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Letters to the Editor (January – February 2006 issue)

Voices no one else can hear

While reading the article "The voices no one else can hear" I thought, "Wow! There are people right next to me that have a mental illness." I realized that people with mental illnesses are not much different compared to me. They go to school, struggle with grades and just try to have a good time. I think the writer is a really brave teen. Not many people are so comfortable with themselves that they can let the world help and understand them. I’m really glad that I can read and feel that I am not the only one that doesn’t have a picture perfect life.

Susana Melkonyan, Wilson MS (Glendale)

I was really impacted by reading this article. Before I read it, mental illness wasn’t something I thought about everyday. The way I imagined it every once in a while was a person in an asylum who needs assistance in eating, showering and those everyday things we all do. I never understood that mental illness torments people I see every day.

     As for the writer, I really admire how he lives life with this obstacle. I cannot imagine myself in his position but I recognize that it must be difficult. He was a true inspiration to me for I noticed that my way of living isn’t hell at all; it could be worse. From the bottom of my heart I wish him the best and I have faith that he will make it in life.

Stephanie Sánchez, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (S.O.C.E.S.)

This article caught my attention because it was a completely different and more serious topic than all the other articles. Before I read this article, I wondered why and how people got "crazy." I would look at them as if they were deadly bugs that needed to be squashed quickly. But after reading the article, I realized that these people are not crazy, mental or abnormal. This article made me open my eyes and realize that everyone has difficulties in life, whether it’s passing a class, getting a job or being depressed. We shouldn’t be looking down at these people because we wouldn’t know how it is to be in their shoes.

Cindy Nguyen, Wilson MS

After reading this article I realized that people with these kinds of problems really feel alone, like they don’t belong in the world, as the author mentioned. But you can change that by supporting them. Getting support from a family member or friend will help more than taking medicines alone. Life isn’t perfect. Everyone has challenges in life. You shouldn’t deal with them alone. The people who care about you will help you through the hard times.

     You should put more articles like this one because it makes you realize that there are people out there who are going through hard times. And instead of teasing them and making them feel different, you could support them.

Anet Keshishian, Wilson MS

As I read "The voices no one else can hear" I noticed what kind of trouble the writer was in. Not only the writer, but many other people that face the same illnesses he faces every day. This illness can be dangerous. I mean, it’s not every day you see someone that hears voices; voices that are not positive. With people like the writer of this story, I think that all they need is support. Brian has the support from his parents and group homes and hospitals, which helped have him get through most of his troubles.

     I am proud of the writer for getting through all of this. He is just a normal boy like everyone else, but having this illness can really make him feel different from his peers. There were points where he almost died because of the voices. Yet with help from the group home and his parents, I am happy he hung in there.

Melat Begashaw, S.O.C.E.S

A teen learns that being Japanese is pretty cool after all

As I read about Machiko, and her embarrassment of her Japanese parents and customs, I felt that she was racist toward her own kind. I couldn’t believe that just because her parents spoke with an accent and made her go to Japanese school, she was resentful of her own heritage. She was so afraid of her own rich legacy, she made fun of the Japanese students who were "fob" kids, who could have used her knowledge to ease their way into a foreign situation. People should never hide who they are and where they came from. The way our nation celebrates differences is what makes the United States great! Toward the end of the article I was relieved to learn that Machiko now embraces her roots. It’s too bad it took her so long to figure out that being different is not a bad thing, and being Japanese is "cool."

Sammie Richards, S.O.C.E.S.

I read this article and I enjoyed it, but I also disliked a few parts. I read it a few times to really understand it, and I am a half-Japanese, half-American. It can be embarrassing hearing my mom, who was born in Japan and is 100 percent Japanese, speak English with a Japanese accent. It used to be hard for me not to be embarrassed when she would say words in public with a foreign accent, which made some of her words sound awkward. Now I am never embarrassed by my mom’s foreign accent.

     I disliked the part of her article when she said "Bevaree Hiruzu." I think it’s mean that she made fun of her parents’ accents. She should just accept that she has parents from a different country and that they have accents. I also disliked when she said "Also, I have disliked my name, Machiko (MaCheek-oh). I would be grateful and happy for a great name like that. I think it’s a fantastic name. In fact, I asked a lot of my friends and they also like it.

Julian Richardson, S.O.C.E.S.

Why do teens smoke?

I realized the author is absolutely correct. Not only does Andrea Domanick stress the point of teenagers wanting to be cool, but also she shows that pop culture is another thing influencing people to smoke.

     I also believe the only reason someone would start smoking, would be to look cool or follow someone else’s example that he or she believes to be cool. It’s not only themselves who believe they are cool, but others might treat this person differently since he or she might seem more grown-up and mature. The fact is, though, that they are far from either of those qualities. As said in the story, celebrities are also a big factor in teens starting to smoke. These stars are strong influences on teens, much bigger than they might even want to believe.

Talena Smith, Wilson MS

After reading the article "Why are my friends smoking?" I was really amazed at just how many people smoke. What was more amazing was why they said they do it. Then I came to the conclusion that most people smoke at first because they say it makes them look "cool."

     You don’t need to do something to be cool. You just need to be yourself and be cool within your own group of friends. If those people don’t accept you for who you are, then they were not your true friends to begin with.

     By the way, who said smoking was "cool" anyway? It makes your breath bad, gives you wrinkles around your lips and eyes, it rots your teeth, makes you hoarse and if nothing else can give you lung cancer. How cool is a person who can’t breathe while they walk and spends all of their allowance on cigarettes.

     Just let me be me! I’m cool ‘cuz I don’t smoke!

Sarah Rooindej, S.O.C.E.S.

I believe that Andrea made a lot of good points. Smoking is mainly for people who want to be cool and nothing else. It ruins your system and it does so many horrible things to your body. I have made up my mind and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never smoke or do any drugs because I think that using tobacco or doing drugs is just wrong. So what if Jay-Z smokes and all these other "cool" people smoke, we have to be resistant and not let ourselves fall into the trap of smoking. There are many other things that we can do to be more relaxed or let off stress other than smoking. It may be hard to quit but you have to, because we really need to save our bodies and live long and prosperous lives.

Brandon Bert, S.O.C.E.S.

Teens and sheriffs talk it out

I have just read the "Straight talk with the sheriffs" and I though that this was an awesome article. I really connected to this article because my friend has trouble with the cops most of the week. He tells me how they harass him and search him sometimes. I always tell him "Then don’t go goofing off and trying to blow up the neighborhood." He just laughs and walks away. I can now see the cops’ perspectives. Now, I give a lot of respect toward cops dealing with these problems.

Andrew Navarro, Wilson MS

A teenage boy’s first car

Joo Yoon seems very conceited. It upsets me that this boy gets a car, shows off, makes fun of his so-called "friends," and then gets into two accidents that are his fault. He thinks getting a car makes him cool. I don’t think his parents should be paying for everything, especially when he won’t take care of things himself.

     This is in no way teaching him how to be on the journey to manhood. Joo could pay for some things, but doesn’t. I think it is sad because it seems as though he is taking advantage of his parents and the car. Joo should learn some responsibility and not take accidents as a joke. Driving may seem fun, but it is a serious matter. It doesn’t need to be "fast and furious."

Irene Wu, S.O.C.E.S.

As I read "(Almost) Fast and Furious" I felt that I could connect with Joo’s predicament of having to do errands for his mom. I can guarantee that when I get a car, I will have many tasks to do for my family. But I agree with Joo’s mom, if I was a dad and bought my son a car, I would make him do a lot of work to make up for the money.

     This article shows me that owning a car is not all fun and games, it includes a great deal of responsibility. I would have to pay attention to the road and not just talk to friends in the car. Plus I would have to take care of the car and keep it in running condition. So before I buy a car, I have to remember that it involves dedication as well.

Julius Weng, S.O.C.E.S.

A high school student in a college class

When I read the article, "College While I’m Still in High School," I thought it was very brave of Charlotte to take college classes even though she didn’t know anyone else and didn’t know what she was getting into. I also think it was very smart of her to take the classes because it would give her an idea of what college life would be like even though her high school doesn’t give credit for taking them.

     Around my school I hear about the high school students taking college classes at Pierce College and this article made me think about also taking some classes when I can.

Susan Shapiro, S.O.C.E.S.

A girl who tried sumo wrestling

This article about the girl who tried sumo wrestling proves that anyone can try anything, no matter their gender. It’s amazing that the little skinny girl went up against those big, huge men. I believe that I would never sumo wrestle because I would be too small and scrawny. The opponent in the picture looked humongous compared to her. I don’t think I would have stood a chance. I think that she was very brave to go and try something new and challenging.

Alec Lewald, Wilson MS

50 Cent is over-rated

As I read the current L.A. Youth newspaper, nothing seemed to be interesting, until I looked over the music reviews. Most people usually tend to write excellent reviews about artists they enjoy, but Sarah Butler wrote a review on the bad points of 50 Cent’s new album. I really enjoyed reading her review of 50’s new album The Massacre, which criticized his work. New rappers tend to rap about the same things over and over, usually sex, drugs and violence. Her article defended the old, great rappers such as 2Pac and Biggie, and I really enjoyed reading her honest opinions.

Jonathan So, S.O.C.E.S.