Former Central High student reflects on how school has changed

Former Little Rock Central High student reflects on change with two current students

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Little Rock Nine may be the group of students who brought worldwide attention to Central High school, but the battle for equality didn't stop there.

Another group of students entered Central High School doors just two years later and left an equally lasting impact. In 1959 Sybil Jordan-Hampton was one of five students who continued to fight for equality.

“During my three years, not more than two people spoke to me,” Hampton said.

She’s now looking back 55 years later.

"I came to Central because I wanted to be apart that movement to say students should have the best,” she said.

Hampton said it’s overwhelming when she visits her old high school because it's so different from the first day she arrived in 1959.

“Literally you could come to the school, and go home,” said Hampton.

She and other African American students were not allowed to attend student activities or athletic events. Hampton was the first black student to attend Central all three years and graduate.

“It is more important to know that many people have experienced what I experienced, people who are bullied and those not a part of the crowd. What I experienced was being not welcomed and not wanted,” said Hampton.

She thinks everyone should have a passion for social justice.

“Even if it doesn't have anything to do with you, I think you still be there for everybody,” Aaluyah Orloff, who’s currently a senior at Central.

“Would you say that there are people who still think that the school really isn't working for everybody,” asked Hampton.

Students at Central today admit some things still need improvement.

“Sometimes you look at clubs and there are only white people. I think we could make a better effort at trying to get all people of all ethnicities and races involved,” Lauren Berry said, another senior.

“Does the history also prompt students to think about their role,” Hampton asked the two girls.

"Yes, but I think even with things going on now we aren't exactly there 100 percent,” said Orloff.

Hampton is doing her part to make sure history and her story aren’t forgotten. All while these students do the same. 

“I think that's what so important about commemorating it, every 10 years a different group of students will be here,” Berry said.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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