Manual Arts High School students learn about gangs in their communities

This is the fifth of eight write-ups from freshman students at Manual Arts High School. Some participated in weeks-long projects about animal abuse, drugs, gangs, prostitution and racism. Part of their projects included surveys they created for their communities. After they gathered information, all of the groups presented their findings at a school presentation. Two days later, each group wrote about their experiences during an Intersections writing workshop.


By: Byron Chaperno, Luis Mateo, Carolina Mercado and Cynthia Molina

We chose to research gangs because it is one of the biggest things that influences our communities. While doing this project, we discovered a lot of information. Our group surveyed about 121 students and one teacher. We visited six classrooms.

Many people agreed that one of the most dangerous gangs is one called Mara Salvatrucha. And a lot of people believe that people join gangs because they want to be “cool,” but nobody really knows specifically why people join gangs.

Ms. Sarah Glasband, our wonderful teacher who helped us discover information, also helped us come up with the main question for our survey. Some of our questions were easy, and some were hard. We asked questions that had “yes” or “no” bubbles, and some that people really needed to think about.

During our presentation, we were very nervous. After we finished the presentation, though, we were all happy. We had a great semester, and we hope we can do this again but better.

If we had more time to do this project, we would have liked to interview more people in the community and try to survey some elementary and middle schools. We also would have interviewed more students and teachers at Manual Arts High School.

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