Band’s Best Showing

By: Hannah Alford & Chloe Shumate

Reaching a goal that someone has wanted for so long can put a lot of emotions into play. This past Saturday, the Russellville High School band won 5th place at the state semi-finals held at Warren East high school. That Saturday was very hectic for our Panther Band. They pulled through and accomplished a long term goal.  

The Panther Band has a very strong will for wanting to be the best. This weekend showed that. Considering the horrible weather conditions they were faced with, this makes it ten times more exciting. Last year the band members experienced the same thing. This year they were better prepared and had experience performing in this rainy muddy weather. After talking to the field commander, Joci Morris, she has stated that this year they practiced as if they were the worst and not the best. Last year the panther band practiced as if they were the best and decided to switch things up this year. Cassidy Farwick, playing the clarinet showed her enthusiasm as we asked her about the big win. Cassidy said that to be apart of it, it was surreal. Both Joci Morris and Cassidy said that better leadership is what kept them going and pushed them to be the best they could be.

45 Minutes A Day

By Ariana Nickell

Miss Nugent prepping during her 7th period planning.

During one period of the day teachers have a set aside time to get various things done for their classrooms. This can consist of many different things to get ready for the next day of class. A planning period is one class period of the day teachers have to prepare for the next day of class, help students, or put grades in. One day during Miss. Nugent’s and Mr. Bivins seventh period planning, I sat down to observe, along with speaking to them with what goes on. When entering the room, one can find any number of things,Miss. Nugent writing learning targets on the board, to Mr. Bivins working on his computer at his podium. They both explained that even if it isn’t exciting there is always something going on during their planning period. 

For many teachers this is a time that is spent on much more than planning. You may be envisioning teachers sitting quietly grading papers and drinking tea during their “free time”, but that rarely happens. Most teachers spend their 45 minutes a day doing multiple things and never knowing what might be in store. Bivins named just a few things that happen during this time from, “reflecting on the wrong things I have done, making copies, planning for the next day, working with colleagues if they need help with anything, and I go to meetings”.

Every day during planning is different for both teachers. Some days they have different goals and priorities to accomplish then others. Miss. Nugent said that this consists of creating FOA’s (bellringers), making copies, grading, and setting up for class the next day. Along with Mr. Bivins also stating he does similar things during his planning such as setting up for the next day, making copies, some grading occasionally. On top of this, both encourage students to come during seventh period for various reasons. Some students could be for getting extra help on assignments, asking various questions, and taking test retakes.

Often when stopping in Mr. Bivins’s room for planning you will see various students retaking test or receiving help. After speaking with Miss. Nugent she said that she has different goals during planning each day. This consists of getting learning targets, copies, and PowerPoints ready for the next day, along with cleaning up her classroom. This just goes to show that for many of the teachers at RHS, that their time is often spent on their students. 


A Poem By: Erica Sells

I feel down. I want to fall down. I’m close. So soon, I’ll get to be free. Ha! As if they would let me be. They chain me to their crazy. No one’s willing to save me. I love them. Do they love me? Heal my insecurities, please. I need… What do I need other than a tune up? To get my chin up? I’ve had so much pain. Too much pain. Enough! Pain! I would run, but they know my name.

It’s a shame. I wish I could tame the pain. The pain. Oh! The pain! Help me, help me, help me. I’m insane. Chained, chained, chained. Trapped in their grasp. They all gasp when I lapse into joy. Joy is a funny word, making me think of bird wings. I want to sing. Where is my creativity? It has been missing lately. I truly hate me. Hate thee. Hate them. They never stop. Stop!

“Ha! Better not,” they say. Mocking me, teasing me, telling me I’m not enough. I’m too much. They don’t love. They smile and take everything and in return I receive. Oh! So much grief. What will I achieve if I continue to believe their lies? “Please, don’t leave me,” I ask, even though I wish to run far far away from these monsters. But I manage to hold them hostage, even as I am their prisoner.

“Save me!” I scream. Silence. Every plea I utter, scream, yell, or shout won’t matter because I am alone in this world. Alone with my thoughts, views, opinions, voices, monsters, demons, pain, shame, and past. Who better to trust and be understanding than the one who receives these things? Everybody just ignores, not only mine, but their issues. Their sins.

They’ve given me the pain. They’ve tainted me, shamed me, and then repainted me. I try to scrape off their layer of lies that they left behind, but they’re too thick. Like the truth, full of ache. I wish I could escape their clutches. Running and running, but they are too cunning to let me get away.

I hide and they think, “It’s time to play.” “Come out, come out wherever you are,” they whisper in voices sweet as honey. They lure me out again and again. I fall for their tricks again and again. Will I ever make it out of this nightmare? Is anyone out there? Save from my thoughts, for they are evil. I am evil. I need help

“Help. Are you there?”

Mr. Holloman: A Colorful Canvas

By Erica Sells

Mr. Holloman stands under the dragon he created for last year’s “Shrek: The Musical”.

Mr. Holloman is the art teacher here at RHS and he is quite the character. From his inspirational room to his colorful personality, Mr. Holloman is like no other. He has action figures and posters filling every corner of his room, some very interesting after-school activities, and a compelling origin story.

All of the art students have seen the collectibles around Mr. Holloman’s room. Some may say it’s a bit cluttered, but that’s not how he sees it. Mr. Holloman’s likes things that are visually pleasing. He tries to fill his room with objects that may stimulate his student’s minds. He wants these objects to inspire his students. The students in Mr. Holloman’s class are usually chatting and asking questions because they feel inspired. So, one could say that his method is working.

While Mr. Holloman was at Murray State University, he joined the fencing club. There, he learned Olympic Style fencing. After leaving college, he began learning about Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and found out that his friend was learning about HEMA as well. They created a fencing team in Nashville and now they compete in competitions. If he could, he would move to Slovakia for a few years to train under a professional fencer named Michael Fabian.

As a child, Mr. Holloman had been very interested in art, he was always drawing or creating something. His mother, who was an artist as well, encouraged his interest in art by taking him to art classes. That interest turned into a divine calling. He felt it was his duty to teach kids. He truly cares for his students.

All in all, Mr. Holloman is a good book to read. He had his future right in front of him, even as a child. He works hard and loves the work he does. He is plenty active outside of school. . Mr. Holloman has been here for six years, here’s to six more.

The Ongoing Fear of Imperfection

By Jade Morris

“At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S”  The main things fueling this deadly illness are things that are sadly considered normal, from Instagram to Tumblr, today’s internet and society has given us a picture of perfection. This is something that isn’t even an attainable goal for most people, but it is constantly shown to us. From the beginning, we are shown this idea of perfection and we are told that if we cannot be this perfection then we are less. I believe that this perfection that we are told to accomplish doesn’t even exist, but the urge and requirement to be perfect is real, and it is dangerous

To put it bluntly, body image is how someone sees themselves in their mind and how they feel in their skin. Whether a person likes their body or not is based on the “level of body image satisfaction is determined by the distance between the actual and the ideal body image”. Sometimes self-image can be different in our minds than it is in reality, this is called “body dysmorphia”, and this causes a multitude of serious mental issues which sometimes become physical problems. For example, “generalized anxiety disorder”, “social anxiety”, and “depression”, these are just a few listed by the Mayo Clinic. The most dangerous effect of body dysmorphia is the overwhelming anxiety to fix it, and most people that have it will do anything to fix the problem, with eating disorders it is mainly weight. Which is just a number, and humans aren’t numbers.

Starving, it’s the main thing that people talk about when talking about eating disorders. While it is a method that patients use it is one of many, purging is the second most common and one of the most dangerous. This is one of the things that need to be talked about more, people don’t realize the true damage this causes. This isn’t just not eating and you lose weight, this isn’t just throwing up your meals and losing weight. Starving is more associated with anorexia nervosa, and causes many deadly issues like a lack of iron which causes issues with the circulatory system and the heart, and the biggest problem starving to death. Anorexia is not the only eating disorder and not the most damaging either, Bulimia nervosa is an addiction to a binge-purge cycle. This is extremely damaging to your body it can cause your teeth and gums to rot, it will burn your esophagus and potentially cause it to burst, and just like anorexia, it will leave you severely dehydrated. There are many more types of eating disorders that can be just as deadly, but the thing is people don’t what type of problem this is and you can not fix a problem without know what it is. 

Social media is something that almost everyone in our current society has. It is considered normal now, but not everything about it is normal. We all know about the dark web and other sites that probably aren’t the best thing for anyone and everyone to have access to. Even worse than that there are countless websites and even hints of it in some social media, it is called pro-ana or pro-mia. This means for anorexia or bulimia, not only is it a thing that promotes the continuation of the illness it also shames those who do recover and tells others to forbear doing so. These websites are completely open to anyone and everyone. They tell young girls how to starve and purge, they give “hacks” on how to lose 10 pounds in a week (which no one should ever do even if their BMI is overweight). Sadly this isn’t even the scariest part, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr also have thousands and thousands of pro-mia accounts. Some of these accounts get deleted but only when they are reported, these accounts also give tips and tricks on how to damage your body while creating multiple mental and physical health issues. These accounts also have “thinspo”, which is pictures of people that are so skinny that their bones always show These pictures aren’t a thing that young girls should think is beautiful, the pictures aren’t even real. It astonishes me how these accounts and websites are still a thing. About half of anorexia patients have anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia. We need this to change, Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. 

Would you glorify murder? Would you promote theft and robbery? Most likely no you wouldn’t (or so I hope). Between movies, TV and YouTube eating disorders are meaning countless times and there are hundreds of characters with eating disorders, but I wanna talk about how the disorder and character or person that has it is being portrayed. In the movie To The Bone, there is a character named Ellen which is played by Lily Collins. Another movie called Thin this documentary stars four girls ranging from 15 to 30 struggling with anorexia and bulimia. The cover of the movie says, “If it takes dying to get there, so be it”. While the movie is about their path to recovery, many people which the disorder use it as a form of trigger. These movies aren’t the only ones either to list a few: Heather’s, When Friendship Kills, Paperweight, For the Love of Nancy, Empty, Starving in Suburbia, Ana, Catalyst, and many many more. All of which do not show the deadly illness in its full virulence and abhorrence. 

To conclude, this illness is something that is far looked over and should be taken much more seriously than it is currently. We should always show the ugly when it comes to these disorders to take away the glorification from them. We should be teaching young people that body as important as mind, and that being healthy is better than being whatever preposterous thing that society calls normal. “Beauty is in the way you hold yourself. It is how you treat people. The way you love. It’s self-acceptance. Beauty is in your soul.”- Anonymous 

  • National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237
  • Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: 1-630-577-1330




Homecoming Festivites

By: Hannah Alford

Homecoming in high school is always an exciting thing, football, and basketball. Next week, the homecoming festivities will begin. In the past, the event hasn’t been very exciting and the student involved. This year the staff should see a significant change in student participation in the activities planned. Something new this year is volleyball games scheduled during panther den Monday-Thursday. The grades will play each other, and the staff will play the grade winners on Thursday. The dress-up days throughout the week are pajama day, Hawaiian day, jersey day, VSCO vs. frat & spirit day.  Also, homecoming voting took place this week. The candidates are listed below:


Freshman: Natalie Cates, Layne Steele & Jordin Morris, Jeremiah Smith


Sophomores: Jennifer Wilkerson, Dustin Brown & Blaine Holly, May W.


Juniors: Hannah Alford, Josh McMurry & Cassidy Farwick, Josh Todd


Seniors: Fraley Watkins, Nathan Cates & Gram Humphrey, Austynn Holdren & Derrick Dean, Jayden Hammer  

District Dubz

By: Natalie Cates & Gracie Belew

Tuesday, September 24, the Lady Panthers volleyball team played the Todd County Rebels in a district game.The Lady Panthers got their first district JV win. However, the varsity game did not turn out the same way. It was a close game resulting in a win for the Lady Rebels. Although the Lady Panthers didn’t win the are still having a good season. The JV Had their first sweep (when you win both of the first two sets). This was the lady panthers last home game of the season. 

It was senior night for the boys and girls soccer team, and all of the seniors were recognized. The seniors include Nathan Cates, Gram Humphrey, Ben Slack, Kevin Vera, Alejandro Zepeda, Derrick Deen, Weihang Ni, Marta Hughes, Lucy Graves, Austynn Holdren, Lily Pacheco, and Anabel Mueller .  It was an exciting night for the Panthers, as they won 1-0 against the Todd County Rebels. Kevin Vera scored, winning the game for the Panthers. The girls’ game however did not go as well. They lost 5-0, but did not give up easily. 


Rockin’ With McLellan

By Makayla Jefferson and Chloe Shumate

On Tuesday, September 24th, Mr. McLellan took each of his classes on a “rocking” adventure. The walking field trip’s destination was on Emerson Bypass. The purpose of the trip was to look at the rock walls that line the bypass. At first, students were hesitant to go on this journey, but after a while, they started to enjoy their time. 

 For the past few weeks, students have been learning about the Rock Cycle in their Earth Space and Physics classes. They have learned about the three rock types including igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary, and they have also learned how to identify rocks based on their physical properties.

After weeks of in-class practice, students were able to put their learning to use. At first, they ventured out, climbed up rocks, and searched for sandstone and fossils. Although, not every class was successful in this endeavor, but every student undeniably had a fun time exploring and discovering. 

Students were not only educated on the history of the rocks but also on the history of the roads. McLellan informed students on where dynamite was placed to blow up rocks allowing there to be a road for transportation. 

McLellan was also generous enough to take a detour on the way back to let his students stop at Arby’s. Once there, he bought all of his students a small drink. The students were quite surprised and thankful for Mr. McLellan’s generosity. Overall, the day rocked. 

The Importance of Recognition

By Trayvonn Stevenson

Recognizing the achievements and interests of all students will help us build a stronger community.

Have you ever done something remarkable, but you’ve got no recognition? Well, it happens a lot, in fact, almost half of RISD sports and extracurricular activities have little to no recognition. Believe it or not, some do not even know that we have a golf team, swim team, book club, and archery club. These are just some of the clubs and teams that are provided for students but at a cost. Little to no recognition, our archery team has gone to semi-finals, finals, nationals, and even worlds. If you ask me this is a huge achievement for Russellville Independent School system.

Based on our estimates, about 59% of our middle school students are unaware that these organizations exist within RISD. This is due to a lack of communication. And this problem must be fixed, these young students from the age of 9-16 work very hard every day for their school. One thing our school tells us to do is “Rep RVK”. But RVK does not “rep”, all of the kids that shape this school.

If this school system acknowledges more of the sports, clubs, and teams we will have lots of kids in our programs and more opportunities within the community. I sat down with one of our principal’s and he was not aware of this communication issue, but after we spoke he quickly agreed that more recognition was needed. Principal Jackson has made plans to address the issue of recognition such as having coaches meet with the students to inform them about all of the available sports at RMS and RHS. Principal Jackson also believes that middle school should not be left in the dark. He is striving to have more announcements on upcoming events. This gives me reason to believe that clubs and sports that were previously ignored will be getting their time in the spotlight very soon.

RVK Buddies Brings Students Together.

By Malley Jayne & Madison Penrod

Mrs. Holtgraver supports James Shelton

This year in the middle school there are a wide variety of new clubs. One club in particular is the RVK Buddies. This club is a way to help the FMD room students to get out in the hallways and getting to know students throughout the school system better.

This club was formed when Nikki Holtgraver the 7th grade math teacher had the opportunity to have the special bonds with those students . Mrs. Holtgraver said, ” When I am having a bad day, they always brighten my day.”  By forming this club she has hopes that others will get the chance to have the relationships with them that she has. In doing this she has plans to involve students in this club in the special Olympics program, taking field trips,  being involved with them during school events, and making them feel welcomed throughout the school system.

The goal for this club is to make the FMD room students feel more natural and comfortable in the school and feel like they belong around others. For this goal students in the club should be able to communicate with others easily,  be a great role model, be able to act well behavior wise but also academically.  Meeting once a month students should also be able to manage time well.

Correction: An earlier caption incorrectly identified a student and has been corrected.