By Chang Lee
Sophomore Fox Ballew is not your typical high school student. Rather than using a backpack to hold his schoolwork, he carries a briefcase. Instead of ordinary blue jeans and brand name t-shirts, Ballew likes to wear button -up dress shirts and suits.
“I started wearing dress shirts to be different and bring a certain formality to the way I dress. Wearing formal attire is fun. I also use a briefcase rather than a backpack to be different. Sometimes I like to put weights in my briefcase to work out my muscles,” Ballew said.
Ballew has been unique since a young age. When he was younger, he did not have many friends and never liked being around other people. Growing up, Ballew felt that he never “fit in” with his peers. His mother, knowing Ballew was a little different, took him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with autism at the beginning of the spring semester.
“Despite having austism, I’ve made some great friends in high school. I believe there are also some benefits because I can think fast and memorize things quickly,” Ballew said.
Ballew sees himself as a political activist and likes to write speeches during his free time. He has also formed a political party with his cousin. The party, called the Free Socialist Party, aims to bring attention to inequality and corruption within the government. “We have a network of people around the world who are in and interested in our political party. Many people, who live in countries with strict censorship, use encrypted networks to communicate with us,” Ballew said.
One goal Ballew and his party wish to achieve is to form a system that distributes reused water bottles to homeless or poor people. He hopes that this will convince them to join and show interest in their party.
Along with being a political activist, Ballew is uniquely interested in the Soviet Union and can be seen wearing Soviet pins and dog tags.
“I’m ethnically Russian, and I respect some aspects of the Soviet Union, like Lenin, while disliking other parts such as Stalin’s reign. Although I respect the Soviets, I am not Communist,” said Ballew.
Ballew also doesn’t like discrimination and racism. He says that he doesn’t hate anyone and that people shouldn’t hate others for their race.
“Once I was going to class and I witnessed someone hating on someone else, using racial slurs. I went up to him and told him that hating based on race is not right. I believe that the best way to clear any division between people and decrease the amount of harsh stereotyping is through laughter. If we can laugh with each other about our differences and keep in mind that this laughter is helping us, then that’s unification. I don’t see other people as another race. I see them as other human beings,” Ballew said.