemer said Parks said French people were French people take very hospitable to their time; they’re the group. not always in a “They are very hurry like us. friendly, especially “We went to a if we try to speak lot of castles: Notre a little French to Dame, Chartres, them,” Beemer said. the Lock Bridge, “They are very proud and the Eiffel of their country and Photo by: Marla Parks Tower. This was their history and are Tower The French all the first day,” anxious to share all class visited the Eiffel Parks said. Tower. that with us.” The group Parks said the traveled all over most obvious difference between France. French and American culture is “Paris is a huge city - busy, the way French people eat. crowded, and lots of traffic. “They eat smaller portions,” But we also went out to the

countryside and saw castles and small towns where the people were much nicer. We also went to the beach,” Beemer said. “We saw lots of different areas of France.” Parks said her most memorable moment from the trip was swimming in the Mediterranean. “The water was freezing, and the shore wasn’t sand; it had big rocks,” Parks said. “The water was really, really blue.” Beemer said she will never forget the sunset over the Atlantic beach at St. Malo, but her favorite part of the trip was seeing France bring joy to others. “I guess my favorite part is seeing the students and the parents enjoying it so much. That makes me happy,” Beemer said.

Anders becomes new French teacher after interning for Beemer Sophie Fairbairn Staff Writer

Photo by: D’Aja Patrick

Listen Kalilah Anders, new French teacher, teaches a lesson to her class.

Kalilah Anders now fills retired teacher, Barbara Beemer’s, spot, and is able to convey her love for France to a classroom she has taught before as a student teacher. Anders said she is “highly passionate about the French language.” “I’m a French nerd,” Anders said. “Once, I overheard a woman and her daughter speaking French, and I decided to go up to them and speak French with them.

It was probably totally rude, but I just got so excited,” Anders said. With the Eiffel Tower on the floor, Notre Dame on the wall and a map of France hung across the board, Anders’ room is covered in the history and the language of France from top to bottom. “I love the beauty and the history behind the language,” Anders said. “You can see the richness in the language and in the culture that you don’t necessarily find in other countries.” Anders has been to France twice. She went on a short vacation with her dad, and then for a

five week study abroad program. “She’s a really good teacher,” Julie Potts, senior student of Anders, said. Julie said Anders can be challenging but will help her students improve their French. “She does hands on activities and she helps us make charts to make sure we understand everything.” Only since college has Anders known she wanted to become a French teacher, though during high school, she found French to be one of her easiest classes. Anders said she was inspired by

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not only the “energetic and passionate” teachers, but the “mean and frumpy” ones as well. Anders said she has always known teaching would be her career. As a child, Anders enjoyed playing make-believe with her friends. While others pretended to be princess and knights, Anders was already practicing her profession as a teacher. “Teaching high school has always been my dream,” Anders said. “I do not want to do anything else.”

Look for more teacher stories in the November issue.


The Northridge Reporter October 31, 2013

Row team row: Row Alabama practices on the Warrior River.


Photo by: Ted Sekeres

High school rowing team started

Rebecca Griesbach News Editor

The rowing team, under the guidance of Row Alabama, is a competitive racing club directed at high school students. Three years ago, Ted Sekeres, certified Class 2 US Rowing Coach, incorporated the club as a non-profit organization. “I created the club for two reasons,” Sekeres said. “One: There is a void in Alabama for the sport of rowing, and varsity coach, Larry Davis, was very desirous of having a source of high school students involved in the sport. Two: Rowing is a good opportunity for Tuscaloosa students to get a scholarship.” Sekeres said 22-25 scholarships are given to high school rowers each year. “The sport of rowing provides more scholarships than any other women’s sport. One out of every two rowers that try out for a team will get a scholarship,” Sekeres said. Bert McCleland, sophomore, is a member of the team. He said rowing is a good opportunity to exercise. “I joined because I’m not involved in any other sports and rowing has always seemed very interesting to me,” McCleland said. Ryan MacVicar, sophomore says she will join next year when she can drive and

her schedule is more flexible. “My mom participates in the adult team and said it was really fun,” MacVicar said. “I also wanted to do it because I thought it would be good cross-training for golf.” The sport not only provides scholarship opportunities, but is very good exercise. Sekeres said rowing is the “best aerobic sport possible.” “Rowing for 20 minutes is equivalent to playing two professional basketball games,” Sekeres said. MacVicar said the canoes can hold up to eight people plus the coxswain; someone who is small and sits in the back to make sure everyone is rowing at the same time. “You have to learn how to stay with the person you are rowing with. That’s probably the most difficult part,” she said. Practices are held on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday at the UA boat house on 2nd Ave in Northport. Non-baggy clothing is encouraged. McCleland said the team is working on speed and might be doing races in the spring. Sekeres said rowing is the “ultimate team sport.” “It is very exhilarating to compete and row at the same time,” said Sekeres. “When everybody learns to row together, it is so harmonious and synchronized.”

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I Got THIS!: Sophomore Cedric Bradford (85) takes the ball from Jackson-Olin to make a touchdown at the Homecoming football game. The team beat Jackson-Olin 54-0, the first win of the season.

Young players lead football team Kesahun Byrd Assistant Sports Editor Before the Homecoming game football players said they looked forward to winning the remainder of the season and next season. Junior Malyk Ervin, wide receiver, said the team is going to carry itself the rest of the season with more intensity. “We plan on playing with a better attitude and more focus,” Ervin said. “I credit my success to my offensive line and quarterback.” “With the season in a downward spiral it’s hard to stay focused without giving up. We just have to stay focused on the task at hand,” Ervin said. He said filling the shoes of last year’s star receiver James Cox has been hard. “It’s been kind of a big role, but I think I’m up for it,” Ervin said. Ervin said next year the team will be better because of the experience the team has gotten together. “I know we will be better because we’re just young, and the returning players will be more focused,” Ervin said. Starting running back Charles Hurst, senior, said he plans to finish strong. “The team plans to finish on a good note,” Hurst said.

He said the offensive line is a big part of his success. “Without them I wouldn’t be near where I am now,” Hurst said. He said the conditioning keeps them in shape throughout the season. “It keeps us ready for the fourth quarter,” Hurst said. Hurst said filling the shoes of Bo Scarborough is a tough challenge. “I play hard week by week and give it my all,” Hurst said. Wide receiver Cedric Bradford, sophomore, said the team just needs to stay focused and practice well. Bradford said his big plays are credited to his quarterback and “o-line.” “I think we will be more focused [next year] with the chemistry of the returning players,” Bradford said. Starting offensive lineman Daryl Pham, junior, said the rest of the season is a “new outlook.” “We are going to finish the season on a winning streak by winning Homecoming and upsetting Bessemer City,” Pham said. Pham said he takes pride in leading the way for the running backs. “Helping them score is doing my job, so if I do my job, I’m good,” Pham said.

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October 31, 2013 Volume 11 Issue 2


Page 8

The Northridge Reporter October 31, 2013

Cain said he made senior Conner Latham head drum major because “he had the experience, shows good leadership and is someone everyone respects.” He said seniors Tracy Braggs and Corey Nevels were chosen because they have established their leadership role in the band. “They do 100% on their own, very dedicated,” Cain said. “They practice every day after school with from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m.” Braggs said they come up with their moves by watching other schools to get an idea of what they like. “We use examples from different colleges like Jackson State,” Nevels said. “We watch their drum majors, we imitate their [moves] and we add on our own type of

Beat 8

stuff into it.” When the drum majors perform at pep rallies or at football games during half time shows, the crowd goes wild from their performances. Lacory Pratcher, senior, said the drum majors get everybody pumped up. “They are like male cheerleaders. They are really fun and exciting to watch,” Pratcher said. Jordan Pearce, junior, said he wishes he could do what the drum majors do. “I would love to perform in front of everybody and get them excited [like the drum majors],” Pearce said. “I would love to put on a show.”

Drum majors ‘put on a show’ at pep rallies, excite crowd Camri Mason Sports Editor

When the band marches on the field the three guys standing side by side with their uniforms, silver capes and maces are the school’s drum majors. They are the three main leaders of the band that director John Cain has personally chosen. “They go through an all-day clinic and write an essay on why they want to become a drum major,” Cain said. Cain said they also have to show leadership, exhibit mastery on their own instrument, be excellent marchers, and be perfect examples and help a certain section of the band in order to be selected.

Photos by: Camri Mason

Salute: Drum majors, also known as the “Triple Threat,” Corey Nevels, Connor Latham, and Tracy Braggs, seniors, practice their routine near the student parking lot. Kathleen Kennedy, senior, said, “I look forward to their performances at pep rallies. They’re just great.”

during the 2012-2013 school year. Cain said that when he knew that students were interested in forming the line, the idea was put into action. The girls first spent three days in an intensive clinic, learning a routine for tryouts. “There were many girls interested, but out of that came our core group of majorettes,” Cain said. “Right now, we’re working on tosses. A couple of the girls can even tumble under tosses,” she said. Evans said she hopes that by next year the team will not only be able to perform more advanced tricks but also collaborate as a group. “I would like them to unite more as a team and learn to connect with each other. They should accept their differences and flaws. At the end of the day, the most important thing is not being better than someone else but coming together as a team.”

Majorettes learn quickly, practice new tricks to improve skills Sumona Gupta Infographics Editor

Eight years ago, all the Marching Band had was one feature twirler. Now, it has an entire majorette line. New to Northridge, the 8-person group was formed only last school year. According to John Cain, band director, only five of the eight had ever touched a baton prior to joining majorettes. Since then, they have made considerable progress, going from the bare basics to flashy competition tricks. Majorette lines, although a new development to the band, aren’t new to the Tuscaloosa area. Fallon Evans, choreographer, said the group has caught on fast. “They’ve made huge progress since a year ago when we started,” she said. “I’m really proud of them.” The line was formed out of interest from upcoming freshman

The Northridge Reporter October 2013  

The Northridge Reporter October 2013

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