In their own words: RN&R’s annual Teen Issue
Essays, poems and artwork from local teens
For RN&R’s annual teen issue, we sent out a call for writings and artwork from local teens. We got back poems, song lyrics, photographs, drawings, paintings and one entire class sent their assigned “persuasive essays.” We truly wish we could publish them all. Given space constraints, those we’ve chosen were on the shorter side and were not necessarily selected for their outstanding grammar and sentence structure, or even the strength of the writing. Rather, we chose those that provided a glimpse, or at least a glimmer, of teenage life and thought. They are thinking about world politics, but also about lockers, backpacks, videogames, love, rejection, and feeling misunderstood. It appears teen life hasn’t changed so much after all.
We’d like to thank all of the teens who submitted their works. Lightly edited to correct only the most dire of typos, we present our teen contributors, in their own words.Who am I?
I am the caring one
I am the one that listens
I am the one with the shoulder to cry on
I am the one that understands
Who am I?
I am the one that got in a fight
I am the one they called “clown face”
I am the one that ran away
Who was I?
I was the one who was lost in this world, trying to find peace, asking for forgiveness, and escaping the darkness.
Who am I?
I have found the light, I have found peace, I have found true love, I have found myself.
Who am I?
I am a daughter
I am a student
I am the one with a smile
I am a growing flower
I am Brenda
Sparks High School
my dad says
“Hey the monkey
has got to be off your back
Didn’t you do good?
Didn’t you succeed?
Isn’t that all you wanted?”
But what he doesn’t understand
is I don’t care
if I succeeded
or not, because
there’s something in my gut
in my body—
that says that I could do better,
that says that there is something out there
that I haven’t gotten yet;
and until I get it,
nothing is going to be off of my back.
Wooster High School
Some people believe that locker searches are not constitutional and an invasion of your privacy, but they actually prevent guns and drugs from entering the school. An example of this is would be the case of Isiah B. vs. State of Wisconsin. Student Isiah B, “contends that the random search of lockers violated his Fourth Amendment rights.” He suggests that locker searches are an invasion of your privacy and school personnel have no right in searching your locker. Locker searches violate the Fourth Amendment which states, “The right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shell not be violated, and no warrants shall issue.”
However I believe locker searches are good and prevents use of deadly drugs and use of guns at school. To continue on with the case mentioned earlier, school personnel found a gun stashed in Isiah B’s locker, which possibly prevented a gun shootout in the school and causing a national tragedy. The Court ruled that the search of Isiah B’s locker was constitutional because “according to the ruling in the case New Jersey v. T.L.O., the standard for the reasonableness of a search must balance the need for the invasion of the individual’s privacy against the maintenance of school order and safety.” In the school handbook it states that the lockers are the property of the school system and are subject to inspection as determined necessary or appropriate. Therefore, the student should have known that anything that was stored in the locker was searchable.
Methods that school officials use to fight substance abuse in school would be randomly searching your locker. A common way of searching school lockers have been the use of drug dogs. The United States Supreme Court has determined that a dog’s sniff from a common area is not a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. A drug dog that sniffs closed lockers situated in a public corridor would be violating the Fourth Amendment.
Locker searches not only prevent abuse of drugs it also prevents guns being used or coming into the school. Locker searches do invade your privacy but only for beneficial causes and with that more students will feel safer walking into the halls of the school. There will be less violence and more joy and a better learning environment for the students and the teachers to be in.
Damonte Ranch High School
You always throw a fit because you say that we give you so much ****. You think that we are always talking behind your back, You always assume we are talking smack.
You always get mad when you turn around because we are always smiling and laughing. You always get sad because you get pissed and find out that no one gives a ****.
You stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. Then you seem to think that we still get along.
You get pissed when I point out the Obvious, Act all tough, even roll your hands into a fist. I only wish that you weren’t so obvious.
You try to put all of your problems on other people, trying to lift the weight off of your shoulders. You leave that weight on everybody else like thousands of pounds of crushing boulders.
Now I know I’m not perfect, I know I’m not alright. But at least when I get in trouble I’m not the one who wants to start a fight.
I’m not trying to pick on you, Just want you to know that if you try and see right through what others know is directly in front of you, It might be wise of you to go and see through what you started.
Don’t give up and stay away from playing the role of the kicked pup.
Just know that when we pick on you, Getting you pissed when we’re talking our so called “****”, The only reason that we do it is to try and give you the inspiration to put forth the effort and the perspiration to go and make things right again.
Don’t just give in to the pain and the sorrow. All the time is yours, you have all the strength you need and it’s not yours to borrow.
Keep in mind what I’m trying to say. You’re not the only one with the pain to hide, and ax to grind, and something to find.
You can do this, I know you can. Just don’t give up and be a man.
—“Rant poem” by Cameron Allen,
Damonte Ranch High School
(****s added by author, not by RN&R)Violent GamesMake Violent People?
Grand Theft Auto is one of the most violent video games out there, but it is also one of the most fun to play, and thousands of people enjoy it. When I heard that the latest version of Grand Theft Auto was coming out soon, I was extremely excited because I’ve played the previous versions and they were lots of fun. When it finally came out (it felt like a century!) my dad took me and got it for me.
When I got home I started to play it and it was great, but then my mom came in, she was so angry that my dad bought a game like that for me (the fact that I was 12 didn’t help too much). She was screaming, “this game is terrible!” “I can’t believe you are playing this!” “This stuff will make you a violent person!” When she said that, I was a little angry, because I knew that just because I was playing a violent video game, it wouldn’t make me a violent person. When I told her that, she got even angrier at me and took my Xbox away for a week. I guess you can’t win every battle?
Ever since the first video games people have worried about the content that is being portrayed in the games, and whether or not it is appropriate. One of the first extremely controversial video games was Doom, a game where you kill alien demons on Mars. People started getting so angry at the game because of its reference to hell and that there are demons, which made it religious and that was very controversial back then.
There have been studies that have shown that video games have no link to violence, but there have also been some studies that show video games do cause violence. In recent times researchers say that the media just uses video games as a scapegoat for violence, and that they argue that there are few if any proven studies for video games causing violence. There are even some researchers that say video games have a positive effect on young people, to help them with social and cognitive development.
There have been lots of studies for the relationship between video games and violence, such as one done by the Harvard School Center for Medical Health, and that study concluded that there is no compulsive relationship. I think that video games can even reduce violence, because some people use video games as a release from the real world and can help them relieve stress from life.
The ESRB is the Entertainment Software Rating Board and is used to help rate games based on their content and to advertise guidelines on the games. It was founded in 1994 because of the violence that is portrayed in the game Mortal Kombat, and because of other inappropriate themes in other video games. There are 7 different ratings the ESRB uses and they are, EC (early childhood), E (everyone), E10+ (everyone 10 and up), T (teen), M (mature), and RP (rating pending).
So what I am trying to say is that I don’t like it when people try and blame violent incidents on video games, like Columbine, because video games are solely entertainment. I like to play video games and I don’t want others to think that I am a violent person because I play violent games.
Damonte Ranch High School
All gone stale
All gone sour
My worst mistake
My best mistake
All taken back
Wish I never did it
But Unfortunately I did
Every love letter
I wish I could take it back
Have you back
You were shopping
We saw a movie
You were in class
I ditched with her
I wish I could rip the pages
I wish I could rewrite them
You walked in
My lips touched hers
You walked out
My worst mistake
You are gone
—Song by Alex Fenwick,
Reed High School
Upon a crystallized field of snow,
Where living creatures scarcely show,
I’ve seen one tiny plant slowly grow
Its soft, smooth petals as white as the snow
And in that sheeted, crystalline land—
Of whirling breezes and waters—I am a lone man
With the crumpling powder beneath one hand
And the other trying to grasp this mysterious land
My eyes stare with wonder at the small plant
The white petals I wish to grasp, but surely can’t
The thorny stem growing at a slight slant
The lone, magical, spellbinding plant
And the minute, white rose that stands alone
An isolated castaway in a crystal cyclone,
This cold, sheeted land as its eternal home,
Shall always remain undisturbed- all alone
This mysterious flower that rises so slow
Amongst this mysterious valley of water and snow
Has me wondering and watching, wanting to know
Why this innocent spirit grows ever so slow
And the land surrounding may never explain
How this rose with its white, soft, majestic mane
Rose from the crystal valley and sought to remain
And I believe that someone may never explain
As I watch and I study this little white rose—
That emits no scent to my sensitive nose
That survives the intense, crystalline snows—
I still question the past of this little white roseOutside Vs. Inside
On the outside, you look at me and see a really small frame,
On the inside, you will find a HUGE personality.
On the outside you can look into my blue eyes,
On the inside you will realize that those eyes can lead straight to my soul.
On the outside my friends see a life of what they consider perfection,
Yet on the inside I face the same problems everybody else faces.
On the outside people see a young girl too strong to cry,
Yet on the inside I often break down in tears.
On the outside the world sees a young girl destined to succeed,
But on the inside my greatest fear is that my life will be nothing like I dream.
On the outside you see a girl that seems like she can overcome any obstacle,
Yet on the inside I struggle daily to climb the smallest hills.
On the outside you see a young woman, who carries herself with the utmost confidence,
Yet on the inside I have numerous insecurities.
You can look at me from the outside and perceive me how you will,
But you’ll truly have to take the time to get to know me, to know what I’m like inside.
Truckee Meadows Community College High School