The Talon The Student News Site of Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy Fri, 18 Jan 2019 19:46:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Modern take on classic drama takes to Leitner stage Fri, 18 Jan 2019 16:21:09 +0000 The TJCA Drama Department is proudly presenting their winter show, Euripides “Medea.” First produced in 431 B.C., the play is based on the myth of Jason and Medea and Medea’s quest for revenge when Jason tries to climb the ladder of power by marrying another woman.

Opening with Medea in a blind rage towards her husband, Jason, for arranging to marry the daughter of Creon, the ruler of Corinth. The play follows Medea’s transformation from caring mother to an evil monster. Senior Dylan Emory plays Jason, with freshman Laurie Griffith playing the lead role of Medea.

Both Emory and Griffith are drama department veterans, having been in several plays each over the last two years. The cast features TJCA students in both middle and high school.

“‘Medea’ has been my favorite play since I first read it in college,” said Director Jonathan Foust, who teaches drama at TJCA. “I have always wanted to produce it, but have never had a cast with the skill and maturity to pull it off. This is the cast that I’ve been waiting on.”

Foust and his cast and crew have put a unique spin on the classic play, choosing to reset it in the 1920s.

“I chose to set it in the 1920s to highlight the Gatsby-esque theme of reaching for that American Dream,” Foust explained. “For Jason, it’s the Corinthian Dream, but the idea is the same. He’s so committed to the idea of living the good life, that he is willing to throw away his whole family to get it. The price he pays for it is every bit as dire as the one Gatsby pays for chasing his dream.

However, Foust said, Jason doesn’t think about the fact that Medea is not a woman homegrown.

“Medea is the wrong woman to betray. Jason counts on Medea being a good, quiet Greek woman and simply moving on after he betrays her. His biggest mistake, though, was forgetting that Medea… she ain’t from here!”

While he is always proud of the TJCA drama department, he is especially happy with this show.

“This show is not just good high school theatre, it is good theatre!” Foust said. “This is our big show for the year, and it is everything that Greek tragedy is supposed to be!”

Showtimes for the play are 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $8 at the door.

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The power of a book Tue, 15 Jan 2019 22:02:59 +0000 Books are often thought to be pages, binding and printed words, nothing more than a short list of ingredients. However, books can be so much more than this. To those who have never come to this realization, there is always an opportunity to grab a book and take off into a world of fantasy, mystery or science fiction. Books are a way to escape from the mundane routine of life and put yourself into something else, something better or maybe even something worse. One must never underestimate the power of the thing made from pages, binding and printed words.

In schools today, reading books has become more of a chore than a choice. Students no longer want to read because of the extensive lists of required reading that teachers often give. Required reading is something that must exist; there is no way around this fact, but it is important to make sure these books are not beyond the level of understanding of the students reading them. Requiring younger students to read advanced, complex novels and expecting them to understand them does nothing but push students away from the idea that reading can be an enjoyable activity outside the classroom. Another cause of this belief that reading is a boring task, is that teachers do little to encourage reading outside the classroom. This lack of encouragement to read outside of the classroom is a problem that needs to be resolved. Simply encouraging students to read while they are young will create habits that can grow into a genuine love for reading, although one is never too old to begin the process of growing a love for reading either. If students miss the opportunity to fall in love with books while they were young, there is still time, and it is important that teachers remind their students of this fact.

Even the pickiest of readers have books they can enjoy reading. If one does not enjoy to read a book that has been required or assigned by a teacher, that does not mean they should abstain from searching for things they might enjoy to read. There are so many types, genres, groups, and categories of books that one is certain to find something they love. Nearly all have access to the world’s largest library, the Internet. If internet access is unattainable, libraries are still an option. Libraries are home to thousands of unique books. Everyone should read because they want to, not because they have to or are forced to. Going on a book hunt is always fun. Finding the perfect book is like Christmas, but it lasts a little longer. That powerful feeling of being thrown into the world within a book is a feeling with which everyone should be acquainted. To ensure that no one is left out of this experience, students young and old ought to be encouraged to read.

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For Horton, Green shines light on anxiety Tue, 15 Jan 2019 22:02:49 +0000 A great book that I have read this year is Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. The main character has a prominent anxiety disorder that John Green experiences himself. I was diagnosed with general anxiety about two years ago, and I loved seeing that there was a book that shined a light on a form of it! Despite what the character saw as faults, she had friends by her side, and though it got her into predicaments at times, she was able to conquer them and it didn’t seem as bad. I relate to this because a few friends I was close to were there for me even if they didn’t understand at times! Also, I realized my worries are nothing but thoughts and that I can accomplish more than I think I can in and outside of TJ. This book helped me realize I’m not alone, and I know there are other books out there that do the same for their readers.

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Americans vote ‘Mockingbird’ most loved book Tue, 15 Jan 2019 22:02:10 +0000 The Great American Reads is a vote to decide the top 100 most loved novels in America. The top books were chosen by the public, with about 7,200 people participating in the voting this year. Each author was only allowed to have one book on the final list. Any book was acceptable as long as it was fiction and was published in English.

The list contains fictional books that date as far back as 1600 and as recent as 2016. Many genres can be found on the list, including American classics, thrillers, young adult novels, fantasy, adventure, historical fiction, romantic novels, and many more.

Thomas Jefferson students have read several of the books on the list, including the number one most loved book- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. TJCA librarian and research coordinator Robin Lattimore says “I was very pleased with the ranking of To Kill A Mockingbird. This book has a very important universal message that will always be loved.”

“The list is a representation of commercial success rather than long term value,” Lattimore said. “I feel that eventually 50% of the books that are currently on the list will fall, and 50% of the books will stay.”

Out of 12,000 books in our library, we contain 40 out of the 100 books on the list in our collection. “During the month of November,” Lattimore continued, “we displayed the books, as well as ordering the The Great American Read: The Book of Books.”

Lattimore will gladly help any student wishing to find out about any of the books America chose as its most beloved.

Lattimore wishes to maintain TJ’s traditional print and electronic sources that are in use in the library, as well as wishing to grow ever-increasing collection of books. “When I first started working here 8 years ago, we had 7,400 books. But now our library has more than 12,000 books. I purchase on average between 200-300 books every year, whether to replace worn out books or to simply increase our supply.”

For more information on The Great American Read, visit the pbs website or talk to Lattimore.

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Books, reading necessary luxuries for life-long learners Tue, 15 Jan 2019 22:01:37 +0000 0 Operation Christmas Child spreads Gryphon cheer around the world Tue, 27 Nov 2018 21:00:51 +0000 Thomas Jefferson Gryphons worked Nov. 9 to make the holidays brighter for children around the world, filling boxes with toys, books, and hygiene and school supplies. Thomas Jefferson sponsored Operation Christmas Child to send toys and necessities to children around the world. This year, individual students organized the collection and packing of boxes instead of a school organization, as seen in the past.

“Operation Christmas Child is a project run by Samaritan’s Purse that seeks to provide a Christmas present to children all over the world who would not get to celebrate Christmas otherwise,” says Sydney Carpenter, who led the packing of boxes.

The items in these boxes are useful items- things that may not be easily accessible to the children receiving them. The boxes also include simple toys that have a greater meaning- love and compassion. “

Along with these extremely meaningful Christmas gifts, the children are introduced to and taught about Jesus with the hope that they will seek to form a relationship with God.”

These boxes are packed at individual locations- Carpenter led a “packing party.” The boxes were then taken to a Boone processing center where they are prayed over and sent all over the world. There is no one specific location that the boxes go, just to impoverished communities throughout the world. In 2017, according to Samaritan’s Purse, combined with all of the boxes sent from partnering countries, there was a record total of 11.4 million shoeboxes sent around the world. The goal of the organization is to spread the word of God with the hopes that the children receiving the boxes will form a relationship with God.

Thoughts and prayers are appreciated as the boxes travel around the world.

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Gryphons host blood drive Thursday Tue, 27 Nov 2018 19:21:54 +0000 TJCA is hosting our first blood drive of the year with Red Cross on November 29th, in the high school gym. Times will be from 10:30 am to 3:30 that afternoon. Anyone age sixteen or above is encouraged to donate for this heartwarming cause. Our very own NHS/Beta Club members and staff will be helping out with the donations. Charlotte Odum is assisting with the hosting as well.

“Last fall we set a record. I’d Love to equal that or even beat it,” she said. “I’ve worked in healthcare, I’ve had my family need blood, and I’ve needed it myself. I’ve seen the benefits of blood drives in action.”

The Red Cross, according to, provides about 40% of the nation’s blood and blood components. Each donor generously gives one pint of blood, and that blood could be used for up to three people.

“Supply can’t always meet demand because only about 10% of eligible people donate blood yearly,” the organization explains. “Each new donor helps us meet patients needs.”  The blood potentially can be used for a wide range of patients, like those in the battle of cancer, surgery under-goers, and those in accidents. Each student or parent could help the Red Cross #Givemorelife this year by attending this cause, and spread the holiday spirit by giving hope to patients and their families.

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Can you survive the Outpost? Thu, 25 Oct 2018 20:38:18 +0000 TJCA Drama Club will be presenting its first ever Interactive Drama on October 26th, 27th, and 28th. This will be a combination of an escape room and a haunted attraction. Tickets will be $10 at the door. The theme will be Outpost: Gryphon- A sci-fi horror experience in the genre of the Aliens franchise. Get four of your bravest, cleverest friends and come see if your team is strong enough to win the trophy!

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Make the holidays special for a tot Tue, 23 Oct 2018 18:53:42 +0000 Santa’s sleigh needs to be filled again, and TJCA students are collecting toys for underprivileged tots. The program runs October 1 through December 15, and LCDR Darrell Keller is hoping TJCA students will be filled with Christmas joy and surpass previous years’ donations.

“We feel like we need to help the Marine Corps give toys to children who otherwise wouldn’t have presents,” Keller said.”Last year we collected enough books that every child involved in Rutherford County involved in the program was able to get 4 books each.”

Keller said Toys for Tots is looking for infant toys aged 0-12 months and new unwrapped toys for children 12 and younger. Students are encouraged to drop off toy donations in boxes located around campus.

“Toys for Tots is a charity near and dear to my heart because of my military background,” Keller explained. “I am most familiar with it, and because Rutherford County has a chapter, I contacted them to see if we (Thomas Jefferson) could be a part of it.”

According to, the organization has been “delivering a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters” since 1947, distributing 548 million toys to 251 million children. The organization encourages participants to share how the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program has delivered Christmas in their communities so they can help even more children this Christmas.

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TJ brings it home for Homecoming Sun, 21 Oct 2018 20:11:38 +0000 0