Latest Articles

Oscars 2021: Analysis and Predictions for the Top Categories

By: Ruby Schweitzer

Faced with the choice of either releasing their movies straight to streaming or letting them struggle in theaters filled only to 30% capacity, many production companies decided to delay their most awaited films in order to maximize their popularity and box office profits. The films that were released and earned Oscar nominations tended to be lower-budget, indie movies that normally would not have received many awards or much recognition. Nomadland and Minari, the two most awarded movies of the year, have a combined budget of $7 million, and were directed by filmmakers who had received little mainstream attention previously. The only two movies in the Best Picture category that might be considered typical nominees are Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7, which were both Netflix originals. 

The interruption of normal releases also allowed more diverse stories to see the spotlight. Almost half of the 20 actors nominated this year are people of color, and two women have been nominated in the directing category for the first time. While this year meant a departure from regular moviegoing, it also presented a welcome change from the standard types of movies we’re used to seeing receive nominations each year. Perhaps in the future, we will be seeing more movies about Black Panther leaders and deaf heavy metal drummers alongside the old Hollywood period pieces and courtroom dramas.

BEST PICTURE

-“The Father”

-“Judas and the Black Messiah”

-“Mank”

-“Minari”

-“Nomadland” – Predicted Winner

-“Promising Young Woman”

-“Sound of Metal”

-“The Trial of the Chicago 7″

Chloe Zhao’s depiction of a woman living in her van after losing her home in the Great Recession is the frontrunner for this year’s Best Picture Race. It has received praise for its inclusion of non-actors to realistically portray the nomadic life, and backlash for what critics consider a soft portrayal of the working conditions in Amazon factories. It’s odds of winning are so high that some of a contrarian tendency have gone the other way and predicted that another film will have a surprising upset. If you find yourself leaning similarly, consider predicting The Trial of the Chicago 7 or Minari instead, but prepare yourself to be disappointed.

BEST DIRECTOR

-Thomas Vinterberg, “Another Round”

-David Fincher, “Mank”

-Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”

-Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland” – Predicted Winner

-Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”

As the writer and director of the frontrunner for Best Picture, Chloe Zhao has received near universal acclaim for her work. It doesn’t hurt that she’s set a record this year for being the most awarded filmmaker in a single season. At this point, it would be historic both if she did win and if she didn’t because of her status as an Asian American woman and the amount of precursor awards she’s racked up.

BEST ACTRESS

-Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

-Andra Day, “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”

-Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”

-Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

-Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman” – Predicted Winner

This race has been unpredictable all season, with Vanessa Kirby beginning the year as a possible frontrunner only to end up receiving no prior awards. Andra Day only entered the conversation after her surprise win at the Golden Globes. But Carey Mulligan just might be the one to win, having won at both the Critics’ Choice Awards and Independent Spirit Awards, and because the widely talked about Promising Young Woman relied so heavily on her performance. 

BEST ACTOR

-Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”

-Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” – Predicted Winner

-Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”

-Gary Oldman, “Mank”

-Steven Yeun, “Minari”

The late Chadwick Boseman gives an incredible performance as Levee Green in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, though his position as a frontrunner would likely be less solid if not for voters wanting to honor the actor in his final performance. If anyone else has a chance of taking the award, expect it to be Anthony Hopkins. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

-Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

-Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”

-Olivia Colman, “The Father”

-Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”

-Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari” – Predicted Winner

Like the Best Actress race, the Supporting Actress race has been unpredictable this year, but Yuh-jung Youn seems to have emerged as a frontrunner with her SAG and BAFTA wins. The only other actress in the category that rivals her in terms of nominations is Maria Bakalova, but her comedic performance in Borat 2 seems an unlikely pick for the Oscars.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

-Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

-Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah” – Predicted Winner

-Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”

-Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

-Lakeith Stanfield, “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Daniel Kaluuya is the clear favorite to win in this category for his portrayal of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. This is second Oscar nomination after his first for his breakout performance in Get Out four years ago.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

-“Judas and the Black Messiah”

-“Minari”

-“Promising Young Woman” – Predicted Winner

-“Sound of Metal”

-“The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Emerald Fennell’s #MeToo inspired story, with its plot twists and love-it-or-hate-it ending, seems to be the most likely choice for Best Original Screenplay.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

-“Borat Subsequent MovieFilm”

-“The Father”

-“Nomadland” – Predicted Winner

-“One Night in Miami”

-“The White Tiger”Nomadland has an edge in this category because voters are likely to give it Best Picture and Director, but The Father’s BAFTA win for Best Screenplay makes it the runner-up.

#StopAnimalCruelty

By: Johanna Ramirez-Perez

Over the years, many cosmetic companies have used animals in order to test new products, using them to test new formulas using a variety of chemicals. During this process, animals are forced to eat or inhale substances that could kill them, and most do end up being harmed or killed. This year, many audiences have learned about these practices and have reached out to stop animal testing in makeup products. There have also been many trending hashtags spreading all across America in an attempt to speak up to stop animal cruelty. Common animals that have been used for animal testing include:

-Mice                

-Fish 

-Dogs 

-Cats 

-Rabbits 

-Birds 

-Pigs 

-Monkeys                                                                                           

Millions of these innocent animals are locked up inside cages in labs being prepared to be tortured and suffer. These animals cannot defend themselves and have no other choice but to wait in fear while the procedure starts. 

What can you do? 

There are a variety of brands that are cruelty free that you can purchase. If you own brands that aren’t cruelty-free, finish the products and don’t purchase them again. If you see a friend with products that aren’t cruelty-free, explain and encourage them to purchase non-animal cruelty brands. By not purchasing these brands that test animals, it will push government agencies to stop sponsoring and performing animal testing.

Brands involved in animal cruelty

-Nars 

-L’oreal Paris 

-Benefit 

-Mac

-Aveeno

-Axe

-Bed Head 

-Bath and Body Works

-Victoria’s Secret 

-Wet N Wild

-Laura Mercier

-Neutrogena

-Clean and Clear

-Clinique

-Revlon

-Fit me!

-Lancome

-Chanel 

-Sephora brand 

-Mary Kay

For more brands that test on animals, visit https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/ 

However, it’s safe to say that many brands have been hearing us and transferring to a cruelty free company.

List of cruelty free brands:

-Tarte 

-E.L.F.

-Milani

-Anastasia Beverly Hills 

-NYX

-Covergirl 

-Coola

-Hourglass

-Becca

-Colour Pop

-bareMinerals 

-Lush

-BH cosmetics 

-Blinc 

-100% PURE

-The Body Shop

-Urban Decay 

-UnSun

-Glossier 

For more cruelty free products visit:  https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands/ 

Please help and spread trending hashtags to help reach out; your voice matters, and animal lives matter. #Saveralf, #vegan, #savetheplanetearth, #saveanimals, #stopanimalcruelty. You can also sign this petition to ban animal testing:

https://www.change.org/p/ban-cosmetics-tested-on-animals-now

In order to see if a brand is certified cruelty free, check out these logos!

Unofficial Logos:                   Certified Cruelty Free Logos:

Support Black-Owned Businesses in the Triangle

By: Johanna Ramirez-Perez

Want to support black-owned businesses around the area? Invite some friends to catch a nice meal and show love and care to the black community. 

Here is a list of places you can go or book appointments of your interests.

Cary: 

-Your Pie Pizza 

at 685 Cary Towne Blvd

-Dame’s Chicken and Waffles 

at 823 Bass Pro Lane

-Better Body Essentials 

at 1105 Walnut Street

-Live in Color Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine 

at 964 High House Road

-The Fotoshoppe 

at 2072 Kildaire Farm Road

-Lowery Smiles

 at 110 Preston Executive Drive

-Araida Fitness Cary

at 8420 Chapel Hill Road

Raleigh: 

-Corner Boys BBQ 

at 2201 S Wilmington Street

-Cocoa Forte Desserts 

is a travelling dessert truck available for rent, or you can buy online

-Oak City Fish and Chips at the Morgan Street Food Hall

at 411 W Morgan Street

-ORO Restaurant and Lounge

at 18 E Martin Street 

-Pure Juicery & Vegan Food Bar 

at 716 Slash Pine Drive 

-Social Status Men’s Clothing

at 308 Parham Street

-Nail Yeah 

at 22 Glenwood Ave, Suite #1

Durham: 

-Ashley Squared Salon

at 2232 Page Road #104

-Aura Salon and Boutique 

at 3742 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd

-Beyú Caffè

at 341 W Main Street

-Big C Waffles 

at 2110 Allendown Drive

-Crissy Shined Nails

at 1910 Sedwick Road

-Ego Barber Lounge 

at 3823 Guess Road, Suite K

-Empower Dance Studio 

at 109 W Parrish Street

We would love for you to come and support the black community.

Cary Celebrates 150 Years of Tradition, Growth, and Life

By: Alexis Cope

April 3 marked the Town of Cary’s 150th anniversary, a landmark in any city’s life.

In the early 1850s, Allison Francis (Frank) Page and his wife, Kate, purchased and settled 300 acres of land surrounding a vital railroad track between Greensboro and Charlotte, creating a stop for weary passengers traveling on this line. As the town grew–and it did so with alarming speed–a second line, which ran from Raleigh to Chatham County, was built. The now historic Page-Walker Hotel was later built by Frank to provide the increasing number of travelers with somewhere to stay.

In addition to the Hotel, Page also built and owned a dry goods store, a saw mill, and a tobacco warehouse. Intent on helping his little town flourish, Page also served as its first mayor, postmaster, and railroad agent and specialist. 

Page named his town “Cary” after the prohibition leader Samuel F. Cary, whom he greatly admired. When Cary, its boundaries measuring only one square mile, was officially incorporated on April 3, 1871, the name was kept, and, per Page’s wishes, Cary became a “dry” town. This meant that the town forbade the selling, consumption, or other use of alcohol. This was, however, later abolished.

Page, along with Adolphus and Rufus Jones, created Cary Academy, a private school for their children to attend, after the town was official. This is not to be confused with Cary High School, also built with help from Page in 1871. In 1907, the high school was purchased by the Wake County Board of Education and became one of the first public high schools in North Carolina. Cary High’s original building now serves as the Cary Arts Center, and the current buildings now sit on Walnut Street. 

In the 1920s, Cary’s population grew by 64 percent, and this growth redefined Cary completely. The town thrived, new roads were built, new neighborhoods established, new businesses were created, and new technologies, such as the telephone, were introduced. After World War II, Cary became an incredibly industrial town with a swelling population; in the 1950s, Cary’s population doubled. 

This pattern of growth has continued even through to the present day: Cary proper now covers nearly 60 square miles and boasts over 166,000 residents. With new revitalization plans in place, other continued development, a vibrant downtown, and rich history, Cary certainly is staying at the forefront of change. Listed several times as a desirable city to live in, Cary continues to thrive, even 150 years later.

Eight Influential Women of the 2020s

By: Sarah Govert

Ever since 1987, March has been observed as Women’s History Month in the United States. This month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to remember all of the contributions of women to United States history, from Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks. During this month, we have the opportunity to recognize women and their significant contributions to the history of the United States and the world, including some incredibly important, yet virtually unknown, figures.

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams was born on December 9, 1973 in Madison, Wisconsin and gained country and world-wide recognition during 2020 for her efforts in Georgia to register voters for the 2020 election and destroy voter suppression. Abrams served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007-2017 and served as the minority leader from 2011-2017. She was also the first African-American woman to give the rebuttal to the State of the Union on February 5, 2018. Abrams founded Fair Fight 2020 on August 17, 2019, an organization which assists Democrats in 20 states to build voter protection teams. Abrams also served as an elector for the state of Georgia in the 2020 election and was credited with a large increase in Democratic votes in Georgia, as well as around 800,000 voter registrations. At the 2021 NAACP Awards, Abrams was awarded the Social Justice Impact award, and she has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. To learn more about Stacey Abrams and the Fair Fight Foundation, see this link.

Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern was born on July 26, 1980 in Hamilton, New Zealand, where she now serves as the 40th Prime Minister. Ardern has served as Prime Minister and head of the Labour Party since 2017. Elected at the age of 37, she is the youngest New Zealand Prime Minister in over 150 years. Ardern has set new norms as the PM, starting with the fact that she took six weeks of maternity leave while in office following the birth of her daughter and announced that her partner will be a stay-at-home father. Some of her goals as PM include halving child poverty in New Zealand, increasing paid parental leave, and implementing minimum wage increases. In addition, Ardern received global praise for her handling of the pandemic, as New Zealand successfully eradicated both waves of COVID-19. To learn more about Jacinda Ardern and some of her actions as Prime Minister, see this link.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift was born on December 13, 1989 and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with sales of over 200 million records worldwide. Over the course of her career, Swift has released nine studio albums, ranging from the country album of “Taylor Swift” in 2006 to the folk/indie/alternative rock album of “evermore” in 2020. She has won 11 Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, 28 Guinness World Records, 32 American Music Awards, and 23 Billboard Music Awards. Swift has the most American Music Awards and Billboard Music Award wins for a woman in her field. In addition, she was named Woman of the Decade by Billboard and Artist of the Decade by the American Music Awards. She has also been active in several feminist, gun control reform, and equality movements, including the March for Our Lives movement, Every Woman Counts campaign, Time’s Up movement, and can even be credited with an increase of 65,000 voter registrations within 24 hours of a social media post. To learn more about Taylor Swift and her music, see this link.

Ozlem Tureci

Ozlem Tureci was born on March 6, 1967 in Lastrup, Germany and is mainly known for founding BioNTech in 2008, which developed the first approved COVID-19 vaccine in 2020. Tureci is the current chief medical officer at BioNTech, and she was also the founder and CEO of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals from 2008-2016. BioNTech is a company focused on developing and manufacturing immunotherapies as a treatment for cancer and other diseases. In March of 2020, BioNTech began work on a COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer, and the vaccine was approved in 11 months. Tureci decided to apply the mRNA vaccine technology she had been researching for years to the pandemic and now plans to create an mRNA-based cancer vaccine. To learn more about Tureci and her research, see this link.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka was born on October 16, 1997 in Chūō-ku, Osaka, Japan and is known for being the first woman to win successive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams, and for beating Serena Williams in the US Open in 2018. By defeating Serena Williams in the Open, she became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. She achieved this feat at the age of 21. Osaka also became the first Asian tennis player to hold the rank of No. 1 in the world. In 2020, she was also the highest-earning female athlete of all time. Osaka is also an activist, and she has used her platform as an athlete to further her causes and show her support for movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-Asian hate movement. She withdrew from The Cincinnati Open in 2020 to raise awareness for the shooting of Jacob Blake and wore masks that displayed the names of African-Americans that mainly died as a result of the police, including Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Trayvon Martin. She also attended protests in Minnesota for the killing of George Floyd. Osaka was named a Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 2020 for her activism, alongside athletes such as Patrick Mahomes and LeBron James. To learn more about Naomi Osaka, see this link.

Lizzo

Lizzo was born Melissa Viviane Jefferson on April 27, 1988 in Detroit, Michigan and is known as a singer, rapper, flautist, and proponent of body positivity and self-love. Lizzo rose to fame in 2017 following the success of hits such as “Juice,” “Truth Hurts,” and “Tempo.” She is the recipient of three Grammy Awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, a Billboard Music Award, and a BET Award. Lizzo is a major advocate for self-love, and her group of back-up dancers consists of all plus-size dancers. She believes that body positivity has become commercialized, and she wants to be “body-normative.” She also called for continued change in the movement and expressed her desire to make people uncomfortable because “Change is always uncomfortable, right?” To learn more about Lizzo and her stance on body positivity, see this link.

Christine Lagarde

Christine Lagarde was born on January 1, 1956 in Paris, France and currently serves as the President of the European Central Bank. She is the first woman to hold this position. Previously, Lagarde served as the Chair and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund from 2011-1019, and she was also the first woman to hold that position. The European Central Bank is responsible for the monetary policy of European Union member countries that use the euro, a group of countries known as the eurozone. Right now, Lagarde is responsible for ensuring that the pandemic doesn’t continue to wreak havoc on the eurozone. Additionally, she served in various positions for the Government of France, such as Minister of Commerce, Minister of Agriculture and Fishing, and Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industry. To learn more about Christine Lagarde, see this link.

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen was born on October 8, 1958 in Ixelles, Belgium and is currently the President of the European Commission. von der Leyen is the first woman to serve in this position. The European Commission manages the European Union’s budget, proposes new laws and policies, and supports international development, among many other duties. Previously, she served as a member of Angela Merkel’s cabinet from 2005-2019. von der Leyen served in Merkel’s cabinet as the Minister of Family Affairs and Youth (2005-2009), Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (2009-2013), and Minister of Defense (2013-2019). She was the first woman to serve as the German defense minister. She has also advocated for an initiative that called for a mandatory blockage of child pornography, introduced a model for paid parental leave in Germany, and introduced the Child Advancement Act. To learn more about Ursula von der Leyen and her role as President of the European Commission, see this link.

Women hold incredibly important roles in diverse positions all across the globe. We have the ability to make significant change. Whether you are an athlete, an artist, or just a girl posting on social media, you too have the power to support the workings of government, maintain finances in the midst of a pandemic, and support your community, making others feel loved. I encourage you to continue learning more about the contributions and achievements of women across the globe in this month and take them as an example of everything you are also capable of.

What Cary High Students Are Saying About School

By: Students of Cary High with the help of Regan Sumy

A big thanks to all the Cary High students who participated in this survey; this piece would not be successful without you all. I know this year has been extremely different from any other school year…ever! Keep persevering your way through, and keep your eyes on the prize–you got this! Let’s look into what students have expressed about this school year including: their cohort, grade, favorite and least favorite memory, any hopes, and recognizing a teacher. 

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Waking up later, since I don’t have a first period.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Having to pay attention harder during class because everything was more hands-on during in-person school.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I hope I finish the school year with good grades.”

Emerson Phillips

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Junior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “The best thing about school this year has been being able to take tests in my pajamas!”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “My least favorite aspect of this school year has been not being able to connect as well with my classmates.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Before this school year ends I hope that most of us get vaccinated!!”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “To Frau Reher: Thank you for teaching us German this year even though it’s been super difficult online!!”

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Junior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Sleeping through the first period every day has done wonders for my mental and physical health. I love how my first periods have been really easy so I still have an A in first.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “I really miss the camaraderie of hustling through hard assignments together. I miss my friends.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “UNC becomes test optional.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Shoutout Stephanie Jessee for being the kindest and most patient AP Lang teacher. She is so patient, and she makes her students feel like she cares because she does.”

Sarah Cain

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Freshman 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “I think the best thing for me this year in terms of being off-site would have to be not having an overloading amount of work to do and being able to be more relaxed when I am working on assignments.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “My least favorite thing about being off-site all year is not being about to go to clubs as we normally could on-site, and not being able to go to classes with my friends like I normally would on site.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I have nothing really that I am really hoping for by the time school ends this year right now.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “I just want to say a big thank you to all of my teachers and all the teachers of Cary High School. You all are doing so much to make sure we are able to get anything done this year and trying to keep things as together as possible for all the students of the school so that we all have the possibility to learn this school year! I appreciate the time you all the time and work you put into making this bad situation as productive and worth it as possible. Thank you!”

Noah Tomczak

  • Cohort?
    • 2B
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Probably having the opportunity to go back into campus to see a few familiar faces, as that was not possible online.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Not having the true face-to-face experience with the teachers.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I’m hoping that more of us will be able to go back to campus safely, as being on campus with only 200 students doesn’t feel like school, if you know what I mean.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “I just want to say a huge thank you to all my teachers, including Mrs. Whitley, Mr. Kinsey, Mr. Mann, and Commander Erickson, for making this semester easy going and not stressing considering this semester has mostly been online. Don’t give up on all that you do!”

Benjamin Passiglia 

  • Cohort?
    • 3C
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Definitely JROTC. We started doing practices in person before school even opened up in person.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Math. I dislike math so having to do it online made it worse.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Getting to school in person with a full classroom.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Mrs. Culbreth, thank you for pushing the school to do orchestra in person. Meeting up has really helped me and I appreciate it. It’s important to play music in person, so with that possibility open to people, it’s amazing.” 

Jessica Paredes 

  • Cohort?
    • 3C
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Getting more free time to study and staying home.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “The fact that if I needed help for any class, I couldn’t just call my teacher. Appointments needed to be made and it was a slower process.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “We can all be in school and see all of our friends again.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Mr. Bryant, although I am not very excited or good at math, you make it my favorite class to be in :).” 

Johanna Ramirez-Perez

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Junior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “The best thing this school year has been joining the lacrosse team, I made many new friends and I got to spend some time outdoors. We only had two games this season but it was a blast just being apart from the team.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “My least favorite aspect of this school year was not being able to see my friends and living my junior year in person with them.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I’m hoping that we can go back to campus for some small events.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “I appreciate Mrs. Kimberly for always being understanding and giving us days to catch up on work. You really make me want to be in class, and you keep the lessons straightforward. I really appreciate all your hard work towards helping us. Thank you!”

Naila Din 

  • Cohort?
    • 2B
  • Grade?
    • Junior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Being able to go back to school in some way and being able to participate in sports. To be able to go back to school has been very helpful for me when asking questions to teachers and seeing my friends that are in my cohort—things I couldn’t necessarily do in online school. Also, playing volleyball, despite the pandemic, has been a great way for me to still stay active, and I am very grateful that our season wasn’t canceled and instead postponed.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “This school year, I struggled a lot with time management and motivation for my school work. In previous years, I’ve kept up with my homework and my grades, but this year it’s been a struggle for me and a lot of people, and it sucks that I’m not like how I used to be with school.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I’m hoping that we will be able to go off campus for lunch, which would make school a little bit more normal.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “All counselors: I want to thank you all for all you have done this year for the students to continue to be involved within the community—most notably, the class Google Classrooms that provide information with summer programs and new opportunities for students to check out. I have been able to apply to many programs and be aware of events that I would have certainly not known about without your guys’ help. Thank you!”

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Although senior year was definitely different than other senior years, the drive-thru thrown by the school has definitely been something small to look forward to.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Having to go online and less personal interaction.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Prom but maybe in-person graduation.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Love you Ms. Keller! Your class is so much fun and your spirits and positivity is always radiating. You’re the best!” -Z 

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • 2B
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Not having to wake up as early.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “It’s a lot harder to focus because there are more distractions at home, and it feels like there’s more work.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I hope we will at least be reduced to 2 cohorts instead of 3.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “I appreciate all my teachers because I know it’s harder to teach right now with less student interaction :).” 

Nihar Godthi

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “I think that online school has allowed us to move at a more personalized pace and it gives us time to do more things outside of school.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “It’s been difficult to learn over video calls, and I hate that I’m missing out on my last actual year of school.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I’m hoping that we get an in-person graduation.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Hey Mr. Jessee, thank you so much for leading the Speech and Debate team through a very difficult year. You’ve worked way harder to make this work for all of us, and everyone on the team appreciates what you do for us.”

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “I’m able to do work in my sweat pants and in bed.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “It’s harder to focus since I’m in my own house.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “My grades becoming all A’s.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Mrs. Duncan English 2 Honors – you were the first person I saw in the morning and you were never in a bad mood, so thanks for letting my day have a good start.”

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • 1A
  • Grade?
    • Freshman
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Playing on the lacrosse team because it gave me the chance to meet people from school without being in school and because it was something relatively “normal” to do to get myself out of bed every day.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Online learning 100%. My grades are dropping because it’s harder to pay attention in online class than an in-person class, and it’s not fun, as you don’t get to work with/be with other people.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I hope I can go to a sports game at some point before the end of the year!”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Ms. Brown- it’s been great to be in your class this year, and it was nice to talk to you at lunch in person the other week!”

Isabella Rivera

  • Cohort?
    • 3C
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Finally going back and seeing some of my favorite people.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Online school :/ There are so many distractions at home like my phone or my loud, constantly barking dog. I’m also not the greatest at time management.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “The decision of a traditional graduation (very doubtful but a senior can hope).”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Mr. Yasick, thank you for creating an environment in your classroom that has made me feel so safe and welcome. I’m truly honored that I could spend the last four years as a part of your chorus.”

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Freshman 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “A few good teachers who put effort into our learning.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Not seeing friends, having teachers who don’t try very hard for us, and overall just having a tough time understanding everything and not getting stressed out about it.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “My family will get vaccinated and hopefully I’ll be able to see not only them but also my friends.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Thank you Ms. Davies for putting in the effort and helping us learn even though it’s not ideal.”

Lily Goodman 

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Freshman 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “The freedom to use my own learning strategies and flexibility.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “The isolation from teachers and other students.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Everything goes to plan, and things slowly get better.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Dear Ms. Blackburn, I enjoy learning math in your class, and you always make it worthwhile.”

Anonymous

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Being able to have more flexibility with school work, and being able to do school from wherever.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Not being able to learn a single thing and having a huge amount of assignments that I learn nothing from.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Some semblance of a fun graduation.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Shoutout to Coach Ro for being super helpful and really listening to his students.”

Avery Phillips

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “The best thing about this school year has been the ability to work on whatever work I needed to finish if I had free time in any other class.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “My least favorite aspect of this school year has been not being able to see my friends as often.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I’m hoping that everyone can be safely vaccinated and that school for next year can be confirmed.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Thank you to Mr. Bryant for making math fun and more understandable than it ever has been for me, which is a hard thing to do virtually!”

Dae Williams

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Being able to get out of school earlier.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Online school.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Senior prom :(.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Mr.Nantz, thanks for being the bomb.com. Your class is the besttttt!!”

Thomas Fisher

  • Cohort?
    • 2B
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Actually talking to the teachers-they’re all really nice!”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Online.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “A decision or plan to go back full time.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Kimbo (Mr. Kimberly) is by far the best teacher I have ever had! He’s funny, nice, and also mean in a toned-down way. I love his class because it’s always fun and we really get to know him and he really gets to know us throughout his class. Kimbo’s class is full of energy and I wish we had more teachers like Kimbo!”

Ria Devgon 

  • Cohort?
    • 2B
  • Grade?
    • Senior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “The best thing is coming back on campus to see my teachers and actually feel like we’re having a kinda normal school year. I’m glad to come back to campus for my last year of high school.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “My least favorite is not being able to have the teacher-student time in person because I like to learn with the teacher with me so that I can see how it’s done and ask questions to them at that time.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “I hope to continue to go in person and have a normal graduation.”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Dear Mr. Banyas, although I haven’t been the best student in Calculus, I’m glad I decided to take Calculus. I’ve seen a whole new world of math which I’ve never seen before, and it’s made me much more interested in the aspect of math and the applications! This class has also shown me that I have a lot of work to do in my skills as a mathematician and having you as a teacher who is willing to be tough in order to make them succeed is a teacher I’ve always loved having! In the future, I hope to be a better mathematician and I’ll always remember this class as a moment I saw that I needed growth. Thank you for showing me this new world of math and making me fall in love with math again! I appreciate all your hard work to teach all of us!” -Ria Devgon

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • 3c
  • Grade?
    • Junior
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Nothing.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Everything.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “That I don’t get held back.”

Seth

  • Cohort?
    • Virtual
  • Grade?
    • Freshman
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Being able to stay home and not have to wake up super early to get to class on time.”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “The amount of stress and lack of motivation to actually do my school work.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Corona basically goes away and we can finally do stuff normally (hopefully without masks).”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Ms. Richards: Thank you for being the best and most understanding teacher I have had in a long time. You helped me learn and understand the information without drowning me in school work.”

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • 3c
  • Grade?
    • Senior 
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “Not having to deal with anybody in person.” 
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Everything else. I usually hate school but this time I hate it x100.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “Not sure, maybe a prom would be nice.” 

Anonymous 

  • Cohort?
    • 3C
  • Grade?
    • Sophomore
  • Best thing about this school year?
    • “I really like how the teachers have taken extra steps and worked hard to engage their students, even in a virtual learning environment!”
  • Least favorite thing about this school year?
    • “Being online and missing out on typical social interactions has been hard.”
  • Any hopes for the remainder of the school year?
    • “4s and 5s on AP tests!”
  • Teacher Appreciation
    • “Mrs. K Duncan, thank you for all your hard work! You go the extra mile to help us learn in English 2 Honors :).” 

26 students. 26 backgrounds. 26 opinions. Thank you to the 26 of you who took the time to help me create this article. Remember to look on the bright side and smile. I hope you all have a good rest of your school year!

The Underrated & Underrepresented: Women in Sports

By: Amarah Din

The month of March is dedicated to the recognition and appreciation of the woman’s experience, past and present. Women have been put in positions of struggle in numerous areas ranging from politics to the media, from the workplace to sports. And there is still much more. Yet, it isn’t often that we see praise for resilience of women.

Today, March 8th, is the official International Women’s Day. Cary High School has a strong student body, and it would be a disservice not to recognize the accomplishments of our female students on this day. So, to celebrate them, let’s take a look at what six female athletes at Cary High have overcome in the world of sports.

Abigail Harris

What sport(s) do you play?

  • I’ve been a cheerleader since I was 7 years old and enjoyed every moment of it!

Do you play for school, a recreational team, or club/travel?

  • I am on the school cheer team, but when I was younger I cheered for a recreational team called the Wake County Cowboys.

What’s something you love about your sport?

  • I love the fact I get to put on a performance! I enjoy putting on a huge smile and pumping up the energy at games with cheers and jumps. I love competing too, being the center of attention and getting to show off your skills in hopes to beat out other squads.

How have you seen yourself grow as you have played in your sport? 

  • I think I learned how to be a team member by being a cheerleader. In cheer, you can’t just rely on yourself to be good, you have to think of the team as a whole because if one person is missing a move, the whole team looks off; I learned to sync with others because of cheer.

What barriers are there for women in your sport? 

  • Despite cheer being a female dominated sport, it was originally a man’s sport, and some of that influence can be seen in the cheer world today. Many think to be a strong stunter you have to be a man, but I push to break that stereotype by showing my strength when stunting.

How have you or your teammates overcome these barriers?

  • At Cary, the cheer team is all female, which breaks the stereotype that men might have stronger stunts because we are able to hit a lot of the same stunts other schools might do with men. As a team, we push to improve our stunting skills and I think it shows in our skills today!

If you could give a message to a young female athlete, what would you tell her?

  • I would tell her to not be timid when thinking about standing apart from those in your sport; women are capable of so much so don’t be afraid to do what you love, even when others think you shouldn’t be doing it!

Margot Langenbach

What sport(s) do you play?

  • Volleyball, used to swim.

Do you play for school, a recreational team, or club/travel?

  • Volleyball – Cary High V Defensive Specialist; Sand/Beach Volleyball – Club, Southern Sands

What’s something you love about your sport?

  • I love how it allows people to take their mind off of other pressing issues in their lives for an hour or two. The way sports offer another area of achievement is special, especially when school or life as a whole feels quite stagnant.  While I am absolutely left in the dust by the 15 year-olds during conditioning, which is super embarrassing, exercising is good for lifting spirits. Practice is also another social environment, and it is excellent to meet new people!

How have you seen yourself grow as you have played in your sport?

  • As I grew older, it became clear I was not genetically blessed to succeed in higher levels of athletics. Nor did I have the dedication and competitive attitude, but I have become better at creating a nice team dynamic. It is strange to adapt to how your team or partner manages defeat or mistakes.

What barriers are there for women in your sport?

  • Especially in younger age groups, volleyball is a sport dominated by women.  There are rarely any discrepancies between the caliber of male and female practices at Southern Sands, but as in all sports, coaches will seek out those with ‘potential’ and funnel attention toward them.

How have you or your teammates overcome these barriers?

  • Charisma is an important skill. While I would not consider a lack of attention at practice a barrier for myself, (I just go to practice for fun honestly) those who strive to play in college or at a national level benefit enormously from being optimistic, open, and engaging those around them.

If you could give a message to a young female athlete, what would you tell her?

  • GO TO PRACTICE! I sometimes dread going then end up leaving having had fun.

Teonni Key

What sport(s) do you play?

  • I play basketball.

Do you play for school, a recreational team, or club/travel?

  • I played varsity basketball for Cary all 4 years & travel basketball since I was 9.

What’s something you love about your sport?

  • I love basketball’s competition level and that it brings people together. 

How have you seen yourself grow as you have played in your sport?

  • I have seen myself develop a great work ethic and become more confident.

What barriers are there for women in your sport?

  • Women in sports do not get as much recognition as men’s teams.

How have you or your teammates overcome these barriers?

  • My teammates and I have worked hard regardless and didn’t worry about getting recognition for it.

If you could give a message to a young female athlete, what would you tell her?

  • Success does not come with a lot of sacrifices. If you work hard, stay focused, and love what you do, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

Jacquelyn Pham

What sport(s) do you play?

  • I’m a swimmer!

Do you play for school, a recreational team, or club/travel?

  • I swim for Cary High’s swim team.

What’s something you love about your sport?

  • I love the uplifting, team atmosphere of the sport of swimming and the serenity that comes after crushing a difficult practice or performing well at a meet.

How have you seen yourself grow as you have played in your sport?

  • Over my swimming career, I’ve learned that swimming is more of a mental sport than it is a physical sport. By eliminating self-doubt and having a positive mindset, I’ve been able to accomplish many of my athletic goals. I’ve taken this shift in mindset to my everyday life and education, which has led me to become more optimistic about the goals I hope to achieve in the future.

What barriers are there for women in your sport?

  • One of the biggest barriers for women in the sport of swimming is body image. With the immense amount of training swimmers do, both in and out of the water, our physique can drastically change. With these changes comes the challenge of accepting our new body image and maintaining healthy eating habits, all while still being able to enjoy our sport.

How have you or your teammates overcome these barriers?

  • Having conversations with others and following social media accounts that promote body positivity, especially for female athletes, has been a large learning outlet when it comes to overcoming these struggles. I’ve learned the significance of properly fueling our bodies with the right foods and learned to be kind with the words we use to describe our body.

If you could give a message to a young female athlete, what would you tell her?

  • To all the young female athletes out there, work hard and never discredit any of your accomplishments, even if they seem small.

Colleen Quinlivan 

What sport(s) do you play?

  • Softball, cheer, and dive.

Do you play for school, a recreational team, or club/travel?

  • I am on the school team for all 3 sports, club for diving, and I did 5 years of rec softball. 

What’s something you love about your sport?

  • I love the team dynamic in softball. You really become as close as family throughout the season and every person is always lifting you up even when you make a mistake. It’s a great learning environment!

How have you seen yourself grow as you have played in your sport?

  • I think I have seen myself turn into a leader over the years. I always played with girls that were older than me so I was never able to take up those responsibilities until high school softball. I loved learning from the upperclassmen when I was a freshman and now I love being a positive role model for the younger girls.

What barriers are there for women in your sport?

  • I think in any women’s sport there is a stereotype that we are not as competitive or strong as a male sport so it is a constant challenge to ignore those who doubt you and push yourself to prove them wrong. 

How have you or your teammates overcome these barriers?

  • My team has played so competitively in the past 4 years. We constantly push ourselves in practice so that when we show up to games we are as prepared as we can be. While working hard together, we win together.

If you could give a message to a young female athlete, what would you tell her?

  • I would tell her that she is not limited by anybody else’s opinions of her or what she loves to do. I would want her to use the challenges that she faces to push herself to reach her goals.

Ella Vitaglione

What sport(s) do you play?

  • I play women’s lacrosse.

Do you play for school, a recreational team, or club/travel?

  • I used to play for a rec team up until high school when I joined the women’s varsity lacrosse team at Cary High.

What’s something you love about your sport?

  • Lacrosse is a great stress reliever for me. It takes all my attention away from my problems and helps me calm down. 

How have you seen yourself grow as you have played in your sport?

  • I feel like when I first started lacrosse, I was very shy but as the years went on, I learned to be more confident in my abilities in lacrosse and socializing. It has taught me to be riskier and assertive. Especially when I started playing high school lacrosse, it helped push me to be more confident in myself and not letting small mishaps bring me down.

What barriers are there for women in your sport?

  • One of the “dress codes” for games for women in lacrosse is wearing a skirt. This has been in place for years, but many people see us wearing skirts and sort of think less of the sport and think of it as girly when in some situations it can be dangerous. It’s not that I don’t like skirts, which show a bit of femininity, but it can be frustrating sometimes when people judge our sport or think less of it because we wear skirts instead of shorts. I also feel that lacrosse doesn’t get a lot of media. There are successful lacrosse teams, but I’ve never seen them on a news channel or anything. It’s always soccer, basketball, and football. So, I feel like that can be a barrier to getting people interested in lacrosse because we never hear about it.

How have you or your teammates overcome these barriers?

  • Throughout the years I’ve played, everyone always hears comments about how we wear skirts and how it’s weird, but I’ve learned that brushing it and just saying yeah so what is the route usually taken. There isn’t much to retaliate with, but it can get annoying.

If you could give a message to a young female athlete, what would you tell her?

  • My message to a young female athlete would be that don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try a new sport or position. If you want to try something, do it, don’t listen or think about what other people might think.

While men and women may run the same marathon, their paths will undoubtedly look different. Being a female athlete is not easy, but these six girls—and many more—have worked hard to get where they are now and deserve the same love and recognition as any male athlete does.

Gina Carano Fired from Disney+ Series “The Mandalorian”

By: Lindsay Gorman

Giana Carano, who played Cara Dune on Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” was fired by LucasFilms in early February due to her controversial social media posts. 

Carano came under fire after she posted an image of Nazi Germany on her Instagram story with the caption: “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors..even by children. Because history is edited, most people today didn’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the governement first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

Carano is known for speaking her mind on social media, but this post was the last straw for the company. LucasFilms stated that “her social media posts [were] denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities,” which they called “abhorrent and unacceptable.” Fans have called for her firing since September of 2020, after she put the words “boop/bob/beep” in her twitter bio, which many found especially offensive towards the transgender community. She removed the words after her co-star, Pedro Pascal, informed her of why people have included their pronouns in their social media bios. However, there are still several controversial posts left on her social media that include being anti-mask sentiments and claims that “Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself.”

A LucasFilms spokesman reported, “Gina Carano is not currently employed by LucasFilms and there are no plans for her in the future.” Some fans have started a petition calling for a mea culpa from the company that has nearly 73,000 signatures. 

Carano has avoided an apology for her offensive posts and instead harped on “cancel culture”. She has announced a new project with Ben Shapiro from Daily Wire, a conservative media company. Details are still under wrap, but the Daily Wire plans to have Carano develop, produce and star in an upcoming film. “The Daily Wire is helping make one of my dreams – to develop and produce my own film – come true.” Carano told the Daily Wire “they can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”

Movies to Look Out For in 2021

By: Alexis Cope

The Golden Globes have passed. The Oscars aren’t for another two months. What’s next?

In this realm of skewed normality we call the 2020s, I, for one, have found comfort in many movies and TV shows, have explored many movies and TV shows, and have begun keeping tabs on several new titles coming soon. 

In keeping with the theme of the upcoming Academy Awards, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most anticipated films to look forward to as the year goes on. 

In order of release date:

Raya and the Last Dragon

The newest animated feature film from Disney’s studios, Raya and the Last Dragon follows Raya through her life and she embarks on a quest to find the one thing that can unite the divided people of her land.

Starring: Kelly Marie-Tran, Awkwafina, Sandra Oh

When: March 5

Where to watch: Theaters and Disney+

Black Widow

Only the second film centered around a female lead in the Marvel Universe, Black Widow follows the hero’s adventures with both evil forces and her own family in the bleak winterscape of Russia.

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour

When: May 7

Where to watch: Disney+

Cruella

Disney’s latest live-action reboot of an animated classic, Cruella looks at the story from the villain’s point of view, weaving a visionary, slightly manic new tale.

Starring: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Kirby Howell-Baptiste

When: May 28

Where to watch: Theaters and Disney+

In the Heights

The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first hit musical, In the Heights will be a vibrant and rhythmic exploration of the highs and lows of the human experience in New York’s Washington Heights.

Starring: Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Stephanie Beatriz

When: June 18

Where to watch: Theaters and HBO Max

Old

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, Old tells the story of a family’s beach vacation that turns horrifying as each of them suddenly grow years older within the space of the day.  

Starring: Alex Wolff, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie

When: July 13

Where to watch: To be announced

Dune

A reboot of the book and subsequent 1984 film, Dune follows Paul Atreides as he steps into his destiny and leads a group of nomadic tribes into battle for control of their desert planet, Arrakis. 

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa

When: October 1st

Where to watch: HBO Max

West Side Story

From Steven Speilberg comes a colorful reimagining of the classic musical tale of the rivalry and forbidden love between the street gangs the Jets and the Sharks in 1950s New York City.

Starring: Ansel Engort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose

When: December 10

Where to watch: To be announced

The Hidden Figures of Black History

By: Amarah Din and Sarah Govert

The month of February is dedicated to learning about and honoring Black history. Black History Month was first celebrated by Black professors and students at Kent State University in February of 1970. United States President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month in 1976. As Americans, it’s our responsibility to recognize the endurance of the Black community and what certain figures within have accomplished.

Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey was born on January 5, 1931, in Rogers, Texas and passed away from an AIDS related illness on December 1, 1989, in Manhattan, New York. Growing up, he was abandoned by his father when he was three months old and was forced to work in cotton fields with his mother, as it was the only employment that was available to them. He would go and watch people dance in order to escape, and he saw his first ballet in 1946 in Los Angeles when he was 15 years old. In 1949, one of his friends took him to the studio of dance teacher Lester Horton. Horton’s studio was one of the first that was racially integrated, and Ailey was able to study a large range of dance techniques while at his studio. He took over as artistic director and choreographer at Horton’s studio after he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1953, and he choreographed the Broadway show House of Flowers in 1954. In 1958, Ailey founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In the ballets that he choreographed, he employed a mixture of jazz, ballet, modern dance, and spirituals to celebrate and shed light on the Black experience in America, also drawing on his memories of growing up in Texas in the 1930s. He posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. To learn more about Ailey and his company, see this link.

Cori Bush:

Born on July 21st, 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri, Cori Bush accomplished a lot of firsts for her state. In her early life, she quit her job when she had her son, Zion, who was born four months premature. She had another son, Angel, soon after and had to return to work. Unfortunately, she and her family were homeless and moved from place to place for months until her boss secured a new home for the family. After becoming a single mother, she earned her nursing degree in 2008 from the Lutheran School of Nursing. She was an RN at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and became a pastor after starting her own church called the Kingdom Embassy International Church. She later became a nursing supervisor. Bush was at the forefront of protests against the murder of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. She spent 400 days protesting in Ferguson. Bush ran for U.S. Congressional seats in 2016 and 2018 but lost both times. She achieved a win in 2020, after being elected to Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, making her the district’s first female representative and the state’s first Black woman and nurse representative. Despite being a victim of police brutality and a survivor of rape, Cori Bush stands as an inspiration for Black women across America. To learn more about her efforts, check out this link.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat was born on December 22, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York and passed away from a heroin overdose on August 12, 1988, in Manhattan, New York. He was the second of four children. Basquiat was a talented artist from a young age, and he was sent to Saint Ann’s School, an exclusive arts-oriented private school in New York City. By the age of seven, he had created a children’s book with best friend Marc Prozzo. His mother was in and out of mental institutions since he was 10 years old, leading him to run away from home at the age of 15. He was arrested and returned home within the week, then going on to attend City-As-School. Basquiat and Al Diaz, a schoolmate of his, started spray painting graffiti on buildings in Lower Manhattan in May of 1978. They went by the pseudonym SAMO. This project ended, along with their friendship, in the early 1980s. After the SAMO project concluded, Basquiat worked as a solo artist, first gaining recognition in The Times Square Show in June of 1980. He then had his first solo show in May of 1981, and he became the youngest artist ever to participate in documenta, an exhibition of contemporary art that takes place in Kassel, Germany every five years, at age 21. He also became the youngest artist ever to participate in the Whitney Biennial exhibition of contemporary art. If you want to learn more about Basquiat and his artwork, see this link.

Shirley Chisholm:

Shirley Chisholm was born on November 30th, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York to immigrant parents. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1946 and later graduated from Columbia University with a master’s in elementary education. She was the director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center and the educational consultant for New York City’s Bureau of Child Welfare. She was the first ever Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress where she worked in committees such as the House Forestry Committee, Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and the Education and Labor Committee. In 1969, she co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus. She made history in 1972 when she became the first Black person and second woman to run for a major political party’s nomination for U.S. President. She expressed, “I am not the candidate of Black America, although I am Black and proud. I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people, and my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.” She unfortunately lost the Democratic nomination to Senator George McGovern. After serving seven terms in Congress, she left to teach at Mount Holyoke College. She was an active member of NOW and the NAACP, and she was later inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. After her passing in 2005, Chisholm was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by former President Barack Obama—the first African-American President. Before her passing, she wrote an autobiography entitled Unbought and Unbossed(1970) and another book about her experience running for President in The Good Fight(1973). Shirley Chisholm paved the way for women of color in politics. To learn more about her life, check out this link.

Dr. Charles Drew

Dr. Charles Drew was born on June 3, 1904, in Washington, DC and passed away from injuries due to a car accident on April 1, 1950, in Burlington, North Carolina. He was born to a middle-class family in Washington, DC, to a father who worked as a carpet layer and a mother who was trained as a teacher. Drew attended Amherst College on an athletic scholarship, and spent the two years after he graduated at Morgan College as a chemistry and biology professor, football coach, and athletic director in order to gain money to pay for medical school. He attended McGill University in Toronto for medical school and graduated second in his class. He worked as a faculty instructor at Howard University and later did graduate work at Columbia University, where he received a Doctor of Science in Surgery. In 1940, he received a Doctor of Science in Medicine, becoming the first African-American to do so. During his graduate work, he did exhaustive studies and research on blood preservation methods. Because of this, he was recruited by John Scudder just before the United States entered World War II to be the medical director for the Blood for Britain project. The goal of the Blood for Britain project was to give blood from Americans to British soldiers, and Drew’s job was to collect, test, and transport the blood. During this project, Dr. Drew started bloodmobiles, made sure all blood plasma was tested, and created a central location where all donors could give blood. In 1941, he was appointed director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank for his work during the Blood for Britain project, but he resigned in 1942 after the military ruled that African-American blood would be stored separately from the blood of whites. Drew became the first African-American surgeon to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery in 1941, and he was also awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in 1944. To learn more about Dr. Drew and his work on blood storage, see this link.

Alice Coachman

Alice Coachman was born on November 9th, 1923, in Albany, Georgia. She was a natural-born athlete, and was encouraged by her fifth grade teacher and her aunt to advance her talents, despite her parents lack of support. Tuskegee Institute took a liking to Coachman after reviewing her performance in track and field at Madison High School and offered her a scholarship at its high school program. She accepted and competed in the segregated South. She advanced to the college division in 1943 for both track and field and basketball. She won four national championships in track events. In 1949, Coachman graduated from Albany State College with a B.S. degree in Home Economics and a minor in science. At just 24-years-old, she competed in the 1948 Olympic games in London, where she won a gold medal for high jumping a record-setting 5ft 6.125in. With this earning, she became the first ever Black woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal. She won thirty-four national titles and was inducted into multiple halls of fame. She founded the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation which provided support for new and up-coming athletes, as well as retired athletes. She passed away in her hometown of Albany on July 14th, 2014. Alice Coachman defied the status quo and pushed through barriers set by the Jim Crow South. Get to know more about her impact on the world of athletics at this link.

William H. Hastie Jr.

William Hastie Jr. was born on November 17, 1904, in Knoxville, Tennessee and passed away on April 14, 1976, in East Norriton, Pennsylvania. Hastie attended Amherst College and graduated first in his class. He then received a Bachelor of Laws from Harvard Law School in 1930, followed by a Doctor of Judicial Science, also from Harvard Law School, in 1933. From 1930-1933, Hastie worked in private practice in Washington, DC, but served as the assistant solicitor for the Department of the Interior from 1933-1937. President Roosevelt appointed Hastie to the District Court of the Virgin Islands in 1937, and by doing so, made Hastie the first African-American federal judge. He served on the district court until 1939, when he stepped down to become the dean of the Howard University School of Law, with Thurgood Marshall studying under him. In the case of Smith v Allwright, which ruled against white primaries, Hastie served as a co-lead lawyer with Marshall. Hastie worked as a civilian aide to the Secretary of War during World War II, but he resigned from his position in 1943 in protest to the racially segregated training facilities, inadequate training, and uneven assignment distribution in the Air Force. He was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP for both his actions during the war and his lifetime achievements. In 1946, President Truman appointed Hastie as Territorial Governor of the Virgin Islands, becoming the first African-American to have this position. In 1949, he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by President Truman, and he was confirmed by the Senate in 1950. He also served as the Chief officer of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1968-1971. To learn more about Hastie and his achievements in the judicial branch, see this link.

Maj. Nancy Leftenant-Colon:

Nancy Leftenant-Colon was born on September 29th, 1920, growing up with 12 siblings. From an early age, she dreamed of becoming a nurse, though military service was taken up by many of her siblings. Due to the Army Nurse Corps being a whites-only service, she joined the Army Reserves in 1945. After the military was desegregated, Leftenant-Colon became the first Black woman to join the Army Air Corps in 1948. Being a traveling nurse, she feared racism on her journeys between bases in the South and tried to avoid contact with anyone in her travels. She became a flight nurse in the 1950s and traveled with a Tuskegee crew in Korea, Japan, and Germany. After 20 years, she retired from service and worked as a nurse at Amityville High School. To add onto her list of achievements, she was the first female president of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., which honors the history of aviation service along with providing financial support. Leftenant-Colon serves as an inspiration for young Black women joining the military. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday, in which she was awarded the title of “Living Legend” by the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation. Check out a video of her celebrating her birthday back in September at this link!

Dr. Huey P. Newton

Dr. Huey Newton was born on February 17, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana and was assassinated on August 22, 1989, in Oakland, California. His family moved to Oakland during the second wave of the Great Migration in response to the extreme violence in Louisiana’s Ouachita Parish. Newton was arrested several times during his teenage years, including charges for gun possession and vandalism. He earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1966 from Merritt College, studied at San Francisco Law School, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and earned a PhD in social philosophy at the University of California at Santa Cruz as well. While he was studying at Merritt College, Newton joined the Afro-American Association and learned about Black history from the leader of the AAA, Donal Warden. He also met Bobby Seale while he studied at Merritt, and together, the two founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966. Seale was the Chairman, and Newton was the Minister of Defense. The Black Panther Party advocated for the right of self-defense for Black people in the United States and was greatly influenced by Malcolm X. The political goals of the Black Panther Party included better housing, jobs, and education. The party also had a Ten-Point Program, which was a set of guidelines for their ideals. Newton and the Black Panther Party were able to create social programs in Oakland, including the Oakland Community School and Free Breakfast for Children Program. In 1968, Newton was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the killing of police officer John Frey and was sentenced to 2-15 years in prison. In 1970, the conviction was reversed and eventually dismissed by the Alameda County Superior Court. Newton was murdered in 1989 by Tyrone Robinson, who said that his motive was to advance in the Black Guerilla Family prison gang. The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation was founded by his widow, Fredrike Newton, in 1993. To learn more about Dr. Newton, see this link, and to learn more about this foundation, see this link.

Marsha P. Johnson:

Marsha P. Johnson was born on August 24, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey and passed away from undetermined causes on July 6, 1992, in New York City, New York. Johnson was born Malcolm Michaels Jr to a deeply religious family. At the age of five, Johnson decided that she wanted to start wearing dresses, attracting the attention of boys that lived nearby that were determined to harass and sexually assault her. After graduating from Edison High School, Johnson left home and moved to Greenwich Village in New York City in 1966. Johnson identified as gay and as a queen, in reference to her work as a drag queen. It was then that Johnson decided on the moniker of Marsha P. Johnson as her drag queen name. From 1970-1990s, Johnson performed as a member of the Hot Peaches, an NYC-based drag performance troupe. On the day of the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, she arrived at the Stonewall Inn after the riots had already begun. Johnson was identified as one of the individuals that led the way in pushing back the police during the riots. After the riots, Johnson marched in the first Gay Pride rally in 1970 and joined the Gay Liberation Front. She also staged a sit-in protest at Weinstein Hall at NYU when she found out that administrators had canceled a dance sponsored by gay organizations. Johnson also founded the STAR House, a shelter in New York City for gay and trans street kids, in 1972. To learn more about Marsha P. Johnson and her activism for gay rights, see this link.

Black History Month is a celebration of the achievements of Black people and their crucial role in American history, and all of these men and women are incredible examples of the kind of change and achievements that this month is able to recognize and celebrate. We encourage you to continue to learn more about the achievements and role of Black people in American history and world history in this month and beyond.