2021 Year In Review

Rowen Holder, Staff Writer

Three. Two. One. Happy New Year! 2021 has come to a close, and with it, we glance back at all the events that made it memorable for our generation.

Starting with the obvious: the COVID-19 pandemic. In January, vaccine distribution was already in full swing; Delta and Omicron were deviously on their way amid the lifting of many restrictions. Consequently, many students at Dover Area High School have experienced a bothersome quarantine or the disease itself within the last year. Senior Connor Fleming states, “I feel as though lifting the COVID-19 restrictions will in fact worsen the situations whether it be political, personal, or health-wise.”

In that same month, on January 6, a mob stormed the U.S. Capital—the media was shocked. Three weeks later, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated; Harris became the first female, African American and South Asian vice president.

In April, President Biden announced a complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September 11; the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The conflict in Afghanistan had lasted for nearly 20 years, resulting in 2,500 service member deaths and 100,000 Afghans (including civilians) killed. Junior Daniel Perkins remarks on the events, “I feel that it was inevitable that America would eventually leave Afghanistan. However, the way it was handled was and still is unforgivable. It was rushed and now the Taliban is truly back and a forever growing threat.”

The Summer Olympics were postponed in 2020, however, in 2021 the events were held in Tokyo, Japan—no spectators were allowed. Gold medal-winning United States gymnast Simone Biles notably withdrew from the individual all-around competition; she feared a fall due to a mental block.

In the first few months of the 2021-2022 school year, schools across the nation faced a phenomenon deemed “devious licks”; students were reported to have stolen soap and paper towel dispensers, exit signs, classroom telephones, and other odd items. Gym teacher Lauren Craig was affected by these antics when a classroom phone was stolen from her. She remarks: “Devious licks? Or do you mean stealing or theft? End of comment.”

In 2021, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, launched two operational missions to the International Space Station (ISS). SpaceX also, “ferried four non-astronauts on a three-day extraterrestrial voyage in September, in the first-ever flight into Earth’s orbit by civilian space tourists.” Senior Jared Espiritu states, “It is nice to have a company exploring space without being bogged down by the bureaucracy and funding of governments.”

On November 12, 2021, the “Free Britney” Movement finally came to a momentous end—it has been fourteen years since Spears was put under a legal arrangement, called a conservatorship, that limited her control over her profits. Freshman Chloe Martin remarks, “I am glad she is free and that she can finally do what she wants with her life.”

2021 ended with a very heartbreaking conclusion. Actress Betty White passed away at age 99 on December 31. Her death sent shock waves through generations of viewers who loved seeing her on the big screen. Sophomore Kearra Austin states, “I grew up watching Betty White in “Golden Girls” and “That 70s Show”, seeing her pass away was upsetting because I saw her as a role model. She was a great actress, and it is sad to see her go so soon.”

As we leave 2021, we move on to a new year and a new chance at moving back towards a sense of normalcy.