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A boy finally found good friends in band

I could relate to “Finding harmony” because it happened to me too. I never really had many friends, but when I joined the school band, I started to get a lot of self-confidence. I noticed how much fun I was having. People started to like me more, I started to make more friends, and I started to realize that self-confidence makes a difference. Joining band was one of the best things I’ve done.
Andre Martinez, “The Saxophonist,” Madison MS (North Hollywood)

It took courage for Brian to write about being bullied. It is an issue that we teenagers try to either keep to ourselves or pretty much don’t think about until it happens to us. I admire him for sharing what many other teens go through. No one is ever alone.
Isabel Juarez
, International Studies Learning Center (South Gate)


The L.A. River shouldn’t be ignored

A lot of kids from L.A. can relate to “L.A.’s forgotten river.” I know I do. When I used to pass by the river I was disappointed by how dirty it looked. The worst part was that I knew how amazing it could be with a little help from people. The river has so much potential and it’s wasted by the graffiti and trash. I would like to volunteer to pick up trash around the river. One day I hope all the people who once passed by in disgust and disappointment will look at it and take pride in it.
Christian Reyes, San Gabriel HS


A girl saw no future in tagging and gang life

I can relate to “Saying no to gang life,” because, like the writer, I was affiliated with gangs at an early age. I was in a crew, tagging, causing trouble and fighting rival crews. I felt a sense of respect from the younger and older kids from school and the block. It wasn’t until I put a loved one in harm’s way that I realized how gang-banging wouldn’t get me anywhere but 6 feet under the ground.
Name withheld

Gangs and violence are serious problems. Although I was disgusted with the writer’s actions while she was in a tagging crew, I felt sympathy for her. All she wanted was to feel protected and be respected by the people around her. I’m lucky to live in a neighborhood where there aren’t any gangs to influence me. However, I can’t help to think about what my life would be like if there were gangs in my neighborhood. Would I be out somewhere tagging a wall instead of doing my homework? Most importantly, would I be able to get out, like the writer did?
Eliza Suluyan, Wilson MS (Glendale)

I used to look up to my cousin and his friends. My cousin was in a gang and he and his family lived with us. I saw my cousin and his friends as heroes. They told me stories about their gangster lifestyle and the things they would do, and I thought they were so cool. As I got older, I started dressing and acting like them. One day a rival gang shot at my house. My cousin got shot and was badly injured. Luckily, no one else was hurt. At that moment I realized gang life was very dangerous. I was over wanting to be a gangster. Surprisingly, my cousin was over it too and was able to leave gang life behind. Nothing good can come from being involved in a gang.
Name withheld


Appreciating César Chávez

I really liked your story because it taught me more about César Chávez and farm workers than my school has. I hope more people commemorate the life of César Chávez and continue to help the farm workers who are living in horrible conditions.
Jessica Kwon
, Comment on Facebook


A fear of birds is no joke

Freaked out by birds” caught my eye because the writer has a fear of birds and I have a fear of insects. Just as she feels that birds are going to eat her, I feel as if insects are going to bite me and crawl all over me and that grosses me out! I’m just glad I’m not the only one afraid of animals.
Lindsay Garcia, East Valley HS (North Hollywood)

The story I related to was “Freaked out by birds” because I am very afraid of spiders. I have to check my bed so many times before I can go to bed. I am a pretty big guy and it’s kind of embarrassing to admit I am scared of something so little, but I am.
Alfred Quinonez
, San Gabriel HS

Fears can bring bad things and good things into your life. I am scared of the dark. I feel very anxious and vulnerable. Being scared of the dark means I won’t go through any dark alleys. That’s something that will probably make me safer. We should try to conquer our fears for our sanity and well-being.
Jocelyn Valdez
, East Valley HS


Technology free for a week

I can relate to “Can I unplug?” I have gone without my iPod and phone for a week, but going without TV or the Internet is nearly impossible for me. I’m pretty much addicted. That’s what my mom says. I deny this accusation, but I do spend three to four hours online almost every day after school. Now that it’s a new school year, I have a new goal. I’m going to try to spend less time online and more time studying.
Verenice Hernandez, Madison MS


A foster youth was determined to get her education

When I read “I never gave up” I thought that what Marisa did for her education was mind blowing. It was unbelievable how determined she was to finish her education so that she could have a good future. Reading this article made me realize how important school is. Because of Marisa, I’m now inspired to work harder and focus more on my grades and schoolwork. She’s an amazing role model. She believed in herself and even though she had to go through it alone, she succeeded.
Lara Singzon
, Wilson MS