A Decade Review

As the 2010s come to an end we look back on events that shaped the decade


Photo and edited by Hannah Shiflett

Hannah Shiflett and Megan Wilson

It seems hard to understand how the decade is coming to an end. To older generations, the 2010s may not hold major significance for them, but it does for those of us born in the 2000s. For the teens born in the early 2000s, their childhood decade is coming to an official end. For those of us born in 2001 and 2002, the 2020s are the start of our adulthood. It’s hard to imagine that in the 2020s, some of us will be graduating from college, getting a job, possibly getting married or having kids. The ending decade also means the end of our childhood memories and youthful teen years.

As we enter into this new decade, here is a look at what happened in the last ten years.


Pete Souza
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

To start off, the show Glee became widely popular from its release in 2009 . Starring in the show was Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, and other incredible actors. Unfortunately, Cory Monteith, who played the beloved Finn Hudson, passed away back in 2013.

Then came the popular song that is still widely featured in school dances: “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. The song is well remembered among the class of 2020, as it is the childhood song that brings back pleasant memories of being a kid in the 2000s.

Since its 2010 launch, Instagram has become one of the most influential apps of the decade. It has spread to 1 billion active users across the world and is available in over 30 countries.

The Swine Flu epidemic washed over the entire country, encouraging parents to have their kids vaccinated. Even President Barack Obama had his picture taken of receiving the vaccine to encourage the usage of vaccines.


2011 marked the end of an era for a beloved movie series – Harry Potter. In 2011, the final movie of the franchise, Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows Part 2, was released. The movie shocked dedicated fans across the world.

Courtesy of the Japan Society of the UK

Then came the release of one of the most popular songs that have been played in almost every single school dance throughout middle school. LMFAO came out with the song “Party Rock Anthem” that had people of all ages dancing.

An app that never failed to make people smile and share jokes with others was iFunny. It held many funny jokes, videos and some of the original memes.

When March rolled around, Japan was hit with a devastating earthquake – a 9.0 on the Richter scale. It resulted in a Tsunami at 133 feet high. The Earthquake is the fourth largest ever recorded and was the largest to ever occur in Japan. Countries all around the world sent aid to the people of Japan which had over 15,000 killed and 2,000+ missing. The Tsunami had not only been devastating towards Japan, but had also destabilized a nuclear facility, Fukushima Daiichi, resulting in a nuclear disaster.


Shealah Craighead

As the next year came along, it started with the movie The Hunger Games. It was first published as a book and got so much attention that it was made into a movie, easily becoming the movie of the year and continuing on to become a trilogy.

Just as the The Hunger Games was extremely popular, we can all remember the crazy dance and music video for the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy. When it was initially released, it had broken YouTube Records by being the most viewed music video on its platform (until the song “See You Again” by Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa surpassed its view count later on in 2017).

2012 wasn’t just a year of having fun. It was also the year in which the Mayan Calendar came to an end. This had led many people into believing that it was the end of the world, though that was proven false.

The mobile game Subway Surfers and popular social media app, Snapchat were on the rise in 2012. Subway Surfers had a billion downloads on google play and Snapchat continues to be one of the most used social platforms in the world.

2012 also marked the year in which Kim Jong Un became the third official leader of North Korea, after his father and oldest brother had passed away.


Courtesy of KRON 4

The entertainment app, Vine, was created in 2013. Creators were able to make seven second clips, mostly for entertainment. Social media influencers Logan Paul and David Dobrik got their start on this app. Tons videos went viral and are still watched to this day.

A few months later in 2013, one of the most tragic bombings happened. Boston hosted its annual marathon when two bombs were set off, killing three people and wounding over 200. The city was in shock for a long time, but held a marathon again each year after to remember those who did not survive.

As the summer rolled around, everyone was singing and trying to learn the rap to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s most famous song “Thrift Shop.” The song was the number-one hit for weeks and was easily the song of the summer.

Winter came quickly, defined by the release of Frozen. Frozen brought a new wave of Disney songs for kids to sing. “Let it Go,” the hit song from the movie, is still widely played today. The movie also introduced several cute animals and characters, such as Sven and Olaf. A sequel, Frozen 2 was recently released – a perfect way to wrap up the decade!


We can all remember playing with Legos when we were little. Five years ago, the first movie dedicated to bringing Legos to life, The Lego Movie, was born. It became a hit among Lego lovers everywhere.

Skyrocketing her career was Iggy Azalea, when she released her song “Fancy,” instantly becoming a number-one hit. The music video to this song is based off the movie Clueless.

Courtesy of CNN

While everyone was jamming out to “Fancy,” we needed to keep cool during the hot summer. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was started by Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the challenge raised over $115 million for the cause.

People were also mastering the art of the 30-second music video on the app Musically, allowing users to make their own short music videos to share with their friends or post for others to see. You could also duet famous people on the app.


This year seemed to be filled with all good things, but that was not the case. The dangerous virus Ebola broke out in 2014, a disease that can severely hurt the immune system and organs, and oftentimes led to death. Over 11,000+ people lost their lives to this disease back in 2014. Although the disease subsided back in 2014, it still continues to be a fight for the people of Africa.

courtesy of Politico
Same-sex marriage was legalized throughout all 50 states and the White House celebrated by lighting up with colors of the pride flag.


When the summer of 2015 started, the ongoing war between Spotify and Apple Music intensified. The Apple Music release brought many new summer hits, such as Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Silento’s “Watch Me” that went viral. The dance moves from “Watch Me” are still busted out every once in a while.

As the summer ended, it brought many more exciting things,  including the movie that Star Wars fans have been waiting a very long time for. The Force Awakens was an updated movie that featured new characters as well as old.

2015 was also defined by a historic Supreme Court decision: same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States. The LGBTQ+ community and supporters around the world celebrated this, as their years of protest and struggle were finally realized.


2016 was quite a year for many reasons. The musical La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, was released. The movie depicts a sort of “what if” moment, as a pianist and an actress meet one another and dream up the future they could have together when they follow their dreams.

Courtesy of CNN

Everyone remembers the Jonas Brothers and Camp Rock. Kevin Jonas and his band DNCE went on to write the biggest song of the summer, “Cake by the Ocean.”

As the summer turned into fall, a viral video of a boy Daniel, wearing white vans, became viral on Snapchat almost immediately.

Not only were people on their phones watching videos, but they were also trying to collect Pokemon, on the app Pokemon Go, based on geolocations. This game easily became one of the most popular games of the decade.

One of the biggest events from this year was the 2016 election: the historic battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Some would say it was a battle of Russian spies versus corrupted emails.


photo by the Texas Army National Guard

Calling all superhero fans! The long-awaited Wonder Woman was released in 2017. It was praised by fans that fell in love with the comics and had desperately been asking for a screen version of Wonder Woman’s adventures. The film broke box office records, making over $818 million internationally, and director Patty Jenkins became the first female director to do so. Wonder Woman was regarded as one of the best female superhero films that showed what women can achieve.

Following the movie, the song Bodak Yellow by Cardi B released. The song stayed at the top of the charts and gained tons of success. Cardi B drew inspiration from rapper Kodak Black.

Viral videos continued to define 2017. People were making short videos pretending “the floor is lava” by jumping on top of the first object around them. Millions of people were recorded trying to “escape the lava.”

As the year wore on, we can all remember the obsession with the gaming app Fortnite. For a few months, it was all many young people would play. You could play with all kinds of different skins and equipment to try and bring your friends to a “Victory Royale!”

Unfortunately, catastrophic events also occurred in 2017. Texas was hit with Hurricane Harvey, causing over 60 deaths. Some areas received over 60 inches of rain and flooded homes. People who did not have the time to evacuate were trapped in their homes. Waters were not only considered unsafe due to debris, current, and temperature, but also because alligators were seen to be swimming in the waters. Harvey created $125 billion in damage and is tied for the costliest hurricane in history.


We can all remember seeing The Incredibles when we were younger, wishing we could have grown up in a superhero family. The long-awaited sequel hit theaters last year and saw huge success, as everyone wanted a definitive ending to their beloved childhood movie.

Damian Dovarganes, AP

As this Disney classic finally got its sequel, a new artist hit the music stage. Post Malone skyrocketed to fame with his song “Rockstar.” He followed this single by releasing an album, which was also well-received by fans.

Post Malone was not the only person going viral for his musical talents. Illinois’ Mason Ramsey surprised shoppers in Walmart when he was caught yodeling on camera. In a matter of hours, he was viral on the internet. He even got the chance to yodel at Coachella and go on “The Ellen Show.”

The app Musically was replaced by TikTok last year. Users quickly went from making short music videos to funny and relatable videos.

Women led the charge in several nationwide protests against sexual harassment and assault as part of the #MeToo movement. Organizers worked very hard to gain attention from the government and make political changes in the US.


© NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens
The map reveals active fires occurring in the Amazon rain Forest.

We started this year off with the final Avengers movie. The whole decade, everyone was intrigued by all the movies, and the Marvel empire has finally ended more than ten years of great movies.

Over the summer, new rapper Lil Nas X teamed up with country superstar Billy Ray Cyrus to create the country rap song “Old Town Road” that became the song of the summer. The song was used to make countless TikTok videos.

An app that made a big hit this year was Mario Kart. The video game that started on the Wii finally got its big debut on smartphones.

Even with all of this success, the Amazon got hit hard. The Amazon is considered to be one of the most important rainforests in the world. It holds about half of the world’s rainforest, and covers 40% of South America. The Amazon still continues to be a mystery, as new creatures are found almost every single year, and scientists have only ever found certain medical plants in the Amazon. This forest is important not just to South America, but to the whole world, and if the entire forest is gone, the world will go with it.

Since the decade is now at an end, here’s to another great 10 years, hopefully filled with even more joyous moments and events to look back on in the future.