The Enduring Legacy of Chess

by Izaak Garcia

It’s a timeless yet ever-changing game—
with almost unlimited ways to play.

Moves. Counter-moves. Moves to the countermoves. Dominating space. Thinking one, two,
three steps ahead of your opponent. Always
looking through the ranks of pawns, knights,
and bishops for the next attack on the king.
This is the age-old game that is chess, and
since it was invented, few games have come
close to it in terms of adaptation and finesse.
With countless strategies available for use
by the player and hundreds of thousands of
variations under each strategy, chess offers
anyone who learns its rules almost unlimited
ways to play the game.

Throughout chess’s long history, the
game has touched almost every single country
on the planet, heralding international masters
and grandmasters (the highest rank a chess
player can achieve) across the globe. From
the formidable Russian dynasty of world
champions such as Alexander Alekhine and
Gary Kasparov, to the American and Mexican
geniuses Bobby Fischer and José Capablanca,
and now the five-time world champion Magnus
Carlson from Norway, players can arise from
just about anywhere in the world.

Chess is not just a game of memorizing
tactics, but also one of adaptation. With
each individual player bringing their own
techniques to the table and the game’s
preferred strategies changing immensely over
time, it is imperative that every player adapts
their approach to their opponent’s strategies.

Take Alexander Alekhine for example.
An absolutely phenomenal grandmaster and
reigning world champion from 1927 to 1935
and 1937 to 1946, Alekhine was not just known
for his chess prowess, but also for his ability
to adapt and play in complex positions that
appeared less common. “Alekhine’s Defense”
(named for the grandmaster) was a new
kind of opening move, meant to immediately
create pressure on the white pieces and force
the opposing player into a more complicated
position, similar to the playstyle of Alekhine.

Other players, like fellow world
champion José Capablanca, took a different
approach to the game. Instead of purposefully
constructing complex positions for himself
and his opponents, Capablanca would simplify
the game by attacking pieces to remove them
from the chessboard while sacrificing his own
pieces (known as trading a piece). More often
than not, by the end of his games, there would
be few pieces left on the board, quickly sending
the game into a phase called the endgame.
This is where Capablanca would shine,
expertly winning his games in a calm and
collected fashion.

When viewed from the perspective of
masters and grandmasters alike, the game of
chess can seem daunting and hard to learn. But
chess isn’t just for them. Anyone can learn to
play, no matter their skill level, and learning the
game provides a great opportunity to introduce
it to friends and have them play, too. As you
become more familiar with the game, you can
add different opening moves to your arsenal
of knowledge, as well as theory on how to play
the endgame. Chess continually expands and
evolves, and now more than ever is a perfect
time to start learning something new!

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 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. 

Reigniting the Flame: Regulating Academic Burnout

by Rasheedah Na’Allah

Are you experiencing signs of burnout?
Here are some tips to feel less stressed.

As I prepare for college in Fall of 2022, I reflect
on my high school career as a whole. I can’t help
but feel pride and accomplishment for the hard
work and achievements my four-year academic
expedition has brought me. But there is one
feeling that seems to overshadow them all as
I think of the journey that lies ahead:
academic burnout.

Senioritis is a common term for this
amongst my peers, but in reality, senioritis and
academic burnout can differ drastically. As
Southern New Hampshire University defines
it, senioritis is “a common affliction describing
the lack of motivation felt by students who are
reaching the end of their courses.” Although
senioritis can lead to negative effects in
school, burnout is a more serious condition
with longer-lasting consequences. UoPeople
describes academic burnout as “a negative
emotional, physical and mental reaction to a
prolonged study that results in exhaustion,
frustration, lack of motivation and reduced
ability in school.” Symptoms include lack of
concentration, inspiration, fatigue, anxiety,
and more.

The constant shifts from in-person to
online education have also contributed to the
competitive environment. An Ohio State study
shows a 31% increase in burnout and a 9%
increase in anxiety surfacing among students
from August 2020 to April 2021. While some
say burnout is common and inevitable, the
proactive recognition and regulation of these
feelings should be highly encouraged. Here
are some tips for students who feel signs of
academic burnout:

Take a Well-Deserved Break

Your education and willingness to challenge yourself are super important when striving to do your best work, but if you aren’t careful, it can build resentment towards learning. Make sure
that you don’t exert yourself beyond what you are capable
of—and take regular breaks. Know that understanding your
limits is not a weakness, but rather, a strong suit. Give yourself
a chance to breathe and a sense of balance. This can, in turn,
refresh your mind for more learn

Embrace New Hobbies

Whether this is learning to cook hitting the gym, creating music, or joining a book club, engaging in activities that take your mind off of your stressors are great for your wellbeing. This is also how you separate school life from social life.

Set Goals You’d Like to Achieve

It can be easy to get lost in the tornado of work that surrounds you each day. Try to keep yourself grounded by setting practical goals. Having specific tasks in front of you will help you compartmentalize important assignments versus ones that can wait.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

This can sound cliché, but gaining support and assistance can
make a world of a difference to your stress load. This includes
building relationships with your teachers or professors, gaining
a mentor that has been on the same academic track as you, or
even asking friends for emotional support.

As we work to become better students
and individuals, we cannot forget to appreciate
who we are and the path that we are on. We
cannot forget that with strength, love, and
support–– anything is possible.

Illinois Call4Calm Text Line:
Text TALK to 552020
Free Teen Stress Management Course: https://

About Rasheedah Na’Allah

Rasheedah Na’Allah is a senior at Dunlap High School in Peoria, Illinois. She is the youngest of her 3 siblings and enjoys the benefits of being the “baby of the house.” Her Nigerian and Muslim upbringing has led her to be resilient and outspoken in her beliefs. Rasheedah is a dedicated student who is a part of the National Honors Society and loves to be active in her community. She planned a diversity assembly at her school in front of the entire student body, formed an extensive research project on racial disparities and inequities in the education system, and has been appointed into the Peoria County Board’s Racial Justice and Equity Commission. She has also served as Dunlap’s representative to engage and network with young state leaders attending the 2020 Illinois Senator Youth Leadership Council. Rasheedah is the founder of her school’s Muslim Student Association, leads in foreign language club, and is a strong member of the color guard team. Outside of school, she enjoys volunteering and regularly posts on her cooking page through social media. She started her own book club and enjoys reading and discussing books by BIPOC authors. She hopes to pursue Business, Health, and Wellness during her college years and is extremely honored to write for the Giving Voice Initiative.

About Faith Marie

Faith Marie is a homeschooled senior in high school who dreams of being an artist entrepreneur one day. She fell in love with creating at a young age and now experiments with all kinds of mediums. You can find her on Instagram at @faithmariedraws.

There’s a Person Behind That Screen, You Know

by Anjali Yedavalli

Avoid getting caught up in the juicy details
of distant Internet dramas and gossip.

On May 21, 2021, singer-songwriter Olivia
Rodrigo released her debut album, Sour, finally
allowing the world to relish in 11 glorious tracks
spanning topics from heartbreak to bitterness.
Just months earlier, Rodrigo released her debut
single “drivers license,” which broke just about
every record imaginable.

Most have heard Olivia’s story. She and
Joshua Bassett, her co-star on the Disney+
show High School Musical: The Musical: The
Series, were allegedly in a relationship for some
time until he began dating another Disney star.
Many speculate that this was the inspiration
for the album, though neither has confirmed
anything of the sort. Which brings us to the
question: How much can we really expect to
know about these celebrities?

Joshua Bassett seems to think that
the public doesn’t know half the truth. On
December 3rd, Bassett released a trio of songs,
“Crisis,” “Secret,” and “Set Me Free,” all detailing
past relationships. “Crisis,” in particular,
sparked conversations about mental health
and the toxicity of social media, revealing that
Joshua received excessive death threats and
was harassed for months straight after Olivia’s
album came out.

It’s no secret that social media is
often used as a harbor for hate. A study
from the scientific journal Information and
Management describes how bullying through
SNS (social networking sites) can increase the
risk of depression and self-harming behaviors,
even leading to suicide. A large-scale study
conducted by the anti-bullying campaign Ditch
the Label revealed that 46% of respondents
reported being bullied more than once. What
makes social media so useful for bullies, and
therefore so insidious, is how it offers so many
opportunities for the interaction between the
bully and the victim to be extended.

Features such as likes, comments,
sharing, and hashtags arguably perpetuate
social interactions for longer than they would
exist in real life. This is certainly the case for
many artists who choose to remain on social
media, where demoralizing hashtags about
themselves may be all they see for periods at a
time. Studies on the effects of SNS bullying are
constantly underway, but it is clearly prevalent
in today’s society. Efforts are being made to
combat the negative effects of social media,
but it can be hard to elicit any meaningful
change. A study from the Journal of Social
and Physical Psychology suggests that
limiting social media decreases loneliness
and depression, with the sweet spot being 30
minutes a day as a maximum.

If we should take anything away from
Olivia and Joshua’s story, perhaps it is to avoid
getting caught up in the juicy details of distant
Internet dramas and instead consider that they
are, in fact, people. They are allowed to create
art without threats to their well-being. What is
far more interesting than fanning the flames
of gossip is how two talented artists are able
to evoke such vivid emotions through their
lyrics and music. So, as you trek through your
social media platforms—hopefully, only for a
little bit a day—keep in mind: These people are
real people, with real feelings, undergoing the
normal pains of a breakup. Focus on that first.

One hundred percent of Joshua Bassett’s
earnings from his song “Crisis” will be donated
to mental health organizations. You can stream
“Crisis” on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube Music,
or Pandora.

Works Cited and more information:
Bennett, Willa. “Joshua Bassett Is Still
Processing.” GQ, 3 Dec. 2021.
Chan, Tommy K.H., et al. “Cyberbullying on
Social Networking Sites: A Literature Review
and Future Research Directions.” Information
& Management, North-Holland, 5 Dec. 2020.
Hunt, Melissa G., et al. “No More Fomo: Limiting
Social Media Decreases Loneliness and
Depression.” Journal of Social and Clinical
Psychology, vol. 37, no. 10, 2018, pp. 751–768.

About Anjali Yedavalli

Anjali Yedavalli is a senior at Dunlap High School. Aside from taking academically rigorous classes, Anjali is involved in Speech Team (IHSA State qualifier in 2020), Student Council, UNICEF Club, the school plays, Jazz Choir, and is the Madrigal Queen of Dunlap’s Madrigal choir. Anjali’s main goal in the community is spreading passion for both academics and creativity. She has organized and led multiple public speaking workshops for middle school students and volunteered her time at North South Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding underprivileged children in India. In addition, she has joined and contributed to the Dunlap Young Musicians, a student-created music group that performs at senior homes on the holidays. She is also active in her Sunday School (Chinmaya Mission) and has helped write promotional songs and plays to help fundraise for the school. Last but not least, Anjali is a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer of Mythili Dance Academy and has contributed to shows that have raised over $500k for a variety of charities.

About 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.

Loving Local

by Neve Kelley

You can make a difference in your own
community by shopping small.

Small Business Saturday
is a shopping holiday in the
United States created by American
Express to encourage people to shop locally.
According to the 2020 Small Business
Consumer Insights Survey, the 11th annual
Small Business Saturday reached a record
high of $19.8 billion in reported spending.
This survey also demonstrated that 97% of
shoppers recognized the positive impact
they could make by shopping small, and 85%
of shoppers said they encouraged others
to shop small. This positive evidence shows
that the awareness and support for the
Shop Small campaign is high and will likely
continue to grow. American consumers often prioritize online
retailers over local stores because of the ease
at which they can shop, but the “Shop Small”
movement is trying hard to combat this.
Shopping small adds up, and over time will
allow you to be a part of your own thriving

The first official Small Business
Saturday event took place on November 27,

  1. This event was so successful that a year
    later, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed
    a resolution in support of the day, and it is
    recognized by the President of the United
    States United States every year. Small
    Business Saturday is also a counterpart
    to Black Friday and Cyber Monday,
    always occurring on the Saturday after
    Thanksgiving. This is to encourage holiday
    shoppers to support local businesses, rather
    than major retailers and e-commerce stores
    according to American Express.

According to the 2020 Small Business
Consumer Insights Survey, the 11th annual
Small Business Saturday reached a record
high of $19.8 billion in reported spending.
This survey also demonstrated that 97% of
shoppers recognized the positive impact
they could make by shopping small, and 85%
of shoppers said they encouraged others
to shop small. This positive evidence shows
that the awareness and support for the
Shop Small campaign is high and will likely
continue to grow.

According to Shop Local 365, a
campaign for shopping small in the Greater
Peoria area, shopping local in Peoria is
not an event—“it’s a daily practice to
grow stronger communities.” Rather than
a single event once a year, Shop Local
365 encourages members of the Peoria
community to shop small every single day.
Their website also states that people in the
Peoria area are “coming together to form
their own shopping culture” that supports
small businesses and sets up the community
for long-term success.

Not only does shopping small
allow money to circulate and benefit
our community instead of ending up in
the pockets of strangers, it allows us to
build our own strong economy from the
inside out. The “local multiplier” effect
explains that money put into our economy
will circulate and increase revenue and
income opportunities for other local
businesses; but when outside purchases
are made, those funds are transferred
outside of the local economy. Shop
Local 365 encourages us to keep that
money in the Greater Peoria area.

Now, more than ever, small
businesses need support. By just picking
up a cup of coffee from a local coffee
shop or buying a gift from a local store,
you are making a difference. If you are
inspired to support a small business, here
are a few businesses in Peoria area you
can support, whether that is by shopping
or sharing them on social media:
Leaves ‘n Beans Coffee Co.
Lit On Fire
Urban Artifacts
Moon Dancer
Rhythm Kitchen
Radish Kitchen (formerly Up Beet Jams)
The Noshery
Styles Studio

About Neve Kelley

Neve Kelley a senior in the International Baccalaureate Program at Richwoods High School. In addition to being in an academically rigorous program, she is also heavily involved in community and school theatre productions. She takes private voice lessons and has been involved with choir and madrigals at Richwoods. Kelley is the co-editor in chief of her school paper, sits on the executive board of student council, and is in various school clubs. She also spends much of her time working as a barista at Leaves ‘n Beans in Peoria Heights. 

Art by Aryanne Westfall

Ary Westfall is a junior Interactive Media major and Theatre Arts minor attending Bradley University. She is the social media manager for DAT, creates webcomics in her free time, and enjoys all forms of sequential art. Ary hopes to break into the comic world or find work in pre-production art for television. 

Are We Living In the Past?

by Emmanuel Agyemang

The stars you see today appear as they
existed many years ago.

Have you ever felt fascinated by the lights that
array themselves in the sky at night? Some
take the shape of animals, so much so that
we have named the stars after these animals.
Ursa Major, a constellation in the Northern
hemisphere, for example, has been named the
Great She Bear as its form looks like a bear.
The Andromeda galaxy, the closest galaxy
to our Milky Way, can leave us in awe as we
marvel at how insignificant we seem relative
to such majesty.

Yet beyond the beautiful sky at night,
what exactly are we looking at? Many think
we are looking at the stars as they are in
the present. Yet on the contrary, we actually
are looking at them as they were hundreds,
thousands or even millions of years ago.

Light travels at a constant speed of 186,000
miles per second. At that speed, one can
circumnavigate the earth’s equator seven and
a half times in a single second—or travel six
trillion miles in one year. The name for that is a
“light year,” and that is the metric at which the
universe is measured.

For example, the North Star, Polaris, is
about 323 light years away from Earth. That
means the light that leaves Polaris today will
reach Earth in 323 years. Therefore, the light
that we see tonight from the North Star left
that star 323 years ago. Which means if there
was an alien with a telescope powerful enough
to view the Earth from the North Star, they
would see the events that took place on Earth
323 years ago. And this same concept applies
to all the other stars and galaxies we see in the
sky. We are seeing the Andromeda galaxy as it
was 2.5 million years ago, since it is 2.5 million
light years away from us and its light is just
reaching us today.

Our sun, a type G star which burns
around 5,000 degrees Kelvin, is about eight light
minutes away from the Earth. Consequently,
we see the sun as it was eight minutes in the
past, and not as it is. So, if the sun disappeared,
we would not know until about eight minutes
later. The further away stars are, the further
back in time they are. For example, if you are
speaking to a friend who is about a meter away,
the light from the friend’s face takes about
3.666 nanoseconds to reach you. Therefore, if
you look around you, according to the concept
of time measured in light years, you are looking
into the past; it only depends on how far in time
you are looking. Whether three nanoseconds
into the past or millions of years into the past,
you only need to look around.

The Peoria planetarium provides an
in-depth understanding of the stars and the
universe by simulating the stars and other
heavenly bodies. Visit the Peoria Riverfront
Museum to learn more about the cosmos.

About Emmanuel Agyemang

Emmanuel Agyemang is an international student from Ghana
and a recent graduate of Bradley University with a degree in Political
Science. He has an interest in pursuing law in the near future.

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.