Alexander Yanakakis is not a common name heard in the halls of Ipswich High School, but it is inevitable that you know exactly who he is. Alex rarely goes by his birth name. Instead, he sports a name that is a more adequate fit for his demeanor. With a combination of his brawny physique and a copious amount of confidence, Alex dubbed himself the name Flexi. By incorporating one of his nicknames “Lexi” and his tendency to flex his burly arms, the name Flexi was born.
There is no doubt that Flexi oozes with confidence as he strolls through the halls of IHS. He is easily identified by the student body as “the kid that is always wearing a cut-off”. English teacher Mrs. McShane was tasked with describing Flexi with one word: the first word that came to her mind was “sleeveless”. When asked why he refrains from covering his arms with a t-shirt or maybe the occasional long sleeve, he responded with: “I feel, you know, restricted in sleeves; I like to be free. God gave me these arms; I might as well show them”.
Another puzzle piece to Flexi’s famed look is his red Kawasaki Motorcycle. Before the famous self-proclaimed “flexbike”, Flexi used to ride around town on the shoulder of the road with his moped. The moped was purchased in order to legally transport himself around town while he was still considered too young to hold any form of driving license. Once he reached the age where he could obtain a Massachusetts Learner’s Permit, Flexi found another loophole. He could now drive the motorcycle without the presence of a licensed adult over the age of twenty-one while still operating under a learner’s permit.
While some teenagers at IHS may be embarrassed to drive a motorcycle to and from school, Flexi is proud of the “flexbike”. He says that “my bike says that I’m different from everyone else, a nonconformist to say the least.” Being a nonconformist is something Flexi prides himself on. He feels as if people are too afraid to be themselves and show their true colors. We asked Flexi how to get through high school and he had some words of wisdom. Flexi recommends: “If you’re a nonconformist you are an original soul that wants to thrive in the halls of IHS.”
People like Flexi are hard to come across in today’s young crowd considering how determined teens are to “fit in” based on how they dress, how they talk, and other high school norms. “I think today’s younger generation is getting too soft,” he says. In a way, Flexi is really starting a new trend for the youth of America to be authentic and bring their true selves when they show up.
The staff at IHS knows Flexi all too well. A few of the staff members have never had Flexi as a student but without hesitation, they can describe exactly who he is. History teacher Mrs. Hayoz says “I’ve never had Flexi as a student but obviously I know who he is.” Other teachers that have had Flexi have different views on the brawny junior. Tiger Tots director Mrs. Trish wants to keep a professional relationship with her high school volunteers but she claims “I’ve tried so hard to call him Alex, but I always catch myself calling him Flexi.” The fact that everyone in the school calls him Flexi makes it hard for her to deviate from the norm.
Ipswich High School should consider themselves lucky to have a larger-than-life teen among the student population. Fortunately, they have an entire year to follow the unique, passionate and brawny man through his senior year of high school. It will be exciting to see Flexi move beyond the secluded walls of IHS and allow his distinctive personality to shine in the public’s eyes.