Funky Fresh Fanatics Part 1: A look into PHS student’s lives


Madeleine Johnson, Reporter

Part one of two, the following provides a sense into the wide range of activities and hobbies students at Peninsula High School are involved in. These profiles illustrate the interesting lives of kids outside of school.

Aris Sanders

arisGrace Lewis

Aris sanders, a PHS freshman, is a cheerleading legend. Acting as a “Base” for Natural Venom Cheer team in Tacoma, Aris “throws, flips, and tumbles,” with her 15 other cheer-mates.

“I wasn’t as good when I first started,” Aris said, but now with her 3rd season under her belt, she’s feeling and looking more confident. Just recently, Aris and her cheer squad competed in the international UCA cheer competition and took second place. This achievement is phenomenal considering how prestigious the worldwide contest is. Perhaps even more phenomenal is the amount of time and energy Aris spends cheering: 5-7 days a week, with practices ranging from 2-4 hours, and 7 months out of the year conditioning, learning new routines, and going to camps. With all of this experience, Aris has grown to love the sport.

“I would really like to continue cheering, maybe even in college,” Aris said.  

Ethan Thompson

ethanGrace Lewis

Sprinting up quarter mile hills, dropping eggs in his kitchen, and growing his own bamboo are just a few activities Ethan Thompson likes to take part in. The epitome of chasing bliss, Ethan lives for YOLO each day. Possibly the most interesting and interested person one can ever meet, Ethan devotes his time to his beloved youtube account, his spacious treehouse, and his bamboo garden.

“I have a youtube channel – it’s called Paul Limberous – and I have 27 subscribers,” Ethan said of his account. After school and on the weekends, Ethan makes sure to keep his subscribers entertained with videos of him doing sick kickflips, eating weird food concoctions, and ranting about important issues that our world faces today.

Ethan’s treehouse in his backyard is another of his other major love’s; on the weekends, Ethan lives in it. For years he has been perfecting it, even taking the carpet out of his bedroom and installing it in his treehouse.

Also in his spare time, Ethan is committed to the growth and cultivation of bamboo.

“I’m definitely a grower, a professional grower, definitely the best around,” Ethan said of his bamboo skills.

Ethan loves bamboo (arguably the most in the world) and has been a fan of the plant for a few years now.

“Bamboo is a plant that I have and it grows kinda fast. I like the plant a lot. I have a very intimate relationship with Bamboo, when I was seven I married it and from now on I’ve been living a normal life,” Ethan said.

The Peninsula freshman hopes to continue to live colossally and epically. His last remarks:

“I am the legendary fighter.”

Carly Evanson

carlyeGrace Lewis

Carly Evanson can be described as one of the most artistic, detail-oriented individuals here at PHS. Currently a junior, Carly expresses her creativity in a variety of ways, from sharpie tattoos to world flags painted on hands.

“I’ve always liked art!” Carly said. From just looking at Carly, one can tell that she has an amazing capacity for art: she wears beautiful dangly earrings around her voluminous hair, with strands braided back into beads, and an intricate henna tattoo or simple penned design is visible on her arm or hand.

“I started drawing when I was little,” Carly said, and from then on her distinct style has evolved. Just a few of her expertises include hibiscus flowers, tribal designs, feathers, crosses, wolves, dreamcatchers, and other complex designs.

Carly’s artistry always puts people in awe- her designs never fail to disappoint- so much so, that at bonfires and other hangouts, her friends are bound to ask her to tattoo a cool picture on their arms or ankles.

“I just really like to do it!” Carly said.

Roger Kaffer

rogerGrace Lewis

Many may know Roger Kaffer for his high achievements in Peninsula’s wrestling program, but did you also know he’s an avid parkour practicer?

“It’s a sport where you try to have creative movements inside of a set line, so over an obstacle or under, and you can add tricks and flips- it’s just whatever you want.” Roger said.

Since seventh grade, Roger has been perfecting his parkour technique. Along with being outside and having fun, parkour has added to Roger’s athletic ability, coordination, and aerial awareness. His favorite part of parkour is the freedom with it. Since it’s not a set sport, Roger is able to do whatever he wants- flips, climbs, and jumps.

When asked about his craziest stunt, Roger chuckled and said “I did a front flip 360 off a ten foot swing once. It was pretty sketch.”

Jacob Holtzclaw

jacobGrace Lewis

Jacob Holtzclaw: ultimate frisbee fanatic, PHS Pokeboy and black belt in Taekwondo.

“Taekwondo is a martial art, and it is the only martial art in the Olympics,” Holtzclaw said. Actually, the fact that Taekwondo is in the Olympics inspired Jacob to start practicing the sport at 6 years old. At the ripe age of 14, Jacob received his black belt, the highest level of achievement in the martial art world.  

The PHS freshman goes to the Korean Martial Arts Family Center (where he practices Taekwondo) every other day for two hours. While in the dojo, Jacob loves to spar. “It’s like a sword fight but not with the sword.” Jacob’s other favorite aspect of the sport is the jumping. “I like anything that involves jumping because it’s fun to be in the air.” Holtzclaw said. Over the course of his Taekwondo career, Jacob has made a lot of friends and memories, but when asked about Taekwondo’s impact on his life, Holtzclaw said, “I think I would be fat if I wasn’t in it.”

Nic Wright

nicholasGrace Lewis

PHS senior Nic Wright loves to uses his photography skills to take epic photographs in his spare time. If you’ve ever seen Nic’s work, you get the picture of how good he is. Nic uses a Cannon camera to capture his photographs as well as his iPhone.

“I really like taking pictures of landscapes and buildings” Nic said. But lately he’s been dabbling in taking pictures of people. Just recently, he took the Phoenix’s staff portraits.   

When asked about his favorite aspect of being a photographer, Nic said, “I get to share my experiences with others”. Nic uses instagram to share his experiences and to display his amazing photograph gallery. Check him out at wright.bro.

As for now, Nic wishes to continue taking pictures and hopes to carry on in college.

“Its gives me a way to express my creativity” Nic said.

Madison Hansen

madisonGrace Lewis

Every summer, Madison Hansen travels to Idaho to ride horses for two straight months. She leaves a couple days after school ends and gets back the last week of August in order to compete in rodeos and races all across Idaho, Montana, and Washington.

“I go to Idaho each summer and ride a family friend’s horse all summer; usually I ride a horse called Lily,” the PHS junior said.

Madison and her horse compete in barrel racing, pole bending, and grand entry. She rides her horse in front of hundreds of people, huge arenas full. In grand entry, the rider takes his or her horse around the arena with the sponsor flags to show off before the events begin. Madison loves this part and was able to recollect a fond memory that she shared with her noble steed. “One time in grand entry I got piled in front of 2000 people!” Madison said (piled is being thrown off her horse).

However, among all of the events horseback riding has to offer, Madison’s favorite is arena race. In arena race, there’s one pole down the inner lane that the horse and rider race around and then haul back as quickly as possible.

With summer less than a month away, Madison’s starting to get ready to rodeo. Giddy up!

Kyle Hertzog

Kyle Hertzog shares his love for music.
Grace Lewis
Kyle Hertzog shares his love for music.

How many people do you know who have learned to play six instruments in two years with only the sheer will power and interest in music?  Well, PHS senior Kyle Hertzog is one of the rare few to accomplish all of the above. Without any professional help or lessons, Kyle decided to learn to play the saxophone, trumpet, guitar, piano, flute, and clarinet. As of now, he’s learning to play the violin.

“Some I know better than others. I probably know flute best out of all of them,” Kyle said. He acquired his mini orchestra from birthday gifts, and as for his interest in music, video games inspired the teenaged prodigy.

“I made a connection between playing video games and playing music because at the end of the day, both of them are just pressing buttons for the most part,” Kyle said. He explained how he used to play lots of video games before playing instruments. Now, most of his free time is spent playing music. Ironically, he plays a lot of music from his video games, “but a lot of it is random, for instance I can play the Russian National Anthem,” Kyle said.

It’s safe to say that Kyle is the Jack-of-All-Trades of music. Much of his proficiency can be attributed to his passion.

“It just sounds good, like when you hit the right notes it feels good” Kyle said.