Small Talks 2017

Leticia Farini, 18

Family: mother, Karla Normington; father, Carlos Farini; brother, Nicholas Normington

What’s next: Universidade Salvador in Salvador, Brazil, while working part-time.

Can you tell me more about what you’re doing in Brazil?

In the first two months, I will be studying at an international school. I’m also going to be doing a part-time job, visiting communities that need help with homes and babysitting kids, mainly just doing a lot of community work down there in the favelas.

What motivated you to help?

Basically, what happens is the government kicks out people from areas in Brazil who aren’t contributing, so they all go to one place with a restricted amount of food, a controlled amount of light … It’s getting really bad because there is a lot of drug trafficking, and so I am hoping to go there and help kids.

Why did you choose Brazil?

I used to live there for seven years – born and raised – and so I wanted to go back to my roots. I decided that I wanted to go home and see my family back in Brazil. I also thought that I wanted to give myself a new experience and to maybe find myself before I go to college.

What else are you most excited for in Brazil?

I am really excited to see my dad. I have spent a really long time without seeing him. I had to come here by myself on a green card and just had to wait and wait and wait all by myself, so it’s been hard. I lost a lot of time with him just by growing up by myself here, so I am just really excited to go back and reconnect with him.

– Interview by Narain Dubey, photo by Mako Barmon

Annika Hawkins, 18

Family: mother, Carolyn Morris; father, Kevin Hawkins; sibling, Bion Hawkmorr

What’s next: Portland Community College

Reflecting back to your freshman year, have you changed at all?

Oh yes, I’ve changed a lot. Obviously I like talking to everyone, and in my freshman year, I didn’t really talk to anyone.

When did you start to come out of your shell?

A smile can go a long way. I feel like that’s when I realized there’s no point in being shy. Let’s make these four years the best they can be. I love being around people … I just feel like I have so much energy, and that’s just how I express my energy, by talking to everyone and being everyone’s friend and making sure that everyone’s feeling … okay before I go on with my day. I say “hi” to everyone because I like seeing everyone smile and making sure they have a great day.

What do you get out of making another person smile?

It just makes me happy seeing other people happy … making someone else smile and hopefully keeping them (smiling) throughout the day.

– Interview and photo by Mako Barmon


Evan Brucker, 18

Family: mother, Dawn Brucker; father, Charlie Brucker; sister, Ella Brucker

What’s next: United States Naval Academy, then five years as an officer in the Navy.

What made you decide to attend the U.S. Naval Academy?

I was planning on doing the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) at OSU. It’s not as strict as the Academy, but it’s like the Academy as they do marches and physical training. You’re training to be an officer. But I had two neighbors who applied to the Academy, so their interest got me into the Academy, and then I applied, and then I got in.

How did you know that this is what you wanted to do?

I had two grandparents, and one was in the Army, and one was in the Air Force … I guess what they have taught me and shown me … the morals that they’ve bestowed upon me have helped me learn who I am and who I want to be … Not everyone has the chances that we have, so to give everyone that same chance is the right thing to do by preserving rights, keeping people safe and using my skills to do that.

How do your parents feel about it?

My parents and my sister were kind of nervous of me going into the Navy, I guess at first. But then once they got to explore the Academy and got to see what it offers me both now and in the future, I think they calmed down and got to see what a good opportunity it is for me.

– Interview by Toli Tate, photo by Molly Metz

Nina Radford, 18

Family: mother, Shawn Radford; father, Mark Radford; brother, Armin Radford

What’s next: University of California, Santa Barbara on a basketball scholarship.

Why was it important for you to play basketball in college?

That was the goal. Basketball is important to me because it’s been such a huge part of my life, and I’ve invested so much time and effort into it – I didn’t want to give it up just because I was leaving high school. In terms of college, it was important for me to play basketball and get a full ride scholarship because I love the sport, and I didn’t want to pay for college.

Did you ever consider trying something other than basketball in college?

I had considered it. But not too seriously, though. It was brought to my attention by some people that it was an option, and that I didn’t have to go to school to just play basketball. However, it was such a big part of my high school years, and I wanted to continue doing what I was interested in once I graduate. There is a comfort of basketball that is really important to me – it’s something that I’ve always known. When I’m playing basketball, I’m not concerned about anything other than what I’m doing. It keeps me in the moment.

Now that you’re leaving high school, what words of advice would you give to future Generals basketball players?

If you want to be good, you have to work hard at it. There are always other players that are working just as well or harder than you. So if you want to be the greatest basketball player you can be, you have to put it all out there. It could take a toll on your social life and other stuff like that, but in the end, it’s worth it.

– Interview by Narain Dubey, photo by Mako Barmon

Matthew Levy, 18

Family: mother, Mary Levy; father, Stuart Levy; brothers, David Levy and Joseph Levy

What’s next: Working in Seattle with a program called City Year, and then attending Seattle University.

What does working with City Year look like?

They assign you to a school; usually high school graduates work at elementary schools … I work in an impoverished school in the downtown area and work with kids who are struggling. I’m a teacher assistant during class, but then I usually stay (after school) … and work with the students and tutor. It’s a paid position.

What inspired you to do this?

I’m taking Intro to Teaching, and I’m taking PSU Global City, so I’m kind of into the idea of the city and the struggles of a lot of the people who have been on the wrong side of capitalism.

Who got you into the idea of doing this program?

During Intro to Teaching, we went to the library … Ms. Kokes (the College and Career Coordinator) told us of a few volunteer things, and she brought up City Year, and I looked at it, and I was really intrigued and I signed up right away.

– Interview by Isabel Lickey, photo by Mako Barmon

Anna Dooney, 17

Family: mother, Christy Goldsby; father, Pat Dooney; step-dad, Dave Ewald; sister, Maia Dooney

What’s next: Taking a gap year and joining the dance department at Portland Community College.

You’re graduating a year early. Why is that?

My freshman year, I immediately did not like high school very much … so I decided that I wanted to try to do high school in three years … and then signed up for summer school and an online class. I already had some extra credits from middle school. So I went straight from freshman year to junior year, and then this year, I’m a senior.

What made you realize you didn’t like high school?

I went to da Vinci and really liked it there … I kind of learned better in that environment because everyone kind of felt like they had a place. When I came to Grant, there was a lot more of that hierarchical mindset for students and teachers.

Did you ever feel that you missed out on parts of high school by graduating early?

I used to (feel) more of that than I do now … Originally, I thought I was going to graduate as a junior. So I thought I was going to miss out on all the senior stuff. Having a senior year was something I was worried about, but I have had a senior year. I’ve had a good senior year.

– Interview by Isabel Lickey, photo by Mako Barmon

Steven Mulcare, 18

Family: mother, Kathleen Hambrick; brother, Jace Hambrick

What’s next: University of Oregon to study international relations or political science.

What draws you to want to study those majors?

I like hearing everybody else’s perspectives, and I think it’s like a really good way to travel but still do a job that you might love, and while you’re studying, it gives you extra motivation to actually pursue that career.

Have you gone to Grant all four years?

No, I moved from Maryland at the end of July, and then I started at Grant this year … It was exciting and scary all at the same time … but it kind of helped me gain new perspectives.

How has your perspective of Grant changed since you’ve been here?

I heard the rumors about it, and I didn’t think very highly of it but then actually experiencing it, I felt how false the rumors were … That’s why I want to be immersed in different cultures because I don’t want to judge a book by its cover.

Do you have any advice for future high schoolers?

Throughout the high school experience, don’t get too stressed about a paper or something, just have a good balance between schoolwork and your social life and make the most of your high school because you only go there once.

– Interview by Dylan Palmer, photo by Mako Barmon

Daunice Davis, 18

Family: mother, Teresa Lampkin; mother, Tripsy Brown; step-dad, Aaron Bell; brothers, Isaiah Davis, Alfred Davis III, Boogie Brown Quinten Bell, AJ Bell and Isaac Bell; sisters, Rhiyo Brown, Josie Bell and Danielle Bell

What’s next: Portland Community College and then Oregon State University Ecampus

How would you describe yourself?

I’m pretty quiet. I guess it’s like I have to get used to talking to people, so until then, I won’t talk a lot.

So you’re very quiet. What has that been like at Grant?

I guess not a lot of people know who you are, really. You can sit in a room, and people might not even notice you’re there, so that’s pretty cool. I don’t like too much attention. I like it better when other people are the center of attention because attention is too much for me.

How would you say your overall high school experience has been?

I guess I wish I had done online school instead of public. I’m more of an independent person when it comes to doing schoolwork. You can just quickly get through the work and do it fast.

How do you think you’ve changed since your freshman year?

Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was more nervous. Some people might prefer high school to college, but I didn’t really like high school. There’s a lot of groups and a lot of people, and they box themselves in, and I don’t like to be boxed in.

– Interview by Dylan Palmer, photo by Mako Barmon

Xander Collins, 18

Family: mother, Mara Collins; father, Raven Zachary; brothers, Aodán Collins, Søren Collins, Rainer Collins

What’s next: Pacific Northwest College of Art

You recently won a big art award. What was that like?

The night of graduation, I’m flying to New York to accept an award for my art at Carnegie Hall, which is really exciting. It’s from the Scholastic Art and Writing (Awards) national gold medal I got. “Groceries” is the first piece I made in a series for my AP Studio Art class this year. The series is about an imagined post-apocalyptic future where nature has reclaimed the city that the sole-remaining human is exploring and trying to survive in. This piece depicts my “Gas Mask Kid” character scavenging for food in an abandoned grocery store. This was my first major attempt at digital painting, which has been my medium of choice ever since.

In the future do you want to go into graphic design?

Yeah, I have a wide degree of things that I want to do. I’m really into illustration and design work. There’s a large part of me that wants to create comic books or illustration novels or do book covers and poster design, but also I’m into general design work. Portland and Seattle are two really big places for technology and software development, and there’s a big demand for artists that (are) also tech-savvy and that can do design and art … I’m learning how to 3D model right now, which should be a really good skill to have.

– Interview and photo by Mako Barmon

Jahkeem Derrick, 17 and Juvoni Penn-Harris, 17

Family: Jahkeem (right)- mother, Megan Derrick; sister, Keziah Derrick; Juvoni (left)- mother, Anna Haas; brother, Chunky Penn-Harris

What’s next:

Jahkeem- Doing stand-up comedy in Portland

Juvoni- Wrestling at Southwestern Oregon Community College

So you two are known for your very crazy and popular Snapchat stories. How did this all start?

Jahkeem: It was me that started doing it, and (Juvoni) just noticed what I was doing, and he started getting me on his Snap, and then he started doing his own thing. And so I guess we branch off of each other. I do like simple stuff. I go on rants at times, and sometimes I do pointless videos like eating soap. It’s really reckless, like pointless … We do foul stuff that’s just wrong.

Juvoni: I Snapchat me throwing baby powder on my face, you know, pep talks, some funny videos, some memes.

What motivates you to do things like eating soap on camera?

Jahkeem: The motivation is to go viral, to make people laugh and have a good day because everyday we have somebody comment something really nice like, “You make my day.”

Juvoni: This one dude was like, “You know I’m really depressed right now, but I watch your guys’ stories to cheer up.”

Would you say that what you post is sometimes controversial or offensive?

Jahkeem: A video that shocks somebody is gonna attract more audience than a video that’s funny. So like when I pretended to eat poop out of the toilet, that shocked people, and it got shared. Shock factor is bigger than laughter.

Juvoni: It’s not like funny, but I post it and people share it with their friends because it’s shocking.

What advice would you give to your freshmen selves?

Jahkeem: Be more wild because you need to get that inner self out of you, like it’s been closed up for so long and you need to get it out.

Juvoni: I would say be more open and accepting to everybody, like don’t push people away because you don’t like them. If you open up and be whole-minded, you’ll see way more to life.

– Interview by Dylan Palmer, photo by Mako Barmon

Grant Magazine
The Grant Magazine is a hybrid publication, comprised of a 36 page monthly news magazine and this website. It is put out and run by a small staff of students from Grant High School in Portland, Oregon.

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