Journalism Staff Members Detail Their Most Exciting Moments of 2021

New Journalism staff members (and some old) practiced their news writing and Photoshop skills by writing up their most memorable moment of 2021

A. Boyd

“Georgia Family left Traumatized and Drenched after Universal Studio Florida Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges”

The Boyd family was enjoying an incredible day at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, experiencing all the rides the parks had to offer, but their day took a drastic turn as they unknowingly walked towards their doom. The youngest Boyd, Allie, was eager to see what Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges had to offer. She claimed, “I didn’t think we were going to get that wet. I was mostly just excited to ride it since we had never ridden it before.” The parents, on the other hand, were hesitant, given the fact that it was the middle of November and they were about to enter a high-speed water rapid ride. The family explained that the start of the ride didn’t ease their suspicions as they planted their butts on the wet watercraft seats. “I was a little surprised to see the seats as wet as they were. After quickly glancing around, I realized almost everyone had rain jackets on and we were about to get soaked. I was excited, but not looking forward to being cold,” said the father, Chad Boyd. Already starting to freeze due to the coldness of the water and the 60 degree weather, the Boyd family was now regretting their decisions before the ride even began. As they tumbled and spun down the rapids, water rushed into the raft causing their shoes to become soaked inside and out. In a blink of an eye, buckets of water seemed to be dumped on top of them, causing them to shriek in pain. Frightened and frozen, they prayed for the ride to end. After being aggressively thrown around by the ride, splashed with enormous tons of water, and plunged steeply into terrifying rapids, they exited the ride in pure terror. Their clothes stuck to their body as they marauded through the amusement park crowd. The mother, Courtney Boyd, stated “I could hardly move after because my winter clothes were all soaked and walking through the park in wet jeans is not fun. I was mostly mad about my hair. And people were looking at us like we were idiots.” Embarrassed, they decided to walk back to their hotel to regroup. Despite the obvious negatives of their decisions they made that fateful day, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Now, the family finds themselves reminiscing on that day and laughing. If you ever find yourself at Universal Studios Orlando in the cold winter months, maybe consider experiencing Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges for yourself. Who knows what crazy, mortifying memories you will create. (Allie Boyd)


N. Ferry

“Starving Children Forbidden to Enter Taco Bell Drive-Thru Because They Didn’t Have a Car”

Heritage High School Drama students came to a large halt one Saturday afternoon in Cedartown, GA as they were trying to get lunch. A group of students were told they could not walk through the Taco Bell drive-thru to get their lunch before their One Act competition.

The pandemic has hit restaurants particularly hard. With staffing issues and fear of Covid, many stores have closed their inside seating. This, however, has caused trouble for many people who don’t have a place to sit down and eat.

Natalie Ferry, a freshman who tried to enter Taco Bell, explained that it had just started raining when they had arrived at the fast food restaurants they had chosen.

“There was a Subway, Popeyes, and Taco Bell in the area we had to stay in. I’m a vegetarian, so Taco Bell was my bet to get some protein to keep me going in the long day ahead,” she stated when we asked her why they didn’t just go eat at a different restaurant. 

“Once we noticed that the inside was closed it was really starting to pour,” she said. “Honestly, I was ready to give up and just eat some Subway bread for lunch, but one of the upperclassmen mentioned that we could just walk through the drive-thru. She said that they had done it at one of our local Dominos, so we could just do it here.” 

As they approached to order their food, the Drama director approached them and said they could not walk through the drive-thru as they did not have a car and “could get themselves killed.” With their taco-filled dreams crushed, the group was quickly falling apart. Some left to go to Subway while others stayed, trying to find some seemingly impossible way to get Taco Bell.

“We were all standing in the rain, tacoless and starving, when the mom of one of the girls pulled up in her car ready to drive us through to get us lunch. I hadn’t noticed the upperclassmen on the phone asking her mom to take us through the drive-thru,” she exclaimed with a large smile on her face. ”She was like an angel sent from heaven driving a white sedan with tacos in hand.” 

Natalie then continued to tell us what she ordered (a cheese quesadilla and bean burrito) and how they went and ate their tacos inside of a crowded Subway. 

The school later went on to win 2nd at their first ever acting competition. The group that had Taco Bell credits their placing to the food. However, another student had only one thing to say, “Y’all should have gotten Subway.”


J. Hurst

“Local Man Hunts Down Innocent Owl”

A 16 year old boy later identified as John Hurst was driving early in the morning when he struck an owl with his dad’s truck. The owl flew out of the woods on a dark road, and John did not have time to dodge it. 

Early in an August morning in 2021, John and his father Larry were driving to go fishing like they had many other times. They were in Larry’s 2005 Chevy on their way to Nickajack lake.  It had started as a normal trip with their normal stop at Hardees for biscuits. They were nearly to their spot when an owl soared out of the dark forest and was struck by the windshield. 

Larry Hurst was quoted saying, “The only thing more scared than me and John was the owl.” John also had something to say about the experience: “Its actually really funny because who hits a owl that’s so odd.”

There was no damage to the vehicle, but the owl’s condition is undetermined .  The men say they went back to find the owl, but it was nowhere to be found.  They ended up fishing all day even with the sorrow from the dead owl.


S. Isler

“A Chopper- and Shark-Filled Afternoon”

In October of 2021, Sophie Isler and her family went to Florida for vacation during Heritage High School’s fall break. The vacation was filled with fishing and seeing new sights, with a fishy surprise at the end. 

The Cooper family was getting ready in the early morning, waking up at five in the morning and trying to leave by seven. They had two cars to load into with Sophie, her two sisters, and her older sister’s boyfriend driving in one and her parents and grandma in the other. With around nine hours to get there and barely any stops, everyone was exhausted and relieved at the same time when the whole family arrived at their destination. Well, until they realized their room wouldn’t be ready until a couple of hours later. 

Instead of waiting in the car, the teenagers went to a shopping center and spent their time getting some new flip-flops for the beach, each in their favorite color. As much as Sophie was excited to finally start the vacation, it only took her a short walk around the mall to realize her new shoes weren’t quite broken in enough, and the small escapade ended up with her being wounded. The flip-flops she was wearing during the shopping trip ended up rubbing her skin so much that it started to peel away. After all of that, the room was finally available to the family, and they immediately ran to check-in and relax as fast as possible. Sophie just crossed her arms impatiently with a smile still on her face, “That was fun, but to be honest I just want to chill out for the rest of the day.”

As soon as they were inside the room, Sophie got bandaged up and, along with the rest of the family, went to rest on the sofas and beds, basically anything they could relax on. The next day, Sophie, her sister Alyssa, and her sister’s boyfriend went on another adventure. They wanted to see the beach from another view, particularly in the air so they signed up for a helicopter tour.  

As soon as they got in the air, the only word Sophie could use to explain it was “beautiful.” It was the first time she’s ever flown, and her expectations were exceeded. The ocean was a deep, sparkling blue, and the dolphins jumping out of the water made it even more extravagant.

When the helicopter had a smooth landing, the three teens rushed to get a picture in front of it so they could be reminded of that day in the future. Right as they finished with the picture Alyssa turned to Sophie, “The helicopter ride was absolutely terrifying and I’ll never do it again, but it was also fun.”  After the adventure, they went and got some sushi and headed back to fill the rest of their day at the beach. 

Every day after that was spent at the beach, with Sophie normally just reading a book rather than swimming, but everyone enjoyed their time nonetheless. Near the end of the vacation, the whole family decided to sign up for a boat ride to go fishing. 

They got on the boat and immediately decided to circle around an island. The boat stopped around the outskirts of it, and the family immediately got to fishing. For the first forty-five minutes, they didn’t catch anything so they moved on to the next location. They were extremely lucky on their second try, and everyone caught something.

 It was near the end of the evening when Sophie tried to fish one last time; everyone was tired. Sophie cast out her line and waited for a couple of minutes, then all of a sudden she felt a huge jerk and pulled back as hard as she could. She reeled in with all of her strength and pulled up her catch.

It took everyone a second to realize it, but what Sophie caught was a tiny shark! It flailed on the boat, and it kind of freaked everyone out when it did it so hard it started bleeding from its mouth, but as soon as the boat driver got a hold of it, everyone calmed down. Sophie reached out to touch it and she was surprised to feel its sandpaper-like skin. This was the first time she’d ever caught a shark, and it’s definitely something she’ll never forget. “It was really fun, I can’t wait for our next family vacation next year!” 


G. King

“Freshman Girl Falls Off the Face of the Earth and Then Returns Next Year” 

A girl by the name of Georgia King had her 7th grade year cut short due to the COVID-19 virus; due to this Georgia finished her 7th grade year through virtual learning. After completing 7th grade, Georgia’s mom pulled her out of school to do homeschool. With that Georgia became so busy and caught up in her new school life that she barely talked to anyone in her class that she had been friends with. 

Georgia thought of her time doing homeschool as the most enjoyable year she’s had. Georgia stated, “My homeschool year was so free. I could do all of my school work within three to four hours.” Georgia mainly focused on math and language arts, but her mom added creative writing and a cursive class that really helped Georgia improve her writing and handwriting. Although Georgia did not speak to barely anyone throughout her homeschool time, she was never lonely. Georgia said, “Homeschool only took me so long, and after I finished we could go out and do something fun. We mainly went to the aquarium or zoo, but I never got bored of going out because we always saw something new.” Georgia even began to really get into reading through this time and even today Georgia could read all day one of her favorite books is a series called “Snow White with the Red Hair.” Georgia says that she’s always struggled with math, but since doing homeschool math with her mom helping her, she’s found it easier to understand. Georgia stated the following with: “I am a very visual person, and my mom really understood that. She got a homeschool curriculum called ‘The Good and the Beautiful,’ and this curriculum was based on pictures and coloring, and it even had watercolor. So my mom would work through anything that I was stuck on and write it down on paper,  then she would print some stuff off to help. The approach she took really helped me improve in school.” 

Georgia has now started her freshman year at Heritage High School. Georgia described her first day as “miserable.” Georgia said, “I really didn’t reach out to any of my friends, and I still feel bad when I think of it. I even had one of my friends walk up to me and say ‘Is it bad that I completely forgot that you existed?’ I really didn’t blame her but it did hurt to hear from her.” Georgia says she was upset but knew she only had herself to blame for not reaching out to older friends. Even though she hadn’t talked to anyone, Georgia says she was really lucky that she had such great friends; this was because one of her good friends had reached out and asked to sit with her at lunch. Georgia describes that she felt very lucky to know someone so kind and thoughtful. Georgia stated, “I still sit with the same girl who reached out to me; I truly consider her my best friend. I also made a new friend who has been sitting with us since the first day of school. It’s funny because our teacher calls us the musketeers, or the three stooges. I really consider myself so lucky to have them. I have no clue what I would do if I didn’t know either of them.” Georgia is now on her second semester of school, and she says that it’s been a long journey, but she’s happy to finish off her freshman year.