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. 



Hawks, Lady Hawks win home opener


It was a great morning to be a Hawk and Lady Hawk as South Side swept Covington in the home opener of the 2023-24 basketball season.

THE HAWKS (1-1) trailed by as many as 12 points in the second quarter but rallied for a 62-53 win. Robert Liggins scored 14 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, including 9 of 9 free-throw shooting in the final eight minutes. He was joined in double figures by Chris Mitchell with 11 points.

Other scorers: Jamarion Burns 2 points, Cash Montgomery 4, Kaleb Nettles 6, Simeon Graham 5, Amauri Goodman 7, Jamarion Grimes 9.

THE LADY HAWKS (2-0) were led in scoring by Felicity Long and Jaidynn Askins with nine points each in the 47-13 win for the defending 3A state champions.

Other scorers: Akira Lacy 2 points, Tiara Green 7, Aydison Dilworth 3, Myla Lacy 2, Amear’ra Cook 2, Ri’Kiya Mitchell 4, Hannah McCurry 6, Aubrey Lewis 3.


The Hawks and Lady Hawks play again Tuesday (Nov. 21) at home against Bolivar. The Lady Hawks play at 6 p.m. with the Hawks to follow. (Unlike today when the Hawks played the first game at 9 a.m. as the Lady Hawks took the court at 10:30.)


The games against Munford, initially scheduled to be played after today’s Covington games, have been rescheduled for December 12.


Softball: Kristian Holder signs with Tennessee State


Kristian Holder will continue her athletic and academic careers at Tennessee State University. 

Surrounded by friends, family and teammates, the senior softball player made it official this afternoon with a signing ceremony in the South Side library. 

“Thank you to my parents for everything they have done – for the time and encouragement they have given me all these years,” Holder said. “To my friends and my teammates, thank you for all the support you’ve given me through the years.” 

Holder pitches and plays first base and outfield. 

“Big thanks to the TSU coaches for giving me the opportunity,” she added. “Thank you everyone.” 

The signing was a new experience of sorts for first-year Lady Hawks coach John Weeks, who spent the last six years as the head coach at Bethel University. Today, he was on the other side, sending a player to college instead of receiving a player at the next level. 

“I don’t think I could be more excited to know that I’m actually gaining a great player from Sacred Heart,” Weeks said, “but also knowing that I’m going to have the opportunity to watch her play for me in my first season here at South Side.” 

Weeks praised the support system around Holder, who was joined at the signing by many family members and friends, in addition to her new Lady Hawk softball teammates. Her dad Kevin Holder, mom LeDita Holder and brother Kylon Holder were among those in attendance. 

“I’m excited to see what you do not only this season, but in your next chapter when you get to college,” Weeks said. “I think TSU is getting an outstanding young lady and an outstanding player that is going to help change the program.” 

[COVER PHOTO: Kristian Holder (center) poses for a celebratory photo with teammates during a softball signing ceremony in the South Side library on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. Holder will continue her academic and athletic careers at Tennessee State University.]


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


Meet Scott Gatlin, South Side’s new school security officer [w/video]


You may have noticed a new face in the Tech Prep building between classes and during morning bag checks. Mr. Scott Gatlin has joined us as the new school security officer, meaning South Side students should feel even safer than they already do.

“I’m glad to be at South Side,” Gatlin said in an interview with Hawk TV’s Jaycee Butler and Cam’ron Dumas. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about this school since I’ve been here, and it’s great to be part of this family.”

Gatlin brings a lot of experience to the job. He was the dean of students at Jackson Christian School for 21 years. He left that job in 2018 and spent the next five years as the principal at Youth Town. He is a past member of the JMCSS school board.

“I started in 1982 as a classroom teacher in Missouri, and then after seven years I became a principal, and I’ve pretty much done administration all the way up until this past June,” Gatlin said. “And in June, I said I’m done being a school administrator. I’ve always had some responsibilities in school safety, and I really, really am pleased now to just be working in school safety alone.”

Gatlin will be stationed mainly in the Tech Prep building, but students will see him across campus at various times throughout the day. He joins school resource officers Deputies Fugate and Jones in keeping students safe.

“The goal is to show up every day and keep students and teachers as safe as they can be,” Gatlin said. “I’m glad to work with our SROs from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. Pay attention, and if something doesn’t look right, go check out it. Be visible. Be where the students are, and just try to prevent any dangerous situations from happening – and if they do happen, you address them and take care of them.”

When he’s not working, Gatlin enjoys cooking and spending time with his family.

“We cook a lot out on the patio,” he said. “When I’m not cooking, I’m thinking about what I’m going to cook next, either on the grill or the griddle. My wife and I both enjoy it, and our family enjoys eating eat.”

[COVER PHOTO: Scott Gatlin is pictured in his official portrait from his time on the JMCSS school board.]


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)]


Information for Homecoming Week, Sept. 18-22


Football homecoming week is September 18-22. Here’s some pertinent information to get you ready.

First, here are the homecoming dress-up days, as determined by cheer coach Chelsey Thomas and the cheerleaders.

The theme for the week is “Hollywood Hawks.”

Monday – Disney Day

Dress up as a Disney character.

Tuesday – Tourist Day!

Dress like a tourist walking around Hollywood.

Wednesday – Class Color Day

Freshmen wear orange. Sophomores wear blue. Juniors wear yellow. Seniors wear red. Staff wear black.

Thursday – Stunt Double Day

Find a twin and dress alike.

Friday – Spirit Day

Show your spirit for the Hawks.

Last week, South Side students voted for their homecoming representatives. The court will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, September 22 – that’s 30 minutes before kickoff of the Hawks’ game against Liberty.

Last week, South Side students voted for their homecoming representatives. The court will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, September 22 – that’s 30 minutes before kickoff of the Hawks’ game against Liberty.

Homecoming Court

Freshman representative – Chloe Foster.

Sophomore representative – Gabrielle Hill.

Junior representative – Brynlee Merriweather.

Senior representatives – Jaycee Butler, Amaiah Campbell.

The homecoming queen will be either Jaycee or Amaiah.

[COVER PHOTO: South Side cheerleaders (from left) Zahria Woods, Aisleona Polk, A’Deysiah Galloway, Taniya Howard, Chardonnay Whiteside and Kaydence Pruitt are pictured during the Hawks’ football game at Crockett County on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. The cheerleaders were responsible for selecting the dress-up days for Homecoming Week. (Photo by Rory Newbold / 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)]