HOSA Highlight

By Amanda DeMouey

Are you a student interested in the medical field for a future career? Or do you enjoy learning about healthcare? If so, the HOSA club is a perfect fit for you. HOSA, which stands for “Health Occupations Students of America,” is a national medical organization that helps prepare students for health-based professions.

Members of HOSA may attend competitive events where they test their healthcare knowledge and skills. However, these events are not required. Students are offered opportunities to volunteer at club-sponsored events and donate their time for people in need. 

In September, volunteers assisted at a Be the Match drive for cancer patients. Also, during a recent meeting, club members created thoughtful letters to support patients who are fighting breast cancer. 

At each meeting, entertaining games are played to test one’s knowledge on various medical topics. However, there is no shame for those who do not know the answers, as it is just for fun. In the past, guest speakers have attended meetings to provide more detailed information about specific health-related careers.

If you are interested in joining a club at Lassiter next year, consider HOSA. It is both an enjoyable and educational association that benefits students and their community.

Holiday Travel Post-COVID

Before the pandemic began, holiday travel was the worst time to be alive. From congested highways to long security lines and delayed flights, there’s always something that could go wrong. Ever since the world has re-opened, which allows people to begin to travel again, every day feels like a holiday, the only exception being actual holidays, which feel like an apocalypse. Over Thanksgiving break, I had to embark on one of these treacherous journeys from Atlanta to rural Pennsylvania on Tuesday, November 23. Our flight was scheduled to take off somewhere around 12:55, but the night before, I was whole-heartedly expecting an hour or more of delay time, not to mention several hours’ worth of security and even more of drive time. Nevertheless, that morning finally came, and we were out the door by 8:30. 

Despite the holiday traffic, we made it to the airport (or the Pre-Flight parking deck) around 9:30, but this is when it starts going downhill. At least fifteen Pre-Flight vans were lined up along the back fence while only five or less were in service. Before the pandemic, you only needed to wait a few minutes, the vans would follow your car when you drove in so it could pick you up as soon as you unloaded your car. Since more than half the vans seemed to be out of work, we ended up waiting a little under ten minutes. At first, ten minutes doesn’t sound too long, but in a cold, shady parking deck, ten minutes is a very long time.  

When we finally made it to the airport itself, nothing seemed too out of place. The Delta self-check-your-bags kiosk was just as tricky as it usually is, and the eccentric passengers were all accounted for. It seemed like a normal day in the airport for the most part, except for one thing. You’re probably expecting another security-line horror story, but we had quite the opposite. Total time in security line: Eight minutes and thirty-nine seconds. A total of two minutes faster than waiting for the Pre-Flight van to pick us up. There was absolutely no line, more than half of those eight minutes was walking through the maze of belt stanchions behind an old lady. Not only that, but our flight was right on time. No delays, no cancellations, and absolutely nothing wrong with the plane’s left phalange. 

Even though nearly every business, large or small, was affected by COVID-19 in every way possible, Hartsfield-Jackson international airport seems to be handling it quite well. Despite some long wait times, the airport personnel are keeping the place up and running as well as clean. Of course, like all things, there could be better ways to handle this, but since the workers and supplies are limited, they are really doing a wonderful job. 

Supporting Indigenous Peoples over Thanksgiving 

By: Lindsey McCrea

As thanksgiving approaches, we are reminded of the events that lead us to this annual celebration. Throughout most of our childhoods, we were taught about a dinner, between the European settlers and the native Americans, which likely never occurred. It’s important that rather than celebrating figures such as Christopher Columbus, who contributed to the oppression and near extermination of an entire society, we celebrate those whose land the settlers commandeered. 

Here are some things you can do over the holidays to support indigenous people: 

1. It is important not to erase Native American history, no matter how brutal. You and your family members can research and discuss the history of the land you live on. Using native-land.ça you can learn which groups of indigenous people originally lived where you do now. By having a discussion with your family and friends, you can raise awareness of what happened to those who were here before us and keep their stories alive. 

2. Donate to indigenous run a native-targeted charities, like the American Indian College Fund, which provides financial support and scholarship opportunities to American Indian students, and AISES, which aims to promote representation of Indigenous North Americans and Pacific Islanders in STEM. You can use charitynavigator.org to find more or find a charity with a specific cause. 

3. Finally, you can support indigenous run businesses, such as Bedré Fine Chocolate, Birch Bark Coffee Co., and Ginew. If you’d like to find more indigenous small businesses or are looking for a certain type of item, you can visit shopfirstnations.com for help. 

Ms. Murlow’s Strawberries

Written by Margaret Delaplane

“Sun’s out m’lady!” Hollered the paperboy as he tossed a rolled newspaper over the

white picket fence periphery of Ms. Murlows’ garden. It landed on the welcome mat at her feet

with a thud; she smiled, gave him a gracious nod, and then stooped to pick it up. He wished her a

good day and rode off on his bicycle to continue deliveries. Humming all the while, Ms. Murlow

gathered the necessary tools and began to tend her garden.

The garden was indeed a sight to see; strawberry bushes filled to the brim with scarlet red

berries and dainty, white flowers. The townspeople liked to stop by to marvel at how pristine and

lovely it was, nestled in the heart of town. Her only rule, “do not touch my berries,” was so

permanently ingrained in everyone’s minds that none disobeyed her. Instead, they picked up pies

or shortcakes for their families, and would on occasion, spark up a small chat with Ms. Murlow.

Housewives liked to inquire about recipes or the upkeep of such an involved patch of greenery,

and Ms. Murlow would laugh the queries off and say, “oh my dears, it’s the color. Have you ever

seen such brilliantly red berries? I attribute both the aesthetics of my garden and the taste of my

fine desserts to such.” This puzzled them significantly.

It’s unheard of really, for a massive collection of strawberry plants to be grown in such a

manner of perfection, but Ms. Murlow could be seen gardening for the majority of each day. She

clipped the branches which began to hang over the fence and twisted wire around stakes to

secure the roots to them. And she watered them, loving to see the drops gather about the leaves

and the tiniest of green seeds in the strawberries. Ms. Murlow often found herself imagining little

rivers and waterfalls flowing over her prized plants, keeping them ripe and hydrated. Because of

this, they were a deep, bold, red. Her neighbors often attempted to think of a name for such a

color.

“It is positively crimson,” said one.

“Don’t be silly they’re scarlet,” another chimed in.

“Ladies, they’re ruby. I’m sure of it.” Piped the last. And so, it was final. Ms. Murlows’

strawberries were a striking ruby red.

This remained undisputed for years and Ms. Murlow was soon known in town for her

wonderful gem-toned strawberries and desserts. However, this reality would be destined to

change. On one summer day, as she was tending to her strawberry bushes, trimming dead stems

and over-grown leaves that hung near the ground with sharp clippers, when a boy strolled down

the lane. He made a deliberate turn toward her and continued to move closer. The blinding

sunlight illuminated him, revealing his identity to her; it was Timothy. She propped up her

clippers against a rock, blades pointed toward the sky. He stopped on the sidewalk in front of her

house and swung his legs up to sit on the fence. He settled in, so perfectly perched atop the

fence-poles, and with a swift movement of the arm, plucked a berry from a bush and popped it

into his mouth. Ms. Murlow was in shock; never had someone so blatantly disrespected the

boundary of her fence and the gravity of her rule. He couldn’t have been aware of her watching

him from below the barrier of leaves, but when she stood, he was calm.

She looked at him, sensing a known unfamiliarity in the way he carried himself. This

boy, a staple of innocence in town, was not himself that day. Regathering her purpose, they made

eye contact as she desperately searched for any explanation. Regathering her purpose and anger,

she slapped him across the face. Ms. Murlow hadn’t any idea what the effects of this could be,

but what she hadn’t accounted for… was his startled reaction to her dramatic confrontation. He

fell. Head over heels into the garden, the clippers piercing through his chest as he plummeted

into the underbrush. At first, there was only screaming, and then, equally as horrifying, he fell

silent.

Ms. Murlow lowered herself to the grass, and before she could lay her eyes on the bloody

massacre of what were now her beloved strawberry bushes, she felt it. A river of blood flowing

from under the leaves, pooling where she sat on the lawn. Gasping, she stood up, drenched in the

scarlet juices of the little boy down to even her undergarments. It truly was a horrifying sight to

see: Ms. Murlow hovering above the mangled corpse slowly tipping into madness. And then she

noticed her strawberries. Glistening an even brighter red than before, and damp with droplets of

blood.

She went inside, not able to breathe, and sat silently watching the garden through her

window until nightfall. She awoke in the morning to an otherworldly sight; her strawberries…

were an even deeper red than before. And the body, it was gone, leaving only the strawberries.

She ran out into the garden and dug around the bushes trying to find timothy, but with no luck,

she sighed. Looking up at the juicy red berries that hung just out of reach of where she sat on the

ground, she couldn’t help but smile, they were even more perfect than before. Ms. Murlow

ignored all signs of danger or foul play: the missing body, the sudden color change, and utter

insanity of what had happened. She thought only of the housewives in town whose jealousies

would only grow, and the little children who would come to marvel at them or to ask for a bite.

Now in a normal sense, it would be cruel to use the term insanity of someone with a

seemingly sane personality, but in such a circumstance it is necessary to evaluate the characters’

actions. And in this particular moment, every feeling of anxiety and psychosis filled Ms.

Murlow’s mind, altering whatever normalcies she had left. So, while studying the berries,

hanging from the bushes, so seemingly suspended in thin air. She snagged one off of the lowest

handing branch… the one most indistinguishably reddened, and took a bite.

Each flavor hit her with more power than the one before; first, she tasted the familiar

sweet strawberry essence of. And then, all the saltiness and metallic undertones of blood made

themselves known. It was unremarkably akin to the taste of a busted lip, or when a loose tooth

finally falls out, but nonetheless, she loved it. In every way, she loved it. The way the outer layer

held a bitterness and the innards were ‘sweet as sugar’ gave all the notions of a dessert of the

utmost sophistication.

The next morning, all the townspeople found strawberry pastries at their doorsteps, and

shared them with families during every meal of the day. They noticed a subtle bitterness of their

treats but thought nothing of it, as they were delicious in taste and beautiful in appearance. Many

of them debated whether the new color of the berries was more of a burgundy or a rose, and

when asked, Ms. Murlow only smiled and said, “they’re more of a blood-red don’t you think?”

and everyone agreed.

The Venom Within

Written by Jake Hays

It’s been 3 days since I’ve left my bed for anything other than the bare necessities of life- plus the occasional gluttonous indulgence, cycled with unintentional periods of starvation, stemming from my inability to rise from my bed: my throne. There is nothing more comfortable than my throne: its warm embrace to my cold body, the softness of my sheets against the callousness of my skin, and the sweet caress of my pillow against my pained head. It’s my haven, a heaven in a world of hell, although it’s a double-edged sword, just like everything else in this world.

My doctor says I’m clinically depressed, which I believe to be a perfectly rational reaction to the evil in the world. It’s hard to be a human being. In my throne I don’t have to worry about the minutiae of life or anything else besides what I’ll eat next, at least on the good days. On my good days I take my Xanax before my comorbid anxiety can consume me; on my bad days, I spiral into a panic— convincing myself I’m not real and that I’m about to die… usually from a heart attack but sometimes more exotic ways such as being struck by a stray bolt of electricity (which honestly doesn’t seem all that bad). The heaviness in my heart is the first symptom, a feeling of a 50lb weight being laid on my chest. Then my heart starts to race as a cold sweat begins to engulf my body. It creates a positive feedback cycle, where anxiety begets more anxiety: until my Xanax can kick in. It’s a cycle of suffering. I have no motivation beyond the basic drive to eat and drink; which even that, I sometimes fail to fulfill. Everyday I wonder when I’ll reach my final straw, when the stress and suffering will become too much. 

I have no one. My one love died too young, a victim of cancer’s long, painful kiss of death. My parents were also blessed to have graced the presence of the proverbial grim reaper. All the friends I’d had are either dead or I left with nothing said. I’m alone, secluded to the confines of my throne. They think that pills can fix profound suffering; I’ve tried MAOI’s, SSRI’s, SNRI’s, TCA’s, Atypical Antipsychotics, every Anxiolytic ever created, and even Beta Blockers and seizure meds— none of which have worked. Even the best of meds, at best, can make me rise from my throne for an hour at a time. 

At some point in life you come to a realization, none of it matters. We’re inconsequential to anyone except ourselves; we’re minute compared to the vastness of the world. I have nothing but suffering here, so I’ve decided it’s time that I shed my last tear.

With every ounce of energy I have left in my body I rise from my throne for the last time. I grab the snake that I’ve kept in my closet all these years, hoping it would get better, but I’m just as hopeless and lost. The world has given me nothing but pain and regrets. I hope soon I’ll be reunited with my lover, although I think I’ll more likely simply cease to exist. I wrap the snake around a hook in the ceiling; willingly, I oblige to its venomous bite, although the snake didn’t doll the final blow, rather it was the venom within that was the root of this great sin. It was always just the venom within.

The Sunken Cathedral

Beneath rolling waves forgotten house rests, 

Where bells once did ring now lies in silence,

These once strong stones now in blue they are dressed,

Stained glass depicting thoust who is highest ,

These crumbling walls worn by the maritime,

That which was once grand is now quite humble,

Bright greens and reds dimmed by the hand of time,

Towering spires now turned into rubble,

Once warmly received by those near to her,

Now toss her to the depths of solitude,

Gifts of shame and sorrow they do confer,

The dark wolf once overcome now renewed,

Words of woe and sorrow they do speak true,

For thou now rests beneath The Blue Danube.

Signing Day

by Aiden Mihill

Wednesday was National Signing Day, where students from across the country sign letters of intent to play for their colleges. Lassiter honored their fall and winter sports, and cheered as 7 Trojans signed to colleges.

Swim and Dive led off, and had 3 Lady Trojans sign to universities. Allison Brown committed to Georgia Tech, Francie Carson signed to UGA, and Bridget O’Shaughnessy committed to Army West Point. The 2-time defending state champion Trojans continue their swim and dive season throughout the winter.

Next, 3 time letterman Ellie Kean took the stage to commit to North Georgia. The back-to-back champion softball team finished their season with a victory over River Ridge.

David Panone, representing Lassiter wrestling, signed onto Belmont Abbey, a D-2 school in North Carolina. Panone went 143-10 as a Trojan, and was named a Fargo All American. Wrestling continues their season throughout the winter, closing in early February.

Volleyball was the last sport to come to the stage, sending 2 seniors to universities. Katie Bochniak signed on to attend Troy, a university in Alabama (fittingly named the Trojans). Katie had over 2000 assists and appeared in multiple State championship games for the Trojans. Kate Kudlak, who was a key piece to the Trojans’ deep postseason runs, committed to Colorado School of Mines, a D-2 school. Volleyball ended their season with a loss to Sequoyah in the state semifinals.

Allatoona vs Lassiter Game Recap

By Aiden Mihill

ACWORTH – Allatoona used a strong running game and stellar defense to destroy Lassiter, 49-17, on a rainy Homecoming night. The Trojans, without starter Bryson Harrison due to a throwing arm injury, turned to freshman Levi Mundt for this game, who played well in his Lassiter debut, going 4-14 for 128 yards and a touchdown to Danny Curran on an 82-yard score. Lassiter’s two junior running backs, Sam Gadsden and Jaheem Murray, combined for 98 yards on 24 carries. Allatoona used a dominating performance on the ground, getting 5 total rushing touchdowns from 3 different players, including multiple of 55 yards or more. The Bucs also blocked a punt just 5 minutes into the game and returned it for a score, and forced a fumble deep in Lassiter territory to go along with multiple fourth down stops. Lassiter next faces Kell at the Frank with a spot in the state playoffs on the line. Allatoona, already in the playoffs, hosts Pope next Friday for the 2nd seed in region standings.

Softball State Championship Recap

By Aiden Mihill

COLUMBUS, GA – Lassiter defeated River Ridge, 7-4, to become State champions for the second year in a row. Gracyn Tucker had a 3-run home run and Ellie Kean launched a 2-run shot for the Trojans, as they capped off a run beating Winder-Barrow, Glynn Academy, Creekview, Cambridge and River Ridge to take the 6A title. The Knights led 2-0 after 4 innings, but a 5-run 5th gave the Trojans a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Lillian Holhouser added an RBI as well, to cap off the Trojans’ 34-2 season. Congratulations to Trojan Softball!

Word Salad

By Alex Lalic

With a heavy thump I set down my load. That overwhelming noise of a hundred conversations fills my ears as I journey to the salad bar. I amble up, a smile on my face.

It’s lunchtime; it’s time for my daily salad.

I tell the kindly lady behind the glass, ham, croutons, and lettuce please. No, nothing else, thank you. She obliges, a smile on her face as she hands me a black plastic tray with a clear plastic container on it, filled with a wonderful bounty. Somedays, I am bold, and even ask for a double up on the croutons. As always, the kindly woman obliges me, and I am rewarded for my courage with many more of the golden-brown nuggets of garlic crunchy goodness.

This salad was my constant companion, my rock to rest upon in the violent ocean that was freshman year. Day after day, that salad, the dehydrated lettuce, the artificial tasting but still delicious ham, the salty garlic crunchy croutons, they do not betray me. They taste the same, but that is ok, they are always a delight to my tastebuds. It’s a ray of hope on dark days where there seems that there won’t be any respite, and a merry companion during better times. Friends may change, grades may slip, and spirits may grow low, but the salad never changes, it will always be good.

It was good.

Was.

As always in a malevolent universe, the good things must come to an end eventually.

Two years pass by. I have not entered the lunchroom in many days. Covid, bad scheduling, all conspire against my reunion. As shall I learn, the powers that be wish to suck every little bit of joy out of my life.

It is junior year; I enter the lunchroom and seek the succor of that wondrous salad. I walk in looking for the salad bar. I see it. Excitedly, I rush over to once again experience that comfort, that comfort I cherished so much. My eyes hit upon the clear plastic salad packs.

 I pause.

There is no more custom salad. There is no ham, no croutons, only prepackaged containers full of sad chunky yogurt, mushy apples, and knockoff crackers.

I am struck with grief.

No more salad : (