Tag Archives: Teen Voice

Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2014 by

Growing up in a Catholic elementary school, we took notice of holidays with religious connections, mostly involving saints. However, as a younger child, Valentine’s Day did not seem to fit into that religious holiday category. February 14th, skipped over as a feast day by most, is originally known as St. Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine was a Christian priest in the third century, living in Rome. The Roman emperor at that time, Claudius II, decided that single men would be more useful for fighting, not falling in love. He issued a law forbidding the marriage of any young man. Valentine would not put up with this new rule, so he began to perform marriages in secret. Unfortunately, Claudius II found out about Valentine and put him to death.

Now, Valentine’s Day is known as a holiday celebrating love. Not much is remembered about the famous martyr and even less is actually cared about. Most people see it as a day to recognize all the people that you love in your life—and especially that one special person.

For teenagers such as myself, the holiday does not take over our lives. We shouldn’t spend hours upon hours figuring out the right gift and thinking of things to say to get someone else to fall in love with us. If you happen to be in a relationship, then it is perfectly fine to get your girlfriend/boyfriend a little something, but the holiday should not be blown up to be that big of a deal. Much of the reason teenagers like to make a big deal about Valentine’s Day is to make them seem more mature, but, in a sense, they are only mocking the original intent. The holiday is meant to celebrate everyone in real love, so I think we can leave that to the adults.

With all the pink and red hearts floating around, the holiday can be pretty cheesy, but there is some good to it. For adults, it is a great day to show their love for each other. Kids, well, just stick to the hearts and candy.

Daniel Jewell is a student at Mount Michael Benedictine School.

Anger

January 11, 2014 by

Anger and frustration are emotions everyone experiences. The ways we manage those feelings are what is important. Teenagers are not experts at managing their anger and frustration in comparison to adults. Every day is a learning experience, especially for teenagers who are involved in many activities.

School is what most teenagers, I find, get angry about. Whether it is because of their heavy homework load or being up early on a Monday morning, there is always someone complaining about school. It makes sense—school takes up the majority of our time. We spend seven to eight hours at school a day, not counting the clubs or sports that follow after the final bell rings. To the average teenager, school is like a second home.

I also get frustrated with the stresses of school and grades, but I understand how to manage it. My friends and family are always there for me, patiently listening to me vent when I have a bad day. They have my back and will sympathize and help me rationalize my anger. It is a healthy way to unleash my anger and frustration without taking it out on someone else or letting it overly affect me.

Teachers and counselors are also resources that can be used for teenagers who are angry or upset. If it is about a specific reason involving school, they are the perfect people to express concerns to. It is their job to be considerate and be understanding of the problems a student may have. It is also a healthy way to release that bottled up anger or frustration.

Being a teenager can be challenging and frustrating, but there are many ways to manage those negative emotions. Every day we learn and grow, and soon we will learn not to sweat the small stuff and find other healthy ways to deal with our anger.

Halston Belcastro is a student at Millard West High School.

Social Media

December 7, 2013 by

Social media has become a constant in our daily lives over the past few years. For my generation, Facebook started the trend. Everyone had an account during its prime. Facebook was essential in keeping up with everyone’s social lives. Pictures, birthdays, and other trivial news kept us up-to-date with current events.

Today, most teenagers use media sites that are accessible on mobile devices. These sites allow them to stay up-to-date no matter where they are. Twitter and Instagram are at the top of social media for teens today. Twitter allows a person to tweet updates about themselves in 140 characters or less. Instagram is a social media application where users post pictures to their profile for everyone to see. These sites help my friends and I stay connected without seeing them in person. This is especially useful if everyone attends different schools or does not live in the same city.

Almost everything in life is now connected to social media. It is necessary for a teenager to have at least one social media account to help with their daily lives. They can keep you updated on news, sports scores, or other information. Schools and teachers have also started utilizing social networks. Schools use social media to keep students well informed about activities going on within the school. Some teachers have started to use Twitter to post homework and class reminders. A teenager would miss out on current events and school information if they were not connected with social media.

I enjoy social media, but I have also realized how much it has become a distraction. A balance between social media and face-to-face interaction is the healthiest option. Too much online interaction can be counterproductive. Sometimes, people need to put down their electronics and enjoy the life around them.

Community Service

October 29, 2013 by

I don’t feel that most teenagers have anything against community service. We just don’t know how to go about it.

When you’re my age, the benefits of community service far outweigh the negatives. You can have fun with your friends while doing something that helps out the people in your life that you may not come into contact with that often, but who are important nonetheless.

When I look for volunteer work, I think of two things: How does this help the group I’m volunteering for, and how much are my accomplishments going to be valued? Everything that’s done to pitch in matters, but sometimes, if I don’t feel that my contributions are going toward a goal, it’s hard to keep track of why I’m volunteering in the first place.

Despite the clichéd sayings about volunteer work, my reasons for choosing to volunteer have always been selfish. Is it shallow of me to admit that I enjoy the welling up of pride in my chest from a job well done and knowing that I helped someone in the process?

Self-satisfaction is as good a reason as any to pitch in for the community’s sake. There are always opportunities for teens to get out there. My advice would be to find something that appeals to you—something that you can get fulfillment out of—and pursue it. That way, when the time comes that you are asked to do community service for school or other organizations, you know exactly what you like to do.

When you’ve figured out what you like to do for community service, stick with it. No one will ever tell you that you have to branch out with your volunteering. As long as you’re able to find a volunteering experience that is rewarding to you, everyone will end up happy—you included.

Derek Nosbisch is a student at 
Millard North High School

Stress

September 24, 2013 by

Over the years, I’ve accepted that stress is a part of life—especially for a high-school student. Balancing work and play isn’t an easy task and will be something that I will have to do for the rest of my life.

There have been countless times where I’ve wanted to pull out my hair over an assignment or just give up on a late night study session and go to sleep. There have also been times where I’ve felt overwhelmed with homework and projects and figuring out where I can fit in eating, sleeping, and socializing. The one thing I’ve learned is that running away isn’t going to finish that assignment or project. The only choice you have to deplete that stress is to get it done and off your plate.

It’s weird to think that stress can be rewarding. After I complete an assignment that was stressing me out, I always feel a little proud and relieved. It’s a little weight off my shoulders and makes my steps a little lighter as I go about the rest of my day. The small successes of finishing that math homework or reading those assigned pages should be celebrated to keep up that positivity. Stress can take a toll on me, and without recognizing those small victories, there is no break from the constant stress of life’s hard moments.

Stress, whether we like it or not, is an inevitable part of life. A little positivity never hurt anyone and can go a long way when stress eats away at us. Celebrating those small wins over stress, no matter how unimportant they seem, can truly make a difference.

Halston Belcastro is a student at Millard West High School.

Teachers: The Good and The Bad

August 16, 2013 by

Teachers can make or break your school experience. They are there to help you increase your knowledge. This is not always the case. I have had a few teachers throughout my career that have been the opposite of what a good teacher should be and some that were amazing and have changed my life.

A few teachers were unpleasant and mean, and some would not even teach the class and had the students fend for themselves. Not all teachers are fit for their role. It’s hard to deal with these sorts of teachers. One way to work around this is to ask another teacher for help if you do not comprehend lessons well the way your assigned teacher is teaching. I always wanted those semesters/years with those teachers to go by quickly.

The amazing teachers are the ones I believe will impact my life forever. One that I can remember in particular always pushed me to reach my full potential as a student and as an individual. One of my favorite teachers always gave me praise for writing, and this gave me encouragement to continue and improve on my writing skills. The better I wrote, the more rewarded I felt.

Knowing and understanding your teachers is vital. Getting on a teacher’s good side has always been a goal for me. A few key things I have learned that are helpful include: paying attention in class, coming before/after school for extra help, and giving each and every assignment your best effort. These are the easiest ways to getting and staying on the good side of a teacher. A teacher usually recognizes the effort you put into class, and this can determine how much they are willing to help you out in the long run. The best way to get help from a teacher is to approach them during non-class hours. The one-on-one time with a teacher can be very beneficial because all of the focus is on you and your work. This is usually rewarded with a good grade.

Overall, a majority of my teachers have made my school experience an enjoyable one. I look forward to meeting my new teachers at the start of every school year.

Connor O’Leary is a student at Creighton Prep.

Fear, Then and Now

May 25, 2013 by

Fear is a tricky thing to discuss. It occurs in every human, yet we know so little about it. More often than not, the cause of our fear is a mystery to us. Other times, the source of the fear can be traced back to a single incident or a series of tragic events from our past.

As a child, I had many fears that are common. The main fear that I remember is being afraid of the dark. This is easily the most common fear for kids that I have heard of. This could be because kids are afraid of what they cannot see. I was afraid of what may be hiding in my closet or under my bed.

The fears that I have now as a teenager are mainly about my future and where I will end up as an adult. And now, being a sophomore in high school, I have to start thinking about college and where I might want to attend. Contemplating your future from the mere age of 16 can be very scary, but it’s necessary and all part of growing up. This fear comes from the possibility of choosing the wrong college major or making the wrong life choices. This determines my path for life, which is scary and stressful.

Dealing with the fear of growing up and becoming an adult is tricky because it takes place in the future. I try to think of the possible outcomes before I make important decisions. I compare my decisions and make sure they are similar to the choices that other adults, who I look up to, have made.

Good luck to all of you who are dealing with fear. We all must face it, and it follows us throughout our entire lives.

Connor O’Leary is a student at Creighton Prep High School.