Before starting life, you have to complete senior year

By Jennifer Macias and Nataly Flores, Fremont Magnet High School

Oh no! The SATs! The ACT! The AP tests! Finals! God, can life be any more complicated? Oh wait, it can: college applications. If I knew senior year year would be so difficult, I would have dropped out in kindergarten—JUST KIDDING! But I’m not kidding about the stress.

We don’t want to freak out incoming seniors, but eleventh grade and senior year are on two totally different levels. If you think finals are hard enough, just wait until you take a four-hour test that determines your future.

For those in the Magnet program at Manual Arts High School, you know that you’re expected to complete a “Life Plan” in Mr. Edwards’ government and economics class. This report is like no other report you have seen. It is a detailed project that encompasses the next ten years of your life after high school. When I say detailed–I mean it. The average length of the “Life Plan” is forty pages!

Another thing on a senior’s agenda is prom. Ah, prom, the night where seniors can finally let loose (but not too loose) and enjoy the fact that they are finally leaving high school. Girls spend a few months trying to find the perfect dress and guys spend a few months trying to find the perfect date.

Don’t think, however, that senior year is going to be a huge bomb that’s going to explode in your face. There are some days where stress is nowhere to be found. The company of your friends is really going to help relieve some of that stress. But then again, it’s difficult to party it all off when you have the ghost of the “Life Plan” looming about.

The “Life Plan” might seem like an extremely overwhelming task, but that is why you have a year to accomplish the project that should, in turn, help you have an idea about your life after high school.

Setting the “Life Plan” aside, which you shouldn’t do because procrastination will only hurt you, there are many projects that must be completed before graduating high school and starting life. You must first get through the tasks of standardized tests, college applications, prom and, of course, walking the stage!

No home to call my own

The author of this piece has requested to remain anonymous.

By a student at Crenshaw High School

Do you know how it feels to lose a parent not to death but the government taking them away? Or to have to grow up with people you know but really don’t like? Well, I don’t live with either of my parents or my family members; instead I had to join someone else’s. None of us are really related but somehow we call each other family. The government or foster care want us to call each other family, but the people I live with are not.

I had a family but the police took my mother away, and they have had her for two years now. They just keep changing her court date and blowing her off because she was not born here. And my father lives in another state, calls every now and then but I don’t feel like he’s doing all he can. They want me to call the house we live in my home but yet I was not born into it, I did not buy or choose it.

I live with a lady, her spoiled daughter who is 11 years old (but thinks she’s 30.), and her husband who has a problem with yelling. There are also two foster boys who are 13 and 7 years old. The 7-year-old is what society calls mentally challenged and the 13 years old is clinically depressed and has to take pills. Then you have my sister still in state of shock by the death of her father and for some reason, hates everyone in the house. I think she is like this because she lost her dad at an early age. She’s depressed and should probably take pills for help.

Then you have me. Born in Kingston, just turned 17 years old and I feel like I’m grown because as long as I have lived, I have been taking care of everyone else. I’m always cooking, cleaning, yelling or mad, because I have a life but can’t live it. I have to watch the kids and the truth is I don’t really like little kids.

When I grow up I want to be an attorney for children or a social worker because I don’t want other kids to have to go through things like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people solve problems and doing important things for others, but chores aren’t the same as my work at home. All those kids and it’s only me doing house work. I have to get rid of my anger and problems by listening to music because I can’t do anything else.

I have to fake like I belong here but the government doesn’t want me because I wasn’t born here. I know the truth and all the answers to everyone’s questions about my mother’s situation but I’ve been told that if the truth is told, it might kill her.

I’m the girl who wants to show my emotions but I’m told not to and that I have to be strong. The girl who had it all until the justice system came and made it into their own story, something they would like to read. That story was once someone’s life, my life, and now it’s a memory, a dream I’m waiting on to see come through.

My life now is just waking up to yelling and arguing, going to school and getting in trouble for something stupid. Coming home and forgetting to do something and getting in trouble for it. My social worker says I have to go to school and get good grades but how am I to do that when I always have to go to court for paper work? She also gave me anger management classes but I don’t think I have any problems –it’s just I don’t like when people say they are going to do something and then don’t.

On Sundays I wait by the phone to get a chance to speak to my mother. I’m waiting on the call and to hear my mom say the judge has released her, but each time it’s her saying they pushed her date back.

I’m doing all I can so that I can join the justice system and try and change some things about the way it works because these people in charge have power and don’t know how to use it. They stay they are helping me by doing all this but when I ask to get a job, ask for help or ask for anything, nothing ever gets done. I just want everything to go back to the way it was, the way things are supposed to be.

Exploring the meaning of violence

This is the fourth 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: The South Los Angeles Report mentoring and writing workshop.


By: Hugo Castaneda and Christian Garcia

We chose violence because we had overall topics that we wanted to talk about. We thought about animal abuse, domestic abuse and gang violence, and they all fell into the category of violence. This led us to our inquiry question, which was, “How can we stop violence in our community when we see violence within us and all around us?”

Our team conducted research by distributing surveys and giving interviews to multiple people. Facts that we got from the surveys are: many students think violence comes from school, and most students would like to stop violence, but they are too scared to try. Also, students do not see other ways to solve problems because most students see violence in themselves. Victims of violence include everyone from children to elders and from pets to farm animals. Men and women also experience verbal to sexual abuse, and the entire world is full of violence. Everyone is a victim. Violence is found in our homes, the media, video games, television shows, schools and movies.