Can you keep a secret?
I was blown away and depressed after finishing this article. I don’t understand how someone could just take away someone else’s precious virginity. Getting raped and then being able to talk about it later is just amazing. The girl was lucky to have friends who wanted to help her. This article was one of the best in the issue. Being raped is a traumatizing, emotional and physical experience. This story affected me in ways I cannot describe. I hope that sick people who think that rape is fun go to jail and never get out. Girls shouldn’t be treated like that. I would never treat a girl like that and I’m a boy.
—Rene Hernandez, Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (S.O.C.E.S.)
This article is really sad because it tells you about a girl who was raped. One thing that made it interesting was that she was brave enough to tell her story of getting raped. You have to speak up when something bad happens, so people can help you with your problems. People should learn not to touch a girl. If they do, they should go to jail.
—Esperanza Avalos, Nimitz MS (Los Angeles)
Why does my textbook say sex is bad?
I totally agree with this article. I had the same problem.
When I had health class and sex ed in the last semester of seventh grade at my former school, the book was full of opinions. I still remember the first sentence of one section: "Sex should be avoided until marriage." To add to what the textbook said, a friend and I wrote down things my teacher said. One time she said, "I cannot believe that teenagers are having sex." I heard this and asked why. She swiftly replied: "Because sex before marriage is stupid." I told her that was her opinion and that it shouldn’t be taught. She got irritated and changed the subject.
A public school is not the place to teach an opinion. Students should be given the facts and be free to make their own decisions. I agree with the opinion that young teens shouldn’t be having sex, but my opinion and others’ vary. I won’t press my beliefs on you, don’t press your beliefs on me.
—Colin MacDonald, S.O.C.E.S.
Face to face with death
This article affected me deeply and made me sad. The way the writer explained how her grandpa’s surgery went and how it affected her family was really good. The way she told about her personal life and her schoolwork was also very well explained. I can relate to the story because my grandpa just recently went to the hospital and my entire family got worried, because he was near death. So when he went to the hospital again and wasn’t at Thanksgiving with my family it really made me think about death and made me very scared.
—Benjamin Gomez, Nimitz MS
After reading this article it made me think about my own views on death. I can understand how this girl felt about her sickly grandfather. When she mentions that her grandfather was the "glue that holds her family together," it made it very clear as to how great a loss it would be if her grandfather were to pass on.
I can relate when the author describes how shocking it was to see a small wound turn into a deadly problem. When I was 7, my godmother, who had been a part of my life every day, developed an "ache." Eventually this ache turned into terminal cancer.
Death used to be a very hard topic to talk about. When my godmother died I just didn’t understand. I wanted answers. I wanted to know what happened to someone who was very dear to me. However, I knew I had to cope.
Toward the end of the article where the author describes her grandfather as "playful again," it was inspirational. The upbeat way her grandfather dealt with his illness rubbed off on the author and made her a stronger and more mature person. I can only imagine that from now on she will treasure the great time she has with her grandpa.
—Dugan Cruz, S.O.C.E.S.
I wish I had waited
This article was an extremely good example of what teenage girls do to feel good about themselves. As our celebrity idols set new racy standards, preteens and teens ask themselves "How can I match up? How can I express myself sexually without going overboard?"
As teens we want to say we’re abstaining from sex, but temptation, hormones, pressure and puppy love make being sexually active more appealing. We even use it to replace the love we lack.
—Melody W. Brody, S.O.C.E.S
Here’s the school you’ve seen on the screen
I squealed when I saw the cover of the last issue. I’ve seen Torrance High on TV many, many times because Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite show. I’ve also seen She’s All That, so it was really cool to learn more about the school.
Thank you for featuring Buffy in this edition. I thought it was a great article. However, I have one correction that as an ardent Buffy fan I have to point out. Buffy’s friend Xander, played by Nicholas Brendon, is spelled with an X, not a Z. Other than that, this was a wonderful article.
—Lucy Gram, S.O.C.E.S.
Paris on my own
I was absolutely amazed by this article. I knew about foreign exchange programs and studying abroad, but I have never read about it. This is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to see what it’s like to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. I was considering traveling abroad for a while, but began to lose interest. This article brought my interest back and made me want it even more. These Web sites really helped me get the information I need. Next time I’ll write to you from Africa! Thanks.
—Spring Fischbeck, S.O.C.E.S.
Support the arts
Not only are the performing arts scarce in public schools these days, but they are also grossly under appreciated. School officials tend to focus on the accomplishments of sports and even academic teams because they can win competitions, but we actors also achieve tremendous things through our productions and deserve to be recognized.
Plays and musicals require intense commitment, dedication, talent and time-management. Actors must attend rehearsals for two or more hours every day after school, as well as on many Saturday mornings, and find time outside of school to memorize lines, and practice blocking (a stage term meaning the movements an actor makes while reciting lines), music and choreography. This can prove to be extremely difficult, especially for those students with challenging courses, jobs and family responsibilities. The production process itself can also be quite hectic as our director helps us "get into" our characters. Actors are challenged to let go of their inhibitions and portray their characters honestly, which is often very difficult; having to cry, scream or show affection before hundreds of people is not easy. However, all of our hard work pays off when we are finally able to unveil our finished product to an audience and see them laughing, gasping and enjoying the show. While stage fright creeps up sometimes, there are few things as exhilarating and satisfying as stepping out under the lights, dressed in costume and make-up, and delivering a performance you’re proud of. You come away from each show with friendships, memories, and the knowledge that you’ve been part of something that has entertained your community.
—Tierra Allen, Venice HS student and thespian