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A teen helped get the truancy law changed

I admire the courage Maceo Bradley had to fight back against his truancy ticket. It was definitely unfair for you and your classmates to get a ticket when you were on school grounds. You handled the situation in the best way—not by complaining but by actually doing something. I live in South Central Los Angeles and I make the journey to Hollywood High School every day. I can’t control the train or bus system so I panic when I’m running late. Once, I was physically pushed out and told to get the other train because there was no room. I couldn’t fight back against a guy twice my size. I was late to school that day but they thankfully excused it.
Monica Martinez, Hollywood HS

The article “We fought for fairness and won!” really caught my attention. I didn’t know that back then you could get a ticket for being late. It amazed me how the writer had to pay money just for being late even though he had a good reason. Tickets shouldn’t even be allowed in schools.
Rafael Garcia, Hollywood HS

A girl’s father died unexpectedly

The article “Dad, I miss you” by Alexia Sison made me think about my actions toward my parents. I’ve realized that I can lose my parents any day, whether today or 20 years from now. Every day I will tell my parents that I love them even if I’m mad at them. If I lost my parents, I would be so sad. I wouldn’t be able to get over the fact that they’re gone.
Kristen Cole, Hill MS (Long Beach)

I liked the article “Dad, I miss you.” I could make a connection to this article. My dad died when I was 3. I don’t remember anything about him anymore. They only way I can see him is in old pictures. The writer was really brave to share her story with everyone.
José Chavez, Pacoima MS

This article made me burst into tears. None of my family members have ever died nor have they had any sort of serious health problems and I am thankful. I wouldn’t know what to do. I am very close to my mother. She is always there when I need her. I really admire Alexia because she kept going in life and helped her family during bad times as the big sister.
Emme Tzul, Camino Nuevo Charter School

It’s better to write letters the old-fashioned way

I really liked the article “Yours truly” by Kelly Lin. I think that writing letters is better than communicating through technology. Letters have more emotions and expression while texts and computers make it boring. She has a point when she says that her friend’s letter made her feel like a sister. The journal I had also made me feel like a sister. I felt like Kelly was telling me my own story. It was like she was my friend.
Nancy Martinez, Hollywood HS

Foster youth deserve our support

I very much enjoyed your article “No longer on our own at eighteen.” I know it must be tough being a foster child, especially in this economy. A lot of people don’t give much attention to foster care and I’m glad you shed some light on it. I know many people don’t even know what’s going on in the foster care system. Now they have gained some knowledge of it. I agree with you that anyone in the foster care system who is 20 or younger should be offered this privilege no matter what. Overall, I wish you all the best and I know you will be successful.
Gaby Cordova, Hollywood HS

How to help a friend in an abusive relationship

The article about abusive relationships made me realize how to be a better friend to help a friend who is involved in an abusive relationship. It is very sad to know someone who is being abused. What my friend doesn’t realize is that abuse isn’t just physical, it can be mental, too. I tried telling my friend but somehow it came out wrong and a big commotion followed. I nearly lost my friend because of her abusive partner. He knows so many ways to control her; she’s his puppet. The worst part is that her abusive partner has her believing it’s love. But love is not control and power. Love is giving a person freedom and being happy they are with you of their own free will. Now I know that my only role as her friend is to just be there for her and listen to her without giving my opinion.
Name withheld

Jobs that help the environment

I would like to thank L.A. Youth for publishing an article about green jobs. When I was in middle school, I thought about getting a job that helps the planet, but I wasn’t sure how to get into this field. Since then I dropped the idea because all the articles I had read weren’t clear enough and had not persuaded me to continue the idea of getting a green job. After I read this article, I was convinced that I should give the idea another try and find the perfect job that works for me and the environment.
Karen Pino, Hollywood HS

Parents should chill when teaching us to drive

I can relate to the article “Driving me crazy.” When I got behind the wheel, my mom was freaking out and my dad was telling me not to listen to what my mom was saying. He told me to calm down and focus on the road. It was a bit scary at first, but after 10 minutes of driving I got the hang of it. I have to say it was really fun, except changing lanes. It was hard, especially with my dad telling me to look at all of the mirrors to make sure no cars were around so I wouldn’t get into an accident, which was the last thing on my mind.
George Diaz, Hollywood HS

A teen realized drugs were ruining his life

I read the article “Turning our lives around” and I could relate. I know many people who smoke marijuana. I used to be one of them, but I have been drug free for about nine months. When I look back, I think to myself, “What the hell was I thinking?” The first time I used it I was about 14 years old and I got caught. I had to go to court and I was sad because my mom was so disappointed. Because of my stupidity we had to pay about $320 and for some reason I did it again. I had drug tests to take and I always passed them. One day I came clean to my mom and told her everything. She was disappointed but I think a little proud that I came clean to her. I have never done it again. I tell people “smoking is one of the stupidest things you can do” and I also say they’re risking everything.
Name withheld

Connecting to culture through dance

Even though I’m not Indian, I can relate to Shivani Patel’s article “Having a ball” so much. Instead of Bollywood dancing, I do Armenian dancing. I take lessons just like Shivani. It’s cool to see that other heritages express themselves through dance from their country and perform for people just like Armenians do. Even though Indians and Armenians are nothing alike, it’s nice to see that we have similarities.
I wish Shivani luck at her Bollywood competitions.
Christine Matossian, Wilson MS (Glendale)