Sneakerheads provide insight into the latest trends

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Seniors Michael Givens, Thomas Walker, Austin Jackson, and Christian Dorbins (left to right) are among those setting the curve in Little Rock fashion. Photo by Simeon Simmons

Seniors Michael Givens, Thomas Walker, Austin Jackson, and Christian Dorbins (left to right) are among those setting the curve in Little Rock fashion. Photo by Simeon Simmons

by Simeon Simmons, Features Editor

“Don’t step on my J’s,” the most viral phrase on social media that sneaker-worshippers easily understand. We all have that one friend who just can’t shut up about the fresh new kicks they copped and brag about them being the latest release. What motivates these people’s obsession to snatch up the latest pair of shoes? With the help of Central’s finest, seniors Michael Givens, Christian Dorbins, Austin Jackson, and Thomas Walker, the Tiger dissects this shoe craze.

So how does it start? When does the incurable itch to own every sneaker you can get your hands on begin? According to the sneakerheads, it starts around sophomore year, the year you “glo up” from being a bottom-of-the-food-chain freshie.

“In eighth grade I was real dusty. Then ninth grade, I was still dusty, but tenth grade is when my life changed,” Michael said.

So what’s the first shoe, the starter shoe? Every Sneakerhead needs a starter show to get them going in the unspoken sneaker competition.

“My Jordan Cardinal 7s,” Austin said.

“Play-off 8s,” Thomas said.

“Sqaudron 13s,” Michael said.

“Fire Red 4s,” Christian said.

But the sneaker craze is not just limited to these. Central’s finest go toward a certain style and brand when it comes to the heat on their feet.

“You already know how I’m rockin’- Clarks,” Austin said.

“Casual shoes over tennis shoes; boots and loafers and stuff like that,” Michael said.

What’s the point of the gradual collecting of every shoe that catches your eye? The answer: endless outfit combinations.

“I like to have shoes that go with everything-with different colors,” Michael said. “You have to have different colors that go with everything.”

“You have to color coordinate,” Thomas said.

You want this shoe, that shoe, and you’ve just got to have that one too! Breaking the bank isn’t easy, but for shoe crazies, it’s worth it.

“The most expensive shoe I’ve bought was three hundred dollars,” Thomas said.

“My most expensive shoe was a pair of Jordan’s,” Michael said.

Okay, you want the shoes, now what? That’s the easy part; the next is making the purchase and only the lucky ones have a plug. The rest of us have to go through the extremes of camping out to wait for their release.

“I camped out for the Gammas, I didn’t even get the shoes,” Austin said. “It was raining and it was so cold.”

“Christian and I were in Stuggart. We had semester exams that day. Right after semester exams, we went and waited from five in the evening to nine in the morning- 14 hours. It was raining and cold,” Thomas said. “We were the first in line.”

Besides the extremes of camping out, sometimes (rarely), but possibly you must deal with others’ attempts to steal your glorious purchase, but hopefully they are futile.

“Someone had broken into Christian’s house that day and had stolen all of his shoes,” Thomas said. “He was able to get them right back because the person had them on in the neighborhood riding a bike.”

“I knew it was him because he had my beanie on,” Christian said.

Is this all to impress the cool kids, by parading around in the latest sneakers you grabbed? Not at all, true Sneakerheads only rock shoes of their choice. Buying shoes just because they’re popular is “dead.”

Bish the fish swims his way to Arizona

Photography credits: James Wisener Blair Bish stands happily with friends Christopher Hayes, Brenden Huie, Greg Walker, and Gavin Vincenski during the day of his Univeristy of Arizona swim signing.

Photography credits: James Wisener
Blair Bish stands happily with friends Christopher Hayes, Brenden Huie, Greg Walker, and Gavin Vincenski during the day of his Univeristy of Arizona swim signing.

By Daniela Berlinski, Staff Writer

The United States swimming Olympic trial qualifying time is one minute and three seconds in a 100 meter breaststroke for men. Arizona commit, senior Blair Bish, qualified for Olympic trials in his performance at Junior Nationals this summer.

“My biggest achievement thus far was my performance at Junior Nationals this summer. I broke the record for the 100 meter breaststroke that stood for six years. On top of that, I finished in front of some of the best swimmers that the country has ever seen,” Blair said.

Blair began swimming at the Athletic club when he was four, following in his brother, Austin Bish’s footsteps. He practices nine times a week, three with weights in the mornings before school. The only day he has off is Sunday.

“Swimming is the thing I enjoy doing and perfecting the most. It’s always good to know there’s something I can be better at. I enjoy the racing part of swimming and the feeling of gratification of hard work. I also love the connections and friendships I’ve made,” Blair said.

Blair signed to University of Arizona, one of the best days of his swimming career. It was special for him to see his friends and family gather on such an important day for him.

“I don’t really know about my future. Best case scenario would be a top two finish at Olympic trials in the summer of 2016, so I could go to Rio for the Olympics, but you never know with swimming. All I can really do is work as hard as I can, train smart, and take care of myself and hope that it is enough to get me where I want to go,” Blair said.

Olympic Trials is the qualification meet where participants get selected for each United States Olympic Team. To qualify, a swimmer needs to go at least as fast as the qualifying standard in the event. At trials, the fastest two in every event are selected to represent the U.S. in the Olympics, except for the 100 and 200 meter freestyle, where the top six get to go.

“There is an exuberant amount of Central pride, for our own Tiger, who will get very far in his swimming career,” senior Addison Yee said.

Rumors circulate; socks may be worn to homecoming

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: Junior Representative Tahmadiyya Dawson made a thermometer to show the progress with the homecoming fundraiser

: Junior Representative Tahmadiyya Dawson made a thermometer to show the progress with the homecoming fundraiser Photo by Ethan Dial.




By Diana Basnakian, Staff Writer

You walk in. Catchy music is playing, people are dancing, and you find yourself bobbing your head and swaying to the beat of a popular song. Soon enough, you’re on the dance floor, you find a partner, and let your groove go. People are wearing skirts, dresses, jeans, and blouses, but one piece of clothing is missing: shoes. Instead, socks alone cover the dancing feet of all your classmates.

Back in the 50’s, these popular events were called sock hops. High school or college students would go to their gyms or cafeterias where they would be treated with a great DJ, dancing, and sometimes even live bands. The term “sock hop” comes from the rule behind these dances. Due to the delicate gymnasium floors, students had to wear socks to prevent scuffing or damage.

Fortunately, better indoor shoes were eventually created, and sock hops gradually waned in popularity. Now, to avoid damaging gym floors, most high schools, including Central, rent venues (with more durable floors) to host dances in.

Although Central usually hosts homecoming dances at the Scimitar Shrine Temple, this year, due to the lack of funding, students will have to go back to the 50’s and have our basketball homecoming in our gym.

Even though shoe design has changed considerably since the 50’s, construction for gym floors has not. Our gym is just as delicate, making it susceptible to damage by high heels, which are often used as a compliment for the exciting evening dresses.

To avoid the potential damage, the use of a tarp to cover the gym floor has been debated. While a tarp seems like it would solve the problem, a tarp costs money, money that must be managed and spent wisely. If all the students wore socks, or harmless indoor shoes, the problem would be solved – free of cost.

So which will it be? According to Student Council President Dean Patterson, the decision has been made. Any student wearing heels or shoes other than tennis shoes will have to wear socks on the gym floor.

“However, everyone could rock some ‘kicks’ that are appropriate for the gym,” Dean said.

Dean argues that even though the homecoming dance will be in the gym, students should not be discouraged. Now that the Student Council has raised enough money, homecoming will have the lights and DJ, just like other homecomings held at the Scimitar Shrine Temple.

“I have full faith that we can make the socks an interesting and cool part of our homecoming,” Dean said.

If anything, wearing socks could make this year’s basketball homecoming one of the most memorable and uniquely themed homecomings yet.

Park ranger Brian Schweiger provides a smile, helping hand to visitors

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Photo by Melissa Joyner

Park ranger Brian Schweiger brings energy and passion to his job. Photo by Melissa Joyner

by Ginny Greer and Channa Childs, Managing Editors

Park ranger Brian Schweiger’s enthusiasm and compassion has been lighting up every corner of the Central campus since he became an employee of the Central High National Park site five years ago. Through leading visitors on tours of the school, assisting programs like the Youth Leadership Academy and the Memory Project, and networking with the thousands of visitors who filter in and out of the National Historic Park Site from year to year, Brian has touched countless lives.
He is clear in his aim to put Central’s students and the National Park Service (NPS) first, ahead even of himself. The sincerity of all his actions makes it clear that Central students hold a special place in his heart. He refers to Central students as the “little brothers and sisters that my parents never had for me.” Students have a similarly warm regard for him.

Brian is so different—not like other adults,” sophomore Anthony Oniya said. “He relates to us, hangs out with us. He’s very special.”
His open-minded mentality stems from supportive parents who encouraged him to speak up. Taking after the way his parents treated him, Brian affords students the same opportunity to explore their strengths, and most importantly, understand their own value. He has made a name for himself as the adult students can trust.
“We so called ‘adults’ all too often are guilty of not listening,” Brian said. “No one listens to young people — just lets them be. Give them the respect, the stage to so to speak and to be who they are, let them be heard. I love to listen. I love to interact with people, laugh, talk, smile.”

And Central students are deeply moved by Brian’s sincerity and dedication to seeing them succeed.
“If there is one word to describe Brian, its ‘amazing,’” junior Tim Hulum said. “He sees things so uniquely. He really wants everyone to have equal opportunity, regardless of race, gender, or anything else.”

Not only is Brian a shining face to be seen in the hallways day to day, he also has a wealth of knowledge about the history of our school and is a facilitator of student activism. His intent is to motivate students to appreciate the legacy of people like the Little Rock 9 and be empowered to use their own strengths and insights to be leaders in the community.

“My hope is that every student will have an understanding and appreciation of just how significant the school that they have the opportunity to attend is,” Brian said. I hope every kid can understand, ‘I go to a place that is very special, very important and let me take full advantage of this place while I’m here.’ I hope that students grab onto it with both hands and never let it go, and if they need any kind of motivation or any kind of blueprint, it’s right there. It’s Elizabeth, Thelma— they won be continuing to show up, continuing to excel, and they put forth an amazing effort. Life’s about showing up, school’s about showing up. Don’t take the path of least resistance. Challenge yourself… learn more. Try to become a complete person.”

Brian never misses an opportunity to engage young people in social activism and
awareness. He encourages people to become involved by reaching out to them with compassion and sincerity. His luminous spirit has inspired many students to see history as having relevant life outside of the textbook.

“He’s very caring. Brian used to stay behind to let me wait on my ride even when it [Park Department] was closed,” junior Alyssa Smith said. “Then I just started helping out and now I volunteer there. Because I’m a Central student he wants me to be involved – meet people who are connected with Civil Rights. Through him I met two of the Little Rock Nine, a holocaust survivor, the husband of the first woman chief of the Cherokee nation, and so many other, influential people and I thank him for the opportunities.”

His concern and connection doesn’t end when Central students graduate, however.
“I still talk with kids who started as freshmen the year I started here in 2010,” Brian said. “I have an interest in them—a shared connection of the school, and everything that it is. It’s much deeper than the building; the floors and classrooms and hallways—it is people. It’s the power of the history—and it is so much bigger than all of us.”
Many now bold Central alums, poised to leave a powerful mark in the world, say they will always carry with them the influence of their old NPS friend.

“I don’t think Brian will ever understand how much he taught me about keeping a joyfully open spirit – open to change, open to love, open to criticism, open to people from all nations, from all religions, members of all races, all political persuasions,” class of 2013 member Clayton Gentry said.  “That’s the spirit of a great park steward, more so the spirit of a great man, and that’s what Brian gave to me.”

He is an inspiration not only to the students of Central, but to his fellow park rangers as well.

“Brian, even though he’s quite young, is to me somewhat of a paternal figure,” Ranger MarQuis Bullock said. “He is always willing to help if you find yourself in a bind, even if he has a pressing task at hand. His charisma is like none I’ve ever seen. From the moment I met him, he treated me as if I was an old friend. He can engage anyone in a conversation and has a way of making
you feel like the most important person in the world. He’s generous, open, and very passionate regarding people and his position as a U.S. Park Ranger.”

Brian encourages everyone not to allow the seemingly formidable limitations that all too often are imposed on them prevent them from achieving greatness.
“Don’t accept any box that society will ask you to put yourself into,” Brian said. Step outside of it. Destroy it. Flatten it. Don’t be intimidated. You are sitting in proving ground of greatness. You have no idea how powerful you are. We here are creating the next generation of leaders—like we had 57 years ago.”
Brian said that there are numerous ways students can become involved with the NPS: internships, leadership programs, volunteering— and that the employees there will do all they can to help students with their personal pursuits as well. All students need do is walk over and ask.

“I hope every kid realizes how many people at that school and the people across the street have a genuine interest in them and that we’re here as a resource,” Brian said.
“I mean our last name is service. We won’t do your homework—probably because we can’t—but we will do anything we can to help you.”

Brian’s compassion knows no bounds and he selflessly devotes himself to the NPS and its broader mission to protect Central’s history. His contribution, though sometimes overlooked, is one this staff, students, and faculty could not do without; a man who exudes virtue and is so well trusted be many, his presence in Central’s environment is irreplaceable. We salute Park Ranger extraordinaire and honorary tiger, Brian Schwieger. Happy Valentine’s Day; we love you!

First languages begin to fade for second-generation Americans

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Art by Sophia Ordaz

Art by Sophia Ordaz

by Sophia Ordaz, Staff Writer

Gray smoke carries the savory smell of meat into the night sky, summoning stray dogs and cats. They watch from the dark corners of the yard, their hungry eyes shining from behind pata de vaca trees. The tortillas and frijoles are ready, and my uncle is nearly done cooking the carne de res. My cousins and I gather around the outdoor table. Our stomachs growl after the afternoon we spent playing soccer in the streets. My grandparents join us at the table, and soon the beef is done cooking. At moments like these, I feel so close to my relatives. The months we have had to spend apart, with my relatives in Mexico and my immediate family in the U.S., are all forgotten.

Still, I feel disconnected from my relatives. My cousins speak in a loud and fast Spanish. After spending a few days in Mexico, I easily understand the familiar rhythms and patterns of the language. But when I try to make a joke in Spanish, my tongue turns to lead, clumsy and slow in my mouth. I trip over words that once flew so gracefully from my lips. At times, Spanish, my first language, is almost a stranger to me, and it is saddening to think that I have lost touch with my old and reliable friend.

It is true that when one learns a language as a child, they never fully forget it. But if he or she is immersed in another language, they begin to forget this first language. Many second generation Americans experience this loss, called language attrition. The use of one language over another will create a dominant language. There is no way to avoid this effect unless both languages are used as much as possible.

School has always been English’s domain. When I first learned how to read, it was in English. I learned addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, all in English. It wasn’t long before English became the language I felt the most intelligent speaking. English was the way I communicated with friends, and Spanish was reserved for my parents. I began to forget Spanish. Words I once knew disappeared into the recesses of my mind.

I was experiencing the initial sign of building a dependence on a second language: vocabulary loss. Words not frequently used are forgotten, and over time, this vocabulary loss increases. Often, one doesn’t notice exactly how much language is lost until he or she is forced to use it.

“One time, when I went to India, my sister left me alone in a market,” junior Nemi Shah says. “I was ten, and by that time, my language, Gujarati, wasn’t very strong. I realized that I could easily get lost.”

I can remember on several occasions talking to my cousins and coming up short. I wasn’t able to speak Spanish the way normal teenagers could. My vocabulary knowledge had dwindled, and sometimes I wasn’t able to keep up with all of my cousins’ slang. It felt like losing an arm. A part of my language, a part of me, was gone.

One afternoon, my cousins and I were in my grandmother’s backyard. I was around twelve years old, and I was thrilled to be talking to my older cousins. They seemed so grown-up and mature. Susana wore lipstick, and Viviana had already had her quinceañera. I remember that on this occasion we were talking about boys. Vivi had a boy who would carry her books to class, and Susy already had a boyfriend. It was my turn to share.

“What about you, Sophia?”

“Well,” I had paused to form my sentence in Spanish as clearly as possible. My fingers threaded through blades of grass as my mind raced. “There is someone.”

“Who? Tell us!”

I pulled the grass out, scrutinizing it. I was trying to remember how to use object pronouns correctly, but I couldn’t remember what the correct order would be, and I had kept my cousins waiting too long.

“There is someone who likes me,” I rushed out.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew they were wrong. I blushed as I realized what I had said. I had told my cousins that I liked someone, and I would have to deal with their teasing unless I corrected myself.

I shook my head. I now knew exactly what I could’ve said, but it was too late. I had to wait until they stopped teasing me to clarify what I had meant, and it was more than a little embarrassing for me.

It is good that a first language can never fully be lost. A first language is the means by which a child first learns to understand and interact with his or her world. It is an innate part of one’s identity, and no amount of forgetting can dispel an entire language.

“[Chinese] is my culture; it’s a part of me,” junior Melissa Shi says. “I want to preserve it. I want my kids to know Chinese.”

The preservation of language is up to second generation Americans. As the United States becomes the home of people of different languages and cultures, these people are brought into a world of English. It is important to keep languages alive because they are carry culture, a connection to ancestors, and are key to making the United States so diverse.

First stop to freedom; students reminisce about first cars

Want a ride? Anna often gets requests from friends for rides.  Photo by Melissa Joiner

Want a ride? Anna often gets requests from friends for rides. Photo by Melissa Joiner

By Taylor Smith, Staff Writer

The wind blowing through your hair, the sun blazing down on your face, the radio blasting.

That is what most teens envision when they think about their first car, but they get much more. First cars come with lots of new freedom, but also a multitude of new responsibilities, some easier than others.

Most students seem to receive their first car through pretty traditional means, hand-me-downs from parents or siblings. Some kids anxiously await for the latest model of the hottest new car, while others are satisfied with whatever they get, a “bucket” or a “lemon”- it does not matter. The majority of students are just glad to finally be hitting the road in their own car.

“It’s my mother’s old car, so it’s the car I have until I can get me a car for college,” junior Tamara Kuykendall said.

“It’s was my dad’s car, but he got a new car so I inherited it,” senior Mason Jewell said.

No matter how they acquire the car, each student views receiving it as a memorable moment. Even though many are aware of the possibility that a new car might be on the way, others are completely surprised. Those weeks and weeks of driving lessons and begging finally pay off when the keys are placed in their hands.

“I was jumping with joy because of how grateful I was,” junior Andrekion Blevens said.

“I was expecting a less in value car, like a normal Toyota or something. I was really surprised when they gave it [2007 Audi A6] to me,” junior Sam Kim said.

Even though they are excited about their new modes of transportation, owning their own car comes with some unpleasant responsibilities. For many, this is the first time their parents leave them to be completely responsible. Cars come with oil changes, tune ups, and every changing gas prices. In addition to all their new responsibilities, quite a few find that their new cars attracts a lot of attention, both wanted and unwanted,

“My friends ask me to drive them everywhere,” senior Anna Hallum said.

“The worst part has to be paying for gas especially since I have my own debit card now,” Tamara said.

However, the freedom that comes with the new car seems to clearly overshadow the drawbacks. A person’s first car is the first step in the freedom they will experience when they leave high school. Most students have unrestricted freedom, and their few restrictions are usually left up to how much they can fill up their gas tank.

“It makes a everything a lot easier. There is no waiting, and I can go at my own pace,” Mason said.

“I get to leave whenever I want. I also can go pick up my friends so we can have a good time,” Andrekion said.

In the new age of flashy being better, most would think teenagers would all crave the latest models, but they would be wrong. A fair share of teenagers learn a very important lesson with their first car: that it having something of your own is better than nothing. Students find that a connection they make forms with their car, even with the older models.

“My car is what I like to call an A-B; it gets me from point A to point B. It has the basic functions of a car,” Anna said.

“My car isn’t the best car in the world, but there is an emotional attachment because it has been in our family so long,” Mason said.

“Although I have an Audi, I would be fine with a regular car that runs and takes you places. I am fortunate to have a car,” Sam said.

Many students at Central are receiving their first cars, which is evident from the crowded junior and senior lots. The freedom, feelings, and experiences they have with their first car will forever be imprinted in their memories as a valuable part of their high school career.


Junior travels to over 20 countries

Meredith Mansell Photo

Meredith and her mother enjoy the beautiful weather while horseback riding in Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Meredith Mansell

By Taylor Smith, Staff Writer

Junior Meredith Mansell’s long golden hair is playfully flipped over her right shoulder. Her face is engulfed in a radiant smile, as she lively reenacts her countless international adventures to 22 countries.

Meredith’s love of traveling is not a recent development. Her family, specifically her parents, enjoy traveling, having traveled to numerous countries before Meredith was even born. They then passed their fondness to their only child,she began her collection of frequent flyer miles at an unbelievable young age.

“Honestly, I was probably like a couple days old when we flew from Chicago to Little Rock,” Meredith said.

Her lengthy list of places and overly stamped passport have allowed her to have a unique view of the world. During her travels Meredith attempts to deeply submerge herself into the culture of the area in which she travels.

“I love to experience different cultures and be in different environments. It’s also fun to meet new people and try all sorts of new things,” she said.

The majority of her international expeditions have been not only with her parents, but extended family as well. From adolescence, Meredith and her family have been taking yearly trips. These trips serve as a way for all of her family to gather, which is especially difficult, because they are crisscross the US living in Oregon, Mississippi, and Key West.

“My family just loves to travel. We used to go to Costa Rica, Belize, and Aruba for family trips,” she said.

Thanks to those yearly family trips, hands down, tropical places are Meredith’s favorite. Her love of nature and physical activities prompts her to participate in not only swimming, but hiking and biking too. The beautiful beaches and lush greenery of Central America act as a picturesque backdrop.

“Costa Rica is my favorite place to travel, because of the beaches. It was so beautiful, it has waterfalls, and a toucan flew into my bedroom.”

Even though she has gathered a collage of incredible memories from various parts of the world, one stands out the most her trip to China. The summer of 2013, Meredith took an elongated vacation, including stops in Hawaii and China. While she was in China she made a stop at the Great Wall. The massiveness and beauty of the structure are forever etched in her mind.

“It’s just one of those places that you see in textbooks and never think you will get to go. Also it was just so big and amazing how it was made by people and not machines.”

Meredith loves traveling and feels that it it is something she will always enjoy doing. She has already began to plan her next trip, when she plans to travel to Australia her senior year.