New Year, Old News

Looking back at events of 2014

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Is it 2015 already? Many people, especially students and teachers, have wondered where this year has gone; it seems as the Sochi Olympics or the FIFA World Cup were only yesterday. Yet here they are, barely into the New Year, saying goodbye to a year full of tragedies and successes.

“It was a very interesting year, I will say that about 2014,” said junior Vivian Chang. “We got our new building and we started to actually get into our laptops and I think this is our largest freshmen class yet. It’s just like a year full of changes.”

After the 2014 confetti cleared in New York City, Americans began to look to Russia and the Sochi Winter Olympics. The U.S. team won 28 total medals, winning the team second after Russia, and nine gold medals, placing fourth overall.

“I really like the Olympic Ice Skating competitions,” said junior Estela Suarez. “I was rooting for Yuzuru Hanyu, who is a world champion now.”

It was not a bad run for the U.S. team, but the feeling of global community was overshadowed by the crisis in Ukraine. It began with half of Ukraine siding with the EU, with the other half siding with Russia. Riots broke out in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, over this issue. Soon after, areas threatened to secede, especially Crimea. Global authorities were brought in on this conflict when Russian armed forces moved against Ukraine to “protect their interests.” Finally, on February 27, the Republic of Crimea announced a referendum (a public vote on a particular issue). A month later, Crimea petitioned for annexation into Russia.

Throughout this time, in the U.S., people gathered for events such as People’s Choice Awards, Academy Awards, and the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos for their first Super Bowl win in franchise history, 43 to 8.

In March, Malaysia Airline MH370 went missing with over 200 passengers onboard. The global community came together to search the area for plane parts, oil, or any sign of passengers. Small clues were found, proving to be useless, and the search ended months later. The plane has still not been sighted.

“I remember some controversy and debate about what actually happened,” said junior Ann Li. “There was a lot of debate about the captain, if he crashed it or flew it somewhere, or if he was a terrorist. I remember there was a lot of speculation surrounding China.”

Malaysian Airlines hit another rough patch when Flight 17 crashed over the volatile country of Ukraine. Many UN members and public officials accused Russia of purposely shooting down this passenger airline.

Over the summer, the world celebrated and went wild for the FIFA World Cup. Held in Rio de Janeiro, the largest football (soccer) tournament of the year kicked off on the twelfth of June and ended the thirteenth of July when Germany beat Argentina, 1-0.

“I was really surprised by the result, since the countries that usually lose won this year,” said Suarez. “The fact that they usually lose made me root for them. I think Germany showed how hardworking their team could be.”

At the end of July and the beginning of August, an Ebola epidemic broke out across West Africa. On August 8, the World Health Organization categorized the outbreak of Ebola as an international concern. A few doctors that were a part of the relief efforts came back to the U.S. having already caught Ebola. However, on September 30, the first case diagnosed in the U.S. took place in Dallas, Texas. TIME magazine named the Ebola fighters as the Person of the Year for 2014.

“Well, I think we’ve handled it okay so far,” said Chang. “We could have done something else besides just sending people. I’m honestly glad that it hasn’t had a big impact on the U.S., but I am hoping that there is something we can do to help the people dying in Africa.”

Before school started in August, Robin Williams was found dead of suicide by hanging. For many across the globe, Robin Williams was an icon of their childhood. Known for his roles as the Genie from ‘Aladdin,’ Mrs. Doubtfire in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ Peter Pan in ‘Hook,’ and several others, Williams could always bring a smile to people’s faces. However, the actor and comedian struggled for years with addiction and depression while continuing his career.

“The first movie that I ever watched at a sleepover was ‘Jumanji,’” said junior Kathleen Maestas. “I remember being so enthralled with the crazy character that Robin Williams created, and I wanted to see more. I watched ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,” ‘Aladdin,’’Flubber,’ and ‘Hook’ at least once a month growing up. Seeing Robin Williams effortlessly portray such wonderful characters is part of what inspired me to join theater, and his humor and wisdom helped mold me into who I am today.”

Also in August, the United Kingdom faced the prospect of losing part of its country. The Scottish people voted in the Scotland Independence Referendum. Talk of this referendum began a year or two ago. After all this time vying for independence, the people of Scotland voted no.

In 2001, the World Trade Center was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. However, the new 104-story building (named the Freedom Tower in its design) re-opened this November, a little more than 13 years after the terrorist attacks. The tower is currently about 60% leased, according to Fox News, and about 3,000 employees will begin working there next year.

“I think that it is extremely good that our country is moving in the right direction and rebuilding from past tragedies,” said junior Hania Rehman.

After 2014, many students seem eager for the New Year. With the end of the school year closer than it seems, prom and graduation aren’t too far in the future. For some students, 2015 is going to be filled with new beginnings and endings.

“Well I’m kind of excited,” said Chang, “It’s going to be a new year with new possibilities. I’m going to start my senior year, and new things are going to happen.”