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A former drug addict got a second chance

The article “My second chance” inspired me to tell my friend to get out of his gang. I also told him that it is essential to stay away from drugs. When I told him, he thought about his past, of all the trouble he has been in. He has been doing good and staying away from gangs, and has been throwing his drugs away in the trash. It has been three weeks since he has done any drugs or gotten into trouble. And he has been going to school. I appreciate this article because it made me tell my friend and it changed his life. Now he’s into sports and the police have not been going to his house. Thank you very much.
—Lawrence Lehauli, Paramount HS

Reading “My second chance” by Joel was amazing. It’s really interesting to learn about a teenage boy who did drugs and went through tough times. Adults always say, “don’t do drugs” or “don’t drink beer.” But when adults say that, they should tell us the bad things drugs and alcohol do to us and what can happen to us. Joel’s story told about what happened in his life. For example, he was taken from his mom when he was young. Also he talked about when he started doing drugs and what happened. It’s really amazing to read about someone who goes through doing drugs and being around gangs. This gives me hope to know that people can turn away from drugs.
—Regan Ornopia, Wilson MS (Glendale)

I really liked this article because the writer talked about all the struggles he went through. But at the end he did better and stopped doing drugs. This story inspired me to do better and not just play around in class and to do all of the things my teacher tells me to do. I hope this story inspired others not to mess around in class and to listen to your teachers. They know more than you do.
—Josh Bonales, Hutchinson MS (La Mirada)

This article was really inspiring. The author shows that there’s always a solution to a problem. Even though sometimes we think there isn’t a way out, there’s always someone there to help. This article could help many teens who are facing a similar situation.
—Gabriela Urena, Paramount HS

I felt so sorry for this man. I would like to meet him and tell him what he’s taught me. But if he reads this, he will know. He made me feel like there’s hope. He also made an impact on my life.  I know where he is coming from. This man is a real idol.
—Elijah West, Hutchinson MS

Kids deal with the stuff in this article every day. I just wish all the bad things would go away with all the bad people, too. I think that all people should get a second chance in life. I think that kids should not have to deal with that kind of stuff. Why would kids want to get into drugs or alcohol? There are a lot of other ways to deal with anger or depression besides drinking and doing drugs. Drugs and alcohol don’t get you anywhere in life. Why ruin your precious body that God gave you?
—Shelbi Buck, Hutchinson MS

This article has really inspired me by showing how you can end up if you do drugs or live in a bad neighborhood. Your neighborhood can have a big impact on your life. When Joel said “walking away from drugs and bad influences in my neighborhood helped me straighten out my life” this showed me that if you do drugs then walk away from it, you can get a second chance. Living in a bad neighborhood doesn’t mean that you’ll end up doing bad. It depends on where you want to end up in life.
—Krista Rosales, Paramount HS

Sympathizing with the college freak out

I really appreciated Geraldo’s article “College freak out” because I could relate to so much of what he said. Even though I’m not a senior yet, I’ve lost motivation just as Geraldo did when he realized that the successful students around him got to where they stood by cheating and valuing their scores over their education.
    I’m glad to see that someone who really put his heart into school, yet didn’t pull perfect grades or get accepted to Yale, is still successful and happy with his choice of college. Plus he got an impressive scholarship to a UC!
    It’s really refreshing to see a fellow student realize that our lives aren’t about getting the most points, but more about doing what you love and being “a positive influence on the people around.”
—Sylvana Insua-Rieger, Beverly Hills HS

A boy who is locked up knows family is most important

Sitting here locked up thinking about what I did, I feel so nervous I can’t breathe. Everyone that was my homie in the street doesn’t even worry about me. When I was out there I didn’t really care about my parents but they still came to visit me.
    I’m finally realizing that friends ain’t s— to me. When I’m out there banging they say we’re family, but now I’m here and all of the homies just disappear.
    It feels so messed up when nobody cares for you. But you know what? Your parents will always be the only ones there. So when you get back out don’t go to your homies first because when you needed them they weren’t even there.
—Name withheld, Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall School

I want to go to college

My dream is go to college, hopefully USC, which is my favorite college football team. I hope that my time there will be worth studying for. I hope to reach more of my goals while I am there. My dream is to go further in college than anyone in my family has. If I am not smart enough, then I will continue to try over and over.
    College is my most important goal. If I can at least finish college, I will get the highest-paying job I can. By getting through college, nothing will stop me from reaching my goals.
—Jeremiah J. Jimenez, Hutchinson MS

Everyone hates disruptive students

The article about disruptive students is true. The first couple times it gives the class a good laugh, but after that it’s just a ploy for attention. Some teachers don’t care and just want to teach and get over with class, but others want to make their students disciplined. One of my teachers last year was like that; she had zero tolerance. She would make the student never think of missing a homework assignment or talking in class ever again. It’s embarrassing when you’re under the limelight in front of the whole class being lectured, and you can’t defend yourself because you know you screwed up. When the annoying kids comment in class I just scream, “Shut up!” But the teacher never notices because there’s always too much noise in the class. Half of the time the kids who talk out loud are not even close to being funny. It’s only funny to watch them be stupid.
—Alan Ghazarians, Wilson MS

There should be more strict teachers because I have a strict teacher for one of my classes and no one acts up in her class. If students yell out and throw things it’s because they want to get noticed. The teacher should just ignore the ones who are acting up. Students who fail are the ones who goof off and don’t do any work. It finally clicked in my head that it’s bad to goof off at school.
—Gaige Herrera, Hutchinson MS

I agree with this article. There’s always one student who always interrupts the teacher. They just don’t learn to keep their mouths shut. They think it’s funny. It’s really annoying. It’s disturbing that a person wouldn’t have enough common sense to stay silent during class. They act so immature.
—Tyler Trinh, Hutchinson MS

A girl who is biracial says people shouldn’t be judged based on skin color

This article “No more labels for me” was so touching to me because I’m half black and half white. I have been teased all my life, but now I know how to deal with putdowns. I think everyone should read this article so that they will know how people who are mixed with different races feel.
    I appreciate you writing this article. For a long time I thought that I was alone with my struggles. Thanks for helping me understand that I am not alone.
—Ariel James, Paramount HS

I would like to thank the author for this article. I am also biracial and I have gone through almost the same exact instances as this girl and I could relate. I also had racist grandparents or people saying that I don’t look black and don’t believe me when I say I am. This article gave me a new perspective on being biracial. Don’t act ghetto, don’t act white, just be you. Thank you once again.
—Laurel G., Immaculate Heart HS

Reading this article made me think about how people shouldn’t judge anyone from the outside. When I came to Wilson everyone thought I was white. Some people [who are Armenian] didn’t like me because they thought I was a different race. If I did something wrong, most people would start speaking Armenian to each other. Of course, I understood, but I didn’t say anything. Even if I were white, that wouldn’t be a good reason to say things in another language.  If I were in Melanie’s situation, I would have stood up for myself every time. I learned that no one should judge anyone based on their skin color, race or how they dress, etc. The only thing that should really count is your heart.
—Alanna Collura, Wilson MS

This article was extremely strong and I felt sympathy for Melanie. It’s horrible to hear how her grandfather wanted nothing to do with her. I believe race shouldn’t be an issue to anybody. It’s not about the color of your skin or your culture; it’s about who you are as a person. I think everyone should get along. Black or white, we’re all equal in a way.
—Krystal Ruiz, Hutchinson MS

I feel that the girl in the article “No more labels for me” went through a lot just to be who she really is now. I also feel that many of us have experienced this at one point. Not being accepted by classmates is hard, but not being accepted by family is, I think, even harder.
—Tania Guevara, Paramount HS

I love the article “No more labels for me” by Melanie Boysaw. I understand how Melanie must have felt when they called her names. My friend Andrea is half white and half Mexican. When we were talking about our heritages in class everyone started laughing and telling her, “How can you be Mexican if your skin color is white and you have blonde hair?” They started laughing and one girl started arguing with Andrea, telling her that “You’re not Mexican. You’re white.” When she said that, I could feel the hurt Andrea felt when people tried to tell her who she was.
—Julie Angulo, Hutchinson MS

This article tells the truth about racism. Who are we to judge people by their skin color?  Simply because someone is too “ghetto” or too “fancy” does not say anything about their race. Melanie must have felt awful when they called her names. As a Mexican, I have had friends who have been treated awfully and have also been called names like “beaner” and “illegal aliens.” I think that as a community we should all be able to get along with everyone.
—Galilea Barraza, Hutchinson MS

We should pay attention to the genocide in Africa

I was surprised to hear about the genocide that was happening in Africa. It’s surprising how 15,000 people have been killed each month since 2003. I think it’s disgusting and outrageous how the government in Sudan goes around killing other human beings. But at least we have people like Sarah Evans, who has raised money to help people in Sudan. It’s extraordinary how someone halfway across the world helps another person, who they don’t even know. She’s inspired me to make contributions to help out in Sudan. You should, too.
—Steven G. Guillen, Hutchinson MS