The Trojan Torch

Dyersburg High School's online newspaper

Justice after death: National Memorial for Justice and Peace

Rebecca Reed – Editor

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Above is a model of what the memorial will look like. It will feature several columns, all of which engraved with more than 4,000 names to honor the lives lost because of lynchings.

It is seven AM–time for school. Reluctantly, you pull into the school parking lot. Surprisingly, a truck in the school parking lot has a flag with the Nazi Swastika on it. You report it to the office, and the truck is taken off of school grounds, yet there are still flags and other symbols of the Nazi party littering your town.

  Who would want to fly that flag? Your peers justify it as a way to honor the lives lost on the losing side of World War II. Displays even go as far as statues honoring Adolf Hitler. You cannot help but think how offensive these signs must be towards your Jewish peers.

  Now replace all of these symbols, flags and statues with Confederate symbols. The Civil War was fought between the South and the North. In US History classes, we are taught to recognize the Civil War as a war based on slavery.

  The south lost. Slaves were freed. Nearly two centuries later, Confederate symbols seem to be around every corner. According to research conducted by Southern Poverty Law Center, there are at least 1,503 Confederate symbols in public spaces.

  The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reports that 4,743 lynchings occurred between 1882 to 1968. 3,446 of these people were African-American. Most of the white people were lynched because they assisted African-Americans in their fight for equality.

     The Equal Justice Initiative noticed that while there were plenty of statues to honor confederate soldiers, there was not a single memorial, flag or symbol to honor those who were lynched. The EJI decided to do something about this; In 2018, Montgomery, Alabama the first ever national memorial will be dedicated to these lives that were lost.

  It will be named the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. As visitors travel farther inside the building, the memorial will take them on a journey that recognizes these lynchings.

  Visitors will be surrounded by columns, and as they walk into the building, the ground will begin to lower. Soon enough, the columns will be suspended in the air–symbolizing the lynchings.

  These columns will represent the 800 counties that lynchings took place in. Over 4,000 names will be engraved in the columns. At the center of the memorial, visitors will stand on a hill. Surrounding them will be the suspended columns–the dead judging the living, we are forced to recognize our nation’s history despite its ugliness.

  Around the building will be more columns; these lay in rows. These columns are thought to be in purgatory, awaiting each county that has had a history of lynching to claim one to acknowledge its heinous actions.

  This memorial is the first measure being taken to honor the lives that were lost because of hatred. There are more steps that can be taken to continue to honor these lives, and I hope that our society will take them. For now, I would like to thank the EJI for taking the first step in this long journey of recovery.

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Orange County Register
A map showing the areas where confederate statues and symbols are prominent. It also exhibits how some counties have enacted removal plans or taken other action.

Saving Forever pops on scene with Million Ways


Mariah Webb – Section Editor

“Baby what’s the problem? I got a million ways that I could solve ‘em.”

  There is not a problem with Saving Forever’s latest song “Million Ways.” It is extremely catchy, and the first time I listened to it I found myself bobbing my head to the beat. The bass riff that starts the song led me to expect a completely different song, but I was surprised. The lead singer’s voice gave the song a pop vibe that I did not expect from a band called Saving Forever.

  The name Saving Forever makes me think of me when I would listen to All Time Low in like the sixth grade, and, honestly, I was expecting something similar, but when I opened the video I was met with something completely unexpected.

  Like I said, the song is very catchy, but I cannot decide if I like it or not. It is definitely not my new favorite song, but I would not mind if it played on the radio. I think that this song would better suit a younger audience, but at the same time, pop music is not really my favorite genre, but it was when I was younger.

  “Million Ways” is not a bad song, but I am not going to listen to it everyday.

Saving Forever

That’s Generous

Dakota Turnbo Reporter

Olivia Holt’s single ‘Generous” is a very catchy tune!

Olivia Holt went from Kickin’ It with her co-stars on Disney XD to feeling Generous.

  Her latest single is a catchy pop song that can stay with the listener much longer than I would like to admit. It has a chorus that is pretty difficult to get out of your head since it is constantly repeated, but not to the point that it is annoying.

  The beat and lyrics are consistent and go well with her voice. They match in such a good manner and both keep the listener’s desire to dance.

   She intelligently uses common techniques such as repetition and rhyming that countless artists use today. They actually mix in this case which is how she made the song so catchy.

  She also started the song with one of the only verses in the song which was clever. It keeps the audience guessing while also giving them something they will not see for the rest of the song.  

  The song is fairly seductive and not something that is expected from a former Disney star, but in that sense, it is perfectly fine since it is refreshing. It is pretty bold of her to do this because it will put some distance between her and Disney, which can be appreciated.

  She wants to make a statement to the world while also making good music for the world to enjoy, and it looks like she has accomplished just that with Generous.

Blake Mendoza named Player of the Week

Sara Clifft – Reporter

On September 26, senior Blake Mendoza, a valued member of the football team, was awarded Player of the Week.

  In the game against the North Side Indians, Mendoza helped bring home the win, scoring two touchdowns in the first half, earning him the title Player of the Week.

  Mendoza credits his accomplishment to the amount of work he puts in prior to the games.

  “I watch a lot of film, and coach just tried to prepare me and play me at any position he can and give me the ball and let me make a play on the field,” Mendoza said in an interview with WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News.

  Head coach Bart Stowe uses Mendoza’s talent to his advantage, moving him anywhere he’s needed on the field.

  “He’s a vital part of it, you know we try to move him around and get him the ball in different places each ball game,” Stowe said.

  Mendoza does not mind moving around as long as he can help his team take home the win.

  “I think it’s very important to the team, because the more positions I think I can play and help the team, the better off we’ll be,” Mendoza said.

  Next week, Mendoza and the Trojans will take on the Bolivar Central Tigers at JC Sawyers Stadium.

NFL refuses to participate in Anthem

Steelers offensive tackle, Alejandro Villanería, comes out of the tunnel from the rest of the team to support the National Anthem.

Sydney Bevis  – Reporter

How do you continue to fight for a country that does not even have the decency to literally stand up for what you are fighting for?

   Men and women from every background do two things… watch sports and support our country. These days, however, it seems that you can only participate in one.

  National Football League players are taking a stand, a knee rather, in protest of President Trump’s comments on Twitter by not participating in the National Anthem.

  This trend of taking a knee started last season by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s reasoning behind taking a knee: America is oppressing people of the African American race.

  Now, however, it is not as much about the oppression as it is about protesting President Trump and the comments he made on Twitter about how any player who does not participate in the anthem should be fired.

  Players are kneeling, sitting in the locker room and a number of other things besides standing toward the flag with their right hand over their heart, like we have all been taught is the respectful thing to do.

  These men deciding to exercise their first amendment right to not participate in the National Anthem is completely acceptable. Yet every moment an American citizen is giving up his or her life to fight for these men to even be able to play this sport.

  “I believe that NFL players have the constitutional right to not participate in the National Anthem. Although it may seem like they are disrespecting our country, I believe they are only trying to bring attention to a problem that they believe in,” junior Michael Betonio said.

  The real issue is that the players choosing not to participate in the anthem are not doing anything but getting the media’s attention. They do nothing to help make the issue of oppresion, that they are supposedly kneeling for, less of one. It is as if they believe the only thing they have to do is get the attention of others and nothing else.

  As a soldier, how would you continue to have the mindset to fight for this country when the people who you are fighting for are looking up and following people who do not even respect our country enough to stand up for the National Anthem?

Denver Broncos stand and kneel while the National Anthem is being played.

How not to HOCO

Mary Beth Gentry – Reporter


Football homecoming is less than three weeks away at Dyersburg High School, which means the homecoming dance is just around the corner. Students are scrambling to secure their dates before it is too late. Clever rhymes, embellished posters and excessive Instagram posts have been a common sight over the past several weeks.

  Many parents, and even some students feel that these homecoming “proposals” are too excessive. They wonder why people are making such a big spectacle over such a simple question.

  So why have students taken the simple question of “Will you go to the dance with me?” and stretched it into something way more complicated than necessary? Is it because they want to make a kind gesture? Or is it because they fear being rejected?

   In my opinion, teenagers need to stop resorting to oversized gestures just to secure a date to a dance. There is nothing wrong with asking the simple eight word question of “Will you go to the dance with me?”. It takes courage for a someone to ask “Will you go to homecoming with me?”. It does not take much courage to hide behind a poster and make the other person feel obligated to say yes.

  Getting asked to a dance with a poster can be a good thing. Many teenagers enjoy being able to take a picture with their date and the poster and later post the photo on social media. It is nice to see that your date put thought, time and effort into asking you.

  However, there are several disadvantages to asking or being asked with a big gesture. The one asking has to search for a clever and unique way to ask that has not yet been used by their peers. They also have to find the right time and place to ask.

  Being asked with a poster or another big gesture has many disadvantages. When someone asks  you with a poster, I feel like you cannot say no because you notice the time and effort that someone put into asking you. When someone shows up and asks you with a big sign, it creates a lot of attention that I usually do not enjoy. In my few experiences of being asked by a poster, I wish that my date had asked me with words.

  “Most people just want to get asked to homecoming. They don’t care about a poster. A simple question is enough to make a person happy,” sophomore Olivia Keiser said.


Putting brakes on your break

Emmalynn VanDyke – Section Editor

The damage that occurred in places, due to bad weather, may limit people in their traveling.

Three hurricanes have hit the United States, and a major earthquake has struck Mexico — all within the past month. Dyersburg residents may not experience the direct effects of these natural disasters, but many will feel the impact when it comes to upcoming travel plans.  These recent events may impact people’s travel plans for fall break. People who were planning to travel to impacted areas may need to reevaluate those plans and make some adjustments.

  Category four Hurricane Harvey hit Texas on August 25, 2017. It has been labeled one of the costliest, most damaging natural disasters to hit the U.S. Shortly after that, category four hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean and Florida, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Finally, category four Hurricane Maria made her way through Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean.

  While Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, did close temporarily as the storms hit, it reopened within two days. Damage to the theme park was minimal, so vacation goers can rest easily knowing that they will not have to make new travel arrangements.

  Along with the hurricanes, earthquakes in Mexico have caused additional damage. Some areas are not currently available for tourists to visit because of this. Many who have cruises planned for fall break may find themselves visiting an alternate location.

  The effects of these natural disasters have been far reaching, going beyond the physical effects caused in immediate locations. To avoid the inconvenience of delays and last minute changes, fall break travelers should plan ahead in making new arrangements.


Drink the tea, don’t spill it

Kesha released her first single “Praying” in four years. The above image provided as a hint to the album title–Rainbow.

Rebecca Reed – Editor

Every time you go on social media, go to the store or even just turn on the TV, you are probably greeted with some form of gossip. Thanks to the numerous outlets provided to us in the twenty-first century, gossip is hard to avoid.

  Lately, a lot of new music has been released. Some songs have been the usual revenge song, calling out someone who wronged the singer in the past. One album that broke the mold changing the music industry–Kesha’s Rainbow.

  It is no secret that Kesha went through a hard time during the past three years. In October 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against Lukasz Gottwald, the man who, at one time, was in charge of Kemosabe Records, according to The Telegraph. In this lawsuit, she claimed that Gottwald raped her.

  The Telegraph draws out the timeline, showing that after this case Gottwald counter-sued Kesha for defamation. Finally, in Feburary 2015, Kesha filed an injunction request to allow her to stop working with Gottwald. A year later, this request was denied.

  After dealing with three years of legal battles, Kesha released her first single in four years–“Praying.” This song is shocking for her. She had produced iconic dance pop music; now, she released an empowering single encouraging listeners that they are more than the misery their haters have put them through.  She changed her own name from Ke$ha to Kesha, a small detail, but a huge deal.

  This single bleeds self love. “I am proud of who I am,” is sung out, despite the hundreds of comments Kesha has suffered through during her legal battles. After three years of being told no, that she was making up stories, that she was nothing more than a name for a music producer, she produced Rainbow.

  Speaking as a 17 year old, there is plenty that I could hate about myself. I have had my fair share of bullying, and I have said things I regret. This album was the slap in the face that I needed to realize that those mistakes and comments are not what make me me.

  “Had a boogie man under my bed, putting crazy thoughts in my head. Always whispering, ‘It’s all your fault,’” are lyrics in “Learn to Let Go,” another song on the album that symbolizes Kesha letting go of her past demons. She is pleading with us to forgive those who have wronged us. She did, and she produced the best album of her career.

  Rainbow is an entirely new sound for Kesha. It is an entirely new type of music, and it is refreshing. As an avid listener of new music, I was disappointed at the pettiness that plagues current hits. Then, I listened to Rainbow and was shocked. This music that she produced does not only allow her to grow but also empowers her listeners to follow suit.

  Too often do we all go for the somewhat interesting gossip. I fall victim to this too, but it is time to stop spilling the tea. There will continue to be people who hurt us in our lives, but we are worth more than that. We need to embrace who we are, scars and all, because as the anthem “Rainbow” says, “Our scars make us who we are.”

‘It’ sparks fear in some

Mariah Webb – Design Editor

It, the new movie by Andrés Muschietti came out on Friday September 15. The movie is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name that was published in 1986. The movie follows the story of six kids and their encounter with Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

  The movie begins with one of the kids, Billy, and his brother, Georgie, in the house on a rainy day. Georgie gets the wax from the basement and brings it to Billy to coat the boat so it will float on the water. Georgie goes outside and sets the boat on the water that is running down the street. The boat falls into the sewer, and you see a pair of eyes coming through the shadows. Pennywise appears and talks to Georgie; he then tells him to come and get the boat. When Georgie reaches to get the boat, Pennywise eats his arm and drags him into the sewer.

  All of this occurs within the first 10 minutes of the movie and sets the overall tone for the movie. The film does have some elements of comedy, but overall the film is very gory, which is a part of what earned the film its R rating.

  I enjoyed the film, but it could have been scarier. I saw the movie with my sister, and she was shaken up by the movie –but as for me– will I be having nightmares about Pennywise the Dancing Clown? Maybe. If there’s a sequel will I go see it? For sure.


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