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The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


A Chaotic and Unforgettable Year: Top Ten Moments of 2023

2023 was a year for many firsts and memories. Students reflect on the top moments that they believe were defining factors of 2023.
Sitwat Mian
After the COVID-19 pandemic slowly died down, 2023 was a year full of promises for many students. From new movies to new experiences, students appreciated that the year allowed them to feel free for the first time in a few years.

2023 was a year full of surprises and plot twists. From the release of Barbie to the intensification of the Russia-Ukraine war, this year did not fail to have its moments. Although all of these moments played a crucial part in shaping this past year, some were more defining than others. Here are the ten most defining moments of 2023 according to members of the student body.  

1. The Russia-Ukraine War Intensifies. – All Year

After another year of fighting, there is still no clear outcome being shown for the Russia-Ukraine war. Both sides have been unable to gain much land in this past year. Despite this, the fighting has intensified, which has increased the number of casualties and injuries for both sides. Since there are no signs of the war coming to an end anytime soon, many students have different opinions on the situation. “I think this war is going to continue to be a defining factor in 2024 too,” sophomore Ritvik Chappidi said. 

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2. The Eras Tour Madness. – March

On March 7, 2023, Taylor Swift started The Eras Tour in Arizona. Swifties worldwide rushed to get their hands on these highly desired tickets ranging from $49 to $899. For the ones who weren’t able to get tickets, Swift released a concert film that could be seen at a movie theater or purchased by a rental. “The Eras Tour” has already surpassed over $1 billion in revenue according to Pollstar’s 2023 year-end charts. It is the highest-grossing music tour and earned Taylor Swift the title of Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. “Who doesn’t love Taylor Swift?” sophomore Sanvi Challa said.

3. Donald Trump Gets Indicted. – March

In 2023, Donald Trump was criminally charged four times. These four indictments total 91 felony counts which equals about seven centuries of jail time. In March, Trump became the first former U.S. president to be indicted when he was accused of making hush money payments to silence two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, on his extramarital sexual encounters with them. He was again indicted in June for storing classified government documents at his personal estate in Florida after his term at the White House ended. On Aug. 1, Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury for two felony counts of obstructing an official proceeding, one felony  count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and another felony count for conspiracy against rights. These four counts are considered responsible for the Jan. 6 insurrection. Then, in late August, Trump was arrested for his accused efforts  to overturn his loss in the 2020 election in Georgia. Trump pleaded not guilty to all 91 of the felony counts from the four indictments. Only time will tell how this will affect his chances in the 2024 presidential election. 

4. COVID-19 Is Officially Over. –  May

Ever since March 2020, COVID-19 has been a worldwide crisis and a constant worry for all. However, the chaotic pandemic has finally come to an end. On May 5, 2023, The World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced that COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency. Previous travel restrictions and mask mandates no longer apply to many companies and tourist locations, allowing for the world to transition back to “normal.”

5. Barbenheimer Breaks the Box Office. – July

On July 21, 2023, crowds headed to theaters for the double release of “Barbie”, starring Margot Robbie,  and “Oppenheimer,” starring Cillian Murphy.  Together, these two movies blew up the summer box office. Both movies did extremely well and earned almost $2.5 billion combined. Despite “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” having no direct connections, many people watched the movies back to back. Thus, the phrase “Barbenheimer,” became popular. 

6. Travis Scott Releases the Long-Awaited Album “Utopia.” – July

After a long-awaited drop, Travis Scott released the instant hit album “Utopia” on July 28, 2023. Fans across the country went crazy over the tracklist, and the album quickly became a fan favorite for many hip-hop enthusiasts. “[The album] was really fire,” sophomore Hasini Kasuganti said. “Out of all the albums that were released this year, it was in my top 3 for sure.” The unique beat and flow of each song on the tracklist quickly elevated the hype behind the album, allowing for the perfect addition to many students’ playlists. 

7. Twitter Becomes X – July

In July 2023, Elon Musk announced that Twitter would be rebranded to “X.” In addition, the iconic Twitter bird was changed to an “X.” This rebranding is part of Musk’s effort to transform Twitter into a super-app that can do everything. Musk is known for having an attachment to the letter “X,” as his first startup was called X.com, Tesla has a Model X car, and both his children have “X” in their names. For now, the only new feature has been its name, but it shows that Musk will have ownership of the company for a while. 

8. Kevin McCarthy Ousted as House Speaker. – October

On Oct. 3, 2023, former representative Kevin McCarthy was removed from his job as Speaker of the House. This was the first time in the country’s history that the House of Representatives formally ousted a speaker.  Although he had the support of most Republican lawmakers, the House benefited from bipartisanship. The votes against him by eight Republicans and all Democrats cost him his job. Although there are numerous reasons why McCarthy was voted against by every single Democrat, his support for former President Donald Trump and his efforts to get President Joe Biden impeached played a major role. Three weeks after McCarthy was ousted, Republican representative, Mike Johnson, was selected as the new House Speaker. 

9. Drake Releases Hit Album “For All The Dogs.” – October

On Oct. 6, 2023, Drake released his latest studio album “For All The Dogs.” The album was an instant hit, and many fans were overjoyed to get a mix of “new” and “old” Drake in one tracklist. “I remember listening to it on the way to a marching band competition,” sophomore Ainika Akuthota said. “It was one of the core memories [from the competition].” Many students were ecstatic that Drake dropped new music, saying that the album was a “comfort zone” for them. Along with the album, Drake announced that he was going on tour on Nov. 13. Fans all across the country rushed to get tickets for the “It’s All a Blur” tour.

10. Israel-Hamas War Begins. – October

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas, an U.S. government designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, launched a surprise land, sea, and air assault on Israel via the Gaza Strip. These attacks led to 1,200 Israeli citizen deaths, which made it the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history. The next day, Israel declared war. Since then, 1,410 Israelis and 25,105 Palestinians have died. The war is only continuing to get more and more severe as time goes on. This conflict is extremely controversial since both sides are sympathized with and some people are carefully choosing not to support either Israel or Palestine. As of now, there are no signs of the war coming to an end anytime soon.

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About the Contributors
Sruthi Vivek, Sports Editor
Sruthi Vivek is a sophomore and this is her second year on “The Blaze” staff. She is the Sports Editor, and she’s looking forward to all of the amazing things that the staff will accomplish this year. Sruthi plays for the Rock Ridge varsity basketball team, and she loves sports in general. She loves going to football games and hanging out with her friends at tailgates. When she’s not out socializing, you can usually find Sruthi in her room stressing about school work or watching TV shows. She’s also very passionate about art and loves to paint in her free time as well. Sruthi is a huge music fan, and you’ll usually find her listening to R&B and rap artists like Bryson Tiller, Drake, Travis Scott, and Tory Lanez. She originally joined Newspaper her freshman year because she loves to write and take pictures.
Riya Cherukuri, Staff Writer
Riya Cherukuri is a sophomore and a first year staffer on The Blaze. In her free time, Cherukuri enjoys baking desserts. Cherukuri also spends her time playing softball for Rock Ridge. She was motivated to play because her brother played baseball, so being on the field felt just right. Cherukuri hopes to continue playing in college.
Sitwat Mian, Graphic Editor
Sitwat is a junior, and the Graphics Editor for the Newspaper. She enjoys art and is excited to create graphics for the staff this year. When she’s not frantically worrying about school, you can find her listening to music, spending time with her family, and eating. She is probably the most unathletic person you will ever meet, and has the memory and attention span of an Ostrich. Ultimately, Sitwat hopes for another creative and successful year in Newspaper.

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