Sloane Stephens Wins Big at US Open

Staff Writer, Kylah Crooks

Over the weekend Sloane Stephens celebrated her first win in the U.S Open. She beat Madison keys 6-3, 6-0 which gave her the great win for the U.S. Open. This was a really big win for Sloane Stephens, not because she won a Grand Slam, but because she just recovered from a foot injury back in January.

After recovering from her foot surgery and receiving her first Grand Slam title, Stephens will also enjoy her $3.7 million check she received from an official post match. During an interview after her match, a reporter asked Stephens if her win motivated her to continue playing to win another title, Stephens replied by saying “Of course girl- did you see the check that that lady handed me? Man, if that doesn’t make you want to play tennis, I don’t know what will.”

Unknowingly, Sloane Stephens has become the new face of tennis. Before winning the Grand Slam title, she was ranking No. 957 now with the title she is ranking N0. 17. Stephens explains that after winning, it hasn’t sunk in that she is the U.S. Champion she explains, “It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Stephens said in her press conference, “but hopefully in a little while once I, like, am able to lay down and relax and think about it, I’ll realize that I really am the US Open champion.” Before winning the U.S. Open, Stephens was in a rough spot. Like stated previously, she was recovering from a foot surgery back in January. This surgery didn’t stop Stephens from wanting to compete in the U.S. Open.        

Back in April, Sloane was unable to walk when she called her Coach Kamau Murray explaining that she was ready to start practicing. Murray was surprised at the fact that Stephens was ready to begin practicing. They began practicing at the U.C.L.A. campus courts in May. Due to Stephens just learning how to walk Murray had her sitting on a wooden table with her racquet hitting balls. Neither Stephens or Murray would of thought she would win the Grand Slam title. For Stephens being the lowest ranked player to win the women’s title she really came a long way. Stephens was ecstatic to win the U.S. Open she explains “One day I’m going to, like, be able to show my kids that I won the U.S. Open,” Stephens said with the trophy next to her. “Like how many people can say that? Not many, and they already engraved my name on the locker. Like, hello. This is awesome.”

Senior, Ugonna Ezuma-Igwe says, “I think it’s amazing how she went from unknown to #17. I love that she’s representing black females in a positive way.” Madison Cater also said, “As a person who started tennis at an old age, an individual like Sloane Stephens is truly inspiring. She had people tell her she would never mount to anything, matter of fact, her number ranking is discouraging on its own. Along with that, during this year she went from barely being able to walk, to playing play defense while in a sprint, Sloane inspires to never give up on my aspirations no matter how far fetched they may seem at the time.” Stephens has inspired many girls not to give up in pursuit of their dreams.

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Ohikuare, J., Tennis Champion Sloane Stephens US Prize Money Winner, Entertainment • Living • News • Work & Money, Ohikuare, W. B., & Images., P. C. (n.d.). U.S. Open Winner Sloane Stephens’ Reaction To Prize Money Is On Point. Retrieved September 12, 2017, from http://www.refinery29.com/2017/09/171704/sloane-stephens-us-open-winner
Clarey, C. (2017, September 09). Sloane Stephens Beats Madison Keys to Claim U.S. Open Title. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/09/sports/tennis/us-open-womens-final-madison-keys-sloane-stephens.html

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Comfort Zone | A Review

Staff Writer, Madison Carter

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Sopadelic, Album Cover

It’s not an uncommon occurrence for an individual to be guarded, especially in a relationship. The heart and brain are vital organs, but they are fragile and can be affected by love both beneficially and detrimentally. Young Bull is a band that likes to focus more so on the beneficial aspects of love rather than the topics that can lead to pain and heartbreak. Their first album, Sopadelic, was released August 9, 2016. The Durham natives Tahmique Cameron, Gabe Fox-Peck, and Christian Sinclair all share a common understanding in the vitality of “feel good music.”

In their album, Sopadelic, the theme of love was evident in someway, shape, or form. Out of the 11 songs on their album, there were two I found the most sonically pleasing: “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” and “Let Down Your Guard.” These songs allowed me to formulate a story in my head, “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” would be the beginning, “Let Down Your Guard” would be the near to end event. The two songs specified work together hand in hand to showcase the easy and hard phases of love.

When lyricism and instruments work together as a coalition, they create emotions that convey what individuals should expect in relationships. A piano introduces the song “Can’t Get You Outta My Head,” the bass guitar and maracas follow. The use of these instruments can be theorized in a way that relates to how relationships are in the beginning stages. The three instruments that began “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” represents the complexity of relationships, yet how beautiful they can be in the long run. After about 21 seconds of the instrument’s playing, Tahmique Cameron, the lead singer of Young Bull, came in with the vocals. “I can’t get you out of my head, the way you laugh at all the stupid things that I’ve said,” was the first line of this masterpiece. This line was simple, but held so much significance. Relationships tend to start off with an “I can’t get you out of my head” mentality. Infatuation gets a hold of one’s mind, causing them to want to be with their mental captivator more and more.

This next song, “Let Down Your Guard,” has to do more so with the implementation of the relationship. I went on to interview individuals to get more insight on why people guard themselves in the beginning stages, this is my favorite response: “Love is built on openness and exposure; that same openness and exposure can be exploited or abused, thus you can get hurt. This is the risk of love,” J Kameron Carter stated. The entirety of “Let Down Your Guard” was built upon the fact the people want to protect themselves from harmful endeavors. “Close your eyes and let your hair down…, you ain’t gotta be scared,” was one of the lines that showed how some people need to relax and allow love to make its way in existence. “I can stay awake until the month of June, from the tension in this room. So let down your guard girl… You can make it— we can make it easy.” Harboring hurt and resentment towards a past relationship can lead to people’s inability to love and be at ease in a relationship. “Love is not just a one sided thing, there’s multiple components to a relationship it requires compassion sensitivity, and the ability to make yourself vulnerable…Love is work, compromise, sacrifice, and a whole lot of laugher in between,” Felicia Carter claimed.

From listening to these songs, and collecting multiple interviews, I came to a conclusion; new couples have to learn, grow, and figure each other out. Love goes from requiring general knowledge, to something that holds way more of a complex foundation. The beginning stages of love can sometimes be superficial and not stable enough to endure the events that arise in the beginning. The task at hand is to be able to grow with your loved one, which can be hard because in this world, it’s a common occurrence for relationships to break at the first sight of struggle instead of staying sustained and finding its deep roots. In Young Bull’s song “Can’t Get You Outta My Head” the instruments and lyrics work together to form a piece of work that’s not commonly produced by 19 and 20 year olds. The beginning stage of infatuation is one of the most vital parts of a relationship if an individual wants to stay with that partner for the rest of their life— Young Bull understands this and conveys it through lyricism and musicality. Lastly, “Let Down Your Guard” represents the time corresponding to the beginning of the relationship. People keep their guard up in the hopes of protecting themselves from getting hurt more, from beginning hurt for the first time, and simply because the relationship feels like a foreign essence. There comes a point in time where the hurt ones must realize that everyone is not looking forward to their downfall. An individual must figure out what it’s like to have their heart stolen with no intent of being returned, and experience what it’s like to be mentally captivated by the love of their life. These realizations were commenced by none other than the phenomenal, Young Bull.

The Ambition of Allie Akers

Sophomore, Staff Writer | Maryn Leonard

“Money is a smokescreen – a distraction from the real problem.” Allie Akers tells me about her viewpoint on the current climate of politics. She believes that money has corrupted justice with greed and dishonesty. Allie believes that these flaws can be solved by someone who desires change and is determined to do their part in solving the problem. Ambition is a strong force in Allie’s life. She has a desire to win and be at the top. Allie Akers is determined to one day become the President of the United States.

Allie learned about ambition after loosing something she loved. Allison Akers loves horses. As long as she can remember she’s always loved the animal, and desired her own. Amazingly, Allie was leased a horse named Jerome. She’s been showing in horse competitions for more than seven years now, but finally she had her own horse to train and compete with. Not a month before her big competition, Jerome was sold away to a different family, completely crushing Allie. “I was out of control, he wasn’t mine, I couldn’t do anything to keep him.” Allie explains about how she felt helpless in her situation. This was a moment where Allie knew that she desired to be at the top, to control her own situations and avoid painful loss.

Top help her deal with her loses, Allie turned to her role model. The greatest role models in our lives are the ones who inspire us to be our best and share with us the tools and tricks to accomplishing our goals. For Allie her greatest role model is her own mother. Her mother offers her advice and helps guide her through life, “It’s really nice to have someone be there for you no matter who you are or what you look like,” Allie says about her mother. Her mother has taught her some very important skills such as how to present and speak publicly, how to stay motivated, and not to immerse herself into drama. This has all led to Allie’s desire to one day be the president. Allie’s mother raised her so that Allie could have whatever political opinion she desires. This has helped Allie’s political opinion grow as well as her love for politics.

Politics has always been something that Allie really loves. She is passionate about equality, justice and has a strong desire to enforce her beliefs. Allie loves  law and wants to one day become an environmental lawyer before she conquers the United States and becomes president. For a while now Allie has been a part of Durham County Teen Court and Restitution Program. Allie works as a prosecutor for misdemeanors committed by teens in Durham. “Teen Court has been an amazing opportunity to practice what I love in a real world setting,” Allie says regarding Teen Court. There are also competitions she attends to face off against other counties. It can be described as the beginnings of becoming a real life lawyer.

Allie’s ambition has driven her to work extremely hard in Teen Court and other situations to better set herself up for the future she wants to uphold. She’s got a majority of her life mapped out. She knows what she wants and she’s going to fight to get it. Allie wants to grow up and be a lawyer and eventually, a politician to fight for the ideals she thinks are important. Her ideals feed her ambition and propel er further into her quest for success, “Never give up on hope, keep fighting,” she said is a motto she hopes to one day tell her grandchildren. Allie knows what she wants out of her future, she knows what she’s fighting for, but this doesn’t mean it will all be smooth sailing. Allie has learned from her mother and from the loss of her horse that setbacks can come at any turn. Her determination and true motivation is what will set her apart and help her fulfill her ambition to become a great politician and crusader for justice. The ambition that fuels her future is a defining part of what makes up Allie.

Should the confederate flag be banned from schools?

 Staff Writer, Allie Akers
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Picture from:
NC schools ban ‘racially intimidating’ clothing amid Confederate flag controversy. (2017, June 13). Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://eagnews.org/nc-schools-ban-racially-intimidating-clothing-amid-confederate-flag-controversy/

Should the Confederate flag be banned from schools? This is a topic that has always caused a lot of controversy, but it has recently made headlines following events in Charlottesville this past July. The debate centers around the question: Is this a violation of the first amendment? Also, is the flag a symbol of oppression or a symbol of heritage? Most recently, all Durham County Public Schools have banned the Confederate flag from the dress code. Other local schools, such as Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County, have already banned clothing featuring the flag. Some argue that banning the flag only causes more debate and protest than before. Others counter argue that it prevents distractions and conflict, by not allowing symbols that many people see as a threat. However, due to the current political climate, this is not an issue that can be ignored.Voyager Academy has been facing this question and, as of this writing, has not made a decision. The Viking Tide asked some Voyager High Schoolers on which route they think Voyager should take and why. “No, I don’t see the issue (in banning the flag). The reason behind this is, when I see the Confederate flag, I think of the hate it brought my people in America,” says Madison Carter, a sophomore. “Students would be mad because they think you’re violating their right to expression,” said Kyla Crooks, sophomore. Shawn Sullivan, another sophomore, states: “I don’t think they should ban it because I’ve never seen it. If they ban it, it would only bring attention to it… There’s more history to a confederate flag than a KKK symbol, like that would be a different story.”

This brings us to the legal questions of banning the flag on campuses. Is banning the Confederate flag in schools violating the first amendment? There have been several cases of this brought to court, including Castorina ex rel. Rewt vs. Madison County school Bd., Bethel School District No. 403 vs. Fraser, and several others. However, in the end, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that schools banning students wearing clothing that shows the Confederate flag does not violate the first amendment. In civics class at Voyager, the students had to do an assignment on taking notes of a video on the Tinker vs. Des Moines case.

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Agiesta, J. (2015, July 02). Poll: Majority sees Confederate flag as Southern pride – CNNPolitics. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/02/politics/confederate-flag-poll-racism-southern-pride/index.html

In July of 2015, following the murder of nine African Americans in a South Carolina church by white supremacist Dylann Roof, CNN took a poll to see what viewers thought of the Confederate flag. The questions was whether one saw the flag as a sign of racism or “Southern pride.” As results poured in, the final numbers showed 33% felt it was racist and 57% believed that it was a sign of Southern pride. CNN says that, “The poll shows that 57% of Americans see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism, about the same as in 2000 when 59% said they viewed it as a symbol of pride.” Even following the Far Right march in Charlottesville, 43 percent of Americans polled still believe it’s a symbol of pride, compared with 38 percent who view it as a symbol of racism, according to an August 2017 Economist/YouGov poll. A Reuters poll, also from August, agreed with those findings, and stated that 54 percent of people said Confederate monuments should remain in public spaces, versus 27 percent that believe they should be removed. Both polls find responses split along party lines. In the end, it’s the people’s choice whether the Confederate flag shall remain in schools or be banned.

 

Agiesta, J. (2015, July 02). Poll: Majority sees Confederate flag as Southern pride – CNNPolitics. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/02/politics/confederate-flag-poll-racism-southern-pride/index.html

NC schools ban ‘racially intimidating’ clothing amid Confederate flag controversy. (2017, June 13). Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://eagnews.org/nc-schools-ban-racially-intimidating-clothing-amid-confederate-flag-controversy/

Confederate flag in school and free speech (October 2016 School Leader Update). (n.d.). Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.educateiowa.gov/resources/laws-and-regulations/legal-lessons/first-amendment/confederate-flag-school-and-free-speech

Willets, S. (2017, August 28). Durham Public Schools Ban Confederate Flags, Other Divisive Symbols. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.indyweek.com/news/archives/2017/08/24/durham-public-schools-ban-confederate-flags-other-divisive-symbols

Volokh, E. (2015, September 21). Opinion | The Confederate flag, the First Amendment and public schools. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/21/the-confederate-flag-the-first-amendment-and-public-schools/?utm_term=.a9c21e480fe0

Kahn, C. (2017, August 21). A majority of Americans want to preserve Confederate monuments: Reuters/Ipsos poll. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-protests-poll/a-majority-of-americans-want-to-preserve-confederate-monuments-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKCN1B12EG

Frankovic, K. (n.d.). Trump’s domestic crisis: Charlottesville and white nationalists. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://today.yougov.com/news/2017/08/16/trumps-domestic-crisis-charlottesville-and-white-n/?belboon=031b3908984b04d39400589a%2C4711850%2Csubid&pdl.rlid=203577

Kesha: Forgotten or Remembered?

Staff Writer, Amith Jagannath

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Kesha, 2012. | Thank you Ke$ha. (2011, January 1). Retrieved from http://lauraemurdock.blogspot.com/2011/01/thank-you-keha.html?_sm_au_=iVVQ45scqZFSbZcJ

For one famous individual, a career almost ended, a life almost lost. Her name is Kesha. The girl that was known to the world as a party girl only a couple of years ago stopped producing after  a conflict between her and her producer, Dr. Luke. The world became privy to this news only in 2014 when Kesha filed a lawsuit against her producer. Immediately after this, Dr. Luke filed a counter lawsuit with the reasoning of contract incompletion.

Kesha claims to have been abused by Dr. Luke as well as to have been put under the influence of drugs but this has still not been affirmed by court. Before this fateful day, Kesha’s fans knew her as the girl who had been featured on many hit singles by Flo Rida and singles of her own such as “Cannibal” and “We R Who We R.” Her audience has continuously been wowed by her meaningful lyrics through which she has embodied her personal opinions. “We R Who We R” is a song to promote anti-bullying and has shown her support and love towards her fans.

Kesha has fans worldwide including people of all ages and races. One of Kesha’s most supportive fans at Voyager, Harley Mangum, said, “Clearly what happened to her wasn’t good. It could’ve easily been blown out of proportion by the media. I feel her new music is good. It shows how that incident has made her the person she is today. It’s brave to write about something like that.”

On the other hand, one student who only had basic knowledge about Kesha, Maryn Leonard was asked the same question. In her response Maryn said, “It’s horrible and it sucks that, that happened to her. It sucks that the judge couldn’t see that. It’s ridiculous, he’s a big music producer and he had to enslave her into writing music which is messed up.” In Leonard’s eyes, Kesha was the party girl that she could jam out to once in awhile, but ever since Kesha has released her new music, Maryn has thoroughly enjoyed listening to her various songs specifically her song “Tik Tok.” She said, “Yeah, I thought she was fun. I could jam to her but I wasn’t an extreme fan. I miss some of her old songs.” Maryn explained that the party Kesha was the kind of person that had no meaning in her songs, but the rhythm made Maryn enjoy her music.

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Kesha, 2017. | Reed, R. (2017, July 7). Kesha: Recording New Album Was “Way to Cope” With Depression. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/kesha-recording-new-album-was-way-to-cope-with-depression-w491374

Harley believes that there hasn’t been much of a change between the old and new Kesha but she says, “she [Kesha] still doesn’t care about what people think because she still expresses herself in the same way as she did before. Her new music just reflects on her life and what she’s gone through. There are still songs that explain what she still is. Nothing can stop her from what she loves, which is singing and she is a stronger person now after what happened.”

Maryn had a similar response saying, “the whole lesson in her new music is to say that you can be at your lowest point but you can still come back and make great things. She still has all her fans and she’s telling them her life story and at the end of the day, she is still doing what she loves.” Leonard feels that through this incident, a new Kesha was born and that her character has matured.

Kesha has continued to excite her fans by producing new music, and in her audience’s eyes, Kesha’s new song “Praying,” gives them hope for the future.

Voyager Academy vs. Roxboro Community Men’s Soccer

Staff Writer, Sean Sullivan

The Voyager Vikings took on the Roxboro Bulldogs in a soccer game last Thursday at Voyager’s home field at Northern High School. As many students know there is a big sports rivalry between the two schools.  No matter the deep rivalry, Voyager pulled away last night with a 7-1 win over RCS. This win was huge for the soccer team and boosted moral. Coach Robinson said, “To me it was just like any other game, but I know to the players this was super important. Especially the seniors.”

Goals were scored by; (junior)Spencer Chwalik, (senior)Max Leonard, (sophomore)Noah Wells, (senior)Devin Mitchell, and (freshman)Nolan Maxwell.

Spencer had a hat trick (three goals) and pushed the Vikings that much closer to victory. Spencer was asked in an interview how that felt, “Scoring any goal is an amazing feeling, but scoring three is something else. It means a lot more with support from fans like ours … doing it against Roxboro doesn’t mean as much[without the fans].”

Max and Devin are Seniors and have played Roxboro multiple times. This rivalry has lived long for them and when asked, Max said, “It was nice to close out my rivalry career with a blowout win at home.” Max and Devin both also scored a goal in this game. Devin said, “Scoring a goal is a hard feeling to explain, but doing it against them was a way crazier feeling.” Max also shared his thoughts, “It always feels good to contribute in such a big game like that, to help the team in any way possible.”

You can find the full game along with other soccer games here. 

The next Voyager soccer game is against East Wake Academy on Monday, 9/4 at Northern; Come out and support.