Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Two Blogs

     Every time I go to the library, I get frusturated. There don't seem to be many good books for teenagers. So I started another blod called goodteenreads.blogspot.com. Mostly I review the best books I've read so other teenagers can find something they'll enjoy reading, but sometimes I'll just talk about books in general. Check it out if you're interested.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Teens Have Influence

     In many ways, today's youth live in an adults' world. Adults write newspapers and books. They control TV and radio stations. But newspapers, books, TV, and radio combined are not as powerful as the internet. When you want to learn the definition of a word, do you look it up in a dictionary or google it? Which do you use more often, wikipedia or an actual encyclopedia? Do you even own an encyclopedia? If you do, when was the last time you dusted it? If you want to find out what's going on with somebody who lives far, far away, do you send them a letter or facebook them?
     Facebook, facebook, facebook. It really does rule the world today, and the teenagers rule it. Yes, I know that adults use it too, but they're just getting introduced to it. The adults are still adjusting. Today's youth are being raised on it. And we know how to put it to good use.
     If you've read my earlier posts about James Tate, you know that facebook helped reverse the princi-pal's decision. Wait, let me rephrase. Facebook reversed the principal's decision. Set up a few pages, get a few thousand people to like them, and voila, "international notoriety", as the principal herself called it.
     Another important way teenagers influence the world is language. Namely, slang. I cannot think of any slang word or term that was invented by an adult. And why is that? Because young people are new. They come onto the sceen with new problems, new interests, new thoughts, and new words to explain them. And sometimes, these words become popular with people of all ages.
     (A little tip for the adults of the world: Do not attempt to use any slang you have not heard a young person say. You may be more wise and mature than they are, but this is their sphere of control.)
     So even though teenagers are faced with prejudice and aren't taken seriously by adult media, we control, we control other forms of communication that are gaining more and more power by the day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Enough With the Fat Remarks


     My health class has just finished watching an exaggerated documentary on healthy eating. While most of the documentary is on the population in general, many parts targeted the youth and our "unhealthy habits" They shot some footage of a school cafeteria. I was rolling my eyes all through this part. You could tell they were very selective with their footage. They showed one clip of two girls who got nothing but fries. Another showed a collection of boys and girls sitting down to a balanced meal of chips, candy, and soda they brought from home.
     This is not what the average school lunch looks like. I know because I eat an average school lunch five days a week. I'm going to make an educated guess and say they went to multiple schools, picked the unhealthiest one, and then showed only the unhealthy eaters. They did not show a girls who eat lunch only every other day. They did not show a boy who eats all his (disgusting) green beans and then asks his friends for theirs. Yes, these people exist. I know two such people who eat at my lunch table.
     If you ask me, we've worried enough about fat. Check that off the list and start worrying about skinny. How can anybody sit around going, "Ohh...woe is me. I have access to too much rich food." Meanwhile, children around the world are dying from malnutrition. Which one of these pictures looks like a more serious problem?

 And what about anorexia and bulimia? Sure, they may not be as common as obesity, but starvation will kill you faster than an overly rich diet.
Teenagers are not  all obese. We do not bring in junk food from home every day. We do not dutifully feed our allowance into school vending machines. Guess how many times I've gotten a snack from the machines? Once. Last year.  
Isn't enough that teenagers have to deal with school, peer pressure, prejudice, and acne? Enough with the fat remarks already.
As for those of you who found this page because you were looking for a picture of a fat American, don't jump to conclusions.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words...And I Added Captions!

Maybe if we use bad photo quality, they won't realize how unfair it is.
There goes your paying customers.

What's that, kid? Something about a lawsuit?

Because only 16+ year olds celebrate at places called Party City. Right?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

He Going to Prom!

     Just today Shelton school officials decided to reverse their decision and let Tate and his friends go to prom. The school superintendent, Freeman Burr, actually said, "James Tate has set a new standard for romanticism."
     However, officials did not necessarily choose to do this out of the goodness of their hearts, but gave in to mounting media pressure. Headmaster Beth Smith said, "I never thought this would lead to international notoriety, as I make tough, unpopular decision on a daily basis. The level of distraction has affected the culture of Shelton High School."
    Things must have been hard for Smith. Life isn't exactly fun and games when you have a facebook page dedicated to firing you. Facebook and Twitter have played a huge role in Tate's case. A facebook page called Let James Tate Go To the Prom has received 197, 044 likes from both the old and the young.
     Hey, maybe teenagers do have some power after all-the tremendous power of social networking!
     Keep up the good work, teenagers of the world.

Updates on James Tate

     I tried to post yesterday, but blogspot has been having a few technical difficulties. Anyways, I found out more about James Tate, the senior banned from prom for taping cardboard letters to the side of the school that spelled out a question to his girlfriend.
Though school officials say Tate "risked his life" climbing up on a ladder to do this, he actually took several precautions. He brought along two friends, also banned, to help hold the ladder and pass up the letters. He even wore a helmet. How many professional house painters do you see taking these precautions?  Yes, Tate certainly put safety first.
     Also, Tate isn't the Connecticut first student to be banned from prom for petty reasons. In 2008, Kadijah Ketchum of Hamden High School was suspended and banned for running in the halls. Really? If this were widely practiced, there wouldn't be enough students left to fill the school. Your locker is on one side of the school. Third period is on the other side. You have three minutes to get to class. What do you have to do?
     With the help of lawyer Tamarah Evanko, who has also offered her services to Tate, Ketchum was eventually able to go back to prom, though her lawyer had to accompany her.
     But what bugs me is that the school was able to do this in the first place. Teachers and parents get to decide how the school is run, but ultimately, school is not for the parents or teachers. School is for the students.
     School reminds me of the feudal system. The Board is the King, the district is a duke, the principal is a count, teachers are the lords, and the students themselves are the little peasants tolling away with no voice whatsoever.
     Sure, lots of school have little mock groups set up, like student body officers. But how many school even let these representatives make decisions? The SBO's, as they're called at my school, just organize assemblies and fundraisers. All the little jobs the administration is too busy to take care of.
     Really, without us the school could not exist. It's our school, so we should be able to influence how it's run.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stupid and Unusual Punishment

     You've heard countless stories of creative ways high school boys asking a special girl out to prom. Some write songs or wrap. Some post videos on youtube. James Tate of Shelton High School, Connecticut, had his own technique. He climbed a ladder and taped cardboard letters onto the front of the school letter spelling out
    Though Sonali said yes, the couple was banned from prom. Apparently, Tate was banned from prom for trespassing and "risking his life" climbing up on a ladder.
     Excuse me? I can think of a hundred more dangerous things to do than climbing a ladder on school property. A second grader  jumping off a swing on a monitored playground would be more at risk than Tate was. Trespassing? I've personally seen two girls "trespass" on school grounds, wave to a teacher, and go on their merry way. Oh, and they were endangering their lives, too. They were standing under a tree. What would we have done if a pinecone had fallen down, hit one of the girls on the head, knocked her into her friend, and killed them both? Standing under trees is very risky business.
     It wasn't as if Tate was vandalizing the school. He used tape, not spray paint. Give him a punishment that fits the crime, like a 1,000 word essay. Besides, has anybody thought about poor Sonali? This is their senior year. They should be able to look back on it as a happy experience.   The trouble with school officials is that they too often get caught up in rigid rules and protocol. This is yes another example of the "stupid, reckless teenager" stereotype. There was no damage done. It was a sweet, harmless display of affection.
    I'm not the only person upset. The mayor of Shelton is involved in their case, not to mention a 40,000 person Facebook group. Their story has been featured on Yahoo! news with 2,040 comments. Not a single one thought the punishment was just. Many of these outraged people are teens. It's great to see young people willing to take action for what they feel is intolerable.
     I give the school officials forty-eight hours at the most before Tate is invited back to prom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

First Page!

When you google "teenagers who changed the world", you get 23,200,000 results. But this blog is currently result number three. It's been on and off the first page for the past page, which makes me very, very happy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I belong to a church youth group that does some kind of activity every Wednesday. Sometimes we learn religious lessons, sometimes we do service projects, and every once and a while we go out and do something fun, but with an opening prayer and hymn to justify it. Today, we went to a "fun center" with bounce houses, arcade games, roller skating, and food. We had VIP (very important person, for nonenglish speakers) which gave us free skating and discounts on other things. Some friends and I wanted to get into the inflatable area. I paid nine dollars for myself and two friends. That isn't a lot of money in America, unless you have my allowance. I was in the inflatable area for five minutes-yes, I actually checked the time-when I found out my church group was about to leave. I asked the people working there for a partial refund. Not a full refund, just a partial one. Since my friends weren't with me and I'd only spent $0.50 of my $3.00, I asked for $2.10 back. That is approximately 1.27 pounds, 1.41 euros, 3.38 reals, 2.66 new zealand dollars, or 6.28 ringgits. My apolagies to the people of Malaysia if I spelled that wrong.
I thought this was a very reasonable request. I had paid for three people for thirty minutes, and I was only asking for-great, I have to do math here-a little less than 6% of my money back. Not a lot, but the lady refused. She refused nicely, but it was still no. On the ride home, I was talking about this with my friend Anna. I asked her, "Do you think they would have given an adult a refund?"
"I think they probably would," she said.
Now, we don't know this for sure. They seemed like nice enough people. Maybe it was their policy. Maybe it was because it was my group's fault, not mine, that I was leaving early. But either way, I can't help feel a little cheated, by fate or the employees.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Top Three Teen Reads

By Micheal Grant
     Sam is sitting in history class when his teacher suddenly disappears. Poof. Gone. And he's not alone. Everybody fifteen years or older has mysteriously vanished. As Sam and his friends try to figure out the disappearances, their strange new powers, and which pedal makes the car go, the "problem students" from the school down the street are preparing to wage war against the kids from Sam's school. And time is running out. Sam's fifteenth birthday is approaching and he's scheduled to disappear as well. GONE is an exciting, insightful young adult novel.
The Declaration
By Gemma Malley
     In Anna's world, a special drug  called Longlevity allows people to live forever. To prevent overpopulation, childbirth is outlawed and all resulting "Surpluses", including Anna, are trained to become good little slaves for the adults. Anna strongly believes she has no right to exist and hates her parents for bringing her into the world. But that all changes when she meets Peter. Peter is a new Surplus who is part of an underground movement against Longlevity. He says he knows Anna's parents and a way to escape their cruel Training Center if only she would agree to go. The Declaration is a brilliant page-turner with a twist ending.

The Hunger Games Trilogy
By Suzanne Collins
     Life in the postapocalypse country Panem is tough for seventeen-year-old Katniss Everdeen. Not only is she forced to poach food to support her little sister and widowed mother, but every year a boy and girl from each of the twelve districts are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a televised fight to the death put on by Panem's government to remind it's citizens that it's no use trying to rebel. When Katniss's sister's name is drawn, she doesn't hesitate to volunteer in her place. But things get complicated when the boy chosen is Peeta, who saved Katniss's life. A fast-paced thriller that's really not as gory as it sounds, I recomend The Hunger Games to everyone.
Warning: If you plan to read The Hunger Games but are currently in the middle of another book, finish that book first. The Hunger Games isn't the kind of book you can stop in the middle of.