Maroon Recaps 2021


Maroon Staff

Scarsdale High School’s Maroon recaps the most notable events of 2021.

Jennifer Schwartz and Stephanie Liu

After a very eventful year, we welcome 2022! Here is a recap of some of the most important events of 2021:

Derek Chauvin found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder

On May 25th, 2020, 46-year-old George Floyd died as a result of a police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, preventing him from being able to breathe, even when Floyd repeatedly told Derek Chauvin and even said, “You’re going to kill me, man.” In response, there were many protests in which people demonstrated. Finally, on May 29th, 2021, the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison and, under Minnesota Law, must serve two-thirds of his sentence (15 years) and is eligible for supervised release for the remaining seven and a half years

Squid Game becomes the number-one Netflix show in the world

On September 17th, 2021, Netflix released “Squid Game” a 9-episode thriller/drama series. The plot revolves around many poor people who accept an invitation to compete in children’s games to win a prize. The show received 1.65 billion hours of viewing in the four weeks after its premiere. Netflix paid 21.8 million dollars for the show which is estimated to earn $891 million. Squid game is a South Korean show, and, while “Bridgerton” had been the most popular show before, the new show was viewed around 2 and a half times more than “Bridgerton” in the first month.

Astroworld Tragedy

On November 5th, 2021, rapper Travis Scott performed at Astroworld’s music festival, where around 50,000 people attended. Scott’s high-energy performances are often accompanied by crowd surfing and lots of, as he describes, “raging.” When he first appeared on stage, the crowd surged forward, toward the stage. People were packed very tight, causing many people to be crushed and have difficulty breathing. As a result of the surge, 10 people died from “compression asphyxia” and hundreds of others were injured. While it was obvious what was occurring, no actions were taken before it was too late.

Capitol Storming

On January 6, 2021, a riot was initiated by supporters of former President Donald Trump, disrupting a Congress session certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. This event was classified as an insurrection or attempted coup d’état and even domestic terrorism by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Encouraged by Trump’s speech to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” and “fight like hell”, rioters stormed the Capitol grounds. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia were unable to control the crowd as they wielded weapons such as baseball bats and flagpoles. Rioters climbed the walls of the West Terrace and ransacked the offices inside the Capitol building where the Congress session was being held. Casualties included 3 police officers, 1 from injuries and 2 by suicide, and 3 rioters by being shot by a police officer, from a heart attack, and being trampled by the mob. Furthermore, 140 officers were injured and $1.5 million worth of damage was done to the Capitol building.

Blue Origin takes Jeff Bezos, three others to space

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, got permission from the government to launch his brother, an 82-year-old female aviation pioneer called Wally Funk, a $28 million 18-year-old auction winner called Oliver Daemen, and himself to space aboard the Blue Origin. The Blue Origin launched 66 miles into the sky and landed with a parachute in the desert after 11 minutes. On July 20th, exactly 52 years after Apollo 11’s trip, they launched from New Horn, Texas, the location of the company’s headquarters. The successful trip meant Wally Funk was officially the oldest person to go to space. Additionally, the launch occurred just days after Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic was launched into the air and, in September, Elon Musk also launched SpaceX’s first-ever all-civilian spaceflight. It seems as though the three billionaires were in a heated race for space tourism.

Meghan and Harry Speak with Oprah

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the Royal family and moved from the UK to Canada (and later moved to the US) in January of 2020. Over a year later, on March 7th, 2021, Meghan and Harry appeared in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS. In this interview, Meghan and Harry gave out lots of insider information and shared a bit of drama about why they left the Royal family. According to Harry, they left because of a “lack of support and lack of understanding.” Harry goes on to explain that another motive was that they wanted to get away from the press, which had, in some cases, been tracking the way they spent their money and had made racist comments regarding the fact that Meghan identifies as being mixed-race. Some of the key points of the interview centered around the tensions in the royal family. Since Meghan was pregnant, she described that there were comments about, “how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” In addition, Meghan said that she had suicidal thoughts because of the isolation in the family. Harry also admitted that he felt trapped and oppressed in the family.

The U.S. Rejoins the Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international treaty to solve climate change. On December 12, 2015, it was adopted by 196 parties and entered into force on November 4, 2016. The U.S. became the first nation to formally leave the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2020, the day after the presidential election. However, President Joe Biden signed the instrument to have the U.S. rejoin the Agreement on January 20, 2021, his first day of presidency. On February 19, 2021, the U.S. officially rejoined the Paris Agreement as a party.

Cargo Ship blocks the Suez Canal 

The Suez Canal is a 120-foot wide artificial waterway that was created in 1869. The Ever Given is a 1300-foot long Japanese-owned cargo ship, one of the largest container ships, that was on its way from China to Europe when, disturbed by high winds and poor visibility, it got stuck in the Suez Canal on March 23rd, 2021. The ship blocked the path of 367 vessels. Since the vessel weighs 200,000 metric tons it was very difficult for tugboats to pull it out and free it. However, after 6 days and 7 hours, it finally began to make its way down again. The blockage led to a hold-up of around $10 billion dollars every day.

Historic Heat in the West

In June 2021, a massive heatwave washed over the western U.S. with temperatures over 100ºF lasting for a span of six days. States that were hit hardest included California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and New Mexico; with Phoenix, Arizona with temperatures above 115ºF for the entire span of the six days with a pinnacle of 118ºF on June 17, 2021. Other cities suffered similarly sweltering heat as well. The hottest temperatures in the whole country were at Death Valley on June 17 with temperatures reaching 128º. In addition to the heat, 83 wildfires also broke out throughout 13 states, including the Bootleg fire in Oregon that was “so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it’s changing the weather.” With the creation of pyrocumulus clouds from the rapidly rising, cooling, and condensation of moisture, the wildfire also created violent thunderstorms with lightning and strong winds, further worsening the situation.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars

In February 2021, NASA’s Perseverance Rover landed in Jezero Crater on Mars. In 10 months, it has traveled 1.8 miles and set the record for the longest rover drive in a day on Mars. It has also taken over 100,000 photos and six samples of rock and atmosphere. The rover’s goal is to study and search for ancient microbial life. Samples taken by Perseverance can be brought back to Earth for study in order to create possibilities for human exploration of Mars. Some discoveries made by the rover include bedrock possibly formed from volcanic lava flows and rocks that showed interaction with water that also included organic materials. Perhaps Perseverance may find signs of interstellar life sometime in the future.

Adele’s New Album 30

The 15-time Grammy winner, Adele, had taken a six-year break after her last album 25, which came out in November of 2015. Recently, on November 19th, 2021, Adele released 30, her fourth album (all of which are named after her age). Before releasing her album, Adele responded to a fan’s question about what her album would be about by saying, “Divorce, babe, divorce.” The album included the songs, “Strangers by Nature”, “Easy on Me”, “My Little Love”, “Cry Your Heart Out”, “Oh My God”, “Can I Get It”, “I Drink Wine”, “All Night Parking”, “Woman Like Me”, “Hold On”, “To Be Loved”, and “Love Is a Game”. Just 3 days after its release, the album became the most successful album of 2021 in the US. Adele sold 800,000 copies of her album, 80% of which were vinyl or CDs, which contradicts the streaming trend.

U.S. Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan

President Biden declared the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting by August 31, 2021. Over 120,000 U.S. citizens and citizens of allies of the United States were evacuated over the span of 17 days in the largest airlift in U.S. history. Unfortunately, in the final week of the withdrawal on August 26, terrorists from the group ISIS-K attacked the airport, killing 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans. On the afternoon (Eastern time) of August 30, the last C-17 military cargo aircraft departed Hamid Karzai International Airport and carried out the last of the evacuations of over 116,000 people in the last two weeks of the withdrawal, as reported by U.S. Marine Corps General and commander of U.S. Central Command, Kenneth McKenzie.

Taylor Swift’s release of Red (Taylor’s Version)

Red (Taylor’s Version) is popular singer Taylor Swift’s rerelease of her 2012 album Red after her manager, Scooter Braun, purchased the masters to the older album in 2019. She stated that the purpose of the rerelease was to reclaim her own work instead of having it owned by someone else. On November 12, she released her album of 30 songs, 9 of which were previously unreleased. One especially popular release was “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”, which you may have guessed, was 10 minutes long with guest appearances from Phoebe Bridgers, Chris Stapleton, and Ed Sheeran.

Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License”

17-year-old actress and aspiring singer Olivia Rodrigo released her debut single “Driver’s License” on January 8, 2021, and it almost immediately reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In the first week of its release, the song was streamed over 76.1 million times in the United States, and later set Spotify’s worldwide record of most streams in a week. On Apple Music, it reached No. 1 in 48 countries; and on Spotify, 38 countries. Furthermore, 38,000 downloads were made in the U.S. in a week. Olivia Rodrigo has gone on to release even more hit singles and her album Sour.