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Personally I don’t really listen to rap, but I do like Eminem. I like the way he raps about stuff that has happened and real life. Most people don’t like him because he says a lot of bad words. But if you really listen and understand what he is saying, he can really make sense.
—Kristina Whitaker, Taft HS

Bowling for Columbine

I had never heard of this documentary until my brother, Herb, and his wife, Alice, took me to see it. I saw it twice. It’s the kind of film you should see more than once. I completely agreed with Ben! I’m impressed that he went to see it. He’s right, not a lot of teenagers today would want to see a documentary on violence. It was a mind-awakening film that represented our crumbling reality. It was amazing to me to see how many things were revealed that came back to Lockheed Martin. It was amazing to me that Michael Moore created this must-see documentary. Everyone should see this film. The Columbine clips scared me. Throughout the film I was laughing, crying and I was shaking my head in anger and disgust.
—Cindy Gualpa, Belmont HS

War in Iraq

I agree with some of the opinions and comments in the article about going to war against Iraq. If we don’t go to war then other nations will consider the United States weak. Many people will die in this war, including civilians, because Saddam Hussein is a very dangerous and powerful man. If we join forces with other nations, then the war against Iraq will last no time. If you ask me, war is the answer, because we’ve got to get them before they get us.
—Westley Wells, Compton HS

This article on Iraq is true—many students don’t know what is going on in the world right now. The world is in the hands of George W. Bush. Bush has really messed up the economy and he has messed up our way of living.
—Nestor Alfaro, Compton HS

Sex, sexy, sexist

Finally! Someone else out there who believes that women were not placed on earth to entertain and/or fend off men. In today’s society women play many roles including employers, employees, mothers and everything in between. Unfortunately, most men perceive all women to be the ignorant booty-shaking girls that are portrayed in music videos. I’m really glad that you included the article "Sex, Sexy, Sexist" in this past issue of L.A. Youth. More young girls need to understand that to get any respect from males they need to first learn to respect and love themselves first.
—Silvia Linos, Hollywood HS

I understand that Brynn Holland wants to be treated the same way as men but she totally overreacts. She says, "I’ve been told to show skin and be sexy." I don’t think those words actually came out of someone’s mouth, but if they really did, you don’t have to act on it. Be your own person. Dress the way you want. You degrade yourself if you want to dress that way. You should always respect yourself. Some things Brynn says I agree with, for example, "It isn’t the woman’s fault for getting raped." But with her article she takes things to the extreme.
—Tiana Cousins, Taft HS

Safe haven for unwanted babies

I think this article will educate many of the L.A. Youth readers. I think that putting commercials about Safe Haven on MTV and other television and radio networks that kids and teens watch is a good idea.

Now that I am in high school, I know many people that want to have sex. My health teacher is aware of that so she gives out free protection and informs all of her students about clubs and programs in our school that inform students about quitting drugs and not having sex.

Having a baby at 16 is tough, and you could get kicked out of the house, too. Putting the baby in the dumpster is not right. This article will educate many students.
—Ron Astman, Taft HS

Friendship essays

When I read the essay "She’s annoying, but I like her," it really reminded me of my relationship with one of my best friends. I think more kids and teens should realize that it doesn’t matter how a person dresses, talks or looks. It matters what kind of person they are inside. In this essay it really shows that some people can learn to look at a person’s personality and not just their reputation or looks. My best friend likes heavy metal, wears black 24-7 and hates Britney Spears. I’m a cheerleader who loves Britney Spears and is all about fashion. Considering the fact that we are best friends do you think any of that matters? Maybe after some people read this essay they will think a little bit differently.
—Chelsea Dudley, Taft HS


I would like to call attention to an issue that deeply concerns me at my high school, and which I am sure is happening all over. The terms "fag," "homo" and "gay" and other derogatory names for homosexuals are being thrown around too often and with the intention of offending someone. As a heterosexual female, this does not affect me first hand. However, many of my friends are affected. Removing these words from everyday vocabulary would make a better school environment for everyone.
—Ali Sheaffer, Taft HS

College essays that worked

That article really helped me with my personal statement. I was drawing a complete blank on how to use and manipulate language so it would sound just right. Also, reading both essays and their very different topics helped me really think about what I want the colleges to think of when they think of me. Thank you Nicole Bryant for writing the introduction. It definitely helped that the article was written by a 17-year-old.
—David Bookbinder, Taft HS

A second chance

There was no real meaning in this article. I get the fact that the boy was in juvenile hall for a wrong decision he made, but I don’t get what him being in plays had to do with the story. Wow, he stars in plays, big deal.

This article is supposed to be about how he got a second chance not how he can act. I’m really sorry but this was one of the worst articles I’ve ever read. I think that it’s really good though that he got a second chance and not because he was talented. I don’t believe children should go to juvenile hall so that is why I am glad for him.
—Brittany Steele, Taft HS

After reading the article "A second chance," it really changed my views on what juvenile hall is actually like. I always thought that going to juvenile hall was like going to an extended summer camp, but now I realize that juvenile hall is no joke. I’m happy for Francisco and that he got a second chance at life. I hope I never have to experience what he went through. Thank you for opening my eyes to something that I had very false preconceptions about.
—Michael Bishop, Taft HS

My senior year meltdown

The objective of this story was supposed to warn people about what can happen when you do not prioritize and you take on too many activities. Instead it managed to scare people out of taking advanced classes. High school students need to be given a positive story about being able to manage advanced classes. A story like this seems to take the fun out of school and say it is better not to apply yourself. I’m sorry but teenagers need to be reinforced about the importance of school not about stress because we all know how stressful it is. I am a sophomore and I am taking two AP classes, on the varsity softball team and in two clubs. After reading this article I got scared that I couldn’t do it even though I know I can. Imagine what a story like this can do to someone who maybe doesn’t apply himself or herself. Next time please try to show that some people can handle a challenge and not everyone will experience a meltdown.
—Adina Wolf, Taft HS

The article "My senior year meltdown" relates to my senior year. I, too, had a meltdown. I was doing way too much and still am. I’m drum major, president of music appreciation, a member of the Pasadena Herald trumpets and am holding down three AP classes. It’s way too much and my grades have changed from mostly As to mostly Bs. Senioritis has played some role, but it’s mostly me doing too much to compete for a spot at a college. Lately, my grades have been improving though, and I am happy. Still, the pressure that students have nowadays is too much. It must change or students will have serious pressure later in life.
—Matthew Dueppen, Taft HS