The Trojan Torch

Dyersburg High School's online newspaper


September 2017

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 February 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 am 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.


Linda, dah-ling!

Abbey Alley – Editor

Last Saturday, September 15, DHS choir and band students took a trip to Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, TN to hear the Nashville Symphony play selections by Claude Debussy, C.F. Kip Winger and Igor Stravinsky.

  As we stood on the steps of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, my eyes wandered across the endless blur of fancy outfits that other attendees of the concert were sporting. I could not help but compare my pocket shirt tucked into Gap pajama pants (I like to pretend they are palazzo pants) and ask myself again why I was here.

  The contrast only became more apparent when we entered the building.

  When I made my way down the marble staircase and into the restroom, I noticed a strange exchange between two adorable older women.

  In a proper British accent that would rival Julie Andrews, I heard the older women have the most surreal interaction that I have witnessed in my entire life.

  “Phyllis!” one of the women said.

  “Linda, dah-ling! It’s so nice to see you again,” the other woman replied as she entered the pristine, marble bathroom.

  I was so confused, but then I remembered that these were the type of people that are supposed to like classical music. As entertaining as this was to me, it also made me think about the type of people that still come to listen to classical music live.

  I began to ask myself if classical music was dying a slow, gray death.

  Are old, rich white people the only reliable source of patronship for classical musicians? What is going to happen when they die? If I do sing in an opera someday, who is going to watch it?

  The only young people I could make out in the audience were either musicians themselves or were there only there because of their grandparents. I wanted to cry. Someday soon, the young choir and band kids will be the ones on that stage. Who will come fill our seats when we make the final stride up to that stage?

  At this point, I began to ask myself why.

  The answer was simple. All of the people in the audience had one thing in common: money.

  Someone had to buy those expensive suits and sequined dresses. I opened my program before the show, and the last five to six pages were full of patrons. There were enough donors in the back of that program to fill all of the seats in the symphony.

  It all started making sense.

  Classical music was born with a silver spoon in its mouth. It has always been associated with the upper classes; many composers are too poor to see their own works live in concert.

  Even though classical music is seemingly inaccessible to young audiences without trust funds, that could change.

  American history is a topic that has long suffered from this plague of aristocracy. Though many students are forced to study it, much like today’s grudging musical theater students study classical music, many students feel disconnected from it. Not many can relate to the narrative of brainy, old white men wearing breeches and doing supposedly great things that seem boring.

  All of this changed when the hip-hop musical Hamilton gained popularity; suddenly, students across the world were making connections with America’s founding fathers. Immigrants and their children attested to Hamilton’s claim that immigrants get the job done, and history was humanized to the point that I no longer have to strain to remember exactly what happened at the Battle of Yorktown or exactly why Thomas Jefferson was an extremely contradictory individual.

  How did this musical completely change the narrative of American history?

  It humanized people from the past by showing their personal lives and struggles and telling a story. This is the whole point of music in the first place: to tell a story.

  Behind every song is a story, whether it is revealed through words or not.

  There is a reason that the music of the Holocaust survived. There is a reason that the spirituals of American slaves survived. There is a reason that Catholic Latin chants survived. They all tell stories.

  In order to revitalize interest in classical music, we as musicians and educators must tell these stories more effectively. Our compositions should not just be a means for a soprano to show off her voice or for the first violinist to have their special moment. It should not be looked down upon to need the translation for an opera.

  Senior and drum major Jayla Yander disagrees.

  “Musicians can’t really do anything to make someone like the music. It’s really just what you like/look for in music,” Yander said.

  However, if potential listeners are never exposed to classical music due to its dwindling popularity and eventual death, they may never discover if they like it or know what to look for in it.

  We have to stop being elitists and start telling stories if we want people to someday take our place in the audience.

  After all, the music only begins on the page. The rest is written on our hearts.

Fun times at the Dyer County Fair

Parker Millner – Reporter

The fair is a unique experience with different aspects making it stand alone when compared. The greasy foods and powdery desserts are a classic thought when picturing the fair’s festivities.

  The carnival games such as bottle toss and winning a fish are crafty ways to accompany the main attractions which are the rides.

  Ranging from roller coasters and “the Zipper”, polar opposites when discerning the fair attractions, both equally contribute to the overall  excitement that is acquainted with the fair.

  Many would argue their favorite aspect of the fair whether it is going for just the food alone or for the rides,

   “My favorite part of the fair is the food, and everytime I go I insist on getting a chicken on a stick and ribbon fries,” Freshman Madelyn Stowe said.

  Some would agree that the fair is an all-to-itself type of experience with none other offering similar activities. This is part of the reason why many people attend the fair every year, and also why some go every day of the week. Overall, the Fair is an interesting activity worth experiencing.

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Trojans battle Trojans

Students created a banner to serve as motivation to the DHS football team in this battle of the Trojans. Photo by Sarah McLaughlin

Dakota Turnbo – Reporter

The Battle of the Trojans between Dyersburg and Millington Central was a defensive matchup until Dyersburg overwhelmed the other team. It was not until halfway through the middle of the second quarter before either team scored.

  This drought of points by both sides was ended by Daviaon Henderson who had a rushing touchdown with 8:42 left in the second quarter and to top it all off, Blake Mendoza completed a two point conversion attempt with a catch to put the black and gold team in a 8-0 lead.

  Henderson added to his rushing touchdown total by putting Dyersburg up 15-0 with 7:58 left in the second quarter.

  The lead ballooned for Dyersburg after the half. Mendoza made another play, but this time in it was a receiving touchdown with 7:58 left in the third quarter which increased the lead to 22-0.

  The Dyersburg Trojans scored almost as many points in the fourth quarter as they did all game. This avalanche of points started with a rushing touchdown by Chris Russell with 9:46 left in the fourth quarter and gave Dyersburg a 29-0 lead.

  Yet another touchdown run increased the lead to 36-0 with 7:33 left in the fourth quarter. This was run by Tavarius Curry and was his only rushing touchdown of the day.

  The last score of the game occurred with only 1:00 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. This was a rushing touchdown by Tre Taylor to put the final score on the scoreboard which was 43-0 in favor of the Dyersburg Trojans.

  It was a slow start and a strong finish by the Dyersburg Trojans, but they got the win due to their stout defense and late game offense.

Kevin Smith (5) fights for yards as multiple Millington Trojans attempt to take him down.

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