Tom Cotton visits Central, promotes youth involvement

Tom Cotton addresses the crowd while visiting Central on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. The senator's visit was sponsored by guidance counselor Debby Bonds and Central's Teenage Republicans club.

Tom Cotton addresses the crowd while visiting Central on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. The senator’s visit was sponsored by guidance counselor Debby Bonds and Central’s Teenage Republicans club. Photo by Ethan Dial

by Katie Kumpuris, Staff Writer

Students crowded into the auditorium on October 29 to hear Congressman Tom Cotton speak on the importance of public service, some hoping to debate, and some hoping to be entertained. However, no controversy unfolded, because limitations were set on questions while Cotton had the floor.

“It’s young people getting involved in politics that really makes a difference,” Cotton commented.

The Representative began by urging the students to take an active role in their civil future by voting, campaigning, and serving their community. Cotton applauded the past 12 generations who have shaped the United States, and revealed their secret to success- hard work and passion. He believes that these two attributes are the building blocks of the American legacy. And Cotton is running for Senate to take responsibility for that legacy.

“You never know what the Lord is going to put in your path,” Cotton said.

He told of his unexpected time in the military and encouraged the audience to serve this country. While Cotton’s beliefs were at some points obvious, he seemed to try to separate his message from his political views.

“Nothing is more rewarding than serving for something greater than yourself,” Cotton said.

Cotton ended his speech by thanking the students and then posing for multiple pictures before hurrying off to his next event.

Blair “The Fish” Bish commits, signs to swim at Arizona

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(from left) Adelle Simmons, Kim Burleson, Yvonne Bish, Blair Bish, Jeff Bish, and coach Patrick Nalley.

Photo by James Wisener, Online Editor

Senior Blair Bish signed his letter of intent to swim next year at the University of Arizona on Tuesday, November 18. Bish chose Arizona over Tennessee, Georgia, Louisville, and Missouri State. As an Olympic Qualifier for the 2016 Olympics, Bish couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for him. “I couldn’t be going though a better program to prepare for the Olympics,” Bish said.

 

Kilwin’s offers a sweet downtown deal

Staff writer Brooke Perkins enjoys the turtle apple from Kiwali's. Photo by Melissa Joiner

Staff writer Brooke Perkins enjoys the turtle apple from Kilwin’s. Photo by Melissa Joiner

by Brooke Perkins, Staff Writer

As downtown Little Rock develops into a more appealing place for people of all ages, the variety of restaurants and shops becomes larger, making it easy for family-owned places like Kilwin’s to thrive.

Kilwin’s is a nationally franchised store, established in 1947. However, it’s new to the Little Rock area. It opened right across from the River Market at 415 President Clinton Ave on August 17.

Open seven days a week, Kilwin’s offers a quiet, bright, kid-friendly escape from reality. With over 32 flavors of ice cream, ranging from Toasted Coconut to Raspberry Sorbetto, the store satisfies even the most exotic tastes.

They have a wide variety of fudge, which patrons can sample, including Butter Pecan and Turtle, and the people’s favorite, Razorback Mud. Along with fudge, they have everything you can think of dipped in chocolate, from pretzels and strawberries, to Oreos and almonds.

Perhaps their best seller is the caramel apples. I happened to enjoy the Turtle apple, which was dipped in caramel, drizzled with milk chocolate and topped with pecans. The staff offer the option of changing the topping to dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.

Kilwins has an array of popcorns, taffys, and toffees. Along with these, customers can choose from different sundaes, milkshakes, malts, and beverages such as hot chocolate, lattes, and plain sodas.

Though I would love to be selfish and keep all of the Kilwin’s goodness to myself, their work is just too good to be hidden. There’s no doubt that it will become one of the hottest ice cream joints in town.

Spirit week brightens up school, students

Senior Rachel McAlister poses as an elderly woman on Old Timers Tuesday during football spirit week. Photo by Melissa Joiner

Senior Rachel McAlister poses as an elderly woman on Old Timers Tuesday during football spirit week. Photo by Melissa Joiner

 

by Lily Jones, Staff Writer

Pajamas, costumes you’ve been planning all week, and everything out of the ordinary. Do you know what that means? Spirit week.

Students love spirit day because they are able to dress in unique and unusual ways, while also showing off their school pride.

“I like spirit week because it’s fun to see everyone’s different costume, and it makes the whole week more exciting,” freshman Annie Knight said.

This fall, the football homecoming spirit week days were Movie Star Monday, Old Timer Tuesday, We Woke Up Like This Wednesday, and Thriller Thursday. Officers of student council first brainstormed the days, and then Principal Nancy Rousseau was given a list to accept or decline ideas. Then, ten ideas for days were given to the greater Student Council to choose their favorites. The four days with the most votes were then selected.

“As a student council member, it makes me really happy when people dress up and have fun with the days we create,” sophomore CJ Fowler said.

For movie star Monday, students were dressed as everything from iconic and classic stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, to Disney characters like Pocahontas. Some boys could be seen sporting button down shirts and a box of chocolate to portray Forrest Gump, while many girls donned black outfits with their hair in a bun and wearing a string of pearls to appear as Audrey Hepburn.

“My favorite spirit day was Movie Star Monday, mostly because I was surprised and pleased about how many people dressed up,” junior Jonah Rose said.

Tuesday, students dressed as old-timers, some using props like walkers and wigs. When looking around the hallway, there were so many pillow stuffed beer bellies and long skirts with panty hose in the hallway that one might have wondered if Central was a nursing home or high school.

“My favorite day was definitely Old Timer Tuesday; I really loved getting an idea of what class reunions will be like in the future,” sophomore Gwyneth Hladik said.

Pajama day, or ‘we woke up like this Wednesday’ was taken from a popular Beyonce song which was a hit among the student body. The halls were flooded with flannel pants, onesies, and robes. Wednesday was also the day of the PSAT, so many students enjoyed testing in their pajamas. This was one of the most popular spirit days this past spirit week.

“I love pajama day because of how cozy and comfortable you are during class,” sophomore Brittany Tian said.

Thriller Thursday was full of spooks and gory splendor. Students boasted face paint and fake blood galore. Many students used this day to show us their makeup skills and wear ripped and ‘stained’ t shirts.

“I had so much fun dressing up like a zombie. It’s amazing what no sleep and makeup can turn you into,” sophomore Anya Ali said.

However, a four day week meant no black and gold day, which is normally the Friday of spirit week. As a staple of all Spirit Weeks, not having this day seemed odd, as if the week had unjustly been cut short. Although there was no black or gold around the halls, the Central student section filled the stands with school spirit at the Homecoming game Friday evening.

Overall, spirit week was a success with tons of student involvement.

“I liked spirit week because it’s different from everyday outfits and we’re able to be creative,” Gwyneth said.

Future of Basketball Homecoming dance up in the air

Jurnee Taylor and Kylon Nichols were the basketball homecoming King and Queen last year. While the homecoming court will definitely still take place, the homecoming dance is likely to be cancelled. Photo by Ethan Dial

Jurnee Taylor and Kylon Nichols were the basketball Homecoming King and Queen last year. While the Homecoming court will definitely still take place, the Homecoming dance is likely to be cancelled. Photo by Ethan Dial

by James Wisener and Tom Coulter, Online Editors

As most Central students can agree, homecoming festivities such as games, spirit week and dances, are some of the most popular events that take place all year. However, there are reports that this year’s basketball homecoming dance will not take place.

“We are probably not going to have a basketball homecoming dance because the football homecoming dance did not generate enough revenue to justify the dance, and traditionally the basketball homecoming has even less people,” senior Rachael Schaffhauser, a member of Principal’s Cabinet, said.

The basketball homecoming game as well as spirit week activities will continue to take place regardless of what happens to the dance. The cost of renting the Scimitar Shrine Temple, the location of the dance in the past, is around $1800, which is paid for with ticket sales. Students’ lack of attendance at the football homecoming dance is mainly to blame for the probable cancellation of the basketball homecoming dance, according to Principal Nancy Rousseau.

“I think that students will be disappointed if we don’t have a basketball homecoming dance this year. The cancellation would cause students to become more involved in school sponsored activities in the future,” senior Addison Yee said.

The Student Council is brainstorming ideas to raise money for the dance, including a staff versus students basketball game.

“The student council is planning to try to recover the losses from the football homecoming dance. It’s disappointing that this is required,” senior Student Council member Augusta Fitzgerald said.

Many students and staff members are trying very hard to make this dance happen but as of now, the 2014-2015 basketball homecoming dance may not take place.

Tennis team wins 7A State Championship

The tennis team has an undefeated conference record. Photo by Kess McSwain

Tennis players Le’Darrien Ledbetter, Jay Nair, Connor Smalling, Edward Zhao, Kess McSwain, and Anil Chakka (left to right) have all found success, including a conference championship. Photo by Kess McSwain

by Daniela Berlinski, Staff Writer

The Central tennis team has won the 7A state championship, along with the 7A-East conference championship. Overall, players have been successful in both their practices and matches. Each player has a required amount of hours they practice per week, making them exceedingly well-trained and beneficial to the team. They have won most of their matches this season, and the few losses were usually close. The tennis players wouldn’t be where they are without the help of their coach, Stephanie Mann.

“Mrs. Mann is such a great coach and has been doing so much to help support each individual player on the team, organizing practices and bringing more awareness to the tennis team to help the team improve as a whole,” junior Kess McSwain said.

Having played in conference the week before, most of the girls and the entire boys varsity team went to state.

The players are talented on and off the field. Freshman Anil Chakka not only excels in academics, but is also ranked top 40 in the nation, top 10 in the south, and number one in Arkansas in tennis. Senior Edward Zhao is the team’s number one singles spot and has been for the past three years. He has won conference the past two years, third in conference this year, made it to state finals, and the quarterfinals of Overalls.

Kess has made it to state for the past three years. In 2013, he made it to conference finals only losing to teammate Edward Zhao. In 2014, along with sophomore Jay Nair, they won conference against Catholic High in the finals.

Senior Connor Smalling is a veteran tennis player, qualifying for State every year he has been on the tennis team. Connor and doubles partner, junior Ledarrian Ledbetter made it to State this year.

There are no senior girls on varsity, but juniors Becky Sherman and Nikita Das have successfully competed in matches.

“I love the tennis team,” Nikita said. “It is full of Central spirit and we are always determined to win every tournament we go to.”

17-year-old manga in its final stretch

Photo from Viz Manga

Photo from Viz Manga

 by Jackson Floyd, Lifestyle Editor

Many teenagers of this generation remember growing up with Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, whether they read the manga (a stylized Japanese comic book) or watched the animated television show. To this very day, its popularity has grown exponentially and is now the largest and most recognizable name for manga in the United States. Now, after 17 years of serialization in both the US and Japan, the comic is scheduled to publish its final chapter on November 10 in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump.

“This is truly cause for celebration and will no doubt give the world pause to remember their favorite moments from the story,” said publisher Viz Media. “But don’t worry- the graphic novels are still coming out and the anime has a long way to go. The story in the manga is coming to a conclusion, but the world of Naruto is still going strong!”

In the US, Naruto has become a highly influential franchise. Many fans argue that the series has acted as a gateway for anime and manga in western culture and is partially responsible for the huge fanbase now present in North America. Alongside Naruto, two other majorly popular franchises, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece and Tite Kubo’s Bleach have acted as Viz Media’s big name sellers in the past 10-15 years. Naruto is the first of the trio to have an announced ending.

In lieu of the announcement, a fanmade petition on change.org calls for the Naruto manga series to continue with a Part 3.

“Naruto has been an inspiration, an icon, a role model, a hero to us all. Since August of 1997 to today, Naruto has touched the hearts of many with his sublime story and emotionally heart gripping characters,” says the petition description. “All of us fans are deeply shaken that Naruto is ending in such a simple and sudden manner. All of us who sign this petition feel it is far too soon for Naruto’s journey to be over. We feel the need for there to be more to the story, for Naruto to at least enter one more chapter for the final stretch.”

Whether or not Kishimoto will respond to the petition is anyone’s guess. The Naruto Shippuden anime is far from its conclusion. Fans will still be able to enjoy the company of the characters they’ve come to love over past years for much longer.

Supreme Court “Non-Ruling” a Win for Equality

Photo from Huffington Post

Photo from Huffington Post

by Channa Childs, Managing Editor

Equality movement supporters everywhere are overjoyed as a flood of new marriage equality states have been christened by the Supreme Court’s choice to abstain from a vote. It’s a welcome relief that just as Loving v. Virginia swept the nation approving interracial marriage in 16 states, likewise a slew of states were added by the Court’s latest move. This abstention comes as a big relief to everyone seeking approval of any less-than-mainstream lifestyle.

Despite differing opinions about the validity or morality of a lesbian or gay marriage, the states are recognizing citizens’ rights to marry. The most important thing in all this is that people are free to be their own judges, choose who they love, and wed as they see fit. State officials may not agree with these choices, but these rights are held by individual couples. Just as political figures are being kept out of these personal choices, so are the naysayers of the public.

The push for public approval by many groups in every region of the nation has influenced the American conscious to be more open to same-sex unions, but there is still overwhelming disapproval as reflected in the “non-ruling.” Officially, the court has an even ratio of conservative to liberal justices with one neutral justice so their actual decision was a decision to not hear the arguments for or against constitutionally extending the right of marriage to same-sex couples. However, each side is still trying to waggle its agenda in somewhere down the road. By not hearing the case the conservative justices are hoping another conservative will join the bench and presumably they could rule to ban gay marriage nationally. The liberal side, however, is stalling a vote on the hopes that public opinion will continue to increase for the measure. This would make it easier for the more democratic judges to swing the court’s neutral judge, Kennedy, to their side securing a vote in favor of gay marriage.

Either way, an official decision has not been handed down, but gay couples in these new marriage equality states have a chance to show that a committed and loving homosexual marriage looks like any heterosexual marriage. This is a positive step for gay and straight couples alike, as we teach the youngest generation tolerant values. This period of formalized marriage is an opportunity to demonstrate the plausibility of love – in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders. Children born in this era are growing up inundated in tolerance (no matter the approval or non-approval) and that is an undeniably wonderful gift for society.

Central students react to ISIS threat

 

Art by Emma Moore

Art by Emma Moore

by Channa Childs, Managing Editor

The global community is on red alert once again. This time by an insurgent group based in the Middle East known by many names: Da’esh, ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent), and, most commonly, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Since the inception of the Syrian Civil War, these terrorists have gained a substantial territorial foothold in Syria along with control of some citizens, and governments and civilians worldwide are taking notice.

Many Central students, including senior, Audrey Glover, are among the people watching the developments of this international crisis.

“It’s shocking to hear about the things that they’re doing globally, and it just goes to show how terrorism didn’t end with the death of Osama Bin Laden,” she said.

ISIS’s Cruelty

The international community is expressing this same sentiment. The United Nations has publicly declared that the group has committed foul human rights abuses. United States members of the press and ISIS captives James Foley and Steven Sotloff were prime examples of such cruel behavior. ISIS attempted to extort ransom from the U.S. government and these men’s families; unfortunately, when they did not receive the requested sums, both were beheaded on video publicized by the organization.

“In all reality, it was senseless. Unfortunately that is how most of our world is today, deaths to those who don’t deserve it,” senior Jacoby Clark said.

Foley and Sotloff were only two targets of ISIS’s many ransom demands. While the U.S. has a policy of not negotiating with terrorists, the French government has paid the ransom for their captured citizens. The only weapon in the American government’s arsenal is attempting rescues. This leaves many citizens anxious about the safety the government can guarantee, and more importantly, if the Obama administration is responding sufficiently.

President’s Address

In a televised address from the White House, President Obama reacted to these fears. This speech was given on Sept. 10, the day before the 13th anniversary of the deaths of 2753 Americans by a similar terrorist group, Al-Qaeda. Just like President Bush’s emphatic address shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, President Obama vowed to take harsh action against the group.

“Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy,” President Obama said. “We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge.”

His plan of vigilantism is four-pronged. He announced that airstrikes will be more than a means of providing humanitarian aid, as they are currently. Air strikes in nations infiltrated by ISIS will also be concentrated tools against ISIS forces. Furthermore, 475 U.S. troops (not in combat roles) will be sent to aid the Iraqi fight against ISIS. Additionally, he voiced the need to improve intelligence and undermine their fiscal security.

Senior Jalesa Fearson expressed approval of the President’s proposed plan for action with ISIS.

“President Obama’s plan is acceptable and it sounds good. But it’s one of those plans that you have to execute and then hope for a good outcome,” Jalesa said.

Senior Gretchen Harrison also said that action was necessary by comparing the need to get involved to an annual flu shot.

“It’s better to get a small dose of what the group can do and fight off the bad guys now than to ignore the problem and let them gain more and more power to potentially do more harm in the future,” Gretchen said.

Financial Standing

ISIS has gained a major fortune quite rapidly too. It is estimated that they are worth $500 million, more than any other contemporary terrorist group. The Council of Foreign Relations said that their money primarily comes from various criminal acts like “smuggling and extortion.” A report by CNN correspondent Randi Kaye determined that several other dishonest factors contribute to their financing. The group took control of some Syrian oil fields, then sold the product back to the Syrian government. They also did this with electricity. Private donors in other countries are also believed to contribute to their budget.

Social Media Presence and Training Camps

Not only do they have financial influence, but they also have a substantial social media presence. The group’s motto, “remaining and expanding,” is eerily visible on the internet. Recently, members of ISIS used Twitter to promote Sotloff’s beheading. Many videos and photos have been posted of their activities as well. Most alarming are images and tales from the ISIS training camps. As reported by a Syrian news outlet, children are the targets of these programs and parents have no choice in the matter. The homework of children in a Raqqa summer camp is to practice decapitation on a doll.

“It is inhumane to start teaching a child hatred at an early age,” senior Yvonne Dominguez said. “I find it horrible that they would use children as a weapon against us.”

Not a Muslim Group

In light of the horror of ISIS, the President was sure to clarify a key difference between ISIS and members of the Islamic faith.

“No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way,” President Obama said.

“It’s nice to know that if nothing else, our government is trying to protect Muslims around the world. That statement does so much to prevent widespread ‘islamophobia’,” Jalesa said.