Young Socialists Speak out Against Inequality

Sep
18
12:00 pm
The Young Socialists raise their left fist in defiance of the corporate oligarchy. Photo courtesy of David Gilson.

The Young Socialists raise their left fist in defiance of the corporate oligarchy. Photo courtesy of David Gilson.

 

 

By Callahan Hirrel, Main Editor

Socialism: the political embodiment of the principles of compassion, fairness, and equality. The spreading of this powerful message has entered the official ranks at Central, in the form of the school’s newly created Young Socialists club.

“Our ultimate goal is education,” club president and Central senior David Gilson says, “we want people to see that socialism is not something to be feared, but rather something to be embraced.”

Already the club and its members have faced criticism, primarily due to the lack of knowledge and education on the reality of its political views.

“Comments have been made by certain teachers to our sponsor,” David says, “and a group of teachers have formed a prayer group in response to our existence as an organization.” The new club has attracted a plethora of students from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures, showing if there is one thing about socialists: “We are not anti-religion,” according to David.

As a response to the prayer circle, the club has put in a formal request to give a short, informational presentation at the October faculty meeting.

The club has also been involved in canvassing. Canvassing is the act of soliciting votes for a campaign, where people basically advertise for a certain candidate. They have been going door to door in West Little Rock neighborhoods for Jim Ross, who was running for and won the spot of the Little Rock School District board’s Zone 5 representative.

David is currently involved in getting the Young Socialists to become an official chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists (YDS). YDS is the youth wing of the Democratic Socialists of America, a national organization that “fight[s] for reforms to empower working people,” according to their website, www.dsausa.org.

Socialists everywhere, nationally, and here at Central are ready for a change.

“We [must] stand together and have our voices be heard,” David says. “We will not stand silently as an entire class of human beings is subjugated for the benefit of another.”

 

 

Situation in Ferguson escalated as police became increasingly involved

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Taken and tweeted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer Robert Cohen, the photo seemed to sum up the anger felt by residents of Ferguson, where unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by a still-unidentified police officer on Saturday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Pate McCuien, Sports Editor

As a citizen of the United States of America, Americans are guaranteed certain unalienable rights by the constitution, but what guarantees the protection of these rights? What keeps reporters from being unlawfully abused and arrested simply for acting on their freedom of the press rights? What keeps local police departments from militarizing and breaking up peaceful protests with flash grenades, rubber bullets, LRAD’s, and tear gas? Apparently in Ferguson, Missouri, nothing.

After the controversial death of the unarmed African American, Michael Brown, an uproar has been unleashed in the small town in Missouri named Ferguson. Protests, riots and looting have been taking place ever since the shooting on August 9, and the Ferguson police department has done a terrible job of handling the chaos.

The incredibly unprofessional display started just moments after Michael Brown was shot at least six times when the officials of Ferguson allowed the body to lay in the street for over four hours. People in shock and awe were in the streets taking pictures and struggling to look at the graphic image of the motionless body. Anger followed.

The citizens of Missouri began peaceful protests immediately, holding up signs saying “hands up, don’t shoot” and asking “if you would support police officer Darren Wilson if he killed your son?”

As more and more people began to protest, a few began to loot and riot, beginning an initial tension between peaceful protestors and police officers. Eventually the problems of Ferguson seemed very similar to the problems of Middle Eastern countries, with images of peaceful protestors being broken up with tear gas, stun grenades, LRAD’s, and rubber bullets.

In fact, during one protest, police threatened the protesters if they did not turn off their cameras and disperse. The police officers and crowd control security do not have the right to force people to turn their cameras off on public property.

It seemed the police simply wanted the cameras off to keep what was going to happen next from going viral. Luckily it did go viral. The crowd control followed through with their threats, and in the next 20 minutes of the video, the peaceful crowd was bombarded with attack after attack to attempt to end the protest. This should never happen. It was a blatant disregard of the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the exercise [of] the right of the people to peaceably assemble.

Sadly it wasn’t the only one. Five days after the shooting, reporter for the Washington post, Wesley Lowery, and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post was simply doing their jobs and acting on their freedom to report the news when officers approached them, illegally abused and arrested them. After about 15 minutes in jail, the two journalists were released with no arrest report on file. When they asked for the names of the arresting officers they were stonewalled. Apparently the Freedom of Information act is disregarded in Ferguson as well.

During the past couple of weeks many task forces has been complaining about the shooting. However, another incredibly important issue that needs to be addressed is the complete lack of respect given to the constitution by the Ferguson police and officials.

The outrage has calmed over the last couple of days, but the entire situation is sickening. These issues of racism and lack of respect for the constitution have been occurring for a long time. They need to stop. If not, America is not different than China in 1989, when similar events took place when similar events took place when an uknown amount of people were massacred for peacefully protesting in Tieniman Square. Is this where America will be in 20 years? If not, some serious changes need to occur in how situations like these are handled. We have to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes more than once.

Freshman Senators and Representatives candidates

 

 

Teacher dyeing for good AP scores

Photo by Ginny Greer English teacher Suzann Saltzman's students challenged her to dye the tips of her hair blonde if they all scored 3s or above on their AP exam.

Photo by Ginny Greer English teacher Suzann Saltzman’s students challenged her to dye the tips of her hair blonde if they all scored 3s or above on their AP exam.

 

Story by Ginny Greer, Managing Editor

Would you sign a contract allowing two dozen teenagers to decide what your hair would like for an entire month?

As far-fetched as this would sound to most adults, this is precisely what AP English Language and Composition teacher Suzann Saltzman did last spring. As tensions ran high in early May with the ominous approach of AP Exams, Saltzman lightened the mood and incited determination in her classes by making a unique deal with her AP students.

“The idea was for incentive wager,” Saltzman said. “If everyone scored a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP English exam, I would dye my hair.”

Saltzman said that while she had faith in her students, when she signed the contract, she did so lightheartedly, not seriously expecting it to happen. But fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on which side of the contract you’re on), one of Saltzman’s classes made the scores. When the first day of school arrived, Saltzman could be seen sporting trendy blonde tips. She admitted that although it is not her favorite look, what it stands for is remarkable.

“When I saw the scores in July, I was proud of them,” she said. “Mr. Morris and I work hard, we teach our hearts out for the benefit of our students. But when it came down to it, it was their beautiful brains that made it happen.”

The new AP English Language and Composition students are already gleeful with anticipation of their own contract.

“They’re already ready to make their own deal with me,” Saltzman said. “Right now they’re pushing to see how far I’ll go. But I told them, hands down, no permanent tattoos or body piercings.”

Beneath the levity of the situation, Saltzman expressed deep pride in Central’s student body.

“I teach some of the smartest kids in the world,” she said.

Gamers gather in Lone Star State for fourth annual convention

Lifestyle Editor Jackson Floyd poses on a recreation of the Rooster Teeth Podcast set at RTX 2014.

Photo by Jackson Floyd Lifestyle Editor Jackson Floyd enjoys a recreation of the Rooster Teeth Podcast set at RTX 2014.

Story by Jackson Floyd, Lifestyle Editor

Aside from San Diego Comic-Con and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the Rooster Teeth Expo (RTX) is one of the largest gatherings of gamers and pop culture fans the United States has seen. Fans of all ages have descended upon Austin, Texas for the past four years on Independence Day weekend to gather at the Austin Convention Center and celebrate all things Rooster Teeth.

In the short time that RTX has existed up to now, the number of convention attendees has skyrocketed, maxing out at 40,000 this year. The convention administrators even discussed possibly selling more tickets than the building’s fire safety capacity allowed.

As one of the thousands of attendees, I was bright eyed and excited to explore the exhibit hall and attend panels hosted by Rooster Teeth staff members. But what exactly is Rooster Teeth to the common observer?

Created by the minds of Burnie Burns, Gustavo Sorola, and Geoff Ramsey in 2003, Rooster Teeth (originally branded drunkgamers.com) is a company based in Austin, Texas which produces content for the internet under the categories of animation, cinematography, comedy, gaming, and more. Their flagship production, Red Vs. Blue, has been running since the company’s inception and has grossed several hundred thousands of dollars.

In recent years, Rooster Teeth has begun maintaining several other productions including Achievement Hunter, RWBY (pronounced “Ruby”), The Rooster Teeth Podcast, RT Shorts, and many more. The Rooster Teeth YouTube channel surpassed seven million subscribers in 2013 and counting. In 2011, the company hosted its very first convention, known today as RTX. There has been one every year since then, and the fanbase has only continued to expand.

I was lucky and managed to buy my weekend pass before all tickets were sold out, along with a couple of friends who made the trip with me from Little Rock to Austin. We arrived on the Thursday before the convention and settled into our lodgings. The next three days were some of the best days of my summer vacation. While the entire building was packed and lines often had at least an hour wait, the whole convention center was filled with a sense of excitement and energy, as fans who traversed the sea of people met one another and formed friendships that would last even outside convention doors.

Nearly every production at Rooster Teeth had its own individual panel at different times around the building. There were also internet celebrities attending with their own panels, such as “Game Grumps” and “The Creatures.” The seats were almost always packed no matter what theatre I went to and lines were capped almost two hours in advance. While the in between experiences mostly involved standing in endless lines and having to wait twice the time to see a one hour panel, every event I attended was absolutely worth it.

Even after the convention ended each day, the after hours were an excellent time to explore Austin. When the sun descends below the horizon, the city becomes full of energy as people walk the streets with confidence in their steps. Austin offers many fine restaurants, theaters, and places for entertainment in general. If nothing else, Austin is worth visiting for the great nightlife.

I highly anticipate possibly returning to Austin next year for RTX 2015. Now that I have more experience in how the convention works, I will be able to see more of the panels and events I want to and plan accordingly. I look forward to yet another celebration of internet culture in the warmth of Texas summer.

MISS TEEN ARKANSAS INTERNATIONAL, BLAIR WORTSMITH, CROWNED MISS TEEN INTERNATIONAL 2014

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(Roanoke, Va.) –– Miss Teen Arkansas International, Blair Wortsmith,17, of Little Rock, was crowned Miss Teen International 2014, Saturday, August 2 at the Annual Miss Teen International Pageant held in Jacksonville, Fla.  The three-hour event, held at the Moran Theater at the Times Union Center for Performing Arts, featured 40 contestants from around the world competing in four categories, including interview, fitness-wear, fun fashion and evening gown.  This marks the second consecutive year that Miss Teen Arkansas International has won the national title.

A committed community volunteer, Wortsmith will spend her year as Miss Teen International promoting her platform of empowering children to participate in forms of physical activity they enjoy and encourage them to make healthy food choices through the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60® organization.  Wortsmith began her involvement with Fuel up to Play 60 in elementary school when she was introduced to the program through her physical education class.  Today, she serves as a Student Ambassador for the organization and will work throughout the next 12 months to encourage participation and help implement the Fuel up to Play 60 program in elementary schools throughout the nation.

“From an early age I learned the importance of exercising and eating healthy because my parents are good role models,” said Wortsmith.  “I’m thrilled to serve in my new role as Miss Teen International and I’m looking forward to advocating for children’s health across the nation.”

During the past 12 months, Wortsmith has logged 250+ community service hours. In addition to her work with Fuel Up to Play 60, she regularly makes classroom visits and attends elementary school events, encourages healthy lifestyle choices through social media, and implements activities such as “Walking Wednesdays” in her community to support her platform and encourage families to get active together.  Wortsmith also devotes her time to volunteer for the American Heart Association, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Miracle League, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Special Olympics.

Wortsmith will be a senior at the historic Little Rock Central High School this fall.  There, she is involved in Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Club, FBLA, Junior Civitan, the Troubadors Drama Club, the Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix club, and serves as the “Tiger Health Tips” spokesperson.  During her sophomore year, she was selected to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY) seminar and was invited back this year to serve as a junior counselor.  She is an active member of the Seventeen Social Club.  After high school, Wortsmith plans to study medicine.

In her free time, she enjoys traveling, watching sporting events, dancing, reading, and attending musicals and plays.  Wortsmith lives in Little Rock with her parents, two sisters, Madison and Payton and her dog, Alex.

The Miss Teen International Pageant is the only platform- based system and is owned and operated by Roanoke, Va.-based International Pageants, Inc., which also operates the Miss and Mrs. International competitions.  Miss Teen International showcases the academic and civic achievements of young women ages 13 to 18-years-old. For more information, visit www.missteeninternational.us.

Follow the International Pageants System on Twitter (@intlpageants) , Instagram (@IntlPageants) and Facebook at International Pageants, Inc.  You can interact with Miss Teen International 2014 on Twitter (@missteenintl14), Instagram (missteenintl2014), and Facebook (www.facebook.com/MissTeenInternational2014BlairWortsmith)

 

Superintendent Suggs soaked for ALS awareness

 

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Photo by Ethan Dial

Little Rock School District Superintendent Dr. Dexter Suggs is drenched with ice water to raise money and awareness for ALS. On Thursday Aug. 28, Suggs and seven other LRSD employees participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge. Suggs explained that the event was “all for a worthy cause” and created a “unique opportunity” for students and administrators from each LRSD high school to participate in raising awareness for ALS.

 

 

Hopes high for football season despite disappointing performance

 

Senior wide receiver Hayden McCarty breaks for a 35-yard reception in Monday’s game against Rogers.

Senior wide receiver Hayden McCarty breaks for a 35-yard reception in Monday’s scrimmage against Rogers.

By Pate McCuien, Sports Editor

After a long, tiring summer the Central football team started the season off on Monday with a scrimmage against the Rogers Mounties. The first half started normally with the starters playing the majority of the snaps and each team battling for the victory. The Central Tigers struggled, and the scrimmage ended in a 7-7 tie.

Rogers had most of the possession, successfully draining the clock while also rushing for a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Tigers’ defense had problems with the Rogers’ rushing attack at the start of the game, but eventually caught on. Central fans and student body should not worry about this as much though, since the team has been spending most of their time preparing for their upcoming game against Dallas-Madison.

Rogers runs an extremely different offense than the majority of 7A football teams, and it takes a full week of preparation to be successful against it. There were more reasons to be concerned about the Tiger’s offense.

In the first half, Central never scored.In fact, it was the second team that scored in the third quarter, not the usual starters. This could be worrisome as it was a second string scrimmage in the third quarter. The first half consisted of missed blocking assignments, a lack of a running game, and dropped passes. Part of the lack in the passing attack was due to the inability of the team to run the football.

One particular play stood out in the running game. On a fourth and two, the team ran the ball up the middle and senior Tyler Fountain was stopped short of the first down marker. When a team has their strong personnel in, they should be able to get two yards against a less athletic team.

All that matters is that this was not part of the actual season. The real season starts on Monday at 2:00 p.m. Central time.

The season still can be looked upon with high hopes, even with the disappointing start. Central has a three year starter, Cooper Westbrook, at quarterback, who was ranked the top quarterback in 7A by Hooten’s magazine. Three-year starter senior Hayden McCarty leads the receiving core. McCarty had two explosive catches in the scrimmage game on Monday.

The offense is also returning senior fullback Tyler Fountain, senior twins Markeem and Malik Thomas on the offensive line, and senior captain Tom Coulter at tight end.

The defensive side of the ball the team is loaded with seniors as well. Leading the pack is senior captain Malcolm Robinson. As a three-year starter, he is poised to have another strong season this year. Along with Malcolm, senior captain Cam Smith, former backup quarterback, will attempt to bring his knowledge of his former position to defense as one of the starting safeties. Senior captain Andrew Adams, after transferring from Little Rock Christian, also hopes to make this an amazing year.

The football team this year has the talent and experience to have a very successful season. The only question is if the team if perform up to their ability on every game day.

The team will bounce back against Dallas-Madison on Monday at 2:00 p.m. If the Tigers intend to go into Dallas and beat a Texas team, they have to play better than they did in the scrimmage game against Rogers.