Satire: Student sneaks into stadium, crafts creative college essay

When people feel lost, they often turn to role models for guidance, and that is exactly what senior Tia Banks did on September 12.

Banks says she has been a fan of hip-hop artist Kanye West her “whole life, all the way since The Life of Pablo,” referencing West’s album released in 2016. So naturally, when she needed inspiration for her college application essays, she followed a familiar playbook.

The rapper, searching for the perfect work environment to record his newest album Donda, took up residence in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta United soccer team, no later than July 22. There he hosted an exclusive listening party with industry insiders and other artists, and put the finishing touches on the album.

Banks decided the perfect Jacksonville analog to Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be our very own TIAA Bank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. She declined to comment to the Bugle on exactly how she got into the stadium, where she stayed until the 19th, but the working theory among stadium security personnel is more suited to a Hollywood heist film than to the life of a high schooler.

It’s not like this stadium is filled with rambunctious fans after hours. It’s quieter than any library I’ve ever been in.

— Tia Banks

According to JSO officer Eura Crooke, the grates to the stadium’s air ventilation system were removed several times during Banks’ alleged stay in the stadium, and remnants of Pepsi and student tears were detected in one of the executive suites.

The Bolles Bugle’s digital investigative reporting team uncovered electronic evidence from ticket scanners confirming she was admitted to Jacksonville’s September 12 game against the Houston Texans at 12:54 p.m., six minutes before the game began. “There’s a very clear paper trail here. Well not exactly paper, but you get the point,” remarked Digital and Multimedia Editor Tyler Schimpff ‘22.

These three crucial pieces of evidence lend credence to one theory— Banks entered the stadium just like any other fan. However, at some point near the end of the game, she hid in the air ducts, where she stayed until the stadium was empty, at which point she snuck into a suite and got to work.

“I mean, they’re oh and four,” she said, commenting on the team’s losing record. “It’s not like this stadium is filled with rambunctious fans after hours. It’s quieter than any library I’ve ever been in.”

And, according to her, the accommodations weren’t too sparse either. “I had the whole stadium pretty much to myself. Unlimited soda and ice cream. Do you have any idea how many pretzels they keep in there? It was heaven!” she said.

There’s a very clear paper trail here. Well, not exactly paper, but you get the point.

— Tyler Schimpff

Still, her unconventional strategy has caused her to miss a full week of classes at school. “I was, um, sick. That’s it. Not COVID though. I couldn’t go to school because I had an awful stomach bug. Throwing up all day. That’s it.”

With that one notable exception, Banks’s antics seem to have succeeded. “I had such a great idea for my essay. ‘What is one risk you’ve taken in your academic career?’ Well, I think I’m going to have a much more elaborate answer to that question than any of the other applicants. I’m so excited I could get into my dream school! As long as the deans don’t find out I [information redacted at the request of the student] I’m as good as in!”

Back on campus, Banks has become something of an urban legend, and seems to have inadvertently started a TikTok trend in which students take videos with a cardboard cutout of Kanye West in random places at school. Thus far, the most popular one,  where freshman Parre Kohr filmed himself with the rapper’s likeness on the roof of Bolles Hall, has accrued more than 300,000 likes. However, a strong gust of wind knocked down his ladder, and operations was left to rescue him like a cat from a tree. Kohr commented to the Bugle, “Whatever man. I’m famous now; It doesn’t matter how stupid I was to get there.”