The Trojan Torch

Dyersburg High School's online newspaper


January 2017

Split captures mental disorder

– Colin Isaacs Section Editor –
Three girls are drugged and kidnapped. Upon waking up in an unfamiliar room, they meet their kidnapper Kevin–who is also known as Barry, Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig and Orwell, among many other names.

Split gives its viewers a look into the life of a man with multiple personalities. The movie has already made $100 million globally.

Photo courtesy IMDb

  One of the girls soon notices that Kevin has Dissociative Identity Disorder (which is also called Multiple Personality Disorder). Split is essentially about a man confronting the various personalities that live within him. While the movie has its entertainment purposes, it also exposes the life that many people cope with today.
  “Dissociative Identity Disorder is a severe condition in which two or more distinct identities, or personality states, are present in—and alternately take control of—an individual,” Psychology Today defined.
  Nearly one percent of the population is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. While the disorder is very complex, researchers believe trauma to be one of the main factors in its initial stages.
  As noticed in the movie, those who are diagnosed with the disorder may experience anxiety, mood swings, altered consciousness and a feeling of being detached from oneself. While there is currently not a cure, long-term treatment has proven successful in some cases.
  In all, Split gave its audience a better understanding of what life could be like for those who suffer from having multiple personalities. Mental health is important and society should recognize the effects that mental disorders can play in daily life. Split is commendable for drawing attention to a subject that often goes ignored.

Outstanding Junior results revealed

– Emmalynn VanDyke Reporter 

Each year, the faculty of Dyersburg High School selects one male and one female to represent the junior class as Outstanding Junior. On January 25, 2017, the faculty chose Hannah Jackson and Kevin Spencer as the 2016-2017 Outstanding Juniors.

  In order to win the title of Outstanding Junior, these students had to excel both academically and socially.

  “I have participated in multiple clubs and sports throughout my high school career, and I have always tried to do my best inside and outside the classroom,” Jackson said.

  “I had no idea about it. However, I did not do anything specific to win this award. I won it by basically being me and sticking to the morals my parents placed in front of me,” Spencer said.

  Jackson and Spencer went about achieving their awards in different ways, but they both are very successful in and outside the classroom.

  Being chosen as Outstanding Junior ultimately means that one did something throughout his or her years in high school that stood out to their teachers causing them to be remembered.

  “Every one of my teachers helped and encouraged me to work hard. Shoutout to the DHS staff,” Spencer said.

  “My three Beta Club sponsors have made a very large impact on my life; Mrs. Coleman, Mrs. Hanna, and Mr. Maxwell have kept me calm and collected and given me so much love and advice that I am so grateful for,” Jackson said.

  When the faculty at DHS chooses their top students to represent the junior class, they often times do not even realize that they are a factor of the child’s success.

  When asked about the other student who was chosen for the role of Outstanding Junior, both thought the other was deserving of the award.

  “Kevin is a great guy and one that’s definitely worthy of the title, especially for his outstanding performances in so many sports.” Jackson said.

  “Yes, but the other recipient of this award, Hannah Jackson, deserved it more than me, simply because she is more outstanding than I am,” Spencer said.

  Jackson and Spencer both advise the underclassmen to work hard and be themselves. They say this will strengthen the likelihood of being chosen for Outstanding Junior during their junior year.  

  “I would tell them to just work hard and be the best version of themselves. Working hard is the solution to every problem. By working hard, problems create their own solutions,” Spencer said.

The winners of the Outstanding Junior award were Hannah Jackson and Kevin Spencer.
Jackson and Spencer pose for a picture with Principal Kim Worley.

Trump utilizes presidential power

– Aaron Stapleton /Editor –

Trump signs executive orders concerning the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Proceeding President Donald Trump’s inauguration, he took the liberty to sign numerous executive orders into action. An executive order is a right of the President to sign into law actions without the direct approval of Congress, the government’s legislative body. The Supreme Court has the power to disapprove the order and Congress has the right to not fund the action.

  With this in mind, President Trump signed 12 different orders into action as of January 24. Of the more controversial topics, he approved the implementation of a border wall separating the United States with Mexico.

  In this order, President Trump wrote that building a border wall would be a policy that the United States government will immediately start to implement. The order includes plans to start federal funding for this action as well as working out all the technicalities with the building of the wall. Trump has offered allowing Mexico paying for the wall’s expenses. However, recently a 20% tax on imports from Mexico has also been introduced as an options for the cost of the wall.

  In addition to this order, President Trump signed an executive order to prohibit all federal funds going to organizations supporting abortion. Of these organizations, Planned Parenthood will not continue to receive funding from the government.

  One of the first executive orders President Trump mandated was his allowing federal organizations to waive requirements for the Affordable Care Act. Within the order, President Trump also confirmed that the repealing of the Affordable Care Act will be a part of policy changes for his administration.

Low rise jeans should rise high on Fridays

– Abby Rees Reporter 

When students were unexpectedly told over the intercom last week that they would be allowed to wear blue jeans the next day, elation quickly sparked throughout the school. Students and teachers alike were buzzing with excitement; soon after, the school saw a participation level like no other dress-up day ever had.

A student walks past the library wearing blue jeans on the first day of his high school career that jeans were allowed during the school day.


Photo by Spencer Franckowiak 

   Alas, this led to the inevitable questions: why not lift the permanent ban on jeans? Could Spirit Fridays, that allow students and teachers to wear school t-shirts, evolve into allowing blue jeans as well?

  It was not always school policy requiring a dress code of strictly khakis and polo shirts. Up until 2011, wearing jeans into the high school would not cause a student to be sent home. Since that reality has ceased to exist for years, the student body and faculty reacted in a justified way when they were permitted to wear what they have longed to wear.

  If jeans were allowed on Fridays, it would prove beneficial both academically and financially.

  It could be believed that when one dresses professionally, he or she will act professionally, and this will result in a serious attitude towards schoolwork. The high school’s high academic performances could possibly verify this claim. However, students’ school performance has more to do with students’ individual personalities, and the dress code dilutes personality.

 Being allowed to wear jeans on Friday enables students to regain a small aspect of their personality. This step towards personal expression would cause students to feel more comfortable and thus more creative, and perform even better academically than what the school is currently experiencing.

  Moreover, it is well known among the student body that dress pants do not last long. A new pair of black pants would fade to gray in only a number of months, requiring a new pair to be bought to only continue the cycle. A pair of jeans, however, can remain durable for years. Though jeans tend to cost more than khakis, the durability of jeans prevails over the cheaper cost of khakis.

  If there are around 36 Fridays in a school year, and khaki pants were replaced by jeans for one day out of the school week, this would significantly reduce the number of times khaki pants are worn. Thus, this would ultimately make the dress code pants last longer and save families’ money.

  “[Jeans] would be good because it allows us more freedom in school,” said sophomore Daniel Gates.

  Dress code mitigated two years ago with the introduction of allowing Dyersburg High School t-shirts on Spirit Fridays. It is time for a further step in school policy evolution by allowing jeans, too.

Oscar Night results

– Taylor Welch Editor 

On January 23, the high school hosted Oscar Night which is an event that recognizes the seniors. Class superlatives are chosen by the senior class and Who’s Who recipients are chosen by teachers based on the student’s performances in the classroom and other departments.

Who’s Who Awards

Agriculture- Stacie Nichols

Art- M.K. Alford

Band- Tyler Lloyd

Health Sciences- Tessa Liljenquist

Engineering Technology- Sara Owens

Leadership- A.K. Hamilton, Taylor Maldonado and Darius Swift

Exceptional Education- Tristian Burton

Social Studies- Tauseef Nadeem and Taylor Welch

Math- Peyton Hickman and Aaron Stapleton

Science- Tauseef Nadeem and Taylor Welch

Language Arts- Tauseef Nadeem and Taylor Welch

Foreign Language- Madison Funderburk

Drama- Amelia Kirby

Business Technology- Denisha Emerson

Marketing- Peyton Philips



Best Ride- Wyn Agee and Leanna Horner

Best Eyes- Parker Ray, Hailey Moss and Jani Crawford-Winbush

Best Hair- Kirk Houchens and A.K. Hamilton

Best Smile- Zach Morgan and Emilee Curtis

Best All Around- D.J. Swift and Tessa Liljenquist

Friendliest- Coleman Self and Kacey Baker

Most Likely to Brighten Your Day- Matt Pepito and Story Robey

Most Athletic- Deashun Fields and Taylor Hopper

Biggest Flirt- Adrian Jones and Taylor Maldonado

Most School Spirited- Jonathan Click and Amber Taylor

Most Likely to Succeed- Tauseef Nadeem and Taylor Welch

Best Sense of Humor- Dennis Fowlkes, Cam’Ron Hopkins and Madison Orchard

Most Dependable- Peyton Hickman and Madelyn Saye

Most Changed Since Freshman Year- Evan Burch and Mackenzie Lowrance

Most Likely to Become Famous- Paul Anderson and Madison Funderburk
Cutest Couple- Riley Jensen and Grace Clark

Students pull tabs for Ronald McDonald House

– Deborah Nelson / Reporter –

The Beta Club chapter at the high school is holding a pull tab drive for Ronald McDonald house in Memphis. The Ronald McDonald House is a charity organization that was established to temporarily house children with life-threatening illnesses. Some students at the high school have been directly affected by the Ronald McDonald House, including junior Madison Williams.

  Williams was under the care of St. Jude in her infancy, and she has had to return to St. Jude regularly since then.

  “I had leukemia to be exact, bone marrow cancer,” Williams said.

Williams hopes that the pull tab drive will help children in need and that her story can inspire students.

  “Don’t take life for granted. Make every moment count,” Williams said.

Because this is the first year that the high school has held the pull tab drive, there is no specific target weight for all of the pull tabs, but there is competition between grades for who can collect the most. The winning grade will win more points toward Homecoming activities.

  “This is our first year,” Beta Club sponsor Labrenda Coleman said, “no goals. [We] just want to help [the Ronald McDonald House].”

  Pull tabs can be donated in the commons, where they will be put in the appropriate containers based on grade. They are mailed, weighed and recycled, and the money from recycling goes directly to helping the children. Members of the community can also donate tabs to the drive, and those who do not collect tabs at home can purchase them online.

Obama bids farewell

Tauseef Nadeem Editor –

President Barack Obama gave his farewell address on January 10 after serving as the President of the United States for eight years. By delivering his farewell address from McCormick Place in Chicago, he broke the tradition of delivering the farewell address from the White House.

He began his address by thanking Americans for inspiring him.

“Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better president, and you made me a better man,” Obama said.

Obama underscored the “hallmark” of the United States’ democracy–the peaceful transition of power between presidents–and assured Americans that his administration is ensuring a smooth transition of power to President-Elect Trump. He also advised Americans to stay united under the next presidency.

“Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity – the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one,” Obama said.

Obama drew attention to the accomplishments that were made during his presidency. He stated that the economy is growing; incomes and home values are increasing while the rate of poverty was decreasing. Unemployment rates are close to a ten-year low, and the cost of health care is increasing at the slowest rate in 50 years.

However, Obama also pinpointed some economic struggles the country faces. The wealth gap between the top 1% of the population and the people living in inner cities and rural areas is increasing. Domestic automation has caused many middle class jobs to disappear.

In order to counter these problems, Obama suggested to update the social safety net, allow workers to unionize for higher incomes, and reform taxes so that high-earning individuals and corporations pay a fair share of taxes as an obligation to their country.

Obama also encouraged his audience to fight against discrimination against minorities including the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, immigrants and Muslims.

“Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system. That’s what our Constitution and highest ideals require.  But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change,” Obama said.

He commended the military, intelligence officers, law enforcement and diplomats for successfully defending the United States against any attack during the past eight years. He assured Americans that ISIL–and any other enemy of the United States–will be vanquished and that the United States will continue to enjoy a dominant position in the world as long as Americans actively participate in the political process.

“Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up.  Dive in. Persevere,” Obama said.

Obama thanked his wife Michelle for supporting him during their 25 years of marriage, and he praised his children Malia and Sasha. He thanked Vice President Joe Biden for his work and called him his brother before acknowledging his staff members for their years of service. He expressed his gratitude toward Americans who engaged in politics and worked towards bringing social change. By affirming his faith in the American public, he concluded his address with optimism for the future.

“I am asking you to believe.” Obama said, “Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.”

Fire drills lose meaning

– Spencer Franckowiack Reporter –

They happen at every school. They are required by law. The fire drill is a brief twenty minute escape from the classroom. Even so, not everyone likes them.

  Many students do not think twice about a fire drill. They view fire drills as a way to get out of class. It is a general consensus that fire drills happen too often and do not have that big of an effect.

  Teachers have a slightly different view of the fire drills. They look more on what the missing class time does to their instruction.

  “I think once a month is a little excessive… I don’t know the last time I heard about a school catching on fire,” librarian Andrea Gilliland said.

  Gilliland is not the only one who thinks that once a month fire drills are too often.

  “It interrupts the teaching of students because it’s about fifteen to twenty minutes out of the classroom. I think we could do two a year and be through with it,” assistant principal Joy Norman said.

     “It’s very excessive… It disrupts instructional time and we have more important things to do,” principal Kim Worley said.

  It is required by Tennessee law that schools have once-a-month fire drills, but many agree that it is too many.

  “That’s my opinion, but not the state’s opinion,” Norman said.

Fire drills happen one a month at every Tennessee school that follows state law. The result is blaring lights and sounds and fifteen minutes taken from classroom instruction.

World gets heated with Trump

– Abby Rees / Reporter

Climate change has gained the attestation of 97% of scientists worldwide. This growing threat depends on global awareness and political action, especially from the world’s second largest carbon dioxide emitter (the United States) to ensure the health of the earth and its inhabitants.

  These last days before Donald Trump’s inauguration have had climate change scientists desperately copying decades of global warming research onto independent servers in fear of Trump’s administration discreetly deleting climate change proof from governmental databases, according to reporter Brady Dennis.

  The world must sit and watch how this one man will affect the globe’s increasing temperature.

  Trump promises to recall all of President Obama’s environmental regulations which have decreased the country’s carbon emissions by 9% and boosted the economy 10%.

  Since Trump is expected to override Obama’s environmental executive orders, this will reverse the 9% carbon decrease in the atmosphere. In the same fashion, Trump declared the need to back America out of the Paris Agreement. Of course, this can only happen if he convinces two-thirds of the Senate.

  Hypothetically speaking, if Trump succeeds in convincing 67 senators to pull out of the Paris Agreement, this would dismantle the other 193 members’ confidence in the treaty and demote the global efforts they sought to achieve with U.S. participation. The Paris Agreement aims to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius per year.

  If America drops out and reverses all of its environmental regulations, the Agreement would never reach this aim, and in eight years, 350 billion pounds of carbon dioxide would be added to earth’s atmosphere if current emission levels remain in continuity. What is more is the world can only wait about one more year to stop pumping carbon dioxide into the air to halt climate change at 1.5 degrees every year. At current greenhouse gas emission levels, earth has about 23 years to fully adopt a carbon-free economy if its inhabitants do not wish to see extreme flooding, severe droughts and further bee disappearances  permeate every part of the world.

  “There is a reason America has environmental regulations. I think [Trump] needs to be a little more educated about global warming if he is going to be president,” sophomore Lanie McAlister said.    

  The bottom line is, America needs a chief executive willing to take on the weight of climate change seriously. As Trump accepts his role as President of the world’s second largest carbon dioxide emitter, it is crucial he does not delay in reevaluating his platform on the reality of this enemy– not an anticipated enemy in a few decades, but a thriving threat to the prosperity of the earth.

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