Photo by Sarah Barnes, 14, New Village Charter HS

What now?
As an undocumented immigrant, it’s unfair that all my hard work might not lead to college.

I think it’s really unfair that I can’t get the same opportunities as a citizen. I grew up here like any other student. Some people say that undocumented immigrants are criminals because they came here illegally. But I don’t consider myself a criminal because it wasn’t my choice to come here. My parents brought me here because they believed they could provide a better education and a better life for me and my sister.
Too much temptation
Distractions are all around us—Facebook, YouTube, texting, TV. It’s sometimes so overwhelming that it can be hard to focus on homework. So we challenged these teens to do their homework without distractions for three days.
Fighting AIDS with every step
The AIDS Walk was fun and Elizabeth, 17, felt good raising money for an important cause.
College essays that worked
To show you what colleges are looking for, here are essays former L.A. Youth writers wrote when they applied.
Holiday movie favorites
Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Our writers share what movies get them in the holiday spirit.
Reality check
A girl ran away from home and thought she’d become a rap star, but she found out life isn’t that easy.
Friendship is enough
Even though it can get complicated, Tiffany, 15, has been just friends with lots of guys.
Don’t cut what I care about
Music and performing arts programs have taught 16-year-old Heidi valuable lessons that she's used in all aspects of her education.
Protesting school cuts
Nicholas, 16, and Jazmine, 16, saw lots of teachers but not many teens at the Occupy LAUSD march.
Stretched for time
Sometimes it’s hard for Haley, 16, to fit ballet into her schedule, but she loves it too much to quit.