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Cutting wasn’t the answer to her problems

I really enjoy reading all of the articles and I could especially relate to the girl who cut herself, even if I don’t cut myself.

All of my problems started in middle school. I felt like I could never fit in. I felt like the whole world was against me. Then I joined a fraternity/sorority. Now, in high school, I still have people to depend on and help me so I don’t start cutting myself.
Thank you for creating L.A. Youth. Now I don’t feel as lonely as I used to be. I know that there are other teens that go through the same problems as I do. I know that I’m not the weirdest person on the planet.
–Mia Jones, Centennial HS (Compton)

I read the article "Cutting away the pain," in which Karina Onofre told of her experiences [cutting herself]. She explained the problems she faced and the reasons why she opted to cut herself to get away from her problems.

I found the article interesting and useful because many teenagers go through crises and look for something that takes all the pressure away, even if it’s just temporary and could have fatal consequences. It was also very beneficial because it gave advice on how to get out of the habit of cutting and ways to deal with your problems. I want to congratulate Karina for writing such a helpful article.
–Edy Cardona, Cleveland HS (Reseda)

I like this story, because I learned something from it. This story showed me that when you’re sad, it’s better to talk with someone and try to solve your problem with them and not cut yourself and be mad or sad all the time. This story showed me how painful it is when someone cuts himself or herself. I think everybody needs someone to care about him or her and to show them some attention. I really would like to tell Karina that when she gets mad or sad just to get some help from other people and not to cut herself. I was very happy that at the end of the story, Karina understood that cutting herself wasn’t going to solve her problems.
–Helen Mirchi, Taft HS (Woodland Hills)

She wasn’t "Asian enough" for some of her friends

I found the article "Not Asian enough?" by Beini Shi very interesting. I enjoyed reading about her experience of not knowing her traditions well. I can relate since I am also Asian American. I also was not taught many of my culture’s traditions, because my parents found them useless since we were in America. This article touches on many issues that are faced by a lot of teenagers. It just makes you feel better to know that you’re not the only one that people label as "white-washed" or "Twinkie," as said in the story. The article was well-written and organized in a way that made it easy to relate to the author’s problems.
–Paul Park, Cleveland HS

Beini helped me figure out that you can be Asian and not need to be like all the other Asians. So thank you, Beini! I am part Japanese and part Irish and I love being able to speak some Japanese with my mom and take Irish dance classes every week. I can go to an Irish dance competition once in a while, too. My friends at school think it’s so cool that I’m mixed, but it’s not that great. I hope some day I can go to Japan again and show my Japanese family that I am skilled in Irish dancing.
–Amanda Richardson, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (S.O.C.E.S.)

What a relief—her dad was OK

I am glad that Quingan’s father is all right and in good condition. I admire her strong will to be calm during a life-or-death situation. Many people have faced scary situations, but Quingan was mature enough to handle this situation like an adult and tried to stay calm during her father’s operation. Quingan is a strong person. Quingan should stay positive during tough situations and she will do just fine in life. Good luck to her and her family.
–Barbara Aquino, Taft HS

This was a great article because it shows transformation by tragedy. Quingan Zhou has changed from an immature youth to a mature kid. First she thought that everything turns out good and that parents are very powerful, but after her father went in the hospital she got taught that reality can come at any time.

An example from my life is that my grandma was sick and she lived in Pakistan, so my mom had to go there and we had to stay home alone for two months. Every day I came home and stressed over the house because I had to become more responsible, organized and understanding. After some weeks I became more mature and knew exactly what I had to do.
–Mariam Khan, S.O.C.E.S.

Being in a marching band

I really enjoyed reading "I’m with the band" by Jessica Gelzer and have even learned something new. I had no idea that the life of a high school band member could be so time-consuming and tough. I thought all you do in band is play music, but there are so many tasks that one has to perform. Furthermore, with so many practices, it is very difficult. Thanks for teaching me something new.
–Arafat Hossain, Cleveland HS

I really like this article. It’s great that kids can find other fun activities to do instead of getting into gangs and crimes. Band is a really time-consuming activity that keeps you out of trouble. It’s a great way to make friends, too. My sister is in the Granada Hills Highlander Marching Band and she loves it! I love going to all her competitions and football games. Band kids are good kids who have found something great to do in their spare time.
–Crystal Cantabrana, S.O.C.E.S.

A teen stand-up comedian

I really liked the article "Seriously funny" by Eamon Cannon. He discovered his talent just by joining a class. It shows how we can find what we want in our future by trying new things. The article was very good.
–Arti Verma, Cleveland HS

Interview with a Holocaust survivor

When I read this article I thought about the movie I had seen, Swing Kids. It took place in Germany in the late 1930s, a time when Nazi Germany declared war on freedom and demanded conformity from the youth in the country. There was a group who rebelled and listened to swing music from the United States. It sent a powerful message to me even though I’m not Jewish. These four kids defined themselves through swing music. They didn’t care that a Jewish musician had written certain songs and played them. They just wanted to dance and have a good time.

I understand what Ludmilla Page said to "grow up without any prejudice." That’s what these four kids did. They didn’t see Jewish people as the Nazis did. They knew right from wrong. They knew who their real friends were. It’s those kinds of minds that have strong opinions that make it in this world. Ludmilla Page is a strong woman and she held on no matter how bad things got. And that truly is inspiring.
–Veronica Vargas, University HS

College counseling at different schools

I like the story you published, "What’s college counseling like at your school?" It means a lot to me because my counselor is helping us get into college. I also liked the "Real college essays" that you published, because they show how to write and I’ve seen errors in what I write.
–Maria Escobar, Centennial HS

Do gay kids get harassed at your school?

In October, Marvin Novelo wrote about being harassed at school because he’s gay. These are two letters we received in response to our invitation asking readers to let us know what the environment is like at their schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens.

I have seen students made fun of for being gay. Many times it’s people who aren’t open-minded. I get so mad, and if I know that person I go up to them and ask them why they are doing that. All they say is, "he/she is a fag," and they leave. I have never seen someone being harmed for being gay, but I have heard people talking about kids who are gay running away from school because they were threatened. Don’t think my school is all bad against gays and lesbians. There are a lot of people who accept people how they are. Also, there are clubs that help them not be afraid to show that they are gay. It’s like they say, "treat people the way you want to be treated."
–Nora Gomez, Cleveland HS

Everywhere I turn at my school, spoiled American brats lament on how sad racism is and then turn around, only to start fork-tonguing the girl with the weird jeans or the cheap shoes or the bad hair-dye job. Racism starts so small and when issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people come up, the bigotry gets worse. I’m glad to say that my school is pretty open-minded about it—usually. Open-minded in the sense that there isn’t outright violence against others with different beliefs. But then again, it isn’t a much-talked-about issue. The problem is with those who can muster up a sincere face about a sad story of someone being persecuted for different beliefs, and learn nothing from it. Inaction is the word… or is it hypocrisy? My heart goes out to Marvin and those like him because he’s a fighter who won’t back down. I dearly hope that those who responded to Marvin’s story or Connie’s opinion are not adding to the pretentious hypocrisy in our crazy teenage world. However, I admit I am sometimes the worst offender. But what is certain is that hate will always be there, discrimination will always exist, racism will always hurt and there will always be me fighting it.
–M.O., Gabrielino HS