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Basketball team starts 3-0 against rivals - Page 24 Vol. 5, Issue 2 • 2601 N. Queen St., Kinston N.C. 28501 • Dec. 2012

County graduates to honors system By REBECCA IRVIN Staff Writer

Lenoir County Public Schools is implementing a cum laude honor system beginning with the graduating class of 2016 -- the current freshman class. In simplified terms, Board Policy 3450 will do away with the titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. According to school officials, the change will allow schools to recognize more students at the top of the class each year. “The more kids we can recognize for their accomplishments, the better,” Principal Angela Bryant said. “Cum laude” is a Latin phrase that means “with honors” and is used by most colleges and universities to recognize students who graduate with high grade point averages.

At Kinston, as with most high schools in the area, class rank has always been a method used for measuring students’ academic performance. Students, especially in the International Baccalaureate program, strive to earn the title of valedictorian. The outlook on class rank for some students could change once it is put in place. “It makes being ranked No. 1 less competitive,” freshman Landon Powell said. UNC-Chapel Hill freshman Daniel Irvin, valedictorian of the 2012 Kinston High class, recalls how competitive the race for the school’s top spot was when he and classmates Tommy Tsao and Caitlin West pushed one another for four years. See “Honors” on Page 5

(Eliza Deaver/The Viking Press)

Freshmen Jesus Paez (left) and Jonathon Montalvo collaborate on an assignment. Beginning with their class, students will have a chance to graduate with honors, rather than having a valedictorian and salutatorian.

Safety a concern following Kinston-area shootings By ANNA HILL Managing Editor

(Eliza Deaver/The Viking Press)

COMING SOON -- Sweet Frog, a frozen yogurt franchise, is scheduled to open in the Herritage Street Plaza this week. Owner Matt Peake and general manager Steve Thurmau showcase a banner that will be displayed at the store when it opens. Read the full story on Page 9.


Former NFL star Levar Fisher talks to students about bullying and reaching their potential. Page 10

Ten homicides in a six month period is enough to give any town a reputation for being unsafe. It’s also more than enough for Kinston police to initiate ambitious public safety programs. In 2011, Kinston was rocked by what seemed like one shooting after another. Not only did the homicide rate dramatically spike, the number of violent crimes peaked at 131 charges—a 49 percent increase from 2009 and a 20 percent increase from the previous year. Kinston received national attention when a U.S. marshal was killed in the midst of it all. Since then, violent incidents have received extra attention. The latest shooting occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend and in-



People are crazy everywhere. It’s not just Kinston.

- Jessie Mills, junior

volved an off-duty Lenoir County sheriff’s deputy. According to police reports, that deputy, Joseph Heck, shot and killed Kinston resident William C. “Billy” Gibbs, a 2004 Kinston High School graduate, at the Waffle House in Kinston. A Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office news release stated Heck shot Gibbs after Gibbs fired a weapon at another individual. The officer-involved shooting has inspired

More than two dozen students have international connections. Read more on pages 12-13.

See “Safety” on Page 8


2 - The Viking Press - December 2012

The Viking Press

2601 N. Queen St. / Kinston N.C. 28501

Abby Sargeant and Emily Benson // The Viking Press)

The Viking Press is the award-winning student publication of Kinston High School and is published entirely by KHS students as a public forum for student expression. Opinions expressed in The Viking Press are solely those of the writer whose byline appears above each story. Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of The Viking Press staff as a whole and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of any Lenoir County Schools employees. Some material courtesy of American Society of Newspaper Editors/MCT Campus High School Newspaper Service.

Mission Statement The Viking Press, for the purpose of allowing the voices of all students to be heard, believes in complete, unbiased reporting and strives for honest, open dialogue in the KHS community.

On the Web


Our Take: Students deserve more support


f you were one of the lucky few in the front row of the Performing Arts Center on Nov. 6, you saw a great performance taking place in front of you. And if you were to turn around, you would realize how few shared that experience. Perhaps two dozen people filed into an audi@TheVikingPress torium designed to hold more than 800 visitors to Viking Press Staff watch drama teacher Clay Managing Editor Shaniqua Lawhorn Raines and five dedicated drama students perform Anna Hill Drew McPhatter Reporters Dymond Mumford “Drum Taps,” a retelling of Christopher Bell Jr. Brenasia Murphy the Civil War through the Emily Benson Ciara Myers lens of Walt Whitman’s DeAndria Bryant Ayelen Paez “Leaves of Grass.” JaCoya Coward Kedetta Dawson Eliza Deaver Shikeya Ham Renee Hart Rebecca Irvin VeQuain Joyner

Brittany Roberts Abby Sargeant Jeremy Taylor Alexis Williams Adviser Michael Moon

Letters welcome The Viking Press welcomes letters to the editor. Submissions must be 300 words or less and must be signed by the author. The Viking Press reserves the right to edit letters for content and length.

Distinction The Viking Press and its staff members have earned more than 70 scholastic press awards from the N.C. Scholastic Media Association and N.C. Press Club in four years of publication. We are proud to call ourselves back-to-back-toback All-North Carolina recipients for our newspaper and website.

I feel like more people should come show support for our school’s softball team, the same way they show support for football. I believe with more support our team could perform much better.” - Cristallyn Tice, junior

To be fair, the name of the play may be unfamiliar to you, and many teachers and students indicated they weren’t even aware of the scheduled performance. But the school must do a better job of encouraging its students to attend events to support their peers, whether it is a ball game, a band competition or a play. We suggest teachers offer extra credit for students who attend plays with historical or literary backgrounds. Students, however, aren’t the only ones who need to step up to the plate, nor are

theatrical performances the only areas in which our students deserve additional support. If it is not a varsity football or basketball game, the bleachers can be a lonely place for the dedicated few who come to every game. During the men’s soccer season, our team made it to the playoffs once again, but the stands weren’t even close to being filled. When the football team sufferend through a losing streak this year, the crowds declined and many students doubted the team. Our student body simply does not support one other. The purpose of coming

Your voice

I feel like at our track meets, we should have just as much support as any other sport because we’re a part of Kinston High School’s athletics, too.” - Takerian Harper, sophomore

to games is not because the team is winning; it’s to show school spirit, win or lose. The school is our family, and we have to support each other. Excuses like “It doesn’t interest me” or “I don’t understand it” aren’t good enough. Come anyway. Enjoy the show. Socialize. We understand that it is impossible to come to every event. But the support is needed, and a little extra effort would be appreciated – from parents, staff and students alike.

It’s not much, but the people that did show up at our soccer games were helpful. Crowd comparison to the basketball team, it’s barely any people at all. I don’t complain though. I’m much more comfortable with less people being in the crowd. I feel like it’s less pressure.” -- Julian Quintero, freshman


One student’s experience living abroad



y name is Lukiss Brooks. I’m 17. I was born in Cottonwood, Calif., but I never stayed anywhere for long. Every three years, I move to a different location. This has been hard on me. I never got to keep friends, and in 2000, I moved to Germany. I was 5 and don’t remember much of when I moved there, but most of my first memories are from the years I lived there. I went to a private school that was mostly military children and a few German children. When I moved there I had my first encounter with a bully. A child by the name of B lived across the street. He would make fun of my name and steal my bike. Other than the bully, which didn’t make my life any easier, Germany was beautiful. I was fortunate enough to be able to bike to castles that were actually used in battles. The weather was nice -- comfortable when it was supposed to be and hot when it was supposed to be. One big difference between Germany and Kinston is that there wasn’t much humidity there. We lived close enough to the shopping center. We would walk there all the time. Once, we walked there and I found a one hundred dollar bill. The same day I entered a contest and won the second place prize. It was a bike, which was good because I went on a lot of bike trails with my family. Overall, much of my experience sounds like a typical American childhood, but it was in Germany.

Editor’s note: Lukiss wrote this guest column in conjunction with a feature story on international students (See Page 12-13).

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 3

‘Plenty to do’

Kinston offers variety of activities for teens “There’s nothing to do in Kinston.” It’s a common phrase among people in our town. I hear it just about every day at some point from either friends or family members. Though I admit condemning Kinston as “empty” and “boring” plenty of times, recently I realized I have been wrong my whole life. Though small, our city offers a multitude of activities and experiences in its limited area. During the summer, free Sand in the Streets concerts liven up downtown on Thursday nights. Anyone can train to run an 8K and possibly win “Run for the River” in the spring, when people from all over North Carolina compete. Those not interested in athletics or music can dine downtown or visit all the historical sites Kinston has to offer. As a child I always passed by brown signs on the side of the road and never paid them any mind. This changed when I learned through community members about all the rich, exciting history our little town has to offer. As an IB and former U.S. History student here at Kinston High, this is a vital asset to my education when it comes to our Civil War. It’s


amazing to me that a few miles from my home I can experience first-hand the sensation of standing in the same spot where Union and Confederate soldiers fought for their lives and imagine what they believed in. There are so many opportunities in Kinston for every interest, yet not enough people realize this. Why? I went to Pride of Kinston Executive Director Adrian King for an answer to that question. “There is a disconnect between the older generation of people who are behind many of Kinston’s activities and the younger population,” King said. “We don’t know about texting, Twitter and Facebook, but it’s how this generation communicates.” King’s point really resonated with me because it made me realize why I’ve always thought Kinston had no opportunities for me. I wasn’t being told. It’s no wonder our generation is so out of touch with things going on in our own backyard. While we’re scrolling down our Instagram feeds

and checking Twitter every five seconds, people outside our world of social media can’t seem to break through that barrier, or they aren’t trying. Yet, it’s the most effective way to truly communicate with young people, especially teenagers. We complain about Kinston having nothing to spend our time doing because we have absolutely no clue what all is out there. True, if you want to shop at Hollister, go ice skating, or shop at the Apple store, you’ll have to go out of town. But when it comes to simple entertainment, we have that right here. Every year Kinston receives tremendous amounts of money due to tourism, so there must be something drawing people here. On the other side of the fence, those in our own town waste gas money constantly looking for something to cure their boredom in other cities when they could be having fun a few blocks away from home. Though we don’t have everything, Kinston has plenty to offer. If you don’t agree, you should stop complaining and go find something to do with your time. If money is tight, participate in something like our annual downtown cleanup.

It’s free, and you’ll be helping your hometown. There’s just no excuse for us to sit on the couch being upset about what Kinston doesn’t have. Let’s start closing our mouths for a second and opening our eyes to what’s been around us all this time.

Things to do in Kinston

Woodman Community Center Exercise, sports, community activities and events. Located on Vernon Avenue across the street from Caswell Center. Sand in the Streets Regularly scheduled concerts, weekly throughout the summer. Located in downtown Kinston. Downtown Clean Up Annual event, takes place every spring. Art Gallery New business opening at Blount St. and Herritage St. intersection. Partnership with Community Council for the Arts.

To be or not to be (in a relationship) When we first came into the world, we were by ourselves. Single. In high school, however, relationships are big. Every corner you turn there is a couple “boo loving.” Are relationships necessary in high school? Some girls -- and also young men -- base their entire lives on their girlfriends and boyfriends, forgetting about the most important aspect of high school: their education. I have seen many girls lose their self respect and morals over guys. Some guys have betrayed their girlfriends just for attention or a gain of popularity. Relationships tend to have students losing their focus on what is important. I know relationships are a great thing. Having a companion is a nice feeling, but as high school students, do we have time to deal with


the problems coming with a relationship? From experience, I know the troubles coming with a relationship. My freshman year, I was in a relationship. My boyfriend and I went through tremendous problems monthly and it was causing others to chime in on our relationship. Many days, I would not want to come to school because our problems were so distracting. My focus on my work was gone and I was turning into a person I had never been before. Being in that relationship caused me to lose the majority of my friends. I felt alone if I was not with my boyfriend. The morals I had and my self-respect disappeared. My mindset was destroyed,

and my grades dropped. At first, the idea of being in a relationship sounded nice -- going into my freshman year with a junior boyfriend was music to my ears. It actually was one of the worst mistakes of my life. If I had to re-do my freshman year, I would have gone in with a fresh year -- single. Relationships cause drama and arguments. I have been through it all. As high school students, we are not emotionally developed enough to have a relationship or deal with the battles that come with them. Single students have told me they are single because either no one meets their standards or they just simply want to be free. There’s nothing wrong with that. High school should be a time where you have fun, be yourself and meet new people.

I have seen some successful high school relationships, but it is very rare. More often, I see underclassmen girls date seniors, and when they graduate it is the end of that chapter, leaving the girl heart broken. Many of you have experienced the effects of being in a relationship in high school and many of you may not agree with me. But I believe being single in high school is better. When you are single, all you have to worry about is yourself. You will never have to deal with the drama. You won’t have to worry about who is talking to your girl or your boy. You are free of the worries. It’s your choice: Do you want to be single like rapper Lil Wayne or do you choose Trey Songz’s side: “already taken”?

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 4


CAS projects place emphasis on service By JEREMY TAYLOR Staff Writer

CAS hours are an important part of the IB curriculum. Standing for Creativity, Action and Service, CAS is a required component for any student seeking an International Baccalaureate diploma. The goal is to encourage students to become wellrounded leaders in the community. “Volunteering helps lead and bring others on board to support the community,” said Cyber Campus facilitator Ruth Anderson, who is helping several IB students with CAS projects. “The more committed you are, the more productive things will be.” Anderson encouraged all (Mrs. Ruth Anderson/Special for The Viking Press) students to become more Seniors Alicia Poole and Dan Hoang (left and right) and junior Tiani Clark (middle) preinvolved with the various pare hot chocolate for a Kinston soccer game. The fundraiser is part of an effort to raise service projects that are currently taking place on cam- money for schools in Nicaragua. pus. up the jeans and puts them tant part of the community,” for help. “It would be phenomenal to good use. The fabric of the Benson said. The club meets regularly for everyone to become ac- jeans is frequently used to during VIKES Lunch to distive with CAS, and this could help build houses. Alex’s Lemonade Stand cuss possible service projects. change the outlook of how “Why use synthetic mateThis project was started some people look at your rial when you can use used in Philadelphia by a young Community Garden community,” she said. material that you are already girl named Alexandra “Alex” Seniors Jeremy Taylor and throwing away,” Smith said. Scott who wanted to raise Alexis Williams chose to bePennies for Patients money for pediatric cancer come involved in a program Pennies for Patients is research. Painting the Community started by Lee Albritton in a national organization in Seniors Sarah Walker, Re- downtown Kinston. This volunteer project was progress at Kinston thanks to started by juniors Abby becca Irvin and Eliza Deaver The project is known in juniors Molly Riddick, Eliza- Sargeant and Emily Benson. took on this challenge and different counties and volunbeth Proctor and Josh Pet- The purpose of their project continued the project in Kin- teers work hard to improve tis. Their purpose is to raise is to brighten up the commu- ston. the community and give it money for children with leu- nity with paintings and cards “This is a good opportu- the change it needs. kemia through various fund- from children at Northwest nity to help people who can “I was influenced to join raising events. not help themselves and it this project because it was a Elementary School. Collection boxes are placed Sargeant and Benson have is a way for people to come good opportunity to change in teachers’ classrooms, and an art class Wednesday after- together and help,” Walker the community and make a students are encouraged to noons that allows the kids to said. difference in the communidonate any amount. create art that is in turn disty and in myself,” Williams tributed in the community. HERO (Helping Everyone said. From Blue to Green Benson and Sargeant said Reach Out) Club Juniors Melanie Smith and they enjoy helping kids and The club was founded by Change For Chidren Rebecca Boyette began this want to be involved with seniors April Davis and DeThe project helps to build project in which they gather children from an early age. Andria Bryant. They wanted food gardens in Nicaragua, used jeans and give them to “Painting the community to enrich the community a Central American nation the From Blue to Green Com- is a helpful way to teach kids through service by reaching that does not have a sustainpany. The company then rips how art can be an impor- out to the people within it

able food source. A worldwide charity, senior Alicia Poole is the leader of the Change for Children movement at Kinston High. She was motivated to help countries in poverty so they can be more sustainable like America, she said. Breast Cancer Awareness

This non profit organization was started by senior William French. The project raises money for the help and support of the SECU House, an organization that provides aid for cancer relief. French was influenced to support this organization because his grandmother had breast cancer, he said, something that helped him get active and want to help even more. Hugs for Paws

This was started by juniors Rebecca Candelario, Angel Gooding and Taylor Gray. They beautify the dog park and bring more attractions to it to better the community. Each of the girls is a dog owner, something that encouraged them to get involved. Their collective motto is “We applaud good paws.” While CAS is a requirement for IB students, anyone can participate if they have the passion and desire to improve the community. Any student who is interested in getting involved with one of the many charitable organizations at Kinston High is encouraged to contact Anderson or one of the student leaders in the various clubs and organizations. “It is great that the students are getting into CAS and volunteer work at a young age,” Anderson said.

GEAR UP encourages early college awareness By RENEE HART Staff Writer

Lenoir County Schools has been awarded a sevenyear grant to promote college awareness, particularly among first-generation college students. The grant, titled GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) specifically targets school systems with a large number of low

income families, counselor Ashley Houghton said. While the program begins in middle school, students at the high school level will see evidence of the program in action, too. The purpose for this program is to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, Houghton said. Specifically, GEAR UP seeks to increase academic

performance and preparation for postsecondary education, increase the rate of high school graduation and participation in postsecondary education and increase GEAR UP students’ and their families’ knowledge of postsecondary education options, preparation and financing. To achieve these goals, GEAR UP North Carolina provides a variety of interventions to students from

seventh grade through graduation, including college visits, summer programs, career explorations, mentoring, job shadowing, tutoring, college advising and financial aid workshops. Earlier this year, counselors set up a GEAR UP Awareness table in the cafeteria to inform students of how they are affected by this program and to answer any questions they may have.

Senior Annie Thi feels she can benefit from the program now, but she is excited for her brother, who will be in seventh grade next year. “He will be able to benefit from the entire program,” she said. For more information regarding the GEAR UP program, stop by the guidance office or visit and click the GEAR UP link under “Featured Resources.”


National Honor Society Juniors (New inductees): Tera Holloway Rebecca Boyette Molly Riddick Nicolas Frankfort Evan Hood Abigail Sargeant Emily Benson Joshua Pettis Daniel Heck Melanie Smith Shaina Williams Rigo Santiago Angel Gooding Nicolas Romero Elizabeth Proctor Dymond Mumford Donathan Bryant Rebecca Candelario Grecia Sevilla Taishu McLawhorn Seniors: Ayelen Paez* Annie Thi* Sarah Walker* Christopher Bell Jr. DeAndria Bryant April Davis Kedetta Dawson Eliza Deaver Rebecca Irvin Shadecia Ingram Dan Hoang Keith Haynie (Sergeant at Arms) Renee Hart William French VeQuain Joyner (Vice President) Denzel Keyes (Sergeant at Arms) Deborah Martin La’Andra Drew McPhatter Alicia Poole Brittany Roberts (Secretary) Jeremy Taylor (Treasurer) Bryan Wade Jaquan White Alexis Williams (president) (* indicates new senior inductees)


from page 1 “Even if the policy had been in place when we graduated we would still have wanted to make better grades than each other,” Irvin said. Some teachers agree. “The title of being a valedictorian is just that -- a title,” teacher Matthew Passwater said. “Ultimately, you should be intrinsically motivated to be the best you can be without relying on any outside ti-

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 5

Honor Society inducts new members By ELIZA DEAVER Staff Writer

The National Honor Society inducted two dozen new members in November, bringing the academic service organization’s membership to 44. According to teacher Teri Connor, who advised the National Honor Society for many years, induction is a recognition of a student’s community service, leadership and grades. “It’s for the people who are giving back to their school and community,” Connor said. “It’s nice for them to get recognized for that.” Membership in the National Honor Society also helps with college admissions, Connor said, but numbers have dwindled in recent years. “Seeing it shrink bothers me,” she said. “Kids need to push to reach the highest aca-

(Contributed photo)

The National Honor Society inducted 24 new members at its November induction ceremony. The National Honor Society recognizes students for their academic achievement, as well for integrity, character and leadership in the school.

she and Carlyle have some advisers of the NHS. demic level.” Romig said she has yet to ideas to increase student inTeachers Treva Romig and Christel Carlyle are the new organize a service project, but volvement.

Clubs feed families in need for holidays By THE VIKING PRESS Staff Report


he holidays are often viewed as a time to give back, and two clubs gave back during the Thanksgiving break. Both the FEED and Art clubs participated in programs to benefit Kinstonians. The FEED Club volunteered at Mary’s Soup Kitchen in town while the Art Club “adopted” a family and provided a Thanksgiving meal. “My students felt good because they were able to help a family in need,” art teacher Prishonda Daniels said. She and her students packaged and delivered food to the family on Nov. 19. Meanwhile, the FEED Club volunteered to feed Kinstonians at Mary’s Soup Kitchen

tle. Ultimately the top of the class will still be the top of the class whether they are called a ‘valedictorian’ or not.” The policy change was a collective decision made by the Lenoir County Board of Education, principals, teachers and parents. According to county leaders, the system is used by the majority of colleges and has been successful. “There are more kids than just two students in the senior class that deserve that recognition,” Bryant said.

on Nov. 20, two days before Thanksgiving. All club members brought food, much of which was home made. Junior Tatiana Cuffie, who got involved with the club a year ago, said this year’s turnout was even better than last year’s. About 30 people came out to enjoy a meal, she said. Cuffie encouraged people to get involved with the charity all year, not just during the holidays. “People out there don’t know if they can get food today or tomorrow,” she said. Any student who is interested in helping should see adviser Sue Potter in Room V-2 or President Anna Hill.

(Contributed photo)

The FEED Club helped feed families at Mary’s Soup Kitchen over the Thanksgiving break. From top left: Tatiana Cuffie, Ronika Loftin, Diamond Waters, Victoria Holloway and Shaina Williams.

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 6

Divided States of America?

Groups in all 50 states sign secession petitions



ince the 2012 presidential election, individuals in all 50 states have started petitions to secede from the United States, with Texas leading with the most signatures. When President Barack Obama was re-elected Nov. 6, many citizens decided they no longer wanted to be a part of the Union. Each state has over 2,000 signatures and Texas has the most with 117,000 signatures on its petition. U.S. History teacher Teri Connor said it isn’t uncommon for people to have passionate reactions following a hotly contested election. “It’s fair to say you always have factions after elections that talk about secession or wanting to leave the country,” she said. “You had many Democrats after Bush was re-elected talking about wanting to go to Canda, but they didn’t.” The White House started a “We the People” website to ensure all citizens would have an opportunity to have their voices heard. On the site, anyone can petition the government -- a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Any petition garnering at least 25,000 signatures will receive a response from the White House. Virtually all political experts, however, agree the petitions’ chance of sucessfully leading to a state’s secession is almost nonexistant. If a state were to be granted the right to secede, it would be the first time since the election of 1860 in which southern states left the Union with the reelection of President Abraham Lincoln, a series of events that led to the start of the Civil War. After the Civil War, the government was set up to abide by the words of Virginia’s James Madison, often called the father of the Constitution, who said, “The Constitution requires an adoption into and forever.” According to Connor, the Civil War essentially set the precedent that any future secession would be illegal. “When you talk about secession, it would really be like a rebellion,” Connor said. To be able to secede, a state must have at least 25,000 signatures on their petition and then the White House must grant them permission through an executive order, history teacher Clay Stilley said. As of Nov. 19, seven states -- Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas -- had reached that mark while several others were closing in fast. Trying to secede from the Union would take a lot more than 25,000 signatures on a petition, however. For a state to secede, a new Constitutional amendment would have to be proposed that would have to be adopted with a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress, followed by ratification by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states. It would be a long legal process. Another issue, Connor said, is that even though many signatures are being garnered, they’re spread out in small factions across wide areas. “The people who want to secede are small pockets of people,” Connor said. “Who would join them?”


Legalization debate gains momentum with new laws By ANNA HILL Managing Editor

The debate on legalizing marijuana is heating up, as Colorado and Washington became the first states in the nation to approve use of the substance solely for recreational use. Referendums in both states passed during the Nov. 6 general elections. Though other states allow marijuana, commonly referred to as “weed,” for medicinal purposes such as glaucoma, these two are the first to outright allow people to use it for any reason they wish. Following the controversial rulings in favor of the drug’s distribution, many states are filled with heated discussion on whether to follow suit. As with any states’ rights issue, experts have pointed out this may quickly become a national debate over complete legalization of the substance in America. Maj. Greg Thompson of the Kinston Department of Public Safety is opposed to the idea of marijuana becoming legal across the country. He called it a “gateway drug” to harder substances such as cocaine and heroin. In roughly 25 years of experience as a law enforcement officer in Kinston, he has seen even so-called “harmless” drugs, including marijuana, lead to terrible life paths. “I’ve talked to many addicts in my career,” he said, “and a large amount of them have said they started out with marijuana and thought ‘That didn’t hurt me, so I can try cocaine’ and kept adding drugs to the mix until there was no turning back.” Junior Tate Jenkins disagrees with Thompson. He views drug use as a “personal rights” issue and does not think the government should have any say in the distribution of marijuana when it is up to individuals whether or not to smoke it. “I do not personally smoke weed, but I don’t have the right to tell another person what they can or cannot do just because I don’t use,” he said. “That is a choice they make for their self.” A Kinston High School teacher who asked not to be named for this story shares Jenkins’ perspective and sees an opportunity for revenue in the matter. The teacher sees an opportunity for our government to receive tax dollars from an industry that makes huge amounts of money every year with no taxes taken. “I’m for (legalization) as long it can be controlled and taxed and

(Illustration by Anna Hill/The Viking Press)

With the national debate over marijuana legalization in full swing, states -- as well as the federal government -- must balance law enforcement concerns with public safety, potential taxation and personal freedoms.

if DUI tests would be available,” the teacher said. Thompson is against the idea of legalization not only for his previously stated thoughts on gateway drugs, but from an enforcement standpoint. If marijuana becomes legal everywhere, the police would still have problems with the drug. “We would most likely face a spike in DUI charges since marijuana would become easy to obtain,” he said. “Also, who would decide what qualifies a person too inebriated by marijuana to drive? Drug tests already take weeks to turn up results, so this would make field sobriety tests for marijuana DUIs extremely delayed compared to those we have for alcohol.” As with any legal controlled substance, there would have to be an age restriction for marijuana if ever legalized nationally. Police departments would still have to arrest many people on the grounds of underage smoking. The amount of marijuana seized has increased greatly, according to the latest statistics from the Kinston Department of Public Safety. Last year, the department seized 148 grams of marijuana from individuals ages 16 to 18, a 128 percent increase from the previous year. Possession of marijuana at a

young age does more than face one with a lawful dilemma. Whether legal or not, there are other effects. The drug is scientifically proven to kill brain cells, though the argument is still going on today about both how dramatic and how permanent this effect of marijuana is. Because of these facts, junior Aaron Brown has been swayed toward the antilegalization movement. “Why would you want to put something in your body that would harm it?” he said. “Why would you do something that could potentially ruin your future?” No matter what side of the argument one is on, the fact doesn’t change that the issue of marijuana is a hot topic in our nation today. Federal law over-rules a state’s right to vote on recreational use since marijuana is considered an illegal drug by the federal government -- a fact that could lead to a Supreme Court battle in the near future. North Carolina has not addressed this topic in the polls to date, but Thompson has an inclination that in the future the state will be forced to do so. “I think (legalization of marijuana) will pass one day,” he said. “Maybe not during my career, but in the future I have no doubt.”


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 7

New administrator joins team

Mr. Andre Whitfield hired as new assistant principal By DYMOND MUMFORD Staff Writer

The previously all-woman administrative staff has a male addition to the team. Vanceboro native Andre Whitfield was introduced as Kinston High’s newest assistant principal in November. “I always wanted to be a principal,” he said. “When I was in high school we had a club called Future Teachers of America and I was in that club.” Whitfield’s path to the principal’s office was not a straight shot. He enlisted in the Navy and earned his bachelor’s degree in history while serving. Whitfield decided to carry on his studies and receive his masters in instructional technology at AIU (American Intercontinental University). His time in the military gave Whitfield plenty of memorable experiences. “If it wasn’t for the Navy, I couldn’t say I’ve been to Jerusalem

or Australia. I couldn’t say I went to Hawaii, France, Rome. I couldn’t say I would have done all of those activities without the Navy.” Following his stint in the Navy, Whitfield entered the classroom in 2005 as a social studies teacher at Greene Middle before transferring to Dobbs, an alternative school, where he became assistant principal. Whitfield remained at Dobbs until the summer of 2011, but continued onto another alternative school – Sampson Middle. Students at Sampson found an administrator who cared about his students’ success, both in and out of the classroom. Now, Whitfield will split time between North Lenoir and KHS. Whitfield’s plan for his future is to one day have his own academy, mentoring students who need a role model. “I want success for all students, but also I want to be a positive male role model,” he said. “A lot of students do not have that male figure in their life.”

(Staff photo/The Viking Press)

Mr. Andre Whitfield was hired as an assistant principal in November. He will split time between Kinston High and North Lenoir. He will be at Kinston on Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday.

School earns PBIS Green Ribbon status By RENEE HART Staff Writer

Go gold. Go white. And now, in a new way, go green. Kinston High School officially became a Green Ribbon School last year, a distinction the school learned of this fall. This honor is based on students exhibiting behaviors in line with the PBIS system. The school has implemented new policies to stimulate positive behavior and provide a safe environment for students to learn, all part of the PBIS intiative. PBIS stands for Positive Behavior Intervention and Support and has a stated mission of impacting the learning environments in the schools in order to support high school performance and to reduce behavioral programs. Simplified, PBIS research has proven that students respond better to positive rewards than they do to negative consequences. Last year an application was submitted that guided the steps that were needed to prepare for PBIS training and initial implementation. Kinston High administration, along with the teachers, posted expectation signs around the campus to display what is expected of students when in the hallways, classrooms, and bathroom. The school staff adopted a common approach to discipline that is proactive, instructional, and outcome-based. Last year, Kinston High scored 94 percent on its PBIS goals, which is well above the 80 percent qualification for Green Ribbon status. Senior Alicia Poole said the initiative has helped students focus on positive outcomes in school. She began an outreach project to help build schools and plant community gardens in Nicaragua. “This has helped to broaden my perspective of Nicaraguan problems and I am aware of what’s going on,” Poole said.

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December 2012 - The Viking Press - 8

2012 Election Guide pledge education reform President, governor By DEANDRIA BRYANT Staff Writer

Glued to their televisions on the night of Nov. 6, millions of Americans eagerly waited, anticipating the day’s election results. President Barack Obama’s reelection was announced just before midnight after crucial wins in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin gave him 303 electoral votes, which is 33 more than he needed to win. The election ended with President Obama having a total of 332 electoral votes over Mitt Romney’s 206. Obama also won the popular vote with 63.7 million votes (50.7 percent) to Mitt Romney’s 59.7 million votes (47.6 percent). Along with many economic goals for his second term, Obama has also set a new educational goal for the country: that by 2020, America would once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world, according to a report by The Huffington Post. Obama feels that a college education or secondary training is the pathway to success for all Americans. He plans to help every high school student onto this path by making college more affordable for middle class families through doubling investments in Pell grants, reforming student aid, and helping students manage student loan debt by expanding education tax credits to keep student loan interest rates low. Obama also hopes to strengthen the country’s


from page 1 many conversations locally about violence, not only in the case of officer-involved shootings but in all types of violence in the community. The question being raised is now is almost identical to that brought up in 2011: Do people feel safe in Kinston? “We are safer than we have been if you look at raw numbers,” said Kinston Department of Public Safety Director Bill Johnson. “As far as violent crime in general, our city is no different than any other.” Junior Jessie Mills agrees with Johnson that Kinston does not stand out among other areas when it comes to the presence violent crimes. “People are crazy everywhere, “ she said. “It’s not just Kinston.” Still, Mills conceded that she sometimes feels like Kinston is unsafe due to the perceived high crime rate. Programs have been implemented by the Kinston Department of Public Safety to amend this issue. After the outbreak of violence in the first half of last year, KDPS launched two programs to

Left: President Barack Obama speaks during his first press conference since winning re-election. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT) Right: Governor elect Pat McCrory celebrates his victory in the North Carolina gubernatorial race. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT)

community colleges. He hopes to promote industry partnerships with community colleges to foster career readiness and to create two million jobs for these trained workers. Like Obama, former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory also made election history in November. He was elected North Carolina’s first Republican governor in 20 years, meaning that Republicans will now control both the executive and legislative branches of government for the first time in more than a century. He captured 55 percent of votes. “I have a passion for education – we will never be satisfied until we trans-

stem the tide of violent crime that has many Kinstonians concerned. The first of the two, Operation Zero Tolerance, was enacted to bring visibility of police to the community. The department was able to connect with the community by placing a mobile command center in public places and having an extremely high profile on Kinston’s streets. “The pace of these crimes began to slow down,” Johnson said. “This project allowed us to reduce the amount of violence in a short period of time and aided us in incarcerating those responsible for such crimes in the long-term.” Another endeavor, Project 61, executed the aims of KDPS even farther due to partnerships with U.S. marshals, ATF, SBI among other federal agencies. Their common goal was to stop the violence in Kinston and remove the individuals who were causing it. This project showed rapid results, Johnson said. In its first day of official action, 15 suspects for felonies related to violent crimes were charged, processed, and sent to federal court in Greenville. Since Project 61’s launch in 2011, approximately 300 people re-

form our public schools into centers of excellence,” McCrory said after the election. “We cannot achieve excellence by simply spending more money on a broken system; we must make major reforms.” He plans to do this by presenting North Carolina high school students with two options to achieving a diploma. One diploma would certify a student as college ready with the necessary skills to succeed in college. The second diploma would certify a student as career ready with the necessary skills to get a job or attend a community college. The goal of this reform would be that college bound

lated to these types of crimes have been arrested. A community member and father of three KHS alumni believes these projects helped restore safety to Kinston, thanks to dedication of law enforcement officers and a heightened awareness of the community itself. “They’re doing everything they can to make Kinston a safe community,” he said. “I know there are too many weapons, guns especially, out there but law enforcement officers stay on top of the issues and parents generally do a good job of being involved to prevent their children from getting into violence -that’s what it takes.” Other parents say they regularly talk to their children about staying alert and making good decisions. “I always tell my son to be cautious no matter where he is and to be aware of his surroundings and the people he is around,” Gloria Brown said. Mills shares Brown’s sentiments of staying alert to avoid danger. “You should be aware of danger always,” she said. “It’s not just about where you are.” Though there is danger everywhere, some citizens be-

students would no longer have to take remedial courses on a college level and students entering the work force would no longer lack vocational skills and core competency. To assure colleges and potential employers that both these high school diplomas mean the student has successfully mastered a proficiency level in reading and math, McCrory plans for every student entering the ninth grade to be tested for proficiency in basic reading and mathematics. Any student unable to pass the test will receive intense remedial courses. Just as national and state elections were held, Lenoir County also elected new school board members and county commissioners. Democrats won both Board of Education races in the county. Newcomer Merwyn Smith will join eight-year board veteran Bruce Hill as an at-large member on the Board. Hill was the top vote-getter with 29.77 percent of 46,607 votes, followed by Smith’s 26.94 percent. Democrat Jonathan Sargeant won the race for the District 3 seat with 64.75 percent of 5,761 votes in four precincts. Kinston High school’s former principal, Craig Hill, was also elected as county commissioner of District 3. Limited funding is the major issues for Lenoir County Public Schools but all members plan to help subside this and bring LCPS to new educational heights.

lieve certain areas of town are worse than others. “I feel safe in our neighborhood because I have neighbors that all look out for each other, my family included,” Brown said. “But there are certain areas I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my son going.” Though awareness can protect one from violence, it is still out there. Rather than stopping at locating offenders and incarcerating them, KDPS plans to supplement this by preventing young adults from becoming criminals in the first place. “There are a number of factors that combine to cause violence,” Johnson said. “Education is key to the fight against violent crime. Not only do people need to be educated in general—high school and college graduation rates are a factor in whether or not a town has a high level of crime—but they need to learn about their surroundings.” A new program has been launched at Rochelle Middle School by KDPS to expose students to gang culture and show them the dangers of that lifestyle. Its acronym “GREAT” stands for Gang Resistance Education and Train-

ing. Three times a week, a sergeant visits the school to educate students on the matter of gangs, violence and how to avoid being involved in gangs as they mature. Kinston High principal Angela Bryant’s approach to preventing crime is similar. “When a student does something wrong, we don’t want to simply reprimand them,” she said. “We try to counsel and make such mistakes a learning experience.” The education component of preventing crime revolves around the idea that punishment doesn’t make for safer environment—learning does. People who have a better understanding of their actions and their role in the world around them are less likely to commit crimes, therefore lowering the amount of unlawful behavior in our area. Law enforcement officers believe that with time the citizens of Kinston will grow to feel safer, but they encourage those who live in the area to be patient. “We live in a society in America where people want results now,” Johnson said. “That’s not going to happen. Truly resolving a problem like violence takes time.”


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 9

Coat closet addresses hoodie problem By DYMOND MUMFORD Staff Writer

Seasons changed, but the problem still remains. Dress code violations are still occurring, and hoodies remain the primary conflict. As the weather cools, administrators have to address a growing concern: To many students, a hoodie is the only means of warmth. “I don’t really have many toboggans, so my head is always cold. Since I can’t wear hoodies, I have to wear the same coats over again,” senior Josh Dawson said. The staff is attempting to address the problem in a number of ways, including a new coat closet. The closet, located in the guidance office, is stocked by donated outerwear. Students who lack coats or jackets without hoods can request a donated item. “We recognized that for a lot of students, it’s very difficult to get their hands on something without a hood,” counselor Rachel McGlew said. “That’s when the coat closet came into place.” When the School Board passed the

county’s new comprehensive dress code, Principal Angela Bryant knew hoodies were going to be the number one problem. She, along with McGlew and Assistant Principal Audrey Harrell, decided to establish a coat closet. If a student does not have a coat that adheres to the dress code, and the administrators have proof from their parents, the student will be provided a coat for the school year. Many churches, staff members and businesses have contributed to donations toward the closet. Bryant also went out and bought jackets for students, going to places such as Aeropostale, Old Navy and other stores. “At one time we were getting 15 to 20 kids a day needing a coat,” Bryant said. “We still have some kids coming to school wearing a hoodie, but at this point it’s not because they do not have a coat.” To date, 120 coats have been given out from the closet. Any student who needs a coat is encouraged to talk to the guidance counselors or one of the administrators.

(Christopher Bell Jr./The Viking Press)

Senior April Davis (left) and counselor Rachel McGlew inspect one of dozens of coats donated to the school for the purpose of providing outerwear to students. The coat closet is a response to many students’ inability to find jackets without hoods.

Sweet Frog opens at Herritage Street Plaza By ELIZA DEAVER Staff Writer

Melanie Smith says she will “eat her weight in yogurt” when Sweet Frog opens to the public this month. The Kinston High junior isn’t the only one excited about Kinston’s first froyo (frozen yogurt) shop. “Kinston is really on its way, now that there’s froyo,” junior Erin Stewart said.

Owner Matt Peake said Sweet Frog should begin business by Dec. 11. Sweet Frog will offer a wide variety of yogurt flavors and a topping bar with over 60 options, allowing the customer to decide exactly how their froyo should be made, at 41 cents per ounce, Peake said. Peake, an investment manager and financial planner from Richmond, Va., said he chose Eastern N.C. because when one generally thinks of

the area, they think “small town” where they can get a sense of community. Sweet Frog is a “faith-based company,” he said. “What Sweet Frog is trying to create is the whole experience,” Peake said. “It’s not just going in for a frozen treat. You’re greeted with a positive, friendly attitude.” The business is located between U.S. Cellular and Hwy 55 (formerly Andy’s) facing Herritage Street in the

Plaza shopping center. Progress toward the store’s opening is obvious, as the shop’s signs were placed above the door last week. When the franchise opens, customers will find a business that supports the community while also serving froyo, Peake said. For more information, visit the company’s Facebook page, located at


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 10

Former NFL star talks of bullying, motivation By ANNA HILL Managing Editor


could have lasting consereeze – and think about quences. the consequences.” Though he is now a While NFL superstar successful motivational Levar Fisher talked about a myriad speaker and has multiple of topics at Kinston High School on To read more about Levar football accomplishments Nov. 19, his message to students kept Fisher and his message, visit and awards under his belt, returning to that simple catch phrase. the following websites: Fisher revealed life was not In a crowded Performing Arts cenalways so easy. He told of ter, Fisher spoke not only to Kinston his rough childhood growHigh students but those from Lenoir ing up in a family where County Early College High School as nobody before him had atwell. From his difficult childhood to tended college. Overcomthe knee injury that ended his football career forever, the 33-year-old former ing adversity is an accomplishment Fisher is very proud of. linebacker used the story of his life to encour- Instead of falling into their legacy, Fisher decided to dediage those attending the assembly to make the cate himself not only to football, which brought him money and fame, but to his studies so he would always be the best, most of their futures. Stressing the importance of good decision- well-rounded person he could be. “When I first stepped foot onto my high school’s campus, I making and having the will to see one’s desires through, Fisher repeated the phrase didn’t know what I wanted to be after I graduated,” he said, “There are no winners in this room. There are “but I knew I wanted to be successful at something.” The ex-N.C. State, Arizona Cardinals and New Orleans no losers. We are all choosers.” The message is part of Fisher’s “Freeze and Saints linebacker spoke not only of success in monetary Think” campaign that encourages teens to terms, but of being a principled person and achieving whatstop and think before making decisions that ever it is that makes one happy. Levar Fisher (Photo by Anna Hill) His message resonated with students. “It was cool hearing what Levar had to say coming from someone like him,” junior Rebecca Boyette said. “You wouldn’t think someone like him in the NFL with all this money would be so down to earth.” Fisher is used to people making snap judgments about his appearance, his lifestyle and his football career. “People are surprised all the time at my view on life,” Fisher said, “but I just want to be that voice that can inspire people to make the decisions that are best for their life, and that never changes no matter how much money I make or what kind of car I drive.” In addition to speaking of success, Fisher talked about a type of adversity that could easily hinder it. It is a very common problem known to a vast amount of adolescents and children: bullying. In a series of anecdotes about harassment causing suicide and other tragic tales involving mistreatment, Fisher warned everyone in attendance of the dangers of bullying and how to overcome it. This is by no means secondhand knowledge on the part of Fisher. As a child, he suffered the plight that one out of every four teens faces today: He was struck head-on by bullying. Fisher was tormented by many of his fellow students, but overcame his circumstances to achieve what nobody had ever done from his town of Beaufort -- go to the NFL. Though nobody believed in the “fat, slow, and ugly” freshman who made the football team, it did not matter to Fisher. “Holding onto your dream when everyone around you is in doubt,” he said. “That’s adversity. But you can overcome it.” Another lesson Fisher shared with KHS and Early College students tied back in to making smart choices, but had a more negative undertone. If 25 percent of teens are being bullied every day, then there must be someone on the flip side of that, those harassing them. Fisher reminded students not only to be aware of bullying in others, but to take a look inside themselves to make sure they weren’t a part of the problem. “The decisions you make now are going to dictate your future,” he said. Whether it’s conquering adversity to prepare for a better future, picking the right friends who won’t bring one down, or simply studying for a math test, every decision has an impact on life, he said. The choice is therefore left in the hands of the one facing that decision. Fisher’s test of how someone can handle this lies in a single question he used to challenge the audience: “When nobody is around, what kind of decisions will you make?”

On the Web


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 11

State adopts Common Core curriculum Students to take new EOCs for English II, Biology, Integrated Math I By SHANIQUA LAWHORN Staff Writer

Every Student in North Carolina will be learning a new curriculum this year. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) developed new end-of-course assesments for English II and Integrated Math I and revamped the existing Biology exam in an effort to develop standards to ensure every student is a critical thinker and problem solver for the real world. Other courses received an updated curriculum, as well. “I think the changes are great because it’s a transition for the future of education, helps students think critically and prepares them for the real world,” Principal Angela Bryant said. In the next few years, there

will be multiple assessments coming out called “Smarter Balance Assessments” to test students in a wider array of classes. The changes are intended to put an increased focus on literacy and problem solving 21st century skills” -- skills that students will need to succeed after high school. It also means current sophomores will have a state test in their subject area two years in a row, as last year was the final English I EOC and this year marks the first implementation of the new English II state assessment. “I feel like having the English 2 EOC puts more pressure and stress on students, but I also feel like it helps them strive for the best and (JaCoya Coward/The Viking Press) better themselves,” sophoMath teacher Nicole Farland (standing) works with sophomore Laquana Jackson (left) more Linkal Edgeston said. and freshman Dasmen Taft during Integrated Math 1, one of three subjects that will have a state end-of-course test this year.


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 12


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 13

School without borders Students share diverse cultures

Alan McLawhorn »» Country: Japan (mom born there) »» Fun fact: Stayed in Japan for seven months as an infant. Visited at age 4 and plans to visit again in the future.

By ANNA HILL Managing Editor


arriage was not something 11-year-old Tiani Clark wanted to think about, but she had no choice. At a time when most children barely contemplate relationships, the preteen was meeting her future husband, who was 21 at the time. About 5 years ago when she was introduced to her soon-to-be husband, Clark assumed it was a casual meeting of someone her father knew. It was not until she listened carefully to their hushed, Arabic tones that she caught words such as “arrange” and “husband.” The world crashed around her as realization struck that due to her Saudi Arabian roots and traditional father her life was about to change forever. Now a junior at Kinston High, Clark says she knows better. “I thought anything could happen to me back then,” she said. “I was scared out of my mind because I didn’t realize there was a way out.” Being a natural-born U.S. citizen, Clark was able to avoid the lifelong commitment and move in permanently with her mother in America. She appreciates her heritage but feels that she is much more American than Saudi Arabian, despite living in the Middle Eastern nation for two years. Clark is not the only Viking with international roots—there are 27 students currently at KHS who moved here from another country. Others have lived in a foreign country during their childhood. Students have ties to Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Japan, just to name a few. Whether near or far, the culture shock of the U.S. is a lot for many of these students. On campus to help them assimilate to American culture is Corichi Jimenez, the Lenoir County Public Schools’ official translator and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. “It is a lot of work with the students and the families as they are completely foreign (literally and in all senses) to this ENC culture,” Jiminez said. “Even people from within the USA find it different here.” Many things change when moving to a different country. America is a predominantly Christian nation with a language that changes depending on what region of the country one is in. With a melting pot of people and cultures, it is difficult to find a balance.

»» Annie Thi »» Country: Vietnam (born in Oregon, plans to visit Vietnam) »» Quotable: “My mother said the cost of clothes, food and accessories is 10 times cheaper than in the U.S.”

“I know what I went through when I came here and have walked in their shoes,” Jiminez said. “I know of the frustrations of not knowing the rules of this society. Add to that the language, your religion, et cetera. I eventually became knowledgeable of these new ways of living life and grew into them. Now, whenever a newcomer comes into this area and I can help I am more than glad to do it.” Even simple facets of daily Quotable: “I take this opportunity life, like the weather, can be to thank each of the teachers, difficult to adjust to. Sophocolleagues and friends I have more Aysha Zayyad shares been fortunate enough to meet Saudi Arabian heritage with in the time I’ve been living in this Clark, but she was actually country that feels like mine and born there. that has formed a fundamental “It is technically the desert,” part of what I am today.” she said, “so there’s a major difference being here.” - Nicolas Eduardo Romero-Tavera, Accommodating these indijunior viduals can be difficult while they are still adjusting. “We do everything we can to accommodate international students,” Principal An- wife leaves the country. Freedom would be a foreign gela Bryant said. “It may be difficult for an ESL stu- concept to her. “I’m so glad I have to the choice of picking my acdent to do their homework in English when they’re tual true love as the person I’ll spend the rest of my getting used to the language. Kinston High knows life with,” she said. this and makes sure our international students have Some global students have fonder opinions of their the same opportunities as those born here.” home countries than Clark. Junior Mitzi Flores plans Opportunities extend outside of school. Clark is to visit her home country Mexico one day. “My family lives there, and I want to see if I can grateful for living in America, rather than where she go to college there,” she said. “I want to go because was born. “People don’t realize how amazing America is, they have a lot of things to do there, like you can even with all its flaws,” she said. “I am so lucky to be go out and never get bored—their movie theaters a woman in America, with the freedom to do what and malls, pretty much everything is so much better I want, drive, even go shopping and buy my own there.” Junior Rigo Santiago also has Mexican heritage and clothes—and I love wearing what I want to wear.” wants to visit this summer. Along with Flores and If Clark lived in Saudi Arabia as her father wished, Santiago, foreign exchange student and KHS senior she would be tracked with no privacy. The country recently enabled men to remotely track their wives Stan Vanclooster shares the love of another place: through cell phones and receive a text any time their Belgium. He has traveled to over 20 countries, but still misses his home.

»» Stan Vanclooster »» Country: Belgium (Home country; in Kinston as transfer student) »» Fun fact: Belgians must be 18 to receive a driver’s license, but the legal drinking age is only 16.

»» Bonaventure Ogbaugo »» Country: Nigeria »» Fun facts: His father won the lottery, which gave the Ogbaugo family enough money to move to the U.S.







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ill/ aH

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Tiani Clark »» Country: Saudi Arabia »» Quotable: “I would prefer to have freedom as a woman in America than to live in Saudi Arabia.” »» Fun Fact: Was almost in arranged marriage.



Though being of foreign origin has disadvantages in terms of understanding American culture, these students have an advantage that many don’t and that’s international experience. Some Americanborn Vikings have been lucky enough to expand their horizons by traveling to other countries. Senior Spencer Nock plans to travel outside America after graduation, but is not sure of his destination yet. Of Tongan descent, Nock is also Mormon. His travels will be more about his faith – completing a mandatory two-year mission – than it is about learning about the south Pacific island nation where his extended family was born. Still, his heritage has a certain draw. “I want to travel outside of the U.S. so that I can learn more about my native country and see how rugby is really played,” he said. No matter where someone is from, they have something to gain from stepping outside of their comfort zone to venture to another nation. In life, we are

»» Mitzi Flores »» Country: Mexico »» Quotable: “In Mexico you will never be bored.” »» Fun fact: Mexico is home to many beautiful historic landmarks such as the Aztec Pyramids.

somewhat limited by experience and travel abroad is an excellent way to expose oneself to cultures and ideas that are otherwise unheard of. “Early in life, most of us are sheltered,” Bryant said. “We’re limited to our own experiences, but traveling to other places or simply meeting someone who comes from somewhere we haven’t been exposed to is a valuable learning experience. Students should experience other cultures every chance they get.” The experience is a two-way street, with internationally born students benefiting from the same cultural expansion. Junior Nicolas Eduardo Romero-Tavera, who was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. nine years ago, is one of those students. He said: “I take this opportunity to thank each of the teachers, colleagues and friends I have been fortunate enough to meet in the time I’ve been living in this country that feels like mine and that has formed a fundamental part of what I am today.’’

»» Nicolas Romero »» Country: Colombia »» Quotable: “I’d like to visit my country, but not until I have achieved my big dream that is to be the best aerospace engineer in this country.”

»» Rigo Santiago »» Country: Mexico »» Quotable: “I turned one and three in Mexico.” »» Fun fact: Mexican restaurants in the U.S. are completely different from those in Mexico.

»» Ayelen Paez »» Country: Argentina (Moved to N.Y. at age 1; moved to Kinston a year later) »» Quotable: “I like being Argentinian because you rarely find them here.” »» Fun fact: Lionel Messi is one of the world’s best soccer players.

»» Jenifer Venegas »» Country: Mexico (moved to U.S. at age 6) »» Quotable: “There’s more freedom in general in Mexico.” »» Fun Fact: Jenifer visits Mexico during summer break sometimes.

»» Becky Irvin »» Country: Brazil (Moved to Kinston at age 2) »» Quotable: “Don’t you want to be one, too.” »» Fun fact: Brazil will host the World Cup (2014) and Summer Olympics (2016)

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 14


Drama club performs two plays ‘Drum Taps,’ ‘A Woman Called Truth’ headline competition By JACOYA COWARD Staff Writer

One play is enough, but the Kinston High drama classes decided to produce two for a recent competition in Washington. Students performed “Drum Taps” and “A Woman Called Truth” on Nov. 2. Despite being disqualified on a technicality, teacher Clay Raines said he was proud of his students’ performance. Drum Taps was a five ensemble play whose cast comprised Lukiss Brooks, Tiani Clark, Sarah Walker, Anna Hill and Bryan Wade. The play was Walt Whitman’s account of the Civil War, all in poetry. “It tells the entire story of the war from the beginning when there is excitement, to the fear and anxiety when you are losing a loved one, to being angry at the war itself, and then to realizing what people had to give up in order to fight,” Raines said. “The students were on the stage the entire time.” Walt Whitman’s character was played by senior Lukiss Brooks.

(Dymond Mumford/The Viking Press)

Left to right: Drum Taps cast members Tiani Clark, Anna Hill, Sarah Walker, Bryan Wade and Lukiss Brooks perform a scene from the Walt Whitman-inspired play about the Civil War.

“I like my character. He is strong and straightforward and I learned a lot by being in his shoes,” Brooks said. The actors rehearsed for weeks to prepare. “It took many, many days of practice and I was definitely ready to perform,” junior Tiani Clark said.

The play, taken largely from Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” anthology, was difficult to follow at first, but the actors did a tremendous job of conveying the action on stage. The second play, “A Woman Called Truth,” is about the story of African-American

abolitionist Sojourner Truth. The play was told through her retrospective and spanned her childhood through her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech. The main characters of the play were April Davis in the title role, Timothy Berry, Robert Brown, Damekion

Roberts and Tajahn Williams. Raines said there were also “a lot” of supporting characters. “My character was a very strong, powerful and sassy woman,” Davis said. “She was a very driven character with a purpose that defended herself and her family.” The play highlighted the struggles of Truth, a former slave who went on to become a leader in the abolitionist movement. Though both plays were disqualified, the casts won numerous awards. “Drum Taps” won overall outstanding ensemble and best directing. “A Woman Called Truth” won outstanding achievement and acting, excellent achievement in acting, and excellence in dramatic historical dramatization. The drama students performed “Drum Taps” again on Nov. 13.m at the Performing Arts Center. They will also perform “A Woman Called Truth” again sometime in February for Black History Month.

Davis brings ‘Truth’ to drama competition By KEDETTA DAWSON Staff Writer

Senior April Davis made a statement for Kinston High School’s drama department when she was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Acting for the production “A Woman Called Truth.” “I am so grateful for this award, but I feel unworthy because there were many other outstanding actors,” said Davis. She will participate in a college discovery day in Greensboro where she will be able to audition and present a portfolio to major theatre arts programs. “I would not be this talented today in acting if it wasn’t for a deacon in my church, named Lenston Whitfield, who saw my potential when I participated in an Easter play at church,” Davis said. “I was only 10.” She also thanked her “awesome” adviser, Mr. Clay Raines, for his help. Many people were proud of Davis’ accomplishment.

“I’m very excited,” Raines said. “She worked very hard and embraced her part.” Davis said she would love to pursue a professional acting career, but with the possibility of unemployment, the career may be too risky. Instead she would like to earn a communications degree at her dream school, Howard University. “They have so many majors and a great communications and theatre program,” Davis said. Although Davis and other actors won awards, the play was disqualified due to being a few seconds beyond the required time limit. Despite the unfortunate circumstance many actors felt as if it was still a great learning experience. “I am extremely disappointed that we got disqualified because I knew our play had the potential to win, but being a part of this play has taught me many things about the acting world,” Davis said.

(Dymond Mumford/The Viking Press)

Senior April Davis won an award for outstanding achievement for her portrayal of famous African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth during a recent theater competition in Washington.


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 15

“ bucket list?

what’s on your



he widely publicized Mayan “prediction” that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012 (see story at bottom of page) has garnered much attention as the deadline approaches, and while we don’t expect the world to end in fire or ice (that’s a Robert Frost reference), it did make us wonder how people would choose to spend their final moments on the planet if the end were truly near. To some, however, the end is no laughing matter. While few truly expect the world to come to an end in a couple of weeks, many do believe things will eventually end. “I believe that the world is coming to an end soon but not as soon as we think, but things are taking shape to happen,” senior Richard Britt said. Junior Erin Stewart, meanwhile, just thinks the Mayans were lazy and simply ended their calendar on December 21. Regardless of personal beliefs concerning the end of times, everyone has aspirations and goals we would want to accomplish before they depart, something commonly called a bucket list. A bucket list is a list of goals to do before you die

I’d go to Greece and jump off a cliff. I just want to travel around the world in a sailboat.

- Jump out of an airplane - Visit Europe - Make the Honor Roll

- Go to the prom with

or, colloquially, “kick the Drake bucket.” The 21st is slowly ap- Win a conference proaching, so we asked championship in soccer students what items are on their bucket list. - Marry Trey Songz Below are just a few of the responses we got: - Melanie “If the world ended, I Smith, junior would hope to have my (Illustration by life right so I could go to Anna Hill) heaven and to also have my family go,” junior Angel Hannibald said. For others, a bucket list reads more like a wish list of crazy or exciting things That wasn’t the case for senior Keshira Cobb, to do. whose list includes marrying singer Trey Songz. “I’m planning to have a big bonfire for the end of Senior Tyris Edmonson said he would “get (his) the world,” junior Abby Sargeant said. family out of the ghetto.” Junior Melanie Smith said she would travel the Freshman Nirria McNair wants to help a homeworld in a sailboat, visit Greece and jump off a cliff. less person, while junior Spencer Ashton and sophArt teacher Prishonda Daniels, meanwhile, said omore Ian Brinson want to “party it up.” she has already done pretty much everything she Sophomore Jessie Shingleton said she would simwanted to do and met everyone she wanted to ply spend more time with her family. meet.

Mayan calendar to end Dec. 21 By JACOYA COWARD Staff Writer


f the Mayans are right, this will be the last edition of The Viking Press you ever read. The Mayans created a calendar a long time ago that was very accurate but complicated. That calendar comes to an end on Dec. 21, leading many people to question whether the world will end. In ancient times, however, they had a tradition of a 360 day year, but in America the calendar has always consisted of 365 days. The Mayans did not predict the world’s ending to be on Dec. 21, 2012. They just predicted this day to be the shifting of a new world cycle. From the following prediction, it has led to many interpretations of what is going to happen on this day. “There is no possible chance that the world would end on Dec. 21,” senior Donyet Bruton said. “No human can tell what day the world would end. They have had the same predictions a number of times and nothing has happened yet so why would everyone believe this now?” Still, the misconception has some nervous. “I think everyone has been talking about this so much because people are afraid to die,” senior Shedrick Pegram said. With the deadline quickly approaching, many people have speculated about how things might eventually end. Sophomore Aysha Zayyad has an idea. “If the world was to end, I think that there would be a zombie attack,” she said. “I bet they’re crawling their way up to the surface of the Earth now.”

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December 2012 - The Viking Press - 16


County amends social media policy By CIARA MYERS Staff Writer


acebook, Twitter and Instagram are a significant part of nearly every teen’s daily routine. Many teachers use the various social networking sites as well. A new Lenoir County Schools policy, however, will effectively bar the two from interacting on those websites. The policy, which was enacted at the November School Board meeting, states that “employees shall not accept Lenoir County Public Schools students as ‘friends’ or ‘followers’” or “connect with students on personal social media sites, unless the employee and student have a family relationship or other type of appropriate relationship outside of the school setting.” Brent Williams, Lenoir

County executive director of operations, said the policy was part of a regular policy update from the North Carolina School Board Associations. Williams said the change wasn’t meant to ban all interaction between students and teachers on social media websites. “It’s not an all or nothing thing,” he said. “Daily school business encourages social media use. It is generally recognized by most folks, and certainly most educational leaders, that social media is here to stay and a legitimate means of communication. When used properly, it has its place in the classroom and in education as well.” Several teachers currently use Twitter and Facebook to pass along information to students about homework and upcoming deadlines, and the classroom social networking site Edmodo is

Students share New Year’s resolutions By BRENASIA MURPHY Staff Writer

New Year’s resolutions are a traditional way for people to make promises to themselves as a way to create a fresh start for a new year. Below are some of the resolutions students shared for 2013: Senior Kristen Grady:

“I want to become a better person and focus more on what college to go to and my career.” Junior Alexis King:

“I’m going to change my attitude. I feel like my attitude is affecting the people around me in a negative way.” Junior Yako McKnight:

“I want to get back on the right track and focus more on my goals rather than other things.” Senior Destini Kinsey:

“To enjoy life more, not let things get to me and become more stress-free. I want to

take more risks. We’re only on this earth once. We might as well enjoy it. I want to be able to say I’ve lived an adventurous life when my time is up.” Senior Briana Murrell:

“To always have money in my pocket.” Junior Nakeema Waters:

“Graduate from highschool and become an obstetrician.” Senior Jazmyn Lawson:

“Go to the Army and be successful.” Freshman Janiya Miller:

“To accomplish getting into the School of Arts for dance in Winston-Salem.” Senior Jordan Keeble:

“YOLO” (You only live once.) Junior Calvin Phillips:

“Be better than I was last year.” Freshman Brandon Quinn:

“To get better grades in the future.”

gaining popularity in a number of classrooms. Those uses are not affected by the county’s shift in policy; as a matter of fact, Williams said educational leaders are encouraging such uses. “We’d like to see more things like that using social media,” he said. “That’s becoming a standard in communication -- it already has. We need to be very proactive, not only keeping up with the trends but being out front with some of these things. We also need to observe common sense practices, but we realize this has potential for positive use in the classroom.” That is good news for students, who have embraced the opportunity to keep up with work via Twitter and

Facebook any time, day or night. “I prefer using social media websites to keep in contact with my teachers,” senior Keith Haynie said. “This way, students can be up to date about assignments and due dates. Teachers will also be available for questions about work or assignments at times outside of the classroom.” Coaches have also embraced the power of social media to coordinate meetings, practice schedules and other information for players, parents and fans. Assistant football and girls basketball coach Hubert Quinerly said he has 663 followers on Twitter, and a significant number of them are players and college coaches and recruiters.

For him, Twitter is an indispensible part of his job. “I use Twitter to interact with my basketball girls as well as the football players to let them know changes or time of practice—to avoid the chaos of looking for all of them around school,” Quinerly said. Players appreciate the communication, adding that as long as relationships remain professional, social media interaction shouldn’t be a problem. “I should be able to follow or add my teacher on social media websites,” junior Hannah Vermillion said. “Students and teachers should be responsible enough with their accounts and know the limits between student and teacher relationships.”

Trending topic

#SocialMediaForTeachers: Should teachers be able to follow or add students on social media websites? Yes

@Erin Stewart (junior): “Students should be able to follow teachers on Twitter instead of adding as a friend on Facebook because Facebook is more personal.” @Nachyla Brown (sophomore): “I like to communicate with my teachers for assignments and Mr. Moon for tennis updates.”


@Alandria Coleman (sophomore): “Social networking is used to talk about your social/private life. A teacher shouldn’t be concerned about a student’s personal life and vice versa.” @Jake Fleming (junior): “Students should really have a ‘break’ from teachers and social networks are another way to express ourselves outside of school, and teachers are nosy and may become offended about what we may post.”


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 17

Mr. Neal to move into IB position next month By ALEXIS WILLIAMS Staff Writer

History teacher Keith Neal will take over Mrs. Connor’s classes when she retires at the end of the month. Starting the first day of spring semester, Neal will officially step into his role as an International Baccalaureate history teacher. He will receive training in Tampa Bay, Fla., later in December. For some of his soon-to-be students, it won’t be their first time having him. Neal has spent the past few years teaching social studies at Rochelle Middle School. The transition for him was smooth. “I am enjoying teaching a new curriculum while also seeing many of my former students progressing,” said Neal. He said he was ready for a

The IB students seem to be looking forward to having him as well. “I think he’s going to be a more exciting teacher than Mrs. Connor, but I’ll miss her too,” said senior Dan Hoang. Hoang previously had Neal as an eighth-grade teacher. “Mr. Neal was very involved in class,” Hoang said. “He used to call me Dan Thirty-Grand and that excited me, but then again he called me Ding-a-Ling Dan too.” Other students worry about the logistics of changing teachers in the middle of the year. (Staff photo/The Viking Press) “I’m just kind of confused Teacher Keith Neal talks to senior Alexis Williams. Neal on how everything’s going to will take over Mrs. Connor’s IB courses when she retires in fall into place,” junior Tera December. Holloway said. new challenge, both for him- in store for me and my stuOther students expressed dents. I am looking forward the same concern. self and for his students. “I am excited,” he said. “I to new challenges, as I prog“In the springtime is when feel there are great things ress in this career.”

we’re going to be preparing for our tests and we’re going to lean on our teacher,” senior Alicia Poole said. “I’m kind of nervous about having to get used to a new teacher and his new ways of teaching.” If what Mr. Neal’s former students had to say about him holds true, then the IB students should have little worries. “He did a lot of fun activities,” said freshman Pandora Idlett. “Mr. Neal was a cool teacher,” freshman Anthony Brown said. “I used to get kicked out and go to his class. He was also my football coach when I played for Holloway. Every time I was about to get in trouble he looked out for me.”

cially to my children because they all live in different areas,” Connor said. Connor said she has seen many changes over her career, and she has noticed significant changes in educational trends. “One reason for my retirement is due to the changes in education,” she said. “The mentality now is that kids have to be entertained and that there is no accountability for the students when things go wrong.” Connor said she has always tried to challenge her students in the classroom. “Sometimes when times change, it’s time to move on,” she said. Connor said she will mis both her students and her lunch-time friends on the first floor -- Mr. Stilley, Mr. Moon, Mrs. Carlyle, Mrs. Romig, and Mr. Buie. She also

wants Mrs. Maness, Mr. Owens, Ms. Graham and Ms. Sutton to “hold down the fort” at Kinston High because they have been the teachers that have been there the longest. “I’ve enjoyed working with Mr. Stilley for the past few years and I see him as a great teacher and I know he will do well,” Connor said. “I want Mr. Neal to study hard because teaching IB is another level and it’s difficult but I want him to enjoy it.” Though her retirement came as a surprise to many students, her classes conveyed support for her decision. “I’m going to miss her because she was an experienced teacher and she had a lot of involvement with us,” senior Dan Hoang said. “I wish you well on all of your endeavors and hope you enjoy your retirement.”

Connor to retire after 27 year career in LCPS By AYELEN PAEZ Staff Writer

After 27 years of teaching, Teri Connor will be retiring on Dec. 19. Connor spent the first few years of her teaching career in middle school education. She taught at Rochelle Middle School for a total of five years and later came to teach at Kinston High for the remainder of her career. “I’ve worked under five different principals and have seen many teachers come and go,” Connor said. She attended the University of Georgia for two years and later got married and moved to North Carolina, transferring to East Carolina University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in History. Connor has been married to her husband Bryan W. Connor for 32 years. They

(Staff Photo/The Viking Press)

Teacher Teri Connor talks to her IB senior class while they work on a paper in the computer lab. Connor is retiring in December.

have three children -- Coley, Tabb,and Taylor. With her retirement, Connor said she plans to spend more time with her family. She also plans to have a part

time job in an organic food store, but she wants to set aside time to visit her children more often. “My retirement will be beneficial to my family, espe-

Hopkins to retire following long career at Kinston By PHEBE CANTEY Correspondent

Mrs. Regina Hopkins will retire at the end of this month after a career filled with many memories at KHS. One of her most memorable experiences at Kinston High School occurred during the years when students were allowed to leave after finishing their final exams. As more and more people left the classroom, she began to

notice a suspicious acting student. Finally, there were only three students left. All of a sudden, one of the students jumped up and shoved a rather large piece of paper into his mouth. Hopkins, baffled, demanded the student spit out whatever he had shoved into his mouth. Instead he chewed and consumes it before dashing out of her classroom. To this day, Hopkins believes he ate his own cheat sheet. Sadly, she recalls, he still

didn’t pass the exam even with the help of a cheat sheet. Hopkins attended high school in Virginia at South Hampton High School and spent her college years at NC A&T where she majored in biology and participated in the science club. After she got married, she realized she wanted to be a teacher. Overall, she thoroughly enjoys being a teacher, and loves to watch her students grow up and be successful in

achieving their goals in life. Hopkins considers her two children to be her most proud accomplishments in life. They both attended Kinston High School and are now college graduates. After she retires, Hopkins’ main focus will be geared toward relaxation. She will also spend more time on her hobbies, which include: crochet, traveling, photography and cooking. However, she will miss her

fellow co-workers and the friendship they have shared over the years. “I will miss the conversations we have,” said Assistant Principal Felicia James, who was one of Hopkins’ former students. “Any person who has not had the pleasure of having Mrs. Hopkins as their teacher has truly missed out on an exceptional teacher,” said teacher Keith Neal, another of Hopkins’ former students.

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 18

What’s New? Movies

Monsters, Inc. 3D Release Date:12.19.2012

Silent Night Release Date: 11.30.2012

White Men Can’t Dance Release Date: 12.08.2012

Texas Chainsaw 3D Release Date: 01.04.2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Release Date: 12.14.2012

Breaking Dawn Part 2 offers satisfying end to Twilight saga By ELIZABETH MOON Correspondent


ell, it’s all over. The final installment of the Twilight series has been released to sold-out mobs of fans known as “twi-hards.” For those who don’t know, the final book of the series was broken up into two movies, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Parts 1 and 2. Part 2 was released Nov. 16 and grossed more than $141 million in its first weekend. Breaking Dawn Part 2 tells

the story of newly-made vampire Bella (Kristen Stewart) and her vampire husband Edward (Robert Pattinson) as they struggle to protect their child and extended family from the threat of annihilation. The alliance between the Quileutes and Cullen clan is strengthened, as Jacob (Taylor Lautner) leads the Quileute wolves to defend his friends against the rival vampire clan, the Volturi. Fans of the series will find this movie a satisfying finale that wraps all the loose ends

up in a nice little bow. For those who have not seen any of the other movies or read the books, Breaking Dawn Part 2 will make little sense, since they will not know the back stories of the characters or what the main threat is all about. By now fans are accustomed to Stewart, Pattinson, and Lautner portraying the main characters. One new addition was child actress Mackenzie Foy, playing Bella and Edward’s daughter, Renesmee. The 11 year old looked strikingly like her on-screen par-

ents and did a good job playing a vulnerable child with extraordinary powers. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 offered a satisfying conclusion to a series that many have just discovered but countless others have been following for years. If you have not seen the movie yet and are a fan, pay special attention to the end of the movie, as it is a nice tribute to all those who have contributed to the series over the past four years. Movie poster courtesy of

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December 2012 - The Viking Press - 19

What’s Hot? Music

Chief Keef “Finally Rich” Release Date:12.18.2012

Rihanna “Unapologetic” Release Date:11.19.2012

Wiz Khalifa “O.N.I.F.C.” Release Date:12.04.2012

Young Jeezy “Its Tha World” Release Date:12.12.2012

Taylor Swift “Red” Release Date:10.22.2012

‘Divergent’ breaks dystopian mold By RACHEL JONES Correspondent

After the success of The Hunger Games, a huge wave of dystopian young adult fiction has been released. Most follow the same pattern as The Hunger Games: a strong heroine is put in a moral dilemma by her government and is forced to choose between revolution and compliance... as well as two really hot guys. Veronica Roth’s Divergent broke that mold. It still follows several stereotypes of the genre, but it’s original enough to keep you interested. Tris’s story is more about

self-discovery, a flawed society, independence and bravery than revolution while containing enough action and romance to keep you on the edge of your seat. Divergent is told from the point of view of Tris, a 16-year-old girl on the edge of the most important decision of her life. In Tris’s world, society is divided into five factions, with each dedicated to a specific virtue: Dauntless (courage), Abnegation (selflessness), Candor (honesty), Amity (peace) and Erudite (knowledge). When you turn 16, you

must choose a faction, which will be the defining characteristic of your identity for the rest of your life. Tris, who was born into Abnegation, must choose between her family and her happiness, and even then, she’s not guaranteed safety or a place in her chosen faction. Her choice and its repercussions drive the rest of the book and make for a quick, action-packed read. I recommend this to any fans of novels such as The Hunger Games trilogy or the Uglies series. Go to the library and read Source: it today. (Fair Use)

Divergent Author: Veronica Roth Genre: Young adult fiction, dystopian fiction Read if you like: The Hunger Games trilogy The Uglies series Available at: ($9.99 paperback, $6.56 on Kindle) Kinston High School library

‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ reels in readers By MELISSA GLEN Correspondent


tephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is all about the journey of finding out what you want to do with your life and who you want to live it with, and that is exactly what Charlie does when he starts high school. Charlie is the main character in this book, and he is anything but average. The fact that he doesn’t have the same old qualities is what makes him a great character. He is not too good at fitting in, but he soon finds his place when he meets Sam and Patrick, two seniors who show him how to let go and live life. The novel is narrated as a diary and collection of letters

Source: (Fair Use) The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a young adult novel about finding your way in life.

written by the main character; it brings you into his world and shows you his way of seeing everything differently.

This is one of those books that will touch your heart with the honesty and bravery of the character. Yes, it is a book about him mak-

ing friends and learning how to let loose, but some of the things he goes through are heartbreaking and truly powerful. Everyone should try to read this book because you can all relate to it. We are all high school students, and the majority of us have probably felt left out before, but the bravery he shows could give us a whole new outlook on our plans for life or even just now. Is that not what high school is for -- figuring out what you want to be and working towards it? If you liked the books Thirteen Reasons Why, Looking for Alaska, or Fault in Our Stars, you should definitely read this book. It can be found in our library at school for check out.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Author: Stephen Chbosky Genre: Young adult fiction Read if you like: Thirteen Reasons Why Looking for Alaska Fault in Our Stars Available at: ($8.40 paperback, $6.99 on Kindle) Kinston High School library

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 20


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 21

Hard work, dedication leads to successful season for Sargeant By SHANIQUA LAWHORN Staff Writer

Some people give up on their goals. Abby Sargeant strives for hers. The junior tennis player is now an NCHSAA 2A Eastern Regional qualifier, her goal since the season began. “I was very excited,” Sargeant said. “It has been one of my goals for this season to make it to the regionals.” Sargeant started as the Vikings’ No. 7 seed as a freshman, moved to No. 3 as a sophomore, and took over as No. 1 her junior year. She will once again be the team’s top seed next year, according to coach Michael Moon. Sargeant’s record was 11-6 this year, including a top-5 finish in the conference tournament. That finish placed Sargeant in regionals, where

she dropped a match to First Flight in straight sets. “I have improved a lot over the years,” Sargeant said. “I worked on my serve, movement of the ball and just being consistent.” Sargeant began playing tennis in the seventh grade when her parents, Laury and Jon, started back playing tennis. Since then she has always enjoy playing the game. Sargeant is also in the International Baccalaureate Program. “It’s a great way to relax while I am dealing with the stress of IB,” Sargeant said of her time on the court. While she is doing her best with her classes, she wants her team to do well on the court, too. To that end, she has some advice for her teammates. “Do your best and have fun with it because if you

are not having fun there’s no point of playing the game,” Sargeant said. She is focused when it comes to tennis and she understands the tennis techniques well. “She works extremely hard in practices,” Moon said. “A lot of high school kids don’t have the work ethic or the desire that Abby has.” Sargeant worked to improve her serve-and-volley game this year, a new weapon for the junior. “She is tall, athletic and well suited for that type of game,” Moon said. Sargeant said she plans to continue playing in the offseason to stay sharp for her senior year. “I have worked hard (Staff Photo/The Viking Press) throughout the years to imJunior Abby Sargeant finished the season with an 11-6 prove my games and it is finally paying off,” she said. record and qualified for the Eastern Regional tournament as Kinston’s No. 1 seed.

Soccer team enjoys historic season By BECKY IRVIN Staff Writer

The boys soccer team finished the season second in the conference with an overall record of 11-6-1 and a 10-2 mark in the conference. “This year we were like a family,” sophomore Robert Blake said. The team entered the season with plenty of question (Becky Irvin/The Viking Press) marks, as the Vikings lost 10 The soccer team huddles during the state playoff game at Carrboro High School. The seniors to graduation. Vikings lost 6-0 to end one of their most successful seasons in school history. They answered those ques-

tions. “All the years of people saying we couldn’t win were erased when the final whistle blew,” coach Joseph Romig said. The Vikings hosted a firstround state playoff game against Edenton Holmes and made history by winning the first ever home state playoff game 2-0. The victory gave goalkeeper Matthew Burwell his eighth shutout of the season, and his save percentage increased to 90.2 percent. “I gained a lot of confidence as the season went on,” the sophomore keeper said. Offensively, the Vikings were led by senior Stan Vanclooster, who finished with 15 goals and 12 assists. The team later named him its Player of the Year. Blake contributed six goals and four assists, and 11 other players scored goals. Romig, for his part, was named Regional Coach of the Year and will coach in the East-West All-Star game this summer. Though the season came to an end with a 6-0 loss at Carrboro later that week, the Vikings felt their season was successful. “Hard work finally paid off,” said Romig.

December 2012 - The Viking Press - 22


Work begins on major track renovation By KEDETTA DAWSON Staff Writer

Debbie Martin had exactly one thought on her mind when she heard the track would be resurfaced in time for track season: Run. “What else are you suppose to do when you hear a gun?” the senior track star said. Over the past year students and athletes were restricted from using the track for meets, practices and exercise because of the potentially harmful affects of being on it. The track was unlevel and had many loose rubber pieces. “People could easily get hurt in the right circumstance,” Athletic Director Perry Tyndall said. Because of these conditions, the track team did not have any home track meets last year, and practices were held on the football field or in the student parking lot. The runners often practiced on the grass and distance runners ran around the perimeter of the school. Without a proper track on which to practice, athletes said they likely fell behind runners from other schools. “I feel like we will be more prepared for state competitions because we will have better practice conditions,” senior Christopher Bell Jr. said.

(Kedetta Dawson/The Viking Press)

A contractor works on the track in late October. The track has been condemned for more than a year, meaning both the boys and girls track teams have to practice on the football field and run all of their meets at other schools.

The process of trying to get the track resurfaced to avoid these potential accidents has been an ongoing debate within the School Board, because of the huge financial expense. Multiple schools had requested renovations to their tracks, and the student parking lot at Kinston High also

needed to be resurfaced. Finally the decision was reached this fall to fix the track. The construction of the track is funded by the capital outlay project, Tyndall said. The new track will be reconstructed to be a whole asphalt track with painted lines. It will not have the rubber coat as the

old one did, but it will be in good condition. According to cost estimates provided to The Viking Press last spring, renovations are expected to exceed $100,000. Crews began working on the track in the fall, and the work is expected to finish just in time for the start of the outdoor track season,

which begins in late February. Athletes were excited to hear their track would be ready in time for competition in the spring. “When I heard the track was getting fixed it made my day,” Martin said. “I was truly the happiest person on Earth.”

Football season ends at Tarboro in second round loss By VEQUAIN JOYNER Staff Writer


he football team’s season came to a sudden end after a 48-14 loss to conference rival Tarboro in the second round of 2A state playoffs. The team finished the year 7-5 (3-3 Eastern Plains 2A). It was the fifth straight year the Vikings have earned a trip to the state playoffs. A year ago, Kinston played for a state championship, eventually losing 21-14 to West Stokes. That team also won the Eastern Plains Conference championship. This year’s Vikings were aiming for a similar season. That goal was hindered when the team was plagued with injures and went on a three-game game skid against Havelock, SouthWest Edgecombe and Beddingfield in the middle of the year. Kinston quickly turned things around, ending their regular season with a 3-1

stretch that earned them a No. 4 seed in its playoff bracket. The Vikings opened the postseason with a 48-21 win over First Flight High School. The win set up a rematch with Tarboro. In the teams’ first meeting, Kinston lost to the Vikings 34-27. In the rematch, Kinston fell behind early and had to rely on three separate onside kick attempts, none of which resulted in a recovery. Meanwhile, Tarboro’s offense clicked all night, and Kinston’s defense had trouble getting them off the field. Despite the loss, several Vikings enjoyed successful years. Quarterback VeQuain Joyner ended up with 2,226 yards and 24 touchdowns (Staff photo/The Viking Press) through the air, and senior Senior VeQuain Joyner (12) rushes with the ball during a Vikings’ home game. Kinston receiver Denzel Keyes had 39 catches for 646 yards and finished the year 7-5. 13 touchdowns. tackles. Junior Anthony Pitts and seven touchdowns. Se- downs. Senior George Jones led the nior Shedrick Pegram added Defensively, senior Jeremy had five of the team’s 11 inground attack with 719 yards 663 yards and seven touch- Taylor led the team with 95 terceptions.


December 2012 - The Viking Press - 23

New year, new coach, same goal Vikings shoot for repeat of 2012 state title By BRITTANY ROBERTS Staff Writer

Although the Kinston High School basketball team has a new head coach this year, the plan is the same. Win. Coach Perry Tyndall is the head coach for Kinston High School’s basketball team this year following the resignation of long-time coach Wells Gulledge. “When Wells announced his resignation, I knew there would be a chance,” Tyndall said of the likelihood he would be named the new coach. That decision was made official at the July 2 School Board meeting, and the team hasn’t missed a beat, starting off 5-0, including back-toback wins over West Craven and Raleigh Millbrook, a pair of 3A and 4A powerhouses, respectively. The returning members of the team are not worried about having a new coach. “I think the team will be

three of the past six state championships. The team plans to accomplish these goals with hard work, dedication, relying on one another, building chemistry and execution, Tyndall said. The team also plans to get better daily and most importantly become better people in the process, he said. The team has a new look this year, as nine seniors graduated. The team recently learned it would be getting junior Andrew Lopez back, however. The point guard had transferred to Texas at the end of last year (Staff photo/The Viking Press) but moved back to Kinston Senior Josh Dawson (2) scores on a break away lay-up and will suit up for his first against South Lenoir while senior Denzel Keyes (23) follows game with the Vikings later this month. the play. Tyndall said the team has The team’s goals this year multiple strengths: good good because he has been around coach Gulledge,” are the same as any other. leadership, a number of ofsophomore Darnell Dunn “We want to win conference, fensive contributors and key the conference tournament, additions to the team. said. Senior Denzel Keyes said and the state championship,” The team also has several the two coaches have similar said Tyndall. returning players. The bar has been set high, styles, though Tyndall stressKeyes, playing without as the Vikings have won his brother Angelo for the es defense a little more.

first time, will try to repeat a performance that saw him named the Most Valuable Player in the state championship. Joining him is Eastern Regional Championship MVP Josh Dawson. Tyndall expects great leadership from these two as well as seniors Jeremy Taylor and VeQuain Joyner, who will be asked to step up this year. Brandon Ingram, one of the nation’s top sophomore recruits, and sophomore Darnell Dunn will add a dose of youth returning to the team. “I plan to be more of a scorer, more aggressive, and be better defensively this year,” said Ingram. Tyndall said the team has the right pieces in place for another good year. “This year’s team has a lot of potential,” he said. “I think if we are not shooting for winning, we are not setting our goals high enough.”

Heating up

Ingram takes recruiting process in stride By ELIZA DEAVER Staff Writer


eing recruited for basketball by some of the top universities in the state puts no pressure on Brandon Ingram. The sophomore has been involved in the sport since age 5, and although teams like N.C. State, UNC and Clemson, just to name a few, are starting to take notice of the four-star prospect, Ingram said he “doesn’t want to get too big headed” when it comes to his national recognition. He plans to continue his training and see where it takes him. Ingram began playing basketball on the junior varsity team as a freshman at Kinston High School. The 6-foot-7 shooting guard immediately stood out to everyone and was quickly moved to the varsity team. Though he was significantly younger than most of his new teammates, he fit in well and became a great team player. Last year, Ingram averaged about 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. His

(Archived photo/The Viking Press)

Sophomore Brandon Ingram (right) shoots over an Upper Room Christian Academy defender during a game last year.

expectations for the upcoming season are to win a second straight state championship and improve as a player. He’s off to a fast start, as he has scored in double figures in the majority of Kinston’s five

wins, including a 27-point outing at South Lenoir. Ingram’s success carries over to the classroom, too. He is an honor roll student and plans to pursue an International Baccalaureate di-

ploma. After high school, he plans to attend a university, where he will study computer science and play basketball. Outside of school, Ingram enjoys hanging out with his friends, playing video games, watching television,and spending time with his brother. Ingram’s older brother, Bo, was also a high school basketball star at Kinston High. He said his older brother inspires him to do well in school so he can have more options in the future. Bo is one of Brandon’s biggest role models, and constantly encourages him. “He pushes me harder when I need to improve my game,” he said. Coach Perry Tyndall said Ingram is skilled in many areas. His height is also an advantage for the team. According to Tyndall, Ingram has few weaknesses beyond simple improvements and bulking up, which he is currently working on. “Brandon is a true team player,” Tyndall said. “He is unselfish, he steps up, and he always has something to con-

tribute to the game. As a result of the pressure being put on Brandon, he only works harder, and is pretty much on the same level as the older players.” As for the recruiting attention, Ingram isn’t too worried about it. “People haven’t seen the way I really play, so this year I want to show them,” he said.

Player profile Brandon Ingram Position Shooting guard Height 6-foot-7 Weight 170 pounds Best game 27 points at South Lenoir College plans Computer science

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24 - The Viking Press - December 2012

Taking the lead

Senior Williams leads on the court and off By BRITTANY ROBERTS Staff Writer

Senior Alexis Williams is a leader on her team as well as in her school. Williams has been on the Kinston High School Varsity team since her freshman year. She may not be the star of the basketball team by leading the team with points, but she does her part and she does it well. “She will go after the ball and defend the best guard on the other team,” coach Hubert Quinerly said. She averaged about five points per game a year ago, but both Williams and Quinerly expect that role to increase this season. “She’s going to have a lot bigger role this year,” Quinerly said. “She’s going to be

(JaCoya Coward/The Viking Press)

Senior Alexis Williams (left) dribbles past a South Lenoir defender on Nov. 27. The Vikings won 72-44.

counted on to handle the ball a lot more. She has always been a really good defender, and that part of her game won’t change.” Williams plans to be more

of a contributor to the team this year with points as well. “I plan to be more of an offensive threat this year by being a scorer,” said Williams. Already, she is proving

capable of filling that role. Williams scored 12 points in the team’s 72-44 win against South Lenoir in November. “It’s a challenge but I look forward to it, to letting people see what I am capable of,” she said. Quinerly feels Williams has come far from being someone just able to defend to now being able to score as well. Willams is also a great model and leader for her teammates. “She pushes her teammates to be successful,” said Quinerly. These leadership qualities come natural to Williams, who is the president of the National Honor Society, Student Government Association and Anchor Club. She is also ranked at the top of her class.

Player profile Alexis Williams Position Point guard Tri-captain (with Monique Lofton and Brittany Drumgoole) Statistics (2011-12) 5 points per game Best game 12 points versus South Lenoir Clubs and activities National Honor Society Student Government Association Anchor Club Currently ranked first in senior class

Girls basketball begins year with 5-1 record By THE VIKING PRESS

A year ago, the girls basketball team was a win away from appearing in the state championship game. This year, the Vikings don’t plan on coming up short again. “We made it further than we ever have before, but I was disappointed because I felt like that was our time to win a ring,” senior Alexis Williams said. Williams, along with cocaptains Monique Lofton and Brittany Drumgoole, are among six returning players who hope to guide the Vikings back to the cusp of a state title. To do so, Kinston (5-1) will have get contributions from players in the absence of 2012 graduates Tisha Dixon, Caroline DeBruhl, Hayley Vermillion and Christian Pridgen. Those players accounted for nearly 45 percent of the team’s scoring last year, coach Hubert Quinerly said, but the team he has coming back is more than capable of stepping up. Last season, Lofton averaged 10.8 points per game as a three-point specialist. “She’s giong to have to do a little bit more and become

a complete player,” Quinerly said. “She’s willing to take those jump shots, but I’m looking for a little more of her getting to the rim. She can do that. She showed us in the summer.” Williams, meanwhile, will be asked to help Drumgoole in the back court. Drumgoole, a junior, averaged 10 points, 9.2 assists and six rebounds per game, including a triple double. “It’s rare, especially around here, to get a girl like that,” Quinerly said, “but she has worked extremely hard. The sky is the limit for her.” Perhaps no one will have more pressure than sophomore Lydia Rivers, who played sparingly as a freshman behind a front court that averaged more than 30 points per game last season. “Defensively, she’s one of the best,” Quinerly said. “When you have to defend Tish, Caroline and Hayley, it makes you better.” Though Quinerly said he isn’t asking his sophomore center to carry the team offensively, she has already shown she is capable of doing so when needed. In a 72-44 win against South Lenoir in November, Rivers had 13 points, 13 rebounds

(Bryan Wade/Special to The Viking Press)

Junior Brittany Drumgoole (22) scores against South Lenoir as four Blue Devils defenders close on her. The Vikings beat South Lenoir 72-44.

and seven blocked shots. “She’s really ready,” Quinerly said. “She’s worked hard with our assistant coaches. This is going to be a really good year for her.” Newcomer Xequoijah Washington, a freshman, has also shown promise. She came off the bench to lead all

scorers with 15 points in the win against South Lenoir. Sophomore Takerian Harper and senior Starneka Clark will also factor into the Vikings’ plans this year. The Vikings have gotten off to a hot start, with the only hiccup being a loss to perennial 4A power Raleigh Mill-

brook on Saturday, Dec. 8. Prior to that setback, the Vikings were 5-0, with wins over North Lenoir, South Lenoir twice, Ben L. Smith and West Craven. (For complete scores, check or follow The Viking Press on Twitter at @thevikingpress.)

The Viking Press - December 2012  

New graduation system, coat closet, social media, track renovation at Kinston High School

The Viking Press - December 2012  

New graduation system, coat closet, social media, track renovation at Kinston High School