Cleveland’s centennial year, the year that was


Clarion photo Lina Clark

The 2015-2016 school year, Cleveland’s 100th anniversary, is about to go into the books. Throughout the long nine months that make up a school year, many memories can blend together or fall through the cracks and be forgotten. The truth is, many different factors and events led us to this point. Let’s figure out how we ended up here. So before we press onward to the future, we need to wind the clocks back and take one final look at the past. Here is the year in review.

School got off to a hot start this year, and I don’t mean that metaphorically. School literally got off to a hot start. For the first time in Cleveland students’ PPS careers, school came under session in late August, much to the frustration of students and teachers alike. While people were adjusting to their new shortened summer, one thing remained the same: We started the school year, yet again, with a new schedule. That meant that seniors had a new schedule every year of their high school tenure. The new format said goodbye to “Skinny Mondays” and hello to “Flex Days,” which was practically the same as tutorial, but they decided to give it a different name to add confusion. Flex days brought on a new wave of terrible puns going around the school such as “This is a no flex zone!” Luckily, just like the dance craze “Hit the Quan,” that trend died out by winter. Several new classes were added to the elective repertoire such as Yoga and Mindfulness and the much-anticipated reopening of the Cleveland Mall gave people their fix for Cleveland merchandise and Super Smash Bros. Not to mention, we had a new top dog of the school. Principal Tammy O’Neill kept Cleveland running smoothly as ever in her first year at the reins.

Moving into October, Cleveland showed it was really back in action with a euphoric homecoming week display. The school made noise around the city for electing a gender-neutral court as juniors Tori Tefft and Kayla Nichols took the crown. Then new VP Darryl Miles made some noise of his own as he proved there was ain’t no mountain high enough for his lip syncing abilities. Lip syncing Marvin Gaye, Miles danced his way to the top of the Homecoming Assembly Lip Sync Battle.

What really stood out that week however, was hall decorations. In one of the most competitive races in Cleveland’s 100 year history, seniors and sophomores finished first and second respectively. Juniors finished in dead last, in a judging snub that will soon infamously be known as “The Travesty of 2016.”

As far as fall sports, Cleveland teams finished all over the spectrum. The girls soccer team took care of business and brought home the PIL championship. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the football team went winless, until a Wilson rules violation turned a 42-8 Cleveland loss into a Cleveland win by forfeit. Some called it 100 year magic. People are already referring to the win as “The Miracle of 2016.”

The question that remained on everybody’s mind heading into winter was a simple one: Would we have winter formal or would we not? Soon, that question was answered by Vice Principal Kevin Taylor with a resounding “No,” killing the dreams of many Cleveland students who just wanted to get their grind on in classy attire. The reasons for not holding the dance mainly cited students’ inappropriate conduct on the dance floor. Then, much to the surprise of everybody, the story of Cleveland’s dirty dancing problem traveled from the Clarion, to local media outlets, to national media outlets, and finally to the world, winding up in European publications in what must have been the slowest news week of all time. Cleveland even graced the programming of the Today Show, where Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie scolded us for our behavior. Going into the school year, it is safe to say nobody imagined Al Roker would give us a lecture at some point. I consider that a tally in the win column for ole’ mighty CHS.

Winter brought along more wins as well. The boys basketball team notched back-to-back wins over PIL heavyweights Jefferson and Grant and who wasn’t thrilled by the two snow days we received after winter break, even if one of them was technically an ice day. I guess we really do never get snow because students nearly broke Instagram with the amount of pictures that day. Act like you’ve been there before.

Then the year rolled along into spring. The crisis of bathroom vandalism reached a Code Red as boys had to go on scavenger hunts just to find an unlocked bathroom door. If you were lucky enough to find an open bathroom, you were even luckier to find one with soap. In the midst of the epidemic, one good thing did come out of it: The dude community in the school grew closer together as they battled through the struggle. Somebody desperately seeking an unlocked bathroom was offered words of encouragement from fellow dudes passing by such as, “I’ve been there,” or “I heard the bathroom in the East Wing is open!” It was nice to know you were not alone.

Spring also brought new successes to Cleveland programs. The Cleveland Robotics team the Pigmice made it all the way to nationals in St. Louis, Missouri. Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto. It turns out the mock trial squad could handle the truth as they qualified for the state tournament for the first time in the program’s history. And as always, the Cleveland Cannibals dominated the speech and debate circuit on their way to a fifth state championship. The win further confirmed suspicions that speech and debate coach Patrick Gonzales is actually a sage Jedi Master from a galaxy far, far away who uses Jedi mind tricks on state tournament judges.

As spring picked up, great Cleveland events started passing by in a blur. Upperclassmen took the Versus crown, making the staff concoct conspiracy theories out of jealousy. Cleveland students were dressed to dazzle at the oh-so classy Melody Ballroom for the Centennial Prom. And wrapping the year up Cleveland bands and musicians rocked out at the Battle of the Bands. Senior Rain Ezra stole the show and the trophy with her singing, beatboxing, and all-around musical talent. The win further confirmed the suspicions that Ezra is a breathtaking performer.

Now we arrive to the present. The clocks are caught up and the dust has settled. From dirty bathrooms to dirty dancing, PIL championships to State Championships, and one spectacular moment to the next, it is clear that 2016 will be a hard year to forget.