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As I read this story I realized how blessed I really am. I felt so terrible to read all those things that Joe went through during his school years. I realized that I have great friends who are always there for me, during the good and bad times. I can share with them my inner feelings and thoughts. I am also glad for having such a great family who I can always go to for help. I can’t imagine having a life like Joe’s. I am very proud of Joe for his amazing recovery, and not giving up. It is an inspiring story that I’m sure will help many other kids.
—Jennifer Peralta, Cleveland HS

This is a great article. It relates so much to teenagers. It really tells you how life can be sometimes.
    I can relate to it so much. Sometimes I feel like putting an end to my life as well, just like Joe. Sometimes I feel alone. It feels like you’re stuck in between two walls with no way out. I really appreciate your having this article because it made me understand that everything has a solution.
—Name withheld, Hollywood HS

My struggle with depression was a touching story. These days depression tends to be overlooked. Many teenagers among us suffer from depression and many of us don’t even know it. This realization is kind of funny because you would think that teenagers don’t have any problems. All they need to worry about is their grades and finding a date. This is definitely untrue.
    Being a teenager myself, I’ve noticed that the combination of school, work and a social life outside of school can be a bit overwhelming. I’ve had times where I’ve been depressed and when I feel like the joy life is supposed to bring is just sucked out of me. Yet, I try to keep in mind that life as I know it is really just beginning for me. As I get older and experience new things, I’ll come to realize that the life I am handed is a treasure that I should forever learn to love.
—Gaby Flores, Hollywood HS

I was so intrigued when I saw the title of the article on depression. I can relate to Joe in so many ways. I myself was in two mental health centers because of suicide attempts. My depression started when I was small. I had seen my father beat my mother and I had suffered so much. All of this was all bottled up inside me.
    The most serious suicide attempt was when I cut my wrists about four months ago. Since the last time I was in the hospital I was prescribed medicine to treat my depression. I did not care about my life. I was involved in gangs and I would often come home drunk. I could not see a future. I remember telling my mother many times that I was afraid I wouldn’t be around to see myself being a mother.
    Now things are different. I met a very nice guy who I am in love with. For the first time I feel I’m doing things right. I’m going to school and staying out of trouble. Now, I can see myself going to college. I advise anybody who might feel this way to get help. I thank God for the strength he has given me and the opportunity to love the man I love. Chuy, thank you for changing my life.
—Name and school withheld

War in Iraq?

To the western world war is not a lovely idea. However, we as a society can’t escape the fact that wars will happen as long as there are bad guys in the world, and I’m not talking about George W. Bush. The best thing we can do is avoid war when possible and when we are at war to hurt as few innocents as possible. And I’ve got to say the Iraqi people suffered a helluva lot worse because of Saddam Hussein than the United States. Now that the worst is over I hope another one won’t happen. However, history teaches us otherwise and if needed I’ll do my part in the next one, even if I don’t like it.
—Robert Alaverdov, Hollywood HS

Turn it down

I liked this article because it was very informative plus it applies to real life and to me. I knew that if you played your CD player at maximum volume it hurts your hearing. But I was surprised to learn things like hairdryers and car radios can do damage. I was surprised to learn you could damage your hearing just be being in a place where you can’t listen to a conversation.
This applies to me because in orchestra it gets really loud. I realize I have probably been hurting myself here, however it’s still different than booming you eardrums out with your CD player. I haven’t experienced any symptoms such as tinnitus or ringing but this article has helped me be more aware of my environment and the noise level. Hopefully my case is not too serious.
—Doris Rivas, Cleveland HS

Positively proud of Fremont HS

Many students in the LAUSD complain about their school and say "it’s stupid" or "they don’t teach us nothing." I hear that all the time here at Hollywood HS. But it’s so funny to me because honestly, Hollywood is a good school. The location is right in the heart of Hollywood, the campus is well taken care of. I see no reason for students to complain here. I give Jenny Morales a lot of credit. It shows that she isn’t someone who criticizes her school; she instead embraces her school and tries to see the good in her school. Fremont has been criticized by many, but by Jenny standing up for her school it shows she has the determination to succeed no matter her surrounding.
—William Candelario, Hollywood HS

Affirmative Action

I think there should be a race-blind policy for college admissions, because if colleges give preferences to minorities it would be the same thing as being racist against whites. It’s true that a long time ago people gave whites preference but that doesn’t mean we should make the same mistake. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
—Sandra Calderon, Hollywood HS

My screenwriting quest

I liked this article because being in high school, I see many kids that can relate to the way J. Isaac Conde was before becoming interested in screenwriting. Isaac is a good example that even the troublemakers can succeed and do what they want to do. I do believe that the support of parents and teachers could be that little push many kids need to succeed and also do better in classes.
—Sybil Martinez, Hollywood HS