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The Pirate's Eye

The Student News Site of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

The Pirate's Eye

The Student News Site of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

The Pirate's Eye

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2023 Year in review

“Now I have become [Barbie], the destroyer of worlds.” IMAGE BY ASHIKA SENTHILKUMAR (’24)
At the beginning of 2023, people flooded social media with their 2023 bingo cards, filling the rows
with predictions of events that they think will occur throughout the year. As the year came to an end, it became clear that most of these predictions remain unfulfilled.

2023 was marked by surprising challenges and also the rediscovery of shared cultural experiences from the aftermath of COVID. The pandemic had captured everyone’s attention, “so there weren’t as many issues, but the problem with returning to normality is that the normal problems of conflict tend to come with it,” said Assistant Principal Ernie Covington.

As we departed from COVID, the world’s focus has turned to global issues. In October, the conflict be-
tween Israel and Palestine broke out, which has since become a sharply divisive topic and a major event that has caught the world’s attention this year.

Mr. Brian Levinson, a World History teacher said, “I think that here in the United States
we’re deeply saddened by the loss of life in these conflicts, especially when the violence claims young children.”

But conflict was not limited to the Middle East. The war in Ukraine, which began in February 2022, continued into 2023. Dan Sabbagh of The Guardian wrote that the “the war is likely to remain finely balanced – although not stalemated – with both sides chasing a technological or political breakthrough.”

Mr. Aleksandr Gamarnik said “it’s hard to predict” when the war will end because the “condition Russia offered to Ukraine is not good for Ukraine,” but he believes it will end “sooner or later.”

In June, angry orange skies filled our world, reminding our community of the direct impact of climate change on us all. As the bell rang, students approached the exits of the building and quickly smoke started to fill their senses. Most of the blue sky had turned into a furnace. As they headed toward the exits, they could begin to smell the scent of fire and smoke. “The wildfires, I feel for me, is when that idea of climate change really hit home. I’d never experienced anything like that before,” said Mr. Levinson.

Also in June, a submersible for tourism took five passengers 3,800 meters deep in the ocean to see a thrilling view of the Titanic. One of the passengers was a father and his 19 year old son. Tickets for this experience were $250,000 per person according to the Washington Post. The submersible lost all con-
tact with land an hour and forty five minutes later, according to a New York Times investigation. Unfortunately none of the five passengers were found and the submersible was presumed to have imploded, causing an outburst on social media.

This year, social media also helped mark our official return to the movie theaters after COVID, leading to many pop culture trends. Notably, the simultaneous release of the movies “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” led to a pop cultural phenomenon called “Barbenheimer” in the summer. Fans of both movies filled
up theaters wearing matching pink or black. No matter how young or old, Barbie and Oppenheimer both had touching impacts on our world.

On the New York University Website, Tisch School of the Arts professor Joe Pichirallo said, “Those two very different stories became must-see events.” He added, “We haven’t seen that level of success at the box office since the pandemic. The overall theatrical box office still hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels, but these movies showed audiences are willing to come out.”

“My dad bought a Barbenheimer shirt,” Alice Nadtochiy (‘26) said. “The movie was so big
that it even reached my parents.”

People not only began returning to the theaters, but returned to popular events like concerts. At
Taylor Swift’s Era’s tour, fans wore colorful themed outfits that relate to any of Swift’s Albums, and handed out friendship bracelets to each other despite being strangers.

In a Washington Post article, Professor Peter Cohan of Babson College said that Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour was estimated to make around 4.1 billion dollars. According to CNN, the average attendance was 72,549 people per concert.

It wasn’t just Swift who saw huge success on the concert stage last year. Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour also caused a significant impact on her fans. According to Variety Magazine, 2.7 million fans attended her 56 concerts, making $579 million worldwide. Even after all the major events this year, we’ve learned more about each other than ever before. “There’s something special about [last] year,” said Mr. Covington. During COVID, he said that “we saw how bad it could be, and now we know how good it can be.”

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