Looking back on 2021: What a year | teenager
Members of the Generation Next team recently discussed some of the top teen events in Santa Fe and the United States in 2021. From Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album to fatal incidents of gun violence, here are more than a dozen moments in the last year The Generation Next found the most important.
Even when the CIA refuted claims that foreign interference or domestic fraud had rigged the results of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election, many supporters of former President Donald Trump believed the results to be illegitimate. Trump maintained these allegations for months, until January 6, when many supporters gathered in Washington, DC. The violent mob followed the former president’s orders to “fight like hell,” break the police barricades and attack officials in order to get to the Capitol. Five people died in the two-hour siege, and countless others were injured in the chaos. The members of Congress were banned from their chambers because of the danger, but were able to count the votes later that day and thus confirm Biden’s presidency. – Josette Gurule
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs played during the 55th edition of the NFL championship game at Raymond James Stadium in Florida. Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl title with a 31-9 win over the Chiefs. Brady won an historic seventh Super Bowl, more than any other NFL team, and his fifth Most Valuable Player award. It was the first Super Bowl that a team played in their home stadium. Due to the pandemic, it was also the least-visited Super Bowl of all time, with only 25,000 fans taking the seats. – Ian Hernandez-Rojas
4th of March
Students across the country and around the world struggled with distance learning not only personally but also academically during the coronavirus pandemic; It was clear that the students were not at the level of previous years. It was therefore a positive surprise when then Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools, Veronica C. García, pictured above, announced that the district’s graduation rate for the 2019-20 school year reached 86.3 percent, an average of 77 percent of New Mexico by nine points. According to KRQE, it was the second time that the district outperformed the national average. – Valeria Ramirez
Texans and other tourists now have another reason to visit: New Mexico legalized recreational marijuana. Recreational cannabis sales are slated to begin April 1st, a progressive step in government policy. New Mexico joins the ranks of other states such as Colorado, Arizona and California. Since these states saw economic growth in local industries after legalization, the same is forecast for New Mexico. Hopefully such a change will also enable a reassessment of the spiritual nature of New Mexico. Perhaps the Land of Enchantment can get a little more enchanting. – Ben Timm
10th of May
At a time when approximately 7 percent of New Mexican teenagers ages 16-17 were fully vaccinated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended its emergency approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to those ages 12-17 15 years out, which entitles about 105,000 more new Mexicans. According to KRQE, 53,000 registered to receive their vaccine within the first week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccination Advisory Committee immediately supported the FDA in its expansion, stating that the studies had “no serious concerns” and that “the vaccine was effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19”. The studies, which were completed in April, included 2,260 consenting Americans between the ages of 12 and 15 (of whom 1,131 received the vaccine). The Pfizer vaccine showed an effectiveness rate of 97.1 percent in the participants. – Emma Meyer
Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album Sour after her hit single “Driver’s License”, which was released in January. The album is filled with breakup songs and feelings of melancholy, hurt and despair. Sour later debuted at # 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart, where it stayed for five weeks, making it the # 1 longest-running album by an artist in 2021. With all the very relatable tracks, Sour became the album of the summer. According to the New York Times, the US had 295,000 sales as of the end of May, making it the second highest streaming figure this year. Rodrigo’s music was so impressive to teenagers that it later received the American Artists Award for New Artist of the Year. The 18-year-old pop star is gaining popularity and her fandom is growing all the time. Sour is an album to be memorized and for those who haven’t heard it is definitely a must-have. – Stephany Zambrano
Tokyo hosted the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics on July 23, and the world watched in amazement as the best athletes humankind competed against each other, but what’s even more impressive is that Tokyo managed to hold safe Olympics amid the pandemic. Attempts to prevent COVID-19 included daily testing, wearing masks outside of competition, social distancing, and an extremely limited personal audience – seats were few and only domestic viewers were allowed to participate. In such a chaotic, divided world, athletes gathered under a mantra, “united by emotions,” proving to the world that togetherness is necessary for human prosperity, especially in a world broken by COVID-19. – Josette Gurule
The Department of Public Education has released an updated “COVID-19 Toolkit” before a nationwide return to full face-to-face learning. The toolkit, which has been updated several times since then, set ground rules for students and staff exposed to the virus. Originally, vaccinated students and employees in secondary schools were exempt from the mask requirement and required that 25 percent of unvaccinated employees take turns in a weekly test program.
The St. Michael’s High School football team competed against the Santa Fe High School Demons in their annual matchup at Ivan Head Stadium. The Demons ended a 13-year losing streak against the Horsemen with a 19-7 win. Santa Fe High last defeated St. Michael’s in the 2008 rivalry, and the last triumphant home game was 2004. The Horsemen had the bad luck of losing their starting quarterback in the ninth game of the inaugural drive to a knee injury at the end of the season. The Demons were able to capitalize on this early injury to achieve a rare victory in this historic rivalry. – Ian Hernandez-Rojas
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally gunshot on the set of the film Rust when a prop gun fired a live round from star and co-producer Alec Baldwin. She leaves behind her parents, husband and son. Director Joel Souza was also injured in the tragedy and is under further investigation.
The return of live music during the pandemic has brought joy to the masses. It was the first time in two years for artists from Harry Styles to BTS to see their fans in person. However, to all of the celebration there was also sadness. Travis Scott’s annual Astroworld Festival resulted in tragedy in November. Ten people died and hundreds were injured when the crowd of 50,000 streamed onto the stage during the show. The victims were between 9 and 27 years old. The singer faced major backlashes as he continued to perform, even after paramedics showed up and the crowd begged him to stop. – Stephany Zambrano
After 14 years, the conservatory that controlled the life of Britney Spears, with whom she was dating, ended how she spent her money. Spears’ public battle for her conservatory sparked much talk of mental health among celebrities, and provided fans and paparazzi alike with an opportunity to relax their expectations of the stars they admire so much. In 2008, Spears was hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation after a series of public fights including attacks on a paparazzi car, mental health problems, and substance abuse. Her father became her chief conservator when she was unable to provide for herself and her finances, even though she continued her career with success. Spears pushed for the end of the conservatoires for many years, claiming it had “become an oppressive and controlling tool against them,” according to the New York Times. In 2019, she was sent to a mental health facility for a month to revive the #FreeBritney movement among fans. It regained popularity in 2021 after the conservatory was extended until September of that year. – Fernanda Rodas
30th of November
Oxford High School college student Ethan Crumbley opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol at the Michigan school, killing four students and leaving seven injured. Crumbley, 15, was charged as an adult on death row terrorism, four cases of first degree murder, seven cases of assault with intent to kill, and 12 cases of possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime. His parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, were also arrested on four counts each for negligent homicide after prosecutors said they had allegedly ignored warning signs and did not intervene after being notified of behaviors by school officials. Prosecutor Karen McDonald’s decision to hold parents accountable was a rare move that led the country to pay more attention to the gun violence epidemic in schools. – Sofia Barker