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Poetry Slam

Posted by titantv on March 26, 2014 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

By Summer Parkins 


Julius Carson, a student from New York, wowed students and teachers at McDowell High last year when he performed a poem at the Veterans Day program. This year, he had the opportunity to do it again when he participated in and won the Creative Writing class’ poetry slam.

Carson’s final performance earned him the highest score of a 9.6 out of 10. Upon his arrival at McDowell High, Mrs. Croymans recognized his talent and asked him to perform for the Veterans Day program, which encouraged him to continue writing. In fact, Carson hopes to go on to work with music production. Carson considers himself to be different from other poets and musicians because he blurs lines between poetry and rap to create his own style. One of the many things that sets Carson apart is that he never uses profanity or suggestive themes. Sadly for McDowell, this performance was Carson’s last for our small town. He has decided to move back to New York to find more opportunity and pursue his dream.

However, Carson was not the only talented poet present. Mr. Andy Ferguson said that this was “the deepest field I have seen out of all the poetry slams I’ve done.”

All of the judges would agree that the competition was high and it was very difficult to judge. Many of the students had been writing for several years, some even having attended overnight conferences across the state.

Some of the students, like Michael McDonald, take their writing to a whole different level. McDonald has been writing for over six years, all the while developing an alter ego known as “Chimera” that he has been fabricating with his writing since he started to give his performances an extra edge. However, this character does not fully mask his fear of performances, as he often writes dark and controversial material that he fears will solicit a negative response from the audience. However, after making it to the final round of the poetry slam, he has learned that his work is better received than he had expected.

The field for this year’s slam was extremely competitive with several talented students with unique styles from all ends of the spectrum. Although not every student could place, the students got to express themselves and present their individual takes on the creative side of literature.


MPA Program

Posted by titantv on March 26, 2014 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

By Lindsay Roland 


Last week, two of McDowell High’s bands earned superior ratings at the Musical Performance Adjudication contest at Brevard College.


MPA is a program that the McDowell High School band has just finished with. They traveled all the way to Brevard and performed at Brevard College to collect their score of superior and excellence. And the McDowell High School concert band and wind ensemble was lucky and amazing enough to score an A+ on sight reading and get two superiors on their music. The Iliad asks the band students how the feel about their success in MPA.


Hayden Grindstaff, a senior at McDowell, participated in both Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. “We worked so hard on all of our music,” He said. “Everyone was so nervous, that I thought we would mess up. But we didn’t, and we all won superiors.”


Traveling all the way to Brevard, Megan Plucker tells what her favorite part about MPA was besides winning the superior. “Our lunch was really good, and it was super fun to hang out with all of my friends.” She said. “The bus ride was also hilarious, since we were all acting so stupid and funny.”


MPA is a program for all band students from across North Carolina. It is a program where it accepts any band group, and scores them for how well they perform and act on the stage at Brevard College.


The Simple Things

Posted by titantv on March 26, 2014 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

By Taylor Bailey 


Senior year of high school is hard, not just by my standards, but practically every senior having to endure the stress of the their last year of high school. We have colleges to apply for, competing for scholarships, keeping up our grades, studying for exams, not to mention anything we do outside of school, like part-time jobs. We soon forget that we should cherish the time that we get to spend as teenagers. We forget to smell the roses and pet a dog. We are solely focused on school and academics and trying to get into the good colleges that we don’t take time to be teenagers.

So, one day, my friends and I printed about twenty papers that had the words “Take What You Need” typed on them. Then, at the bottom, there were tabs, each labeled something different: Patience, Love, Family, Peace, Faith, Joy, Courage, Strength, Healing, Understanding. We posted them all over the school, hoping that maybe it would help students to remember that we are still young. By the end of the week, we barely had a single tab left on the papers. Knowing that even for a moment, we helped others in this hectic and insane rollercoaster ride of high school, made it all pretty much worth it.

My biggest flaw is impatience, and I can admit that. So, the tab I took was Patience. That little strip of paper is taped to my computer desk so that I can see it everyday. One of the friends who helped me with this project, Elizabeth, has hers in her wallet. So everytime she opens it, she sees the word Love staring up at her. Maybe other students have done something similar to this. Maybe they open their locker and see Understanding, or they open to the page they are at in a book and see Courage to help them through.

This idea, this vision, to remember that being alive is so much more than just applying for colleges, allows us as students to take a break from all the stress and simply enjoy life. Since this, I have made it a point to live better in remembering that little slip of paper. Not granted, I still get overwhelmed with stress and procrastination way more than I should, but I remember that life is temporary. And this, making a difference, is totally worth it.


Cheerleading Awards

Posted by titantv on March 21, 2014 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

By Shelby Gordon

Thursday night, March 20th, was the Winter Sports Banquet at McDowell High. All the sports teams had their own awards to give, and many coaches made speeches, but the cheerleading awards were by far the most in depth.

The coach, Vicki Presnell, made sure to verbally recognize each and every member of the squadron, listing achievements and special qualities each girl had. Some girls also received plaque awards, such as Tara Ollis, who received an MVP award and a Captain’s award. Graycn Hensley also received a Captain’s award, and several others received Titan Athletic Award plaques.

While the season is finally over for McDowell’s Cheerleaders, the break is only a small one, considering tryouts resume on April 23rd. Tryouts begin the 23rd and continue through the 25th. These tryouts are being held for both JV and Varsity, but the JV coach has yet to be decided.

Coach Vicki Presnell of Varsity was willing to coach both, but it was decided both teams would profit from their own separate instruction. Several applicants have applied for the job, but the final choice has yet to be made.

Many girls are returning, but there is always room for fresh talent. If anyone is interested in receiving more information, they should contact Coach Flea Blake, head of the athletic department, a fellow cheerleader, or Mrs. Vicki Presnell.

Blood Drive March 25

Posted by titantv on March 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

By Clayton Reel

Tuesday, March 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., American Red Cross is having a blood drive at McDowell High School. All those who donate blood will receive a free t-shirt and will be entered for the chance to win a $1500.00 gift card. Go to the school store during lunch to sign up to donate blood. You must be 17 years old and have a photo ID present to give blood. You must meet height and weight requirements. Mrs. Jill Crater, Health Science teacher, said, “You need to eat well the day before and make sure to eat breakfast and drink a lot of fluids the day of donation. The human body normally has 8-10 pints of blood and they only take 1 pint and you can give every 56 days because your body will have replenished the amount that you gave.” Keep in mind that when you donate blood that you’re helping in the process of saving lives.


Saying Goodbye to a Local Hero

Posted by titantv on March 21, 2014 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

By Kayla Gallion 


Friends, loved ones, co workers, and admirers of fallen Forest Service Officer Jason Crisp gathered at McDowell High School on Monday, March 17, to celebrate and remember his life. School was dismissed at noon so the service could be held at 2 p.m. in the gymnasium, and more than 3,000 people were in attendance.

Officer Crisp, a native of Marion, was killed in the line of duty Wednesday, March 12th during a manhunt in Burke County. Crisp served in the U.S Forest Service in the Grandfather Mountain District, and was helping search for murder suspect Troy Whisnant, who was on the run after shooting his parents. Whisnant shot and killed Crisp and his K-9 companion, Maros.

Naturally, Crisp has been honored as a hero. Crisp knew many people from different areas of law enforcement and had several friends from West Court Baptist Church and his community. The U.S Forest Service therefore asked if they could have his memorial service at McDowell High, the only place that could accommodate the amount of people hoping to pay their respects.

Many prominent members of society came to honor Officer Crisp, including law officers from all over the region and Governor Pat McCrory. His casket, draped with an American flag, was escorted in by officers from the U.S. Forest Service, and K-9 Unit marched by in a procession, each handler saluting as they passed.

Several speakers spoke of their happy memories with Crisp. He was described as kind, caring, and even Christ-like. In his time as an officer, he always made sure his friends had their bulletproof vests on, and even saved a woman from deportation. He never missed a day of work unless he had to, but he also always made time for his family, including his wife, Amanda, his two sons, Garrett and Logan, and his dog, Maros. Maros was described as one of the best tracking dogs around, and the two companions stayed together until the end.

Assistant principal Rodney Wheeler described the service as “a very somber and honoring event.” The whole town was prepared to honor Crisp, and many businesses flew their American flags at half mast. A giant flag was raised between cranes on the street near Big Lots, and though the amount of road closures and traffic to the memorial caused several issues for drivers, Wheeler heard “many comments and expressions of gratitude [...] made in reference to how well MHS was represented [and] prepared.”

Tears were shed for an officer and his dog, and even a dog from the K-9 Unit began whimpering and howling at one point during the service. Though perhaps coincidental, it struck a chord with many people there, for it seemed as though it too was grieving for its fallen comrades, both human and canine. Crisp was fittingly honored by the singing of a few of his favorite gospel songs, as well as the presenting of the colors by members of law enforcement and the playing of bagpipes by a member of the U.S Forest Service Honor Guard. Both his wife and sons were presented with flags before the memorial ended. A private burial was held at his church after the event.

Though Crisp and Maros left too soon, the amount of respect they were shown proves that they will not be forgotten. Like many people who admired them, Wheeler believes “the amount of support from within both [Crisp’s] home community and his career community was outstanding.” They will be missed, but they will be remembered as heroes. One speaker at the service summed it up perfectly: “he fought a good fight, he kept the faith, and he finished his course.”

New to the Naval Academy

Posted by titantv on March 19, 2014 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

By Jacob Lowe 


Early this February, Mcdowell Titan Senior Abbey Taylor, found out she had been accepted into the Naval Academy. Upon opening her acceptance letter, she was “in complete shock because [she] honestly didn’t think [she] would get in.” On the Naval Academy’s website, it states that, “as the undergraduate college of our country’s naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Naval Academy students are midshipmen on active duty in the U.S. Navy. They attend the Academy for four years, graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees and then commissioning as Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Naval Academy graduates serve at least five years in the Navy or Marine Corps.” A place of such prestige is obviously not easy to get into, and Taylor admitted that the path towards her acceptance was not easy. Not only did she have to be among the top in her class, but she had to “maintain high grades, especially in math and sciences, be nominated by a congressman or senator, and stay physically fit.” Since the academy’s fitness test has no limits, but instead pushes applicants to do the best they can, maintaining a fitness level to meet these requirements was already a lot of stress. So what would drive somebody to work through such stress? For Taylor, sbe had a few motivations of her own. Not only has her dad and grandfathers both been in the military, but the academy will help her achieve her goal of being an engineer. “It is also giving me a chance to serve my country,” said Taylor. And luckily for her, she is one step closer to achieving these goals. She is proud to go and excited that it is going to “make [her] a better leader and officer, increase [her] education, and offer [her] great job opportunities.” We here at McDowell are proud of her and excited that she is working towards such a bright future.



Graphics students get real-world experience

Posted by titantv on March 14, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

By Summer Parkins

Students in the graphic communications class have recently completed a project that allowed them to contribute to a popular community event. Just a few months ago, the class was asked to create the handout for the Little Miss McDowell pageant for 2014, as well as the tickets.

These students have had multiple opportunities to see how graphic design can be applied outside of the classroom, but this particular project enabled the students to see what its like to solidify a deal with clients and have the responsibility of contributing such a large-scale event.

Dalton Parry, one of the graphics students involved said, “I’ve been thinking about going into graphics for a while, but I wasn’t really sure what doing it as a career would be like until now. It was a lot of work and stress knowing that the finished handout would be seen by a lot of people in the county and because it was being used for such a big event, but I ultimately enjoyed doing it and I think it’s what I want to do.”

Myra Morgan, the graphic communications teacher and head of project said that as a result of the program’s success, it is likely that the class will continue create the handout for future pageants. She also stated that although the idea of taking on this task for years to come is a little overwhelming, she is excited and happy about the opportunity it gives her and her students.





Genetically Engineered Cuisine

Posted by titantv on March 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

By Nathan Yates

Lurking in the shadows of crop planting and food processing, a new potential threat has arisen; The GMFs. GMF stands for genetically modified food, the process of genetically altering the DNA in everyday food to create new and better crops and taste quality in food. This method has made a big splash in the news lately.

According to CSA.com, European environmental organizations have been protesting against GM foods for months, and also conducted studies about the effects of genetically modified corn pollen on monarch butterfly caterpillars, which has been making them die.

There is a growing concern that introducing different genes into food plants may have an negative effect on human health as well. There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen.

Genetically modified foods do, however, have the potential to solve many of the world's hunger and reduce use of chemical pesticides. There are many obstacles ahead for governments, including safety testing and food labeling. Many people feel that genetic engineering is the future and that we cannot afford to ignore a technology that could be useful. However, we must proceed with caution to avoid causing unintended harm to human health and the environment as a result of our use for powerful technology.

Tammy Yates, a local seafood restaurant manager, revealed her opinion on the matter. “All of our seafood comes from the sea. We have no risk of genetically modified food making it’s way into our food, but for people who are exposed to the altered genes, I think it could be harmful.”

All in all, genetically altering food could be the solution to many problems in the world, however they should be careful, and be prepared to take on unexpected effects.


Yearbook Sales

Posted by titantv on March 11, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

By Kayla Gallion 

Yearbook sales are now in full swing, and several opportunities involving the yearbook have become available for students. The yearbook staff has just finished work on this year’s annual. This means that Yearbook Distribution Day is drawing nearer, and books are selling out quickly.

Said staff member Jordan Wrenn, “the yearbook this year is better than I’ve ever seen it. The staff has worked really hard this year trying to make it fun and something everyone will love.” The price of the book is $80 and can be ordered either in Mr. Ferguson’s classroom or online at jostensyearbooks.com. $30 deposits are allowed, but balances must be paid before students can get their book. Yearbooks will be distributed the third week of May, so in order to participate in signing, it is important for students to purchase their yearbooks soon.

Senior Superlative voting will be going on for the next two weeks. This is a great opportunity for students to get directly involved with what goes in the yearbook because all seniors get the chance to vote for their choices. There are several new, creative superlatives this year, including Rebel Without a Cause, Most Likely to be Late for Graduation, and Silliest Senior. Any senior that would like to vote was sent an email with the link by Mr. Wiseman. Students should vote soon so their picks will end up in the yearbook.

The yearbook staff is also using new, creative ways to get their information out to students and to get feedback from fellow Titans in order to make the book interesting. Accounts for the yearbook have popped up on all sorts of social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These accounts exist to get students more involved with the making of the book and offer several ways for students to do so. For example, pictures can be posted to the Instagram account @mcdowellhsyearbook, and several will be chosen to appear in the annual. They also offer sneak peeks of pages, as does the Twitter account @OdysseyMHS14 and the yearbook’s Facebook profile. Any questions about the yearbook can be asked on these sites, and students can even suggest things that should be added to the book.

According to Mr Ferguson, “the staff has put a great deal of effort into including as many people as possible this year.” More than ever before, this yearbook has been tailored to include things the students of McDowell really want to see. In order to do make this happen, the staff has asked that students share their ideas and photos, vote in polls, and make this yearbook truly their own.