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Quotes gathered by L.A. Youth reporter April Hudson, St. Mary’s Academy and Associate Editor Sue Doyle.

"The president’s top priority should be to end violence and that means gang violence, warfare and crime. I also think that another priority should be that all [people], from children to the elderly, should have the freedom of speech."
—Riorose Ash
, 15, St. Mary’s Academy

"I think the president’s top priority should be focusing on the violence and the drugs coming into the country and trying to figure out ways to prevent it."
—Lonette Flowers
, 16, St. Mary’s Academy

"The president should change the death penalty. There are too many innocent people being killed and the police don’t go out there and look for the true person who did the crime."
—Geneva Allen
, 15, Fairfax HS (Los Angeles)

"The court system is goofed up. It’s not fair. Some people who get more media attention get more time [in prison]. Others appeal and get off, when they’ve committed terrible crimes."
—Nancy Su
, 15, Whitney High School (Cerritos)


"The president needs to work in the Middle East peace process and not side with one country. They need to be flexible and find a compromise that everyone can agree to."
—Sami Temsah
, 16, Verdugo Hills High School

"The new president should have more control over world peace, because too many innocent people are dying. For example, the people in Palestine are dying for stuff they haven’t done."
—Vanessa Santos
, 14, St. Mary’s Academy

"I think the president should work closer to home. Our government interferes with other governments and they have no right to."
—Francis Ballesteros
, 14, Daniel Murphy High School (Los Angeles)


"I think the president’s top priority should be the education of teenagers nowadays. There are too many teenagers who are not educated enough or are too smart and stuck in schools that are not good enough for them."
—Sylvia LaRosa
, 15, St. Mary’s Academy

"Inner-city California children scored lowest on the standardized testing. I believe because the children are our future, that they should have a good education. I think that medical care should be next on the list, because we need healthy, happy people."
—Demetrius Hall
, 17, St. Mary’s Academy

"I think the president should focus on the public school’s education, be-cause the kids don’t really care about school and they’re not working to their full potential. Instead, some of them are ditching school and not taking school seriously."
—Lorena Sanchez
, 15, St. Mary’s Academy

"The president’s top priority should be more funding for higher education. There should be more scholarships for those who actually do well in their studies, because there are a lot of kids out there who have the grades, but don’t have the money. Everyone deserves the chance to go to college, to help them get closer to their goals in life."
—Saundré Scott
, 16, St. Mary’s Academy

"The school vouchers. I think it is important, because more kids will have an opportunity to go to better schools. They will have more opportunities to fulfill the need of the will to succeed in life."
—Jasma Carn
, 16, St. Mary’s Academy

"Education, because I think it’s the key to success. We need to raise a more intelligent generation."
—Angela Pulido, 17, St. Mary’s Academy

"Education, because we need to raise our standards morally and intellectually starting with the children in public schools. By improving our education systems, we can improve our society as a whole."
—Mayra Gomez, 17, St. Mary’s Academy

"The federal government should spend more money on education, because the states spend too much money already. They could open more public schools, because schools are too crowded and you don’t get a one-on-one with teachers."
—Pilar Gonzalez, 16, Simi Valley High School

"He should have a diverse cabinet to give him better insight into peoples’ needs."
—Iliana Salas, 17, Hamilton High School (Los Angeles)

"Government doesn’t care about runaways, and there should be stiffer laws to protect them."
—Tony Briggs, 17, Venice High School

"Affirmative action and police brutality. A reason for affirmative action is because people who are not white in America have a difficult time living. So I think if someone who is not white is achieving greatly, I think they should get a better chance for getting into a university. The reason I choose police brutality is because police are supposed to protect everyone no matter what the differences are."
—Akilah Wise, 14, St. Mary’s Academy

"I don’t have any advice. But I’m thankful to live in a country with so much freedom."
—Krissi Dukes, 16, El Camino Real High School (Woodland Hills)