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North Koreans shouldn’t have to suffer

It’s great to hear that the author took the time and effort to raise awareness about the grave human rights violations that occur daily in North Korea. As a South Korean, I find it chilling to think about how different my life would have been had I been born a North Korean. To think that torture, public executions and human experimentation still take place in the North—to think, in the 21st century!—it’s outrageous.
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Being of South Korean descent, it was hard for me to forget my grudge against the North Koreans until I realized that all this happened, not because of their people, but because of their government. We should be trying harder to break the shackles that the North Korean government has placed on its people. People are always talking about “the North Korean nuclear threat” but in reality, the people have no say in what happens. When I read this article, I was relieved that someone was spreading the word. Spreading the word is getting us one step closer to freeing North Korea.
Daniel Ra, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (S.O.C.E.S.)

I used to think North Korea was a peaceful country, but I was mistaken. It’s sad to know that North Koreans don’t have rights and that they cannot leave the country without getting shot. After learning that there is a movie about how North Korea is today, I was excited to show it to other students to share what really happens in North Korea.
Abraham Rodriguez, Bell Gardens HS


A girl tried to get her father to stop smoking

Whenever I see my father walk back into our house after he’s just finished smoking a cigarette, I can’t help feeling a little disappointed because I know that he’s better than that. He tells me that he tries to stop, but he never shows any in  itiative. I just wish he’d stop smoking.
Jaime Suarez, Bell Gardens HS

I never realized how hard it is for a person to help someone stop smoking. When the author’s dad started smoking at her grandpa’s funeral, I realized how addicting smoking could be. I admire her effort to help her dad stop smoking. I hope her dad finds a different way to relieve his stress.
Jacob Feldman, S.O.C.E.S.

I can really relate to this because my dad also used to smoke. My sisters and I always told my dad to stop smoking and that it was bad for him. He tried to quit, but it was not easy. Finally, he quit for good and it has been three years without smoking! He tells everyone that thanks to his kids he has stopped smoking! Never give up telling your dad to quit. You will be amazed when he finally does!
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I always argue with my dad about his addiction to smoking and have long conversations with him about its harmful effects. Sometimes I feel like I’m not being heard by him and it makes me feel guilty that I can’t do anything to stop him. I hope that he will realize what he is doing and finally stop, but it’s not that easy. For this reason, I made a promise to myself that I will never smoke a single cigarette in my life. It is amazing how cigarettes can control someone.
Nelly Lopez, Bell Gardens HS

I tried everything to make my dad stop smoking. I even hid his cigarettes and matches, but nothing worked. But when my sister’s best friend’s dad died of a heart attack in 2008 due to his constant smoking, my sister was literally on her knees, crying and begging our dad to quit. It was a long and hard road for my dad to quit, but he did it. Every time I see him pass up a cigarette, I am proud to say that he is my dad and that he has quit smoking.
Carmella Songhorian, SOCES

I can relate to the article, “Dad please stop smoking.” I have been begging my dad to stop drinking for many years now. I get scared of how much he drinks each day. I got really scared when my grandpa died because of drinking. Then two years later my other grandpa died because of the same reason. I lost both of my grandpas to drinking and I don’t want to lose my daddy to it.


An injury didn’t keep a soccer player off the field for good

I was heartbroken by this story. I can’t believe that Claudia actually played with a broken spine. I play soccer, but I’ve never been injured severely and never realized how lucky I am. This story made me realize how fortunate I am to be healthy.
Sara Kwan, Wilson MS (Glendale)


A boy pursued writing without his parents’ support

I really enjoyed “Choosing my own path” because it addressed the issue many teens face today with their parents wanting them to go into a certain field of work that may not be what they want. I wish more parents could be like mine, because my parents are accepting of any jobs my sisters and I might want to pursue. I know I am very lucky to have such accepting parents and I hope more parents can be understanding of what their children want.
Sarah Harden, S.O.C.E.S.

Although my parents want me to be a doctor, I want to be a comedian. I dream of having my own HBO special. I know it will take a lot of work, but I know I can do it. My parents don’t accept my choice, but I’m sure they will once I am on stage with thousands of adoring fans laughing at my jokes.
Jasmin Hernandez, Madison MS (North Hollywood)

I wanna be a journalist but my dad says it’s not a well paid job. But … blah … Who cares … I like it!
Patricia Chavarria
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A girl’s family cares for foster kids

This is really a great story of how love comes in many forms. I think it takes a great person to open their heart and home to a stranger and to love them as his or her own family. I am adopted and this story hit close to home. Helen and her family are doing great things for the most worthy cause!
Jenny Philp, S.O.C.E.S.

I could really relate to “They’re family, not foster kids” because my uncle fosters children too. We’ve had many children live with our family and they have all been great. We even adopted a little boy. Like Helen said, it’s very tough to let them go, but it’s best when they return to their families. I’m glad that there are people out there who are willing to help others in need.
Samantha Laguna
, Bell Gardens HS


Barbie is a girl’s fashion inspiration

When I read “I’m a Barbie girl,” I was surprised that the author thinks that other people find it unusual for a girl her age to collect Barbie dolls. I don’t think it’s weird for a 16-year-old to own a Barbie doll. It actually seems very common for older girls to collect dolls, whether it is for the doll’s clothes, antiqueness or just for the fun of it. She should keep collecting Barbie dolls if she enjoys them.
Heather Aquino, Wilson MS

I think it’s cool that Jessica still likes Barbie. She shouldn’t care what her friends think as long as it’s her passion.
Aurora Castro, East Valley HS

Since I was young, I have been collecting Barbie dolls. People are surprised when they see how many I have and the great condition I keep them in. My dolls mean a lot to me and when I have my own place, I’m going to put them on a shelf and display them. My Barbie collection will be worth seeing.
Nairi Tutunjyan, Madison MS


Getting ready for earthquakes

When I experienced my first earthquake I thought we were all going to die. I immediately packed a bag with food, water, video games and stuffed animals. My mom then told me to relax since we have an earthquake kit. Since then, I have felt a lot better about earthquakes.
Sean Perez, Madison MS

I like this article because it is really important that we are prepared for an earthquake. I’ve been hearing in the news that there will be a big earthquake soon because there hasn’t been a big one in years. We’ve seen how destructive and devastating earthquakes can be in Haiti and Chile, so it’s important we are ready.

Alejandra Lopez, East Valley HS (North Hollywood)


When a teen was hurt, the hospital was far away

People need to have a hospital close to their home. If there is an emergency, people would have to drive for a long time, and some might die before getting there.
Carlos Campos, Centennial College Preparatory Academy (Huntington Park)


An incurable disease doesn’t stop a girl from enjoying life

There aren’t many people who have a disease and still are satisfied with what they have and are always looking on the bright side. The author could inspire a lot of people because despite her condition, nothing holds her back from what she wants to do.
Eleen Babloyan, Wilson MS