The Character Development of Eren Yeager

by Jessica Wang

The young warrior craves freedom, but at what cost?

Caution: This article contains spoilers for those who have not seen the anime.

“Attack on Titan” was the most popular show in the USA from January 31 to February 6, 2021 (Northern Star), after the first half of its season 4 aired. Now that season 4 is coming to an end, let’s evaluate the main protagonist, Eren Yeager, and his character development as it plays a vital role in what makes this a good story.

Going back to season 1 when Eren was a young boy (and before the colossal titan appeared), Eren was angry that people did not try to do anything about the titans roaming outside of the walls. To him, living inside these walls was no safer than living as livestock, cowering in an enclosed space, unable to go out. Eren wanted to be free and join the scouts because they represented the wings of freedom. They were able to go outside the 

walls. He and his childhood friend Armin would talk about life outside of the walls after learning more about it through Armin’s grandfather’s book. A

fter seeing his mom and the people of his hometown get eaten by titans, it triggered his ambition to “kill every last one of them,” With that, he, Armin, and another childhood friend Mikasa, enlisted to train in the military. It was during their first battle with the titans that it was shown Eren was not one to betray his friends as he risked his life to save Armin and did the same for Mikasa. After the battle, all three became scouts.

In season 4, most of the mystery about where the titans came from and their origins are revealed. Eren now holds more power, makes better strategic plans, and understands humankind more than before. Despite this, Eren’s desire for freedom has never changed. During his time wandering, reflecting on his father’s memory with his brother Zeke, Eren commented that he has always hated people who took his freedom away and would kill them without a second thought if they did. But as a result of the curse of Ymir, which shortens his life, Eren’s new wish is for his friends to be free. Knowing that people outside the walls want to get rid of the people on Paradis, who are the people inside the walls, Eren’s plan changed from wanting to kill titans to using titans to kill everyone outside of Paradis to protect his friends and the place he grew up. By doing this he can free his friends from the hate and racism of being thought of as the Devils of Paradis. Thus it’s inevitable that Eren is still loyal to his friends, and he is the same person he was from the start, and always has been.

About Jessica Wang

Jessica Wang is a first year business student at Bradley University. Born in New York and currently living in Peoria, she is a lover of making impactful storytelling, drawing, exploring Peoria, playing piano, and eating sushi. She has participated in activities like freshflim and has over 200 hours of volunteer work.

Art by Qaasaani Little

Qaasaani Little is a freshman at Richwoods High School. Little is a member of Student Leadership Team and Student Council. She has loved art for as long as she can remember, including painting and drawing. Little’s artwork is for sale. She also loves animals, after school activities, and is inspired by her mom for always pushing her to do my best. 

Four Famous Choreographers and Their Influence on the World of Dance

by Anna Gross

A brief overview of notable choreographers, their inspirations, and their legacies.

The art of choreography has long since had a role in telling stories through movement in shows and recitals. These four famous choreographers have made their mark on today’s world of dance. Their stories need telling.

Bob Fosse

You may have heard of Bob Fosse, the choreographer known for his bowler hat and obsession with jazz hands. Inspiration for his iconic style came from the dark, provocative Vaudeville acts he performed. Fosse was also a writer and director whose works spanned film and stage. He won nine Tony Awards, including best choreography for the first two Broadway shows he choreographed. Some of his Broadway notables included The Pajama Game, Redhead, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, and Pippin. Fosse also wrote the script for Chicago, one of the longest running shows on Broadway. Although Bob Fosse has been dead for 25 years, choreographers still use his style and type of dance now referred to as just “Fosse.” Next time you see dancers on-stage wearing hats and gloves and carrying canes, you’ll know who inspired them.

Michael Bennett

        Unlike Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett wasn’t known for creating a specific style of dance, but his choreography is extremely well-known among theater lovers everywhere. His choreography is said to involve dance influenced by the performers. Bennett dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to join a tour of West Side Story. He began dancing on Broadway in 1961, and soon shifted to choreographing and directing. He choreographed the hit Promises, Promises, and co-directed Sondheim’s Company and Follies. Michael Bennett directed and co-choreographed A Chorus Line, which was the longest running show on Broadway with 6,137 performances before Cats in 1997. A Chorus Line shone a light on the frequently forgotten ensemble behind every show, and told the stories of desperate actors needing work. Unfortunately, this brilliant creative was forced to abandon some of his last works before dying from AIDS at age 44. Michael Bennett’s choreography is perhaps some of the most well-known amongst musical theater dancers. Give any theater kid a last four count of eight, and they will most likely break into his notorious choreography from A Chorus Line.

Martha Graham

        Dancers who felt bound to the restrictiveness of ballet turned to modern dance, which was made popular by Martha Graham. Her style was influenced by the contraction and release of breath and was a more weighted form of dance in comparison to ballet. Often called the “Picasso of Dance,” and the “Mother of Modern,” Graham’s pieces were inspired by the American frontier, Native Americans, Greek mythology, and often involved important historical and mythological women. One of her most famous pieces, The Chronicle, was influenced by the Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression, and the Spanish Civil War. She was the first dancer to perform at the White House and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976. The Martha Graham Dance Company, established in 1926, has two locations in New York City and continues to teach the Graham Technique today.

Katherine Dunham

        Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Katherine Dunham opened her first private dance studio for African American children while in high school. She went on to study at the University of Chicago, seeking to fuse dance with anthropology. During her time as a student, Dunham established the dance company Ballet Negre, one of the first black ballet companies in the U.S. She then completed her thesis in the Caribbean, focusing on dance forms created from the African diaspora. Choosing performance over continued education, Dunham worked on projects in New York City, Chicago, and Cincinnati. In 1948, Dunham and her dance company began performing outside the United States, appearing in over 30 countries. Katherine Dunham opened several dance studios, served as an artist in residence at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and was appointed a cultural ambassador to Senegal, West Africa by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Her work to unearth the beauty and power of African American dance forms and share them with the world is still recognized to this day.

The choreography and styles of Bob Fosse, Micheal Bennett, Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham are still used to create new pieces today. Check out their work below!

Rockettes “All That Jazz” Fosse Dance Tribute

“A Chorus Line Opening/I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line at The 5th Avenue Theatre

“Steps in the Street’ from ‘Chronicle’ by Martha Graham

Katherine Dunham – Carnival of Rhythm, 1941

About Anna Gross

Anna Gross is a Sophomore in the Pre-IB program at Richwoods High School. She is involved in Student Council, Student Leadership Team, speech, tennis, and Spanish Club. Outside of school she loves to travel, bake, and perform as a singer, dancer, and actress!

Art by Terri Silva

Terri Silva is a 20-year-old sophomore at Bradley University pursuing a major in Television Arts with a minor in Interdisciplinary Film Studies. For Silva, art is a hobby in addition to a potential career, and she takes it very seriously. Silva thrives when she tells stories in all forms: drawings, films, writings, and more. Silva thinks of herself as a creative mind that wants to share ideas with others, while also taking in what they have to offer as well.

My Green Teacher

by Rabiah Na’Allah

Discover a few powerful reminders from plants that grow alongside us. 

Who knew something without a chalkboard and a grade book could be a teacher?

I just turned 20 and I feel like I should be doing more. I have this anxiety and dread that time is escaping me. I’m looking around the bedroom I grew up in, sleeping in the same bed I did when I was in 2nd grade. Memories of my past exist so clearly in my brain that I must remind myself I’m not that little girl anymore. Where did all the time go? 

For now, I turn to the little wooden table beside my bed. This table holds my three plants: basil leaves, pothos, and something pretty that I don’t know the name of. I didn’t think I could learn so much from something so small. But as I gaze at the green leaves, I am struck by the lessons I’ve learned from them:

  1. Every day there is growth. We may not be able to see it immediately, but there is growth.
  2. We need sunlight. Because the sun is always there, hiding or shining, we can take advantage of it. But we need the sun to live, to breathe, to see. Like plants do, we should bask in the sunlight more often.
  3. It’s good to wait. With plants, it takes a bit for them to grow sometimes. I thought I got a defective batch of basil seeds because I couldn’t see anything in the soil for days. Eventually, they sprouted, and I was happy I waited.
  4. Life is a cycle. There are good days and bad days. There are times when you’re young and times when you’re old. It’s the journey of life and each stage has its own beauty.
  5. Getting older doesn’t have to be scary. I saw when my pothos was the singular leaf I stuck in water to begin its propagation process. Now there are five leaves growing from the stem and it’s getting bigger. I am enjoying it and looking forward to its next stages.

At 20 years old, I’m entering a new decade of life where I don’t know if things are going to go as I think they will. I fear the unknown and have this worry that I’m wasting my youth. But I have my plants. They will continue to grow with me. They’ll remain on the table beside my bed, teaching me and brightening my space. I am learning these lessons from them, and I think I will be okay.

About Rabiah Na’Allah

Rabiah Na’Allah and is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Graphic Design and Cinema. She is from Peoria, Illinois, and the self-proclaimed middle child of three sisters. Rabiah is heavily involved in the University of Iowa Honors Program and serves as an Honors Outreach Ambassador and leader on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion council. She is involved in various organizations on campus including the Muslim Student Association, African Student Association and Student Advocates of Planned Parenthood. When she’s not working at school, you can find her doing photography, volunteering at a number of student productions through the Theater program, analyzing her favorite movies, or binge-watching Criminal Minds.

About Sophie Liu 

Sophie Liu is a senior at Dunlap High School who has won numerous art prizes such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key Award and several honorable mentions. As someone who also values academics, business, and volunteering, she has participated in and led many activities in her community. Her volunteering contribution has awarded her the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award. She is one of the club leaders of her school’s Interact Volunteering Club. During her summers, Liu has participated in several business camps such as Kelley Business’s Young Women’s Institute, where she has gained knowledge and experience in her passion. She also runs her own online art business where she creates commissioned art pieces and gains firsthand business experience. Liu plans to continue her love of business, volunteering, and art in college, where she will major in either Marketing or Business Analytics and minor in art.

If I

by Ayannah Garcia

When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t 

the old home you missed but your childhood.”  —Sam Ewing

If I had stayed in my old house would everything be different? 

Would I be sleeping next to the same vent

Would all my time still be spent in the lovely, finished basement

If I stayed would my life be different in the present? 

In the past, I wanted to be a vet

Caring for all different types of pets 

Then I started looking into becoming a Rockette 

Now, all I want to be is an actor on-screen playing Roulette    

If I had chosen to do something different, what would it be–

Would I now be an actor that makes a guest appearance on ABC?

Or would I still be at home drinking peach tea?

I think about it always, especially when a see a reflection of me

Fantasizing about it makes me want it more

A tangible thing to work towards

Building that life even though I am a sophomore 

That always will be with me in my core

If I only did that one thing differently and the effect took place

Maybe I would have already finished the race,

The one where my accomplishments are already in my living space

And everything is splendid so there is no need to pace

Somehow I feel like I have time 

But there is this sinking feeling it will never be mine

It might be if I follow a certain line

I think about it all throughout the night.

About Ayannah Garcia

Ayannah Garcia is a freshman attending Richwoods High School, where she takes part in the Pre-IB program, the Royalettes dance team, and the drama club. Outside of school, she loves to dance, read, journal, travel with family, and play with her dog. In addition to these activities, she is currently a member of the Finale Group of the Greater Peoria Illinois Chapter of Jack and Jill, an organization for young African American individuals who want to serve the community, and a member of her church’s youth group.

Art by Ellie Kraemer

Ellie Kraemer is a sophomore and an animation major at Bradley University who lives and breathes her artwork. Becoming a professional artist and animator has been a goal of hers for many years, as various works of digital art and experience have held a pivotal role in her life. Intrigued by the diverse storytelling prowess of interactive media, she aims to get involved in the productions of visuals for video games and animated series after graduation. You can find more of her work at 

A Gift of Life

by Izaak Garcia 

Organ donations save lives, but there 

are flaws in the system.

People who need an organ transplant often have a limited number of days left. It may be a grim thought, but it leads to some vital questions. How much is one day of life worth? $100? $200? Perhaps even $1000? Is it worth giving up your most prized possessions, items that have been with you from the moment you were born? Or is one day so different from another that it is impossible to quantify? To many people around the world, one day of life is worth next to nothing. To others, it is worth everything they have. But what if you were in charge of determining how much one or more days of life are worth, and not only that, but who gets to receive that life? How would you make that decision? How could you? How could we as humans possibly know what form life manifests in, much less choose who gets to obtain it? Well, in medicine, we do know. Life takes the form of a healthy heart, a non-damaged kidney, or a properly working lung. It’s a functioning liver that filters blood, or a pancreas that breaks down the nutrients in your body. And every day, doctors around the world must operate through a system to choose who receives those essential things.

Dr. Tanjala Purnell, Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular and Clinical Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University, delved directly into this problem in a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. By studying kidney transplants from living donors from 1995 to 2014, Dr. Purnell was able to uncover a drastic issue within the Black and Hispanic communities in regards to the eligibility of candidates to donate organs. As time progressed, Dr. Purnell found that even though the process of organ transplants wasn’t inherently based on race, the steps to become an eligible organ donor contained underlying biases towards these communities. In the last 20 years, Black and Hispanic populations have been disproportionately affected by diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Because of these factors, they are unable to become a live donor (Johns Hopkins Medicine). It is apparent that the organ donation system is flawed and needs to be improved.

It’s a harsh truth to swallow. It’s even harder knowing that the system and the people in charge of it should be working to change the medical field for the better. But it does not have to stay this way. There are many things that would help to empower people throughout the organ donation process, such as access to a wide variety of educational resources and trained medical professionals. Educating the public about these problems is the first step in the process of not only understanding the medical system, but also improving it for us and future generations.

About Izaak Garcia

Izaak Garcia is currently a freshman at the University of Southern California, majoring in Cinema and Media Studies with a minor in Applied Cybersecurity. He has played soccer with FC Peoria, Dunlap, and Richwoods for over a decade combined. Garcia has also played tennis for 4 years, securing a spot on both junior varsity and varsity teams. Along with this, he has competed with the Richwoods Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering team for Biology and English for 2 years and earned multiple awards for the school. Garcia is also heavily involved with the arts. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has played the saxophone for 8 years and piano for 2 years. During his junior year of high school, he was involved in theater at Richwoods as stage crew and manager. He helped with two productions and was being trained to be stage manager for senior year before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted school. Outside of school activities, Garcia is involved in Jack and Jill of America (an organization for young African American men and women to serve the community). He served as his chapter’s treasurer during his freshman year of high school. Along with Jack and Jill of America, he enjoys coding, learning new languages, and playing video games.

About Sophie Liu 

Sophie Liu is a senior at Dunlap High School who has won numerous art prizes such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key Award and several honorable mentions. As someone who also values academics, business, and volunteering, she has participated in and led many activities in her community. Her volunteering contribution has awarded her the Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award. She is one of the club leaders of her school’s Interact Volunteering Club. During her summers, Liu has participated in several business camps such as Kelley Business’s Young Women’s Institute, where she has gained knowledge and experience in her passion. She also runs her own online art business where she creates commissioned art pieces and gains firsthand business experience. Liu plans to continue her love of business, volunteering, and art in college, where she will major in either Marketing or Business Analytics and minor in art.