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Where I’m from

I really enjoyed reading this story because I could relate to it so much. I encounter many of the same problems in my life as the girl in this story. I know how it feels to be too white for the Latinos and too Latino for the white people. The world would be much better if everyone learned to look past superficial issues. There are scores of Latinos, such as the girl in the story, who are dedicated, intellectual, respectful and focused on getting ahead. Teenagers are the same everywhere in the world; you just have to get to know them, not prejudge them based on where they’re from or how much money the have.

For example, my dad was born in the United States, and later moved to Mexico. My mom was born in Mexico and later immigrated to the United States. Although they both grew up in different environments, they learned to look past cultural differences to get to know each other. I have found that their values and outlooks are basically the same, which shows you that all races and cultures are equal. You just have to dig past the first impressions and insignificant differences.
—Cassandra Franco, Cleveland HS

In Defense of Michael Jackson

I just wanted to applaud the author on an objective and good article about Michael Jackson. I can hardly believe a 16-year-old has this level of understanding, that not even the so-called "journalists" seem to have.

I am sick and tired of the same old crap being written about Jackson: all the lies, the rumors and the innuendo without any supporting facts. I’m glad Gary Gray called the media out on their nonsense. And I’m glad that someone else feels like I do. I especially respected the point about the double standard. For example, Jackson does a bone-headed thing—bone-headed things happen to ALL parents when they’re raising their children—and everyone wants to string him up for it. Other entertainers who actually break the law aren’t treated as badly.

I am not ashamed or afraid to admit that I respect the man, both as a person and as a musician. I think he gets a raw deal. I have a little correction though: Jackson never called himself the "King of Pop." Elizabeth Taylor originally said it when she was presenting him with an award. The fans and the media picked it up and ran with it.
—Victoria James, Atlanta, GA

I have to say that like others, I loved Michael Jackson until he started doing freaky things like changing his skin color. When I was a kid, I used to love to pretend I was Michael. I even had the moonwalk down. My family used to love it when I played Michael and now every time they see Michael they laugh at him and say things like: "He’s a disappointment to pop music."

I am not trying to defend Michael or anything, but I’m getting tired of other people saying that he’s not what he used to be. All I have to say is that he’s the same guy he was about nine years ago. He’s the King of Pop so just leave him alone. He is not a disappointment, but what I like to call a legend.
— Rony Gonzalez, 18, Hollywood HS

I think this was a very interesting article. Many people like him or dislike him. Many people disagree about what he has done to himself. I think Michael Jackson was a great singer. But the thing I dislike about him is that he tried to be someone he’s not by trying to change his appearance. But on the other hand, I think people should just leave him alone.
—Darcy Martinez, 16, Hollywood HS

Football: A life lesson

I thought this article (from Jan.-Feb. 2003) was great. It was written well and was actually uplifting. I understand the troubles he must have gone through. I, too, play football and sometimes it is really hard to do the workouts the coaches give.

This article really expresses everything you need to know about football. Not only does it talk about how football is, but it also shows the determination that people have for what they love. Even though he broke his ankle, he still showed up to the games and still worked out.

I like how he mentions, "Although our record (0-10) doesn’t do justice to the amount of talent we had and how hard we worked as a team, I felt I accomplished a lot this season." Even though they didn’t win, he still felt good about himself. I feel that this is very uplifting to people. Maybe sometimes people want to quit because it’s too hard, but after reading this article I feel like it gives you a boost of energy to try harder.

Emilio Zelaya is a great man. He proves the old saying: "Never give up, no matter how hard it may be." He could teach people some very good things in life.
—Chris Wacher, Taft HS

Job hunt

One thing that I think is a factor for why it is hard for teens to get a job is stereotypes about our age group. Many adults always pre-judge me. First off, I am an African-American high school student, so they automatically assume I am loud, ghetto and basically how they portray most young black ladies.

Based on the way I dress, people underestimate my intellectual abilities. When I tell people I have a 3.0 GPA, most are genuinely surprised. They also think I’m "fast," thinking that "naturally" I smoke and/or do drugs, and/or drink and/or have sex, when "naturally" I don’t.

I really hate that society uses its assumptions against us in things such as finding a good job. But you learn to deal with it and just try to be everything they think you aren’t.
—Tiffanie Anderson, 15, Taft HS


I feel that this article (Jan.-Feb. 2003) applies to many teenagers. Everyone wants to have this image that is "perfect." You want to look like your favorite actresses or your favorite actors. The reality is that not everyone is a size five with a gorgeous face or the "hot" guy that everyone wants to be with.

I think that this article is very beneficial because it is about a normal girl that is self-conscious and wants to be beautiful. When I was younger I was overweight and everyday I was harassed for it. I took those comments to heart and really let them bother me. I think that if people just ignore the mean things that are said to them then this world would be a better place.

I think it is so stupid when people resort to not eating to look better. This story sounds like the average teenage issue and that is why I really liked it. I think that all teenagers think that there is something wrong with them, but like Amiee said "it shouldn’t matter what you look like on the outside, but that you are a caring person." I think that if everyone took this quote to heart then there would be a lot fewer problems.
—Jamie Garelik, 14, Taft HS

Gay thoughts

About this story (Jan.-Feb. 2003), this guy went through the same thing I’m going through right now. My problem is that if I look at a guy in the gym and he has a nice body, I tell myself "Yes, he has a nice body" and after I tell myself I’m not gay. I just like his body, so I can relate a little bit to Daniel Weintraub’s story. I had a couple of girlfriends but I still feel like that and this story really taught me a lot of stuff, so now I know I’m not really gay and all guys go through this. But I have a question …. What if you think you’re not gay but you really are?

I want to know more about this. I play around with my friends and call them "gay." But I don’t know how this would affect them if they really were gay.
—Name withheld, Taft HS