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Faded at 14

I totally disagree with this article. I know many successful adults who smoke weed. I think this article is to persuade kids not to do drugs. I hang out with some people who smoke. I don’t think what they do is bad or wrong. I don’t think it’s any less than drinking a can of beer.
—Cassie Dague, North HS (Torrance)

This article got me thinking about all my friends who smoke. And how they could end up if they keep it up. I give the girl a lot of credit for quitting. I know being addicted to something can be really hard to stop, but she cared about herself and had the guts to do it.
—Diana Alvarado, Hollywood HS

The girl who wrote this must be really proud of herself. She stopped herself from almost destroying brain cells and her education. I feel that it was hard for her to stop, because her friends and brother were doing it. I have never tried it before and never gave it a second thought.
—Tra’cie Prudholm, Centennial HS (Compton)

I am proud to say that I have never once tried pot or any other drug. I’ve never been drunk or had a beer. I’ve been to parties where all they do is drink. I’ve even thrown some, but I feel you don’t need to drink or get high to become a cool person.
—Laura Moody, North HS

Finding a friend in myself

While reading this article, I have concluded that I can only trust my parents and God. I really do not associate with many people, much less have ever had a best friend until now that I am a senior. Everyone must trust God, their parents and themselves, because they will always be there for you.
—Lucy Martinez, Hollywood HS

I support Ryan’s point of view about not caring for people too much. I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated. But we have to see reality—not everyone appreciates the way people are. I was glad to know that someone else thinks exactly like me. It’s very hard to find good friends.
—Susana Perez, Hollywood HS

Museums suck

I don’t like how Howard was talking about old people in the article and what they were doing. I also think that this guy does not have a life. He went to museums all summer and looked at art. But that was his choice and if he likes that, then he can do whatever he wants to.
—Clifford Hogg, North HS

I think Howard is funny. What he said is true to him. People have their own opinions, even if Howard’s is stupid to me. He still backs up what he says.
—Aaron Fonseca, North HS

I think that it’s not all true about museums, because I like them. I have been to plenty of museums and have seen many different kinds of people there. I think that Howard is just so set on what he wants it to be, that he didn’t open his mind to see what good art really was.
—Patrice Williams, North HS

Saying the pledge of allegiance

I was interested in this article since I’m in the JROTC program. At Hollywood High School, it’s required to pledge allegiance to the flag before starting class. In my opinion, it’s great.
—Eduardo Michel, Hollywood HS

Starting over in America

I know what it’s like to come from another country. I am Hispanic and when I came to this country, I was very small. I didn’t know any English at all and it took me a long time to get used to everything. It was nice to read an experience about someone in Tajikistan who came to this country and felt lost. It’s amazing how people from different parts of the world feel the same when entering a different country.
—Ana De Leon, Hollywood HS

I want Eugenia Usmanova to know that I admire her. She faced obstacles that I went through when I first stepped into America. I could feel her pain and sadness by the way she explained her story. It’s embarrassing not knowing how to speak English, especially when you are being insulted by others and slowly building pain inside.
—Juan Ruiz, Hollywood HS

How will the attacks affect me?

It’s sad how many people are scared for their future. People are scared to fly again and others fear for their dreams.
—Joana Coronel, North HS

This article touched my heart. The thing that got to me was when the Twin Towers burned to the ground. I saw it on TV. When I went home, I prayed to God to take care of the fallen victims on that day. Then I broke down and cried till I didn’t know why I was crying in the first place.
—Oranes Ornanyan, Hollywood HS

What are they trying to sell us?

Every time something happens, someone is always trying to make a dollar off of it. If you notice, in August no one was waving an American flag. Now that something tragic happened, they want to be true Americans. I don’t think people mean to take America for granted. It’s just that we’ve become so used to the fact that we could basically do anything we want because we are Americans. People do not realize how blessed we are to be living in this country and not in some dictatorship.
—Kelsey Perkins, Hollywood HS

Who’s more annoying? Boys or girls?

I think it’s true what they wrote about girls being more annoying than boys. But some girls aren’t annoying and some guys are annoying. I have to hand it to those teens who wrote about their opinions. I think it’s cool what they said.
—California Bustamante, Hollywood HS

I disagree with the view of girls seens in the essays on Who’s More Annoying—Boys or Girls? It is impossible to generalize an entire gender. If you have trouble summing up your best friend, try to fathom reducing the characteristics of half of the world’s population into one small summary. It can’t be done. I do know a few girls that are similar to the ones portrayed in these essays, but over all, girls are not the overly-dressed-opportunistic-shopping-crazed people that seem to be prominent in the stereotype of a girl. Many essays claimed that we girls are crazy about clothes and that girls overdress. Looking nice can be a healthy obsession, but please, don’t generalize. Have you forgotten the girls who would rather study than go to the mall? These essays make girls seem stupid; they indicate that a girl’s focus is to look cute for boys instead of getting jobs or working hard for the grades to get into a marvelous college. Not all girls hold such superficial aims as consuming their lives with the recent couples at school or insulting the new girl for wearing last year’s fashion. If this is your view of a girl I don’t know how you came to it.

America’s society can be changed; stereotypes and ideals can transform. So stop playing follow the leader and change it.
—Sara LaHue, Cleveland HS (Reseda)