Category: Academics

Eight students selected to prestigious All-West Band

Eight South Side band members were selected to the All-West Band earlier this month when auditions were held at Arlington High School. Selected were:

Dakota Rose: 2nd chair percussion 11-12 symphony (1st alternate to all state)

Will Spicer: 2nd chair trumpet 11-12 symphony (1st alternate to all state)

Bryce Glidewell: 3rd chair trombone 11-12 symphony (2nd alternate to all state)

Olivia Murray: 6th chair French horn 11-12 red band

Ruby Carpenter: 4th chair bass clarinet 9-10 blue band (2nd alternate to all state)

Emma Murray: 26th chair clarinet 9-10 red band

Terrion Evans: 1st alternate trombone 11-12 symphony

Karlie Hicks: 4th alternate flute, 11-12 red band

Graphic by Brianna Ford and Katy Arnold / AV Media Production I

These All-West band members will go to Memphis for three days in February to rehearse and perform with the best students across West Tennessee in multiple bands and orchestras.

The auditions were held Jan. 13, 2023. The South Side band is under the direction of David Sinclair and Zach Barker.


Four band members selected to All-West Orchestra

Four South Side band members were recently selected to the prestigious All-West Orchestra. Auditions were held Saturday, November 18 at Collierville High School.

Selected were:

  • Dakota Rose – Second chair, percussion.
  • Will Spicer – First alternate, trumpet.
  • Bryce Glidwell – Second alternate, trombone.
  • Terrion Evans – Third alternate, trombone.

“Ultimately, the students that are selected for this, it’s through an audition process,” South Side band director David Sinclair tells Hawk TV. “They get to rehearse and perform with all the best students who made it across West Tennessee in February in Memphis. They get to stay in downtown Memphis at a hotel and rehearse for a couple of days with some new people and perform on that Saturday of the week.

“The audition process is pretty tough. They have to learn a lot of music in advance and be able to go perform it for a judge and a blind audition, and then the judge scores that and they only take just a few of the top students, especially for orchestra, only just less than a handful of students make it.”

Sinclair says it is a great honor for the four South Side students.

“It’s an honor to make it or even be selected as an alternate,” he says, “because there’s so few spots and that’s one reason why it is a great honor, because it’s such a stringent audition process. And so, yeah, I think out students came out very well considering that.”

[COVER PHOTO: Pictured from left are All-West Orchestra selections Terrion Evans, Will Spicer, Dakota Rose and Bryce Glidwell. (Photo by Kiara Harrington / Hawk TV)

Who’s Who Senior Superlatives for the Class of 2024

Who’s Who Senior Superlatives for South Side’s Class of 2024 were announced this afternoon (Dec. 1) at the beginning of fourth period. Seniors voted for the superlatives earlier this week.


Rakarius Lacy, Kimora Currie


Kalin Earnest, Cole Coffman.


Kimora Currie, Rakarius Lacy


Tatyanna Wallace, Jonathan Doblado


J’Lynn Paige, Adam Ross


Jaycee Butler, Kysean Thomas


Amaiah Campbell, Jonathan Doblado


Olivia Murray, Terrion Evans


AliKate McDonald, Mardrekis Hayslett


Madie Serrat, Clayton Thompson


Jaycee Butler, Lawson Barberini


Zarhia Woods, Cole Coffman


AliKate McDonald, Mardre’kis Hayslett


Ryan Diffee is South Side’s 2023-24 teacher of the year


Spanish teacher and Hawk alum Ryan Diffee is South Side’s 2023-24 teacher of the year. 

“Teaching here is special for me,” she told Hawk TV. “Being selected teacher of the year is super special for a lot of reasons, but mainly because there are so many amazing teachers here, and for me to be chosen as teacher of the year – I’m not sure that I deserve it.” 

Her peers thought otherwise as they nominated her for the award and then voted her the winner. 

“It’s a really special thing to be honored by my alma mater,” said Diffee, a 2001 South Side graduate. 

Ms. Diffee, now in her 19th year of teaching and seventh year at South Side, made her comments in an interview with Hawk TV’s Jordan Smith and production crew Kiara Harrington and Spencer Ammons.

Ms. Diffee was at Haywood for the first six years, in Nicaragua for two years and at UT Martin for four years before returning to teach at her alma mater. 

She has an undergraduate degree from Union University (2005) and a master’s degree from the University of Memphis (2011). 

Spanish teacher Ryan Diffee sits at her classroom desk at South Side High School on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. She was selected by her peers as South Side’s 2023-24 teacher of the year. (Photo by Kiara Harrington / HawkNation Network)

Ms. Diffee attended South Side from 1998 to 2001. Her favorite classes as a student were – no surprise here – Spanish classes, thanks in large part to teachers Lydia Burton and Paula Westbrook. English was a close second because she loves to read and write. Her fondest memories as a student are being a member of the band and playing in competitions and football games. 

As a teacher, one of her fondest memories is getting to ride in a National Guard Black Hawk helicopter, as well as the day-to-day interactions with students. 

Ms. Diffee teaches Spanish I this semester and will teach Spanish 2 next semester. 

She was one of four teachers nominated for the award, along with Jake Stoffregen, Kim Cagle, and Melissa Perry. She said the award is extra special because it comes from her teaching peers and the other nominees are amazing teachers, too.

And for the record, we asked Ms. Diffee to tell us her favorite Spanish word.  

Her answer: “escuincle.” 

Translation: “brat.” 

“Not that any of my students are brats,” she joked. 



Brentley Brewster wins Miss South Side pageant [w/video]


Brentley Brewster was crowned Thursday night as the 2023-24 Miss South Side High School pageant winner.

Brewster, a senior, was one of 22 students competing at the annual pageant in the Fine Arts auditorium. The pageant raises money for the senior class and helps keep low the price of prom tickets.

Rounding out the top five were first maid Kalin Earnest, second maid Anna Prince, third maid Cerby Price and fourth maid Aubrey Massengill.

Principal Anita Tucker opened the pageant with some brief remarks and then introduced Dr. Kristy Sherrod, the emcee for the evening.

Next came the grand parade of contestants. All 22 ladies walked across the stage for the judges as the packed theater looked on. Last year’s Miss South Side winner, Sarah Watson, was then introduced and took her final walk across the stage.

The escorts were introduced next. Escorting the ladies on the stage were Rakarius Lacy, Cole Coffman, Eli Nash, Ty Drake and Cardin Nguyen. Hawk TV’s own Clark Burkhead ran the lights and sound.

The field of 22 contestants was then narrowed down to 11 contestants. They came back on the stage for a final viewing by the judges. The judges were Betty McWherter, Jimmy Glosson, and Rachel Scarborough, a 2013 South Side graduate and former Miss South Side.

[COVER PHOTO: The 2023-24 Miss South Side pageant court smiles for photographers after the competition in the Fine Arts auditorium on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023. Picture are (from left) fourth maid Aubrey Massengill, second maid Anna Prince, queen Brentley Brewster, first maid Kalin Earnest and third maid Cerby Price. (Photo by Lisa Webb)]


Miss SSHS pageant set for Thursday

The annual Miss South Side High School Pageant is Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts building. Tickets are $10 at the door.

“We have 22 beautiful ladies that are going to participate in the Miss South Side Pageant,” said Melissa Perry, a South Side teacher and event organizer. “All proceeds go to support the class of 2024 and pay for prom to keep those tickets low.”

The order for contestants was drawn last week and aired on the Nov. 9 episode of Hawk TV. Here is the order:

1. Lyla Cox

2. Natalie Whitson

3. Kalin Earnest

4. Aubrey Massengill

5. Ali Kate McDonald

6. Brynlee Merriweather

7. Miah Coatney

8. Nykeria Miller

9. Anna Prince

10. Maleah Cox

11. Jaycee Hurst

12. Brentley Brewster

13. Meloney Niswonger

14. J’Lynn Paige

15. Harlei McClintock

16. Amelia Jackson

17. Trinity Hogg

18. Lillian Foged

19. Christiana Carter

20. Cerby Price

21. Gabriela Gonzalez

22. Cori Weaver


TA’KHIA DOUGLAS: NJROTC cadet of the month

Ta’Khia Douglas has been selected as the cadet of the month for August 2023, the Hawk NJROTC unit announced this week.

“Cadet Douglas brings her best self to class each and every day,” said Commander Delahoussay, who leads the unit along with Chief Henderson. “A new student to the NJROTC program, she brings energy, spirit and the willingness to learn in every evolution. She is a model scholar, a member of the Color Guard, and is one of the first students to volunteer whenever help is needed.”

Ta’Khia Douglas (third from left) is pictured with the NJROTC Color Guard during pregame festivities of South Side’s home football game against Liberty on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. (Photo by Lisa Webb)

Douglas, a sophomore, joined South Side’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps because she “wanted to try something new.”

She’s glad she did.

“Being cadet of the month is really special to me, being that this is my first year of NJROTC,” she said in an interview with Hawk TV’s Khyla Ramsey and Brooklyn Kilzer. “I know this is very special to my auntie, because she was in the Navy. I know this will make her very, very proud.”

After learning that she was the cadet of the month, Douglas brought cupcakes for the entire class.

“They loved them,” she said, smiling. “They asked me for seconds.”

[COVER PHOTO: Ta’Khia Douglas, the NJROTC cadet of the month, is pictured in South Side’s Tech Prep building on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. (Photo by Hawk TV)]


Sec. Hargett, Sen. Jackson encourage South Side to register to vote


Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and state Sen. Ed Jackson visited South Side on Monday morning to encourage students to register to vote.

Hargett and Jackson (R-Jackson) spoke to students in coach Jake Stoffregen’s second block government/economics class.

“Had a great time at South Side High School today engaging with the students and talking about why it’s important for them to be a registered voter and getting them to take the first step in their civic engagement process by registering to vote, and then hopefully become voters next March, August and November,” Hargett told Hawk TV’s Taniya Howard in an interview posted to our TikTok page.

Tennessee state Sen. Ed Jackson (right) and Secretary of State Tre Hargett speak to students in coach Jake Stoffregen’s class on Monday, September 11, 2023. (Photo by Zach Bunney / Hawk TV)

“Senator Jackson and I were here today to help encourage them,” Hargett continued, “knowing that the people they elect with their vote are the ones who are making important decisions, whether regarding taxes, whether it’s roads, whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s schools. It’s a shame that we have such low voter turnout, especially among young people. What we want to do it encourage them to take that first step and make sure that these future leaders are actually good citizens and will participate in the electoral process.”

Hargett is Tennessee’s 37th secretary of state and was first elected to the position in 2009.

Jackson represents District 25, which includes Crockett, Decatur, Dyer, Henderson, Lake, Madison and Perry counties.

“It’s important to me to get people to register to vote and actually learn who the candidates are,” Jackson told the students. “Learn what they do, what they represent. Do they represent the values that you have? It’s very, very important. I can’t stress how important it is for people to get out and vote.”

Stoffregen thanked Hargett and Jackson for speaking to the students.

“It was great to have Secretary Hargett and Senator Jackson speak to the students this morning,” Stoffregen said. “Secretary Hargett told the students how important it is to get registered to vote so they can use their voice to elect leaders they want and influence all levels of government.”

Watch this Friday’s episode of Hawk TV for more.

[COVER PHOTO: Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks to students in coach Jake Stoffregen’s class on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. (Photo by Zach Bunney / Hawk TV)]


Robinson sworn in to Mayor’s Youth Council, Class of 2025


For South Side junior Jewel Robinson, the benefits of being on the Mayor’s Youth Council are twofold.

First, she gets a medal at graduation. Second, she gets to help people.

“I want to make a positive influence before I graduate high school,” she said earlier this week in an interview with Hawk TV’s Zaria Williams.

Robinson and the rest of the Mayor’s Youth Council Class of 2025 were sworn in earlier this month during a Jackson City Council meeting. The youth council is comprised of students from Jackson’s public and private schools throughout the city and Madison County.

Robinson said the swearing-in process was “nerve-racking.”

“There were a lot of people watching you,” she said, “but honestly, it was fun and I enjoyed it. I liked the people there and the people that joined.”

The City of Jackson’s website describes the council this way:

“The Mayor’s Youth Council is comprised of approximately 10 high school juniors, one chosen from each high school. The council’s purpose is to weigh in on community issues. MYC enables local officials to be more representative of the community as a whole and improve services that directly affect young people.”

[COVER PHOTO: Members of the Mayor’s Youth Council 2025, including South Side junior Jewel Robinson, pose for a group photo after being sworn-in during the September meeting of the Jackson City Council. (Photo by City of Jackson)]


Seniors should take advantage of Free College App Month, Eason says


Karin Eason spent all week sounding the alarm.

South Side’s graduation coach and college advisor wants all seniors to know that September is Free College Application Month. That means colleges in our area and throughout the country are waiving the application fee through the end of this month.

“And all that can be accessed through your emails,” Eason said. “If you need me to help you create your TSAC account, apply for Tennessee Promise or apply to a college, you can email me at [email protected]. I’m located in Tech Prep.”

Eason made her comments during an interview with Hawk TV’s Jaycee Lynn and Cam’ron Dumas. She also wants to remind seniors of a few other important items.

“Tennessee Promise opened August 1,” she said. “If you have not already applied, please do so. You will do that through your TSAC account.”

At the beginning of this week, 63 of South Side’s 166 seniors had applied for the Tennessee Promise Scholarship, which according to Eason is about $4,500 per year for two years.

Hawk TV talked with three seniors to get their thoughts on the college application process.

Shelby Bond plans to attend Jackson State to study nursing for two years and then transfer to UT Martin.

“I will start applying to some of the colleges I’m considering,” she said. “I really think free app month is good.”

Kaitlynn Mayfield told Hawk TV she plans to attend Jackson State to study radiology. She plans to participate in free college application month.

“It’s very beneficial to people who want to apply to multiple colleges and want to save money,” she said.

After high school, Tiara Green plans to attend Jackson State University to study anesthesiology and continue her basketball career.

“It’s fun, but it’s kind of stressful,” Green said of getting everything in order for her postsecondary plans. “It’s a lot, but I’m prepared and I’m ready.”

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to reach out to Eason for help.

“I’ll be glad to help you in any way,” she said.

[COVER PHOTO: Karin Eason is pictured during an interview with Hawk TV on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. (Photo by Jaycee Lynn / Hawk TV)]