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These were the most talked about stories of the school year

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Senior Phong Ton was paralyzed in a car accident last year.

Senior Phong Ton was paralyzed in a car accident last year.

Brandon Tabasan

Senior Phong Ton was paralyzed in a car accident last year.

Brandon Tabasan

Brandon Tabasan

Senior Phong Ton was paralyzed in a car accident last year.

Hewan Mengistu, Staff Reporter

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5. Muslim is the new black
There’s a new group under scrutiny in America. If 2014 was the death of the young, black male, 2015 is the year of the downfall of Muslims. With terrorist attacks and threats from militant group ISIS, Muslims around the world, especially those in the U.S. have come under attack. The rationalization that one group is responsible for actions of a few has led to what is being coined as “Islamophobia,” prejudice against Islamic people or Muslims, especially as a political force.

The hatred towards Muslims reached a political crescendo when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” – including Muslim-American citizens. The hate has reached critical mass with Muslims being targeted in hate crimes around the globe.

The teachers' strike pushed the first day of school back one week.

Teresa Scribner
The teachers’ strike pushed the first day of school back one week.

4. Strike delays start of school
On Sept 9, what was initially supposed to be the first day of school took a different route for Seattle Public School students. The Seattle Education Association, a union that negotiates contracts for teachers, paraprofessionals and office professionals opted to strike instead of returning to class.

Cleveland teachers stood in solidarity for the first six days of school with nearly every teacher present until the bargaining teams for both sides came to an agreement.

The strike pushed the first day of school back one week with students returning to school on Sept 17, 2015, pushing the last day of school back to June 24.

3. South ends turns up for the talent show
More than 250 spectators packed into the school’s auditorium to witness Cleveland’s first city-wide talent show. The audience caught a glimpse from other talented acts from Franklin, Mount Rainier and Lindbergh. After weeks of preparation, the Class of 2018 made over $700, making it the most successful event at Cleveland.

Maverick Garcia from Lindbergh High School wowed the crowd with his fancy footwork and danced away with the title.

The boys' basketball team advanced to the state tournament and finished the season in 6th place for 3A.

Teresa Scribner
The boys’ basketball team advanced to the state tournament and finished the season in 6th place for 3A.

2. Boys athletics brings respect to the nest
Stepping out of the shadows of their female counterparts, it was boys’ athletics that shined this year. Multiple male teams saw post-season action, the biggest surprise being the boys’ basketball team. The team had a long losing record for some time, but this year the boys and their coaches were determined to turn it around. Cleveland showed the Metro League they were in it to win it, making it to the State Tournament for the first time since 2004. The Eagles finished 6th in the state.

Football also had an outstanding year, finishing 6-3 in the regular season and qualifying for the playoffs. The Eagles lost to Sumner, 41-8, in the first round.

Boys’ Ultimate Frisbee saw tremendous growth. After going on a six-game winning streak, the team lost to their Metro League rivals, Franklin in one of the biggest matches of the season. But they quickly brought it back, beating last year state champs, Nathan Hale. With many of their varsity players coming back next year, the team is destined to go even further.

After not qualifying last year, the boys 4×100 relay team advanced to State. The track team also sent more runners to Metros than ever before. Newcomer Zack Brown, along with Tyson Billingsley, Rashad Hebert and Reality Jordan kept the relay team on top. Sprinter Jordan Wallace also had a strong season.

1. Recovery Road series
Unexpected changes are normal in a high school’s student’s life, but for two Cleveland seniors, their lives were interrupted by medical conditions that wreaked havoc on their young bodies. One was left paralyzed in a car accident; the other was diagnosed with leukemia.

On May 28, 2015, Phong Ton along with seven of his classmates, were involved in a severe car crash.

Ton spent 11 days in the Intensive Care Unit after undergoing surgery for a collapsed lung and a fracture in his C6 vertebrae. The injury left him paralyzed. He also has limited use of his hands and can feel sensation below his chest, but has no mobility in his legs.

Senior Jade Brown’s everyday life took an abrupt turn when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in June 2015. She endured countless treatments and surgeries, which left her unable to attend school. Although she beat cancer after undergoing a stem cell transplant, Bowen died March 12, from a blood clot that formed in her liver, which led to organ failure.

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