Griffin Varner’s truck bed is a mixture of junk and function.
(Editor’s note-Hoof Prints staff recently checked out the purses, lockers and cars of students to see how the contents of these spaces give insight to the owners)
GREYDON WILLIAMS – Hoof Prints Editor
By looking in someone’s vehicle, you might be able to tell if he is organized or what his hobbies are. At first glance of the back of junior Griffin Varner’s truck, you might wonder why he has so many tools, and at second glance you might wonder what the two big black metal boxes are. Upon finding out what they are you may question just why anyone would have a train horn in the back of his truck.
“I have a train horn, cause it’s awesome,” Varner said, “I don’t use it yet, it’s not hooked up.”
Varner always keeps tools in the back of his truck and his air compressor. Whether it be for emergencies or for working, his truck has what he needs.
“I basically work out of the back of my truck so I keep what I need,” Varner said.
Occasionally though Varner has even stranger items than a train horn in his truck.
“I have deer head in the back that I just picked up,” Varner said. “I’m gonna mount it for my little brother.”
Varner is also a member of the FFA and he frequently shows animals. He has a fair amount of showing equipment across his back seat.
“Mostly though I just have a bunch of junk in my truck,” Varner said.
One thing Griffin always makes sure is that he has plenty of diesel in his truck because the few times he has let it slide with the old “I can make it to a gas station” it has cost him
“Me and my mom were in Memphis driving down the highway and we ran out of diesel,” Varner said “I was a little scared cause I didn’t really know what to do.”
If you were to look into Varner’s truck now it might have less than it used to. Varner recently purchased a second truck and is working on transferring things to that one.
“I’ve got to half things out between the two, so I’ll be prepared in both,” Varner said.
DANIEL CARMICHAEL – Hoof Prints Staff
Tractors, baseball, and hunting. These are the thoughts that consume Drake Cobb during a normal day for him.
Drake Cobb has been a long time student at Buffalo Island Central, attending since kindergarten. While here he takes up time with basketball, baseball, and FFA.
Outside of school, Drake helps his dad on the farm by driving a tractor and other farm-aid activities.
Drake has been playing sports for most of his life. Baseball, his favorite sport, is the biggest sport he plays being that he has played since he was four years old. At the beginning of the year, he joined the basketball team as a manager.
School takes up most of his time, but while he is here he likes to go to history class and read fiction books.
“I don’t read much, but when I do I like to read fiction books,” Cobb said.
In his elementary years, Cobb always looked forward to recess.
“I liked recess because we could do whatever we wanted and we would always get in trouble,” he said.
Drake can be described as a funny, outgoing, energetic person who loves basketball and baseball, and goes to games when he gets the chance to cheer them on.
GREYDON WILLIAMS – Hoof Prints Editor
Overcrowded, substandard, annoying. This is the simplest description I can give for Disney World in its current condition. The parks have become seas of ill-mannered individuals who all race to wait in line for 50 plus minutes. For the sake of lengthiness I won’t even begin to discuss Fastpass “+”.
Now don’t get me wrong, Disney is not undesirable, but if you look at some of the recent changes made to the park it is just not as ideal as it use to be. You can still have fun at a Disney park and going there will still make for an enjoyable vacation. That being said it just isn’t worth it for the amount of money you have to pay. In a some up of pros vs. cons, the cons win.
Part of Disney’s problem now days is not totally Disney’s fault. The parks are now more overcrowded than they have ever been and more people keep coming. On average 130,000 people visit the park each day. One third of which is cramped into Disney’s smallest park, Magic Kingdom.
Disney also has too much of its loyalty to people who stay on Disney property. Now I’m not saying they shouldn’t have perks for people who stay on site because there should be otherwise no one would do it, because frankly the hotels are expensive. However, Disney should not make you crippled if you do not stay on site and with the combination of higher crowds and the new Fastpass system, that’s pretty much what happens. Now Fastpasses can be booked 60 days in advance of your trip if you stay on sight which could lead to more popular rides having no Fastpasses left.
Fastpass+ is Disney’s recently redesigned Fastpass system. In this new system each person is now limited to three Fastpasses per day. This is because Disney has calculated that this is the average number a person uses at the parks. This is probably true because I would be willing to bet a number of people didn’t use any. So this new system is restraining only those who truly knew how to use the old one.
Not only is the new system keeping you from getting more than three Fastpasses it also has a new tier system that is in effect at every park excluding Magic Kingdom. Now rides are categorized by popularity and you can only select one ride from the top tier to Fastpass. This makes it nearly impossible to ride a tier one ride more than once unless you are willing to wait 40-60 minutes.
Sadly, the most magical place on earth has slowly became less and less otherworldly. With rising prices, new policies, and constant crowd fighting, Disney seems less and less ideal as a vacation spot. The only thing we can hope for is that maybe something will change.
Jill, Jacob and Nathan Sanders
DANIEL CARMICHAEL – Hoof Prints Staff
When counselor Doris Willyerd found out that Jacob Sanders had won the most prestigious A-State Scholar scholarship she began planning a way to get him to the school to receive it.
She informed a couple of staff members and Jacob’s parents about his winning. Their plan was to trick him into coming to the school for a yearbook picture. But everything almost went wrong when Jacob ran into the A-State faculty in the parking lot of the school. He did not know who they were, but he gave them directions on how to get into the building. Later he discovered who they were, and everybody was able to laugh about it.
“I was surprised to find out that they were from ASU because I was just giving them directions,” Jacob said.
The first scholarship that Jacob received was the A-State Scholar scholarship. A total of 50 students receive this scholarship each year. To qualify for the scholarship a student must have scored at least a 31 on the ACT and maintain a 3.5 gpa. This scholarship is also based on a student’s ability to lead others. Sanders was rewarded $56,000 to use at ASU over four years.
In addition to receiving the A-State Scholar scholarship, Sanders also received the NEA Tournament Scholarship. For this scholarship a boy and girl senior student from each school applies with information about their ACT, GPA, and sports activities. Then one student is chosen to be represented for the NEA Tournament. This scholarship grants $1,000 for one time.
These two scholarships are not all that Sanders is aiming for. Sanders intends to attend the Union Scholars Weekend. By going to this conference, a student qualifies for 12,000 per academic year to attend Union. Also over the weekend there are competitions held for half tuition, full tuition, and other money grants.
Lance McDonald takes a minute to demonstrate his skills on Flappy Bird.
MADISON GREATHOUSE – Hoof Prints Staff
Everyday there’s a new app released for a phone, some apps just seem to be more popular, or even addicting, than others. So what’s everyone buzzing about today?
Flappy Bird is an app that became popular with students a few weeks ago. The idea of this game is to tap the screen to fly the bird in between tubes without hitting one. If the bird hits a tube, it dies. You earn points by making it through the tubes. Each one you make it through is worth one point. So why is everyone making such a big deal about this game?
“I don’t know what it is about Flappy Bird, it’s dumb but so addicting,” Ryan Stuck said. “It makes me so mad when I lose that I want to throw my phone, and I can’t stop playing it because each time I just want to beat my high score.”
His high score is 224. Flappy Bird became so popular and addicting that the maker took it off of the app store.
This app allows you to take pictures and set a timer up to 10 seconds on the picture. You can send it to your friends on the app and once that picture is viewed for the amount of seconds it is set on, it can’t be opened again.
“I think I’m addicted,” Valerie Pipkin said. “My score is 50,319 and on a good day when I look pretty, I send about 50 SnapChats.”
But what exactly makes the app so hard to stop using?
“SnapChat is more interactive,” Valerie said. “When you’re texting, it can get pretty boring but when you SnapChat you can see people’s emotions. It makes it more fun.”
Pinterest is a website, along with an app, in which you can look through different categories of all types of pictures and pin them.
“It’s basically online hoarding,”Victoria Perez said. “I think I’m a hoarder. I have 4,643 pins and I’m on it every other hour.”
A place to connect with friends and to be yourself. Twitter is an app where you follow people and send tweets. You can retweet other tweets or favorite them and it’s an app that can keep you up to date on what’s going on.
“Twitter is addicting,” Karoline Thomas said. “I think almost everyone I know has a twitter and it can keep me entertained for hour.” .
Last but not least, Candy Crush.
This is a game all about matching. You have to get at least three of the same type of candy in a row in order for the candy to clear. This game has been out for a while, but is still very addicting.
“I was on level 300 and something but then I deleted the app,” Marti Peel said. “It wanted me to pay ninety-nine cents for the app but I refused because when you start paying for it, that’s when you know you’re really addicted.”
Lady Mustang Hannah Poe defends the ball against Augusta during the first round play at the District Tournament at the MAC. After coming out on top against Augusta, they lost out to Riverside in the second round to end their season.
CAMDEN METHENY – Hoof Prints Staff
The first time I heard the words “Everything Is Awesome”, I thought it was funny. Ten seconds later, the song got on my nerves.Two minutes later, I wanted to rip out my eardrums. “Everything Is Awesome,” however, describes “The Lego Movie”. It’s a great start for the movies of 2014.
“The Lego Movie,” directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, isn’t quite what I was expecting. When I sat down in the theater seat, I had imagined it was going to be a movie aimed directly at young children. With a colorful cast, such as Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, and Will Arnett, it was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.
The plot is rather simple. An ordinary minifigure, named Emmet (Pratt), is believed to be a member of a special group known as the Master Builders. He is tasked with uniting the “Piece of Resistance” with the “Kragle”(a tube of Krazy Glue with some missing letters) and stopping Lord Business (Ferrell), who plans to destroy the world. Emmet is accompanied by various Master Builders, such as Wyldstyle (Banks), Vitruvius (Freeman), Batman (Arnett), and many others.
This movie was better than most family movies I’ve seen. Sure, it had the generic “take over the world” conflict, but the execution of it was fantastic. Using Krazy Glue to secure everyone is a rather interesting take on the conflict. “The Lego Movie” also poked fun at corporate branding, as the Octan, Lord Business’s corporation, was literally everywhere.
It also had surprising cameos, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, and many more.
“The Lego Movie” is a family-friendly movie that, much like the toys themselves, is perfect for everyone of all ages.
CAMDEN METHENY – Hoof Prints Staff
A few weeks ago, Superintendent Gaylon Taylor held a meeting with the communities of Monette and Leachville proposing future buildings for BIC such as a K-12 school halfway between the two towns.
Taylor made multiple points as to why we’d need a new school. First off, the ones we have now are old as dirt. One of the most recent buildings was the Mustang Athletic Complex at the high school, which was built back in 2005. The East Elementary was built in 1952, West in 1962, junior high in 1979, and senior high in 1984. Nothing has been built for educational purposes since the consolidation of the two schools except for the music building at the high school in Monette.
He also stated that the junior high, senior high, and both elementaries are essentially their own entities.
There’s a solution to this: Just build one new school. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a K-12, but it could be a K-8 and 9-12 building. That would make communication much easier. It would also make the curriculum more uniform. Being one school district, we should be more consistent but it’s difficult to do since there’s multiple campuses.
Technology was another issue. We are far behind most schools, possibly by about 10 years. Our computers are just now getting Windows 7. We also recently got Chromebooks, which are laptops that run on a Google operating system.
One way Taylor had mentioned to get more students in the area was by developing more land for residential housing. Look at Lake City for example. They built a brand new school about two years ago, and houses and apartments are being built all over the city, which brings more people into the area. I think that there’s only been maybe three or four houses built and some new apartments in the past two years here in Monette.
Taylor had said to think of the school as a city. What happens if you don’t take care of it? People leave. Who’d want to stay somewhere that’s infested with roaches, is moldy, and just not clean?
An example he had mentioned was how downtown Jonesboro used to be a shopping mecca back in the day, but was left to fall apart. The same should be done for our 50-year-old school. Yes, it is functional and is a place to learn, but I don’t want later generations to be in the same buildings.
Honestly, a new school would be a good idea. It requires work, but it still is much needed. Even if it isn’t in the next few years, it still should be soon. If I were a parent, I’d want my child to go to a school with a newer building.
Alex Ballin and Alan Carmichael react during the Mustangs’ victorious home game against Riverside in November.
EMILY HARRELL – Hoof Prints Staff
The senior Mustang basketball team only lost two players last year. With essentially the same team, how can they be having such a drastically different season? Some people give all the glory to the return of Coach Bill Taylor.
“The difference between last year and this year is the energy that we have at practice and during games,” team member Gunnar James said. “We work harder and we have a correcting and reinforcing coach.”
If you ask Coach Taylor however, he has a different answer.
“The players are the ones that are doing this,” Coach Taylor said. “I just think they got tired of losing and saw the change as an opportunity for a fresh start.”
With a team of 22 boys, boasting a record of 23 – 3 ( 14 – 1 in conference), they’ve done a complete 180 from last year. And the fans have responded.
“There are a lot more people coming to the boys games than last year,” cheerleader Valerie Pipkin said. “The fans see how well they are playing and how much they want to win and they want to come support them.”
As most students, teachers, and fans have noticed, the boys have also been acting like a whole new team off the court.
“The guys have been on time, looking like a player, taking things more seriously,” Taylor said.
Coach has not only affected the way the boys look at their responsibilities but also how they look at the team as a whole.
“We build our program on respect,” Coach Taylor said.
Taylor has given the boys a lesson, not necessarily in sportsmanship, but in humility. He wants the team to understand that “no matter who you’re playing, they can beat you.”
“Coach Taylor knows what he’s doing,” team member Alan Carmichael said. “He wants it for us and we want it for him. We’re fighting together as a unit, as a team, and as a family.”
The boys are working hard at practice and playing hard during the games. All the persistence and dedication is aimed at one thing, the 2A State Tournament. Since the beginning of the year, the understood goal among the team and coaches has been to make it to the state tournament.
The team hasn’t made an appearance at the state tournament since the 2008-09 season, and a new mind set was required to help get them there again.
“We’ve done a real good job of not only playing one game at a time, we literally try to play one quarter at a time,” Coach Taylor said.
“I go into a game thinking about going out there and hitting them in the mouth,” senior ball player, Jacob Sanders, said. “That and winning the first quarter,”
After the 69 – 49 win over Marmaduke on January 28, the team sealed the conference championship and made their road to state a little easier. If a team is first or second in conference they only have to win one game in regionals in order to make it to state.
“I feel that our team has a great chance of making it to state and going deep in the tournament if they play to the best of their abilities,” team manager, Ryan Stuck, said.
While winning state tournament would be amazing, it doesn’t seem to be Taylor’s main goal. Making it to state is a great accomplishment in itself, once a team is there, anything can happen.
“You can’t win it unless you’re in it,” Coach Taylor said.
Superintendent Gaylon Taylor discusses possible construction projects at the recent public meeting.
VICTORIA PEREZ – Hoof Prints Staff
Since BIC was formed in 1984, only one music building has been built and no further construction for educational purposes has been made. At 5:15pm on January 30, the school board came together to approve the proposal to build a new K -12 school building.
After two town meetings, a majority of community members who have attended these meetings supported the new school proposal.
"Everybody that came to me wanted a K-12 building near the county line,” board member Nathan Sanders said. “In that meeting, we talked about whether there was any negative feedback. There were very few but as a whole, we had overwhelmingly positive reactions for a new building.”
According to Superintendent Gaylon Taylor, several weaknesses brought about the need for change in the Buffalo Island Central area. Solidarity, lack of technology, old facilities, lack of vocational opportunities, and an inconsistent curriculum were some of the shortcomings that were mentioned during the town meetings.
“We will never be together until we are together and I truly believe that,” Taylor said. “I truly believe that every one of these teachers should be working hand-in-hand.”
All of these factors were said to be limiting the opportunities for students and preventing them from reaching their full potential.Despite the weaknesses, BIC also has strengths such as a small staff, strong leadership, community support, family atmosphere, small classes, professional climate, pride and a reputation for strong academics.
A suggested solution was to create a new building and start from the ground up. Not only is this believed to eliminate the weaknesses, it is also expected to reinforce the strengths. Members of the school board and Taylor say they believe that the new aspects of the building will provide more opportunities such as an area vocational technology program, auditorium for performing arts as well as new science labs.
Fine arts facilities
An auditorium is one of the main aspects of the new building that has been mentioned countless times by Taylor. The construction of an auditorium will be able to provide students with new programs such as drama club or other fine arts institutions, which will increase the amount of opportunities for students with such interests.
Another improvement that will be seen with the creation of a new school site is safety from intruders. If funding is sufficient, Superintendent Gaylon Taylor hopes to create a safe room as well to ensure the safety of BIC students. A new building will allow less entrances for intruders, which means less risks for students and staff.
"Right now we have students that travel out in the open to the gymnasium so they are out of the protection of the school building.If we are all together, then the safety will be improved for the students." said Sanders.
With the innovations made in technology daily, the BIC community is considered to be behind the times. Although wireless internet was installed this school year, expanding technology further is said to be a feat because of the old, solid school structure.
“In order to implement new technology, you have to have the infrastructure to do that, so for us to come back and rewire buildings is a struggle. Putting money into old buildings like that just doesn’t make much sense." said Taylor.
With this construction, a new physical education facility will also be included. This facility will be used for physical education purposes as well as possible basketball practices. Although this building may be used for practices, the Mustang Athletic Complex will still be continued to be used for high school practices as well as basketball games.
Yet another point Taylor made during the town meeting was the fact that this proposition will increase the teachers’ planned collaboration therefore, creating a consistent curriculum. Also, teachers that have to travel between buildings will no longer have that inconvenience, which also saves the BIC school district money because they would no longer have that traveling expense.
“I just think it would be much better for us from the educational standpoint if we have everybody together,” Taylor said. “We’ll be able to bring the minds of our teachers together so that they can collaborate with each other, which can do nothing but help us improve academically.”
Although there will be an abundant amount of staff once all BIC schools are combined into one building, both Taylor and Sanders state that their goal is for every teacher to keep their position.
"Our plan is to not eliminate jobs, but every year there’s just a natural attrition and teachers quit or change positions and at that time people just won’t be replaced," said Sanders.
Moreover, heating and cooling one building rather than multiple facilities will also greatly decrease that amount of spending for the district. By spending money for a new building, the BIC community is also saving money with heating, cooling, maintenance as well as other areas.
Location, location, location
Although the members of the school board do not yet have a particular area chosen for the new building, they hope to acquire a location that is a mile in either direction of the Mississippi and Craighead county lines.
Taylor, along with many community members, aims to have the new building’s site near the Highway 18 area in order to possibly increase enrollment.
“When someone drives by Highway 18 and they can look and see the new school they’ll want to move here,” Taylor said. “Parents look for the best for their children and they don’t want them to go to school with run-down facilities.I think they’ll see the new building and we will get growth.”
Taylor stated that by creating the best school facility possible, the district will be able to provide the best opportunities for students.
“If you know we have the best drama, FFA program, athletics program and academics program they’re going to want to come to Buffalo Island,” Taylor said. “If you offer the best,and you strive for the best, then it attracts the very best and that’s exactly what we want."
The time range for this building project is estimated between one to three years, yet there is no definite time period. Matters of engineering, funding, location and architecture are some factors that will determine how long it will take for the new building to be constructed.
"I think the overall vision of the new building is to provide the best possible educational opportunity to every student that is in the Buffalo Island Central district and to give them every opportunity to succeed in whatever area they choose," said Sanders.
A new building means that a millage increase will have to be implemented for the district’s patrons.
"It affects everybody differently depending on how much assets they have,” Sanders said. “On the district’s webpage, there’s a Powerpoint presentation that explains what the tax consequences.”
Despite the fact that the decision to move forward with plans of a new building have been made, this will not be possible if community members do not participate during the voting taking place sometime in September or October of this year. However, there will be no millage vote until a definite construction site is determined.
"To do this project, we’re going to have to increase millage, and to increase millage the people need to come out and vote for it,” Sanders said. “We need people to be behind this and to support the millage."