Spotlight’s top 10 stories of the year

Editor’s note: The Spotlight staff voted for what we thought where the most talked about stories from 2014. What follows is our Top 10 list.

10. Malaysian Airline goes missing:Missing Malaysian plane: Search area goes from 'chessboard to football field'

Flying can be nerve-wracking. Whether you’re anxious before lift off or silently praying when turbulence hits, everyone who’s been in an airplane has likely had at least one uneasy flight. If these things are enough to frighten passengers, imagine your plan disappearing. This is exactly what happened with Malaysia Airline Flight 370 on March 8. Less than an hour after takeoff, the flight disappeared from air traffic controller’s radar screens.The plane, carrying twelve crew members and 227 passengers, has not been found to this day. After this mysterious incident, many conspiracy theories popped up. Some believe the plane was shot down, while others believe in something on the paranormal spectrum. Of course, there are always skeptics who believe that this whole incident was a hoax. Regardless of your stance, this incident is a mystery that we may never solve.

9. #FreeJesus:FreeJesus (1)

Friday, October 31 was far from ordinary at Ben Davis. Students were anticipating their plans for how to spend Halloween night, some even wearing festive clothing to celebrate All Saints Day. As students sat at their lunch tables, a familiar figure stood in the middle of the cafeteria: Jesus.

Okay, it wasn’t really Jesus Christ, just a student in a costume complete with a beard. Needless to say, all eyes were on him. As students rushed to take selfies with Trace, chaos ensued. To prevent further distractions, Trace was removed from the cafeteria, which led onlookers to protest. In a matter of minutes, every student at Ben Davis with access to Twitter could get the full story. The hashtag “Free Jesus”, complete with pictures of the incident and reaction from students was all over social media and quickly became a trending topic.

This is a great example of the impact that social media has in our ever evolving way of getting news. Not only was the story made accessible to anyone with a Twitter, but it went viral in a matter of minutes due to students. While this story certainly isn’t exactly what one would call “important”, it sets a fantastic example of the power, and importance, that social media can play in our society.

8. Ebola crisis:

You’ve probably heard it all around school. As soon as someone coughs, it is followed by another person saying, “Oh my gosh! You have Ebola!” While we think it is all fun and games, Ebola is actually a serious problem in our world today. As of today, the epidemic is spreading quickly across West Africa and has even made it into the United States a few times. The first two Ebola patients, Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Nancy Writebol, contracted Ebola overseas and were transferred back to America for care at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. After three weeks of care, they were miraculously cured of Ebola and released from the hospital. Since then, there have been 4 laboratory-confirmed cases of Ebola in the US. The first case belongs to Thomas Eric Duncan, who also contracted the disease overseas but began showing symptoms when he was back in the Ebola (2)United States. Duncan ended up passing away from the disease. The second case was Nina Pham, a nurse who actually treated Thomas Eric Duncan. On October 11, she became the first person to contract Ebola in the US. On October 24, she was declared free of the virus and released from the hospital. The third case goes to Amber Vinson, another nurse who provided care for Duncan. In her case, she had flown from Cleveland to Dallas with symptoms, potentially infecting everybody aboard her flight. After testing positive for Ebola and receiving care, she was determined free of the disease and also released. The last known case goes to Craig Spencer, a physician from New York who worked with Ebola patients in West Africa The day before showing symptoms, Spencer did an extensive amount of activities around New York, but officials say it is unlikely he contracted the disease through handrails, etc. Spencer was released from the hospital on November 11, declared free of the virus. Ebola is no joke, the most common symptom is a high fever, which all the cases initially reported.

7. World cup:

The scene was all set for a Brazilian celebration as Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup in June and July. World cupGermany had other plans when the Germans blitzed Brazil 7-1 in a semifinal matchup before going on to win the country’s fourth World Cup with a dramatic 1-0 extra session win over Argentina.

The United States fared well in the tournament, advancing to the knockout stage in the tournament before losing 2-1 to Belgium. The team helped develop a nationwide sense of pride as huge watching parties developed in parks and restaurants around the country for each game.


America hasn’t seen any major terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001. New this year, a group by the name of ISIS seems to have set its targets on the US. ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. After being defeated in 2006 by Sunni militias and US troops, they regained their power and the group rebooted in 2011. So far, White House officials have confirmed three released videos of beheadings by the islamic extremist group. James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig were among the American’s killed by the group.

5. Gay marriage:

This summer, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing same sex marriage in our state. This decisGay marriageion came with mixed emotions for many Hoosiers. For same sex couples, this decision meant they had the same opportunities as their heterosexual counterparts. Those opposed to same sex marriage felt that this ruling would threaten the moral integrity of our state. After the ruling, many counties in Indiana refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. This resulted in a stay until a Supreme Court decision was made on the appeal, meaning that no same sex couples would be able to marry in our state for the time being. This stay ended on October 7 after state officials ordered county clerks to remove all public obstacles to conducting and recognizing same sex marriage in Indiana.

4. #ALSIceBucketChallenge:ALS

ALS is also known for Lou Gehrig’s disease. In 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral. While the main source isn’t actually known, since July 29, 2014, the challenge has raised the ALS Association $115 billion in donations. The challenge is simple — pour a bucket of ice cold water on your head or donate money to the ALS Association. After doing so, you are supposed to nominate a maximum of three people to participate. In one version of the challenge, the participant is expected to donate $10 if they have poured the ice water over their head or donate $100 if they have not.

3. Dominique Allen and the suicides in surrounding schools:Dominique Allen (2)

On August 31, 2014, a body of a student who attended Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center was found badly burned behind a west side Indianapolis home. She was later identified as 15 year old Dominique Allen. Her body was found by an uninvolved homeowner walking his dog in the 1100 block of Elder Avenue. The coroners declared her death a homicide by asphyxiation. Ben Davis NGC had 10 counselors on hand the next day at school for anybody who needed to talk. After gathering evidence, and conducting DNA tests, police were lead to 46 year old William Gholston Sr. who has had an extensive criminal history. Trial is currently set for mid-February and Gholston is being held without bond.

In 2014, there were four suicides that affected our school and other area high schools. This brought to light a renewed problem that teens face each and every day. For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death and in 2012, someone died from suicide every 12.9 minutes.

2. Winning state:

The Giants overcame a 17-0 second quarter deficit before beating conference rival Carmel 42-24 for the school’s eightWinning state (1)h Indiana state football championship.

Ben Davis was a team of destiny, winning two straight home playoff games in dramatic fashion. The first was a regional championship win over Warren Central that ended with an 84-yard touchdown drive in the final 1:14. The game was decided on a 14-yard scoring toss from senior Kyle Castner to junior Stori Emerson.

The following Friday the Giants faced a 45-28 deficit late in the third quarter and ended up beating Center Grove 49-45 on an amazing 74-yard touchdown run by junior Chris Evans in the final two minutes.

The Giants finished 12-2 and dominated the final three quarters of the state championship game. Evans finished with 139 yards and a touchdown while Castner threw for two scores and sealed the win by running three yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal with 5:38 left.

1. Police brutality:

This year, it was hard to turn on the news or read a newspaper without hearing something related to Ferguson, Missouri oFergusonr police brutality.

On August 9, 18 year old Michael Brown was fatally shot by 28 year old Officer Darren Wilson after being suspected of robbing a convenience store. Shortly after this incident, riots began. Many questioned the reasoning behind this use of deadly force, and it was a widespread belief that Brown was killed because of his race.

On November 24, a Grand Jury decided to not charge Officer Wilson for murder, a decision which caused riots to start up yet again. Because this story was in the headlines throughout the latter half of the year, eyes have been peeled for other instances of police brutality. In New York, for example, Eric Garner was killed by NYPD after being put in a choke hold. Onlookers report that he was not resisting the police. With as much coverage as police brutality has got in 2014, it’s hard to imagine these stories will disappear in the new year.