Psychology teacher inspires, educates students

Photo by Melissa Joiner Thomas discussing the influence of chromosomes on mental disorders

Photo by Melissa Joiner
Thomas discussing the influence of chromosomes on mental disorders.

By Diana Basnakian, Staff Writer

A woman, standing five feet and three inches, with short, bouncy blonde hair, frantically searches for a marker to write down the objectives on the board. As students pile in, she rummages through the growing pile of papers on her desk. The bell rings, she sits down in her chair, and with a smile, says, “Hello, my beloveds!”

Psychology teacher, Chris Thomas, loves what she does. Even after 25 years, teaching has been nothing but pure delight.

“I love kids, and I like being in an organization where I can talk to intelligent people,” Thomas said.

Ironically, Thomas never planned on becoming a teacher. After growing up in Little Rock and going to Parkview for high school, she attended the University of Arkansas in hopes of pursuing Anthropology and Sociology.

Shortly after, though, Thomas fell in love, got married, and moved to Ohio with her husband when she was 19-years-old. Her parents were devastated. So devastated, in fact, that her mother wore all black to her wedding.

“We were so stupid,” Thomas jokes. “I didn’t plan on doing things the way that I did. I didn’t plan on having a kid when I was 20.” Thomas said.

In later years, she and her husband moved to places like Texas, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. They had three sons and one daughter during this time, until they finally settled in Miami, where they lived for 20 years.

Although Thomas studied sociology at Ohio State, she decided to get her masters in Psychology and Counseling at Florida International. Due to her growing family, she soon realized that maintaining a career in sociology would be unrealistic.

“I knew that wasn’t going to happen with four kids,” Thomas said. “So I thought, okay, I’ll be a teacher instead.”

During her stay in Miami, Thomas taught high school American History. Eventually, Thomas moved back to Little Rock to take care of her mother, and later gained a part time job as a substitute teacher.

Finally, Thomas got offered a job at Central. To this day, Thomas vividly remembers her nervous interview with Principal Nancy Rousseau.

“It was terrifying,” Thomas recalls. “I remember feeling the bones in my legs shake. I even said yes ma’am to Mrs. Rousseau, and I had never said that to anyone!”

Ever since then, Thomas has enjoyed enlightening all of her students.

“I have the best job,” Thomas said.

Not only does Thomas adore her job, but her students also seem to love having her as their teacher.

“She creates a positive environment,” junior Ashley Tran said. “She engages the whole class by leading great discussion, so it helps us learn.”

Although she misses Miami, Thomas prefers teaching here at Central. Among the many differences, Thomas appreciates the cultural diversity of the students at Central.

“I’ve taught Egyptian, Russian, Middle Eastern, and other students from many different countries, “ Thomas said. “It’s fascinating.”

Thomas welcomes all personalities, and her students appreciate hers.

“She’s unordinary… in a really good way,” senior Chase Taggart said.

More than anything, Thomas strives to make a difference through her students.

“I want every student to know that they can be successful,” Thomas said. “I want them to understand that school can change their lives.”

A significant majority will agree that Thomas is a fantastic teacher. Her positive light, bubbly personality, and encouraging attitude have helped her become one of the most widely – appreciated teachers here at Central.





New Rep show contrasts with live action film


By Sophie Barnes, Staff Writer

The Rep opened a new show this October to the delight of seasoned theatre-goers around Central Arkansas. Wait Until Dark, a crime thriller set in Greenwich during the late 1960s, becomes increasingly suspenseful as the minutes tick by. Hitchcock-style lighting effects and a detailed set expertly places the audience in the main character’s shoes.

Meet Susy Hendrix, a young married woman who, in an accident approximately one year before her first scene, is permanently blinded. Enter her husband, Sam, just returned from Montreal where he has innocently picked up a drug doll. Add in three conmen, all interested in gaining the money that the doll’s contents, if sold, could afford them and a sly little girl who turns out to be smarter than meets the eye and you guessed it: chaos ensues.

Upon entry, an audience member seated in the theatre would see an ordinary studio apartment: couch, kitchen, laundry room, stairs. But beneath this easy setting are the details: random pens and pencils, a closet filled with household items, even kitchen utensils sitting untouched on shelves. These details are the handiwork of set designer Mike Nichols. One thing is for sure: Nichols never disappoints.

Amy Hutchins (It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Hacking Chronicles), who plays Susy, has returned to the Rep for her second stage performance in Little Rock. Previously, Hutchins has acted with five different Shakespearean companies around the country and is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA).

Although a wonderful player, Hutchins is not necessarily the funny bone of the cast. With the exception of a few laughable moments, hers was one of few performances that captured the essence of this straight play.

Micheal Stewart Allen (Law & Order: SVU, Cold Mountain), who plays the head con Harry Roat, is back after having performed in Of Mice and Men, Grapes of Wrath, and Romeo and Juliet at the Rep.

As the villain of the play, Allen must attempt an overtaking of the Greenwich apartment. For his character, success means a fortune, but for Allen himself, that means going up against his real wife, Hutchins. However, this fact did not show in his performance; Allen played Roat just as well, if not better than, actor Alan Arkin in the film version of the play.

Craig Maravich (Death of a Salesman) and Robert Ierardi (Clybourne Park) play the other two conmen, Mike Talman and Sgt. Carlino respectively. The two were great in their supporting roles, though it couldn’t help but be felt that they deserved more credit, due to their extensive resumes. But it’s like the saying goes: there are no small roles, only small actors.

Comparatively to the film version, it’s hard to say where the strengths and weaknesses lie. Film actress Audrey Hepburn’s protagonist may be charismatic, but Hutchins’ performance captivates with its raw drama. Alan Arkin’s villain might have been more deadset on murder, but Allen took his antagonist to new heights, becoming mischievous, and even comedic at times. Overall, there is something to be said on live theatre versus the cinema in the context of the thriller genre.

With Artistic Director Robert Hupp, this production was an instant hit. Brilliantly-acted characters, a well layed-out set, and thrilling special effects all combine to create a “Hutchins-Allen married duo”-production that cannot be missed.

Always dream. dare. do


By Pate McCuien, Sports Editor

I owe a debt of gratitude to my high school. Not just for the brilliant education I have received in my four years. Not just for allowing me to be a part of the soccer and football teams. Not just for the hundreds of people I have encountered, but also for their part in connecting me to the Al Neuharth 2014 Free Spirit journalism convention. It was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life and the best part is that any junior reading this with aspirations to be a journalist can attend the conference.

It all stated as a long shot. My mom told me of this “journalism thing,” and after reading the long application process and watching the video of past Free Spirits, I thought there was no way I would make the cut, but finally after some convincing from my mother, I decided it was worth a shot.

I spent days on the application process. It seemed like a lot then, but now, looking back, I know it was worth it. On that fateful day during spring break when my mother came home and said, “Pate, you got it!” I was so shocked that I assumed she was talking about something else. It gave me such a since of achievement, but this was only the beginning.

The next couple of months consisted of nervous anticipation: How would I fit in with the rest of the “Free Spirits”? Will the conference be fun? Will everyone else be much smarter than I? Once June 21 finally arrived, I realized this was going to be a significant event in my life.

When I got off the plane in Washington D.C., my adventure started with a brief talk with a semi-racist taxi driver (don’t worry, he didn’t work for the Free Spirit organization). After a long ride with this close-minded person, I finally got to the hotel. I was greeted with food and smiles -–although half of the Free Spirits group had arrived earlier and were already at the Native American museum. The crew left behind began with introductions and information about interesting things about hometowns. That is when I realized that these fellow Free Spirits were some of the most interesting people I have met in my entire life. I knew instantly that I would make a strong connection with many of them.

We topped off our meeting with a delicious visit to the Hard Rock Café where we attempted to watch the FIFA World Cup.

Guest speakers, for the convention included Sara Ganim, the journalist who broke the Penn State scandal story, technology and social media genius, Val Hoeppner, two freedom riders, Dr. Ernest Patton and congressman John Lewis and Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of PBS news. I’ve never been exposed to people with much media experience, so seeing and hearing what they had to say opened my eyes to the true life of a journalist. I also discovered the best way to approach college with aspirations of being a journalist. However, the trip was not just speakers.

Our group also took dozens of tours to the majority of the Washington monuments, as we bonded with each other. We became very close friends. Occasionally, we would also go to the famous Newseum. It was, by far the most entertaining museum I have ever been to. It interested me because of the vast amount of historical artifacts including the 40-foot-by-22-foot high-definition screen, and giant piece of the Berlin Wall, along with many other journalism exhibits. My interest level was also affected by the amount of food catered by the world-renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck. The conference had this delicious food catered to the Newseum everyday for lunch.

Though the majority of the trip was centered around participants attempting to better themselves as a journalist, a lot of the fun came from bonding with the other Free Spirits. Whether it was exploring the new museum, cheering on USA in the World Cup, looking around Washington D.C., or having long discussions with everyone about political beliefs and gossip going on around your city, there was always a chance to bond with the peers attending. This was the biggest benefit to attending the conference, the “Future Connnections”.

One thing I learned about being a journalist is that the most important attribute one can have is connections within the world of media. Out of all of the speakers we had talk to us, the one constant message was that it helps to know someone, and now I know 50 other aspiring journalists, 50 other connections to the world of media, and 50 new friends.

If you are aspiring to be a striving force in the media world, you must apply for this program. And I haven’t even mentioned the $1000 scholarship. There is no other way to gain the experiences I gained in Washington D.C. during the end of June last year. This conference taught me so much, and anyone can be the next to experience this beautiful journey.

“The Year of the Woman”: Feminist club aims to promote equality

Senior Sally Goldman began the Feminist Club at Central, which quickly became one of the largest clubs in school. Photo by Brooke Perkins

Senior Sally Goldman began the Feminist Club at Central, which quickly became one of the largest clubs in school. Photo by Brooke Perkins

by Brooke Perkins, Staff Writer

“Feminists are not a monolithic; there are many different types of feminists. To say that they’re a womanist is reductive, not all feminists are men-hating lesbians,” senior Sally Goldman said.

These are some of the stereotypes that modern day feminists, are fighting hard to change about the whole feminist movement, such as Sally Goldman.

Starting the first feminism club at central with fellow seniors Devyani Shekhawat and Grace Lytle, who came up with the idea at Arkansas Governor’s School, Sally considers herself a feminist because she believes in the political, social, and economic equality of the sexes and genders.

“We decided to start this club because there is a lack of representation in media, the patriarchal society, and politics,” Sally said.

With 1992 being “The Year of the Woman,” in relation to politics, two decades later women still hold less than 20 percent of congressional seats, despite composing a majority of the US population.

“There are many laws regulated in how we see women’s bodies where we don’t see men’s,” Sally said.

This includes the media’s portrayal of women and girls from effects on body image and self-identity, to the objectification and eroticization of females.

“Feminism should be about respecting women’s decisions,” Sally said.

Starting in the 1960s, women began to want reform such as equal pay, equal rights in law, and the freedom to plan their own families or to honor the decision to not want children at all.

Along with this wave of feminism, there has been an increase in men going along with the Men’s Rights Movement. The MRM is considered to be a countermovement to feminism. Arguing that the women’s movement has “gone too far” and has harmed men as a result, and is a perceived threat to traditional gender roles.

Many women face various problems in the making and enforcing of this movement.

“There are several problems with men’s rights because they don’t answer the big question and are just stemming for patriarchy,” Sally said. “They don’t realize they’re being inclusive because their voices are heard more than women’s.”

American Horror Story captivates intrigued followers


by Simeon Simmons, Features Editor

Halfway into the season, American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy has already caused a wave of surprised gasps and gnawing anticipation to its intense and dedicated viewers. With an estimate of 5.54 millions who tuned in to witness the first episode its success is obvious.

What draws in the committed watchers to the sick twisted plots of American Horror Story? It’s probably the fact that you don’t need to start tediously from Season 1 to understand what’s going on. The mini-series, Freak Show takes us back to the 1950’s in the small town of Jupiter, Florida.

The show mostly follows Elsa Mars the leader of the ‘freaks’ and her attempt to revive the Freak Show, to gain fame and find a place for her ‘monsters’. As the series progresses Elsa and her ‘monsters’ experience conflicts from police investigation to troubling newcomers. The ‘monsters’ are in for a down spiraling encounter that almost shuts down their beloved Freak Show.

The plot follows the ‘monsters’ and their fight to keep the Freak Show in business and make people realize that ‘monsters’ are human too, and everyone is a little weird. Newcomers and antagonists rile up conflict, leading to disappearances, unexplained deaths and unexpected alliances.

Ambitious junior Andrew Labay keeps students, teachers entertained

pic of andrew

Photo by Kamri McKee

by Diana Basnakian, Staff Writer

Imagine: students file into a class, sit down, and pull out their pencils. Soon the teacher starts the lesson, confusing them in some areas, enlightening them in others. Suddenly, an eager classmate raises his hand with such force that he almost falls over with excitement. The teacher acknowledges his hand and says something like, “Yes, (insert name here)?” At first the students listen to their classmate’s question, following along and understanding exactly what he means. It only takes about a minute though, before the student’s profound query confuses all of his fellow classmates. The best part: the student manages to ask such an abstract question, it seems even beyond the wisdom of the teacher, who then finds herself trying to make up an answer, pretending like she knows what she’s talking about.

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it always seems to be the same person who has his fellow classmates questioning their purpose in school: junior Andrew Labay. If his name is mentioned around Central, most students responded, along the lines of, “oh yeah, that kid who’s going to discover the cure for cancer?”

Andrew doesn’t come to school solely because he has to. Central is his oyster for enlightenment, his place to feed his ultimate passion: science.

To Andrew, science isn’t a class, but an explanation of how the world operates. Andrew believes that every class circles back to science, whether it’s math, English, or history. Science has always been so satisfying for Andrew because it provides answers for all of his burning questions.

“As a kid, I would always ask my parents the question ‘Why?’ to the point where they got so tired of it,” Andrew said. “With science, all my questions are answered, and I don’t have to ask anybody.”

Although Andrew has a brain for science, his heart for science is even greater.

“He’s very energetic and enthusiastic about learning, and he always looks at things from different angles. Often times, I feel like his energy keeps other students awake,” chemistry teacher Beth Maris said.

But it’s not just textbook science, or science that he learns from a teacher’s lecture that invigorates Andrew. Andrew is most concerned with the application of science: how does this apply to real life, and how can this knowledge be used to cure a fatal disease two decades from now. Most students are simply struggling with deciding what they’ll have for lunch that day; meanwhile Andrew is thinking ahead, years ahead.

With a heart for science as big as Andrew’s, success is expected. Andrew has been competing in science fair since the third grade, and every year he has placed in first, second, or third place. This past February, Andrew was accepted into the prestigious Future Medical Leaders of America conference in Washington, D.C, where he participated in fundamental scientific research alongside the best scientific professors in the country, as well as other passionate students. Last year, Andrew also won the Biology Student of the Year award.

And when it comes to overall extracurricular activities, Andrew is a well-rounded individual. Since the sixth grade, he has been playing instruments, such as the trumpet and French horn. He is currently an active member of Central’s band, where he plays the French horn.

“Band is a good way for artistic expression, especially for those who aren’t artistically gifted, such as myself,” Andrew said. “Even though I can’t translate my emotions into drawings, I can through sound.”

Aside from science and band, Andrew is excels in his other subjects – history, math, or whatever it may be, it’s guaranteed Andrew can tackle it all.

“Andrew is very committed to doing his best on everything he does. He shows great leadership; he helps make Central the best school in the world,” Memory Project sponsor and civics teacher Keith Richardson said.

Perhaps the best thing about Andrew is his welcoming personality. Among his numerous talents and achievements, Andrew is widely acknowledged as an all-around fantastic person.

“Andrew’s one of those people who you’re automatically attracted to,” junior Kamri McKee said.

Among many other reasons, Andrew is widely appreciated because of his never-ending optimism. Rarely does one ever come across a depressed Andrew.

“I’ve never seen Andrew be mean or stingy; he is always a piece of sunshine in my class. No matter how tired he is, he’s still happy; he doesn’t let anything cloud over his life,” English teacher Sarah Shutte said.

And although Central has around 2,500 students, even Principal Nancy Rousseau recognizes his name.

“Andrew is a keeper! He is an example of the legacy of excellence that we have here at Central,” Rousseau said.

After his high school career, Andrew plans on attending the University of Texas and majoring in biochemistry. By studying biochemistry, Andrew hope’s to create cures for some of the most tragic diseases.

“I don’t care if I get credit for, say, creating a vaccination; I just want it to be out there and for it to help others, whether I created it or not,” Andrew said.

Judging by his vast number of accomplishments thus far, there’s no telling what he will accomplish ten years from now.

“Andrew is an amazing guy, I can’t wait to see what he’s going to turn out to be,” Shutte said.

For now though, Andrew continues to delight his friends, impress his teachers, and serve as an example of immense passion for Central students.

International icons influence feminism movement

Beyonce expresses her feminine strength at the 2014 VMA Awards. Photo courtesy of Time Magazine

by Melissa Joiner, Features Editor

Do you believe that all people, regardless of gender, deserve equal rights? If so, you are considered a feminist and are among the ranks of many people and celebrities—both male and female—who also support feminism.

Probably the most popular celebrity feminist at the moment is superstar Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Knowles-Carter is the co-founder of the charity Chime for Change, which works to give women a voice, empowers them to work for change and to help women gain power across the globe. Also, at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2014, Knowles-Carter performed for 17 solid minutes, and at the close of her performance, she stood proudly in front of huge lettering that read “FEMINIST.”

“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead,” she said.

Another famous feminist is actress Emma Watson. Watson, who was named a United Nations’ Women Goodwill Ambassador in mid-2014, gave a speech on gender inequalities at the U.N. Headquarters in New York on September 20, 2014. In the speech, Watson commented on the fact that many misconstrue the definition for the word “feminism,” and explained how it calls for the equality of all sexes. She also discussed how males should be feminists and allies of women who are feminists, because they currently have more power to make change than women.

“We want to end gender inequality, and to do this, we need everyone involved,” Watson said.

Celebrity feminists are not only females, though. Some famous male feminists include singer John Legend and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Legend performed at a concert fundraiser for Chime for Change in June 2013. He was one of the few male performers at the concert. Gordon-Levitt released a video in September 2014 in which he discussed different types of feminism that he had encountered after announcing in early 2014 that he considers himself a feminist.

“What [feminism] means to me is that you don’t let your gender define who you are—you can be who you want to be, whether you’re a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, whatever,” Gordon-Levitt said. “However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what feminism means.”

Women embrace natural beauty, explore different hair styles


DSC_0219by Diana Basnakian, Staff Writer

Shampoo, condition, rise, and repeat. Shampoo, condition, rinse, and repeat. Hair for most girls reflects a culture, a fashion statement, and a way of expressing personality. Making hair look stunning does not come effortlessly; it can take hours of brushing, combing, sculpting, and moisturizing. Because of the tedious hair maintenance, many are forced to make a decision: keep it natural, or perm it? Recently, a number of black girls have decided to abandon the chemicals, and go with their natural hair. Even though natural hair is free of chemicals, some say, it is much harder to style. So, why then, would someone resort to time-consuming natural hair when they could choose carefree, treated hair?

Girls with natural hair have plenty of legitimate reasons for keeping it chemical-free. One of the main reasons many girls decide to keep their hair natural is because of the severity of the chemicals used in perms. These chemicals, often called “relaxers,” are creams that make curly hair easier to straighten and manage. Keep in mind, perms for white girls are different than perms for black girls. A perm for a white girl usually means permanently curling hair, while a perm for a black girl means permanently straightening hair. For black females, relaxers reduce the curl by breaking down the hair strand, leaving hair straight anywhere between six to eight weeks. At first, using relaxers seems like a miracle.

Many think, “Finally, never again will I have to spend HOURS vigorously brushing my hair!” Dig a little deeper though, and it becomes clear that perming hair often leads to more disadvantages than once thought.

Sodium Hydroxide is one of the most commonly used chemicals in relaxers, and the strongest. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal at first – even shampoo has chemicals, so what? However, this chemical isn’t just used in relaxers, it is also used in drain cleaners, which contain some of the harshest chemicals known to man. The strength of this chemical varies from a ten to fourteen on the pH scale (a scale that measures the acidity of substances), and although a higher pH guarantees faster results, it also guarantees greater damage. When hair is relaxed, the bonds that create such curly (and healthy) hair are broken down, creating weaker hair strands that are more susceptible to breakage.

“While I was using relaxers, I noticed that my hair thinned, and it started to fall out more. My hair grew much slower with relaxers—over a four month time period, with relaxers, my hair grew two inches, but with natural hair, my hair grew three,” junior Destyn Flanagan said.

Destyn had always wanted to “go natural,” but she was convinced that it would be too difficult to manage. This summer, Destyn had her hair braided. After taking it down, she realized she enjoyed her natural, curly hair, and decided that maybe keeping it natural would work in her favor.


Destyn explains that with relaxed hair, girls can have wavy, curly, and straight hair – all at the same time. Translation: a hot mess. Now that Destyn has had natural hair for about four months, she’s realized that natural hair is not nearly as horrible as many people make it out to be.

“Straightening my curly hair with a straightening iron is no different than using relaxers, and it’s healthier. Plus, with natural hair, I have more even hair patterns,” Destyn said.

Several other girls have decided to make the switch right alongside Destyn. Take junior Rav’en Taylor, for example, who started the transition between October and June of last year. Like many other girls, Rav’en realized that her hair was getting limp and dry from relaxers, motivating her to make the natural switch. Senior Skyy Clark also decided to switch to natural hair after relaxing it for most of her life. Although both switched for obvious health reasons, Skyy had a different motivation.

“There was no reason for me to get perms because my hair still seemed to curl with a perm. With a flat iron though, my hair maintained its straight texture more effectively. Plus, I happen to have good natural hair, so there was no point in perming it anymore,” Skyy said.

It is not just teenage girls who are deciding to go natural, either. Many older women have also chosen to make the switch, such as AP World History teacher, Rachel Rigsby.

As a runner, Rigsby finds that having shorter hair is less of a hassle than having long hair. Alongside time, cost was also a factor that motivated Rigsby to switch to natural hair. To maintain straight hair, she (like many others) would have to reapply relaxers every 6 weeks, which can often cost $70. Rigsby explains that even after paying such a hefty price, relaxers still burn, which is far from pleasant. Another motive for switching to natural hair is the greater amount of versatility that comes with it.

Rigsby’s biggest motivation, though, came from the girls that she is surrounded by daily.

“If a 17-year-old girl can cut off all her hair, then surely I can, too. Plus, since I don’t relax my daughters’ hair, it didn’t make much sense for me to relax mine,” Rigsby said.

When hair is relaxed, it is close to impossible for it to go back to its original curl pattern. Even though relaxed hair can be re-curled with a curling iron, the chemicals used to relax hair, and the heat coming from the curling iron can do a great deal of damage. Natural hair however, can be straightened with a flat iron, and a simple wash can bring it back to its natural curl pattern. Ultimately, using just heat to style hair is much healthier than using both chemicals and heat.

Okay, great. Natural hair means healthier, and yet, still gorgeous hair. So why do women still relax their hair?

Unfortunately, transitioning from relaxed to natural hair is complicated. When women stop applying relaxers to their hair, it will start to grow back, very slowly, starting from the roots. Meanwhile, the ends are still straight as can be. Eventually, women find themselves with hair that is half straight, half curly. Managing two textures of hair is like managing two heads of hair, as if one wasn’t enough already!

Fortunately, there are some loopholes. Most commonly, women will cut off all their straight hair and allow the natural hair to grow out evenly, known as the “big chop.” Some girls like to keep it gradual, since the thought of short hair can be daunting. At first, Rav’en tried to wait for her natural hair to grow out to a longer length before she cut off her straight ends. Eventually though, Rav’en decided to go with the “big chop” since managing multiple textures of hair at the same time became stressful.

However, many are frightened by the thought of having all their hair cut off at once. Long hair is often a symbol of the feministic qualities of a woman. Once it is gone, some women may feel as though they have been stripped of their identity.

“Most modern women have straight, long hair, so having short hair has become a taboo,” Rav’en said.

Even still, some women are perfectly content with short hair. Rigsby believes that short, natural hair is often very beautiful, and she is confident in her own. It helps that it only takes five minutes to wash versus hours of maintenance for chemically treated hair.

“I don’t think everyone realizes that it’s just hair. If it really does end up looking terrible, it’ll grow back out eventually,” Rigsby said.

However, support for women transitioning to natural hair varies. Some have received negative feedback. Rav’en’s mother was not very supportive of her decision to switch to natural hair. Others, like Destyn, Skyy, and Rigsby have gained positive support from family and friends.

“Those that matter to me in my life have been very supportive, and those that don’t matter, well, don’t matter,” Rigsby said.

Maintaining natural hair requires dedication and time, something most people lack. It is a rare occasion when a girl can spend an hour of her time to simply take a bath, much less brush and moisturize her hair. With natural hair, washing, conditioning, moisturizing, detangling, and blow-drying can take over an hour. The worst part: after all that hard work, there’s no guarantee that the hair will stay that way. Walking outside to a humid climate can cause the roots to frizz, wasting all that time and energy. Relaxers tend to make the job easier.

“I perm my hair because when it’s relaxed, I don’t have to constantly wash it to keep it from getting dry and damaged. Perming my hair is so simple since the hair stylist does it for me,” sophomore Kaydrianna Smith said.

Aside from being easier to handle, some women have seen many pros to relaxing their hair. As opposed to natural hair that requires blow-drying or pressing for styling, relaxed hair is best for styling when it is air-dried. Girls who relax their hair also avoid the heat damage. Many argue that the best thing about relaxed hair is being able to avoid the awkward encounters with random people who ask, “Excuse me, but can I PLEASE touch your hair?”

Using relaxers isn’t uncommon amongst younger girls, either. However, for children especially, using relaxers can be detrimental to their health. Clinical studies show that girls should avoid using relaxers before the age of twelve. Children are known for having sensitive scalps, and the toxins in relaxers are prone to burning them. A damaged scalp can damage hair growth by corrupting the new, delicate hair strands and roots. Damage to hair growth as a child is often permanent, consequently reducing hair style versatility. Many also argue that allowing their young girls to use relaxers can affect self-esteem. Often times, daughters who have had their mothers relax their hair starting from a very young age have grown to believe that their natural hair is not “good enough,” and therefore, lacking beauty.

“It almost feels wrong to relax my daughters’ hair because I feel as though that I’m suggesting that something is wrong with their natural, beautiful hair, and they need to fix it,” Rigsby said.

Guys always have different opinions on girls and their appearances. Some guys prefer relaxed hair because it shows that the girl took the initiative to make her hair look good, while some say it simply looks better. Even so, natural hair isn’t totally rejected.

“I personally like girls with natural hair more, because I like the way it looks and it shows that they are confident in their appearance,” sophomore Kilam Anderson said.

At the end of the day, there will always be debate over those who relax their hair and those who do not. Both sides have their pros, and both have their cons. Lately though, it seems that many women are switching to their natural hair in effort to support the claim that basic, can in fact, be beautiful.

Basketball team seeks redemption

Coach Oliver Fitzpatrick (center) has appreciated the work this year's team has put in to achieve success, including strenuous conditioning. Photo by Thomas Heye

Coach Oliver Fitzpatrick (center) has appreciated the work this year’s team has put in to achieve success, including strenuous conditioning. Photo by Thomas Heye

by Thomas Heye, Staff Writer

The Central men’s basketball team had a disappointing end to their season last year, losing in the first round of the playoffs. This year, they are ready to make it all the way to the championship behind returning team members such as senior Brennen Johnson, senior Kevin Glason, junior Matthew Means, sophomore Cameron Johnson, and new member junior Josh Claxton.

“I haven’t been around in the past years,” Claxton said, “but this year we have a lot of good guys, and I think we are going to be pretty good.”

Claxton is a transfer from Little Rock Christian, where he played basketball both his freshman and sophomore years.

Brennen Johnson, a returning team member, also shares Claxton’s optimism about this year’s season.

“I honestly think that we have a chance to do something different this year; over the years we struggled with chemistry, but this year it’s going to be better, Johnson said “We have taken steps to get better as a team, whether it was practices in the summer or double blocking athletics this year, and I think that everyone has gotten better.”

The newfound cohesion forming this basketball season could make this team better than previous Central teams, and give the members greater hope for success on the court.

“Last year we were a team, but we didn’t pull off what we could have done,” Cameron Johnson said, “we could have won a championship, but we didn’t play as one.”

The offensive prowess of this year’s team has impressed Coach Fitzpatrick, reinforcing his optimism for this year’s season.

“They are more of an offensive threat than we have been the last three years; we have a lot of guys who know how to score the basketball,” Coach Fitz said.

The Tigers this year, with a younger and closer team, seek to win the state championship, and may just have the ability to do it.

The team started off strong, opening with a victory at home against Forrest City; however, they have fallen off since, losing to Mills, Hot Springs, J.A. Fair, and Catholic.