Cover Story
Extra!!! Extra!!! Teen Tops Ticket!!
Sade Brooks
AFH Art // Andrew Chaupetta
Say you were elected the first teenage president of the United States. What would be your top priority? 
Sixteen-year-old Rayven Heath, from Dorchester, believes first and foremost that the brazen misuse of guns poses a colossal threat to America itself. 
“As soon as I step into office,” says Health, “I’d institute a standardized state test where the person has to follow a specific protocol -- otherwise they face unfavorable consequences.” 
Heath wants intense, ongoing scrutiny of the potential gun owner, including questions about why the person needs the weapon, and training for that individual about when and when not to shoot. 
Penalties ranging from gun-license revocation to prison would be levied on those -- both civilians and law enforcement -- who betray their stated intentions of firearms use, says Heath. 
Of course, as far as any teen actually topping the ticket, Article II, Section 1, of the US Constitution clearly states: 
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” 
Putting constitutional constraints aside -- as some of the major party candidates have seemingly already done in their quests for the White House -- teens say that by raising serious concerns about the future of the country, many youth have displayed more maturity than at least several of the clownish, adult contenders. 
For 19-year-old Abbie Williams, of Mattapan, job one would be to repair the shredded state of race relations in America by putting those who feel left out and left behind on more equal footing with those who hold a superior power standing in society.
“Adults and children should see role models who have a high status, who have influential positions, and more importantly, these people should look like them,” says Williams. 
Part of that could be accomplished, teens say, through heavy educational investment. 
Sixteen-year-old Maya Alaoeasheg, from the South End, feels that building high-quality schools would help level the field for kids from different backgrounds and give them the same opportunities to advance. 
“America has numerous disadvantage gaps between the rich and the poor,” she says. “In my opinion, the education gap is most detrimental. It’s expanding and it does concern me. I would build the best high schools all over the country and have the best certified teachers enlightening future generations.”

TEEN-PLATFORM PLUS 
Here are other major issues on the minds of American teen members of Generation Z who were polled in 2014: 
  • • Equality for all; 
  • • Universal, free healthcare; 
  • • The right of everyone to become a US citizen regardless of where they were born or how they came to the country; 
  • • More college affordability; 
  • • Being better educated about personal finances; 
  • • Commanding their own futures. 

Source: Northeastern University

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AFH // Toni Jonas-Silver
Do you believe that five million Syrian refugees fled their homeland because of the war? The amount of refugees has swelled over the world. Massachusetts should do something to curtail the refugee crisis. Massachusetts should accept more refugees. 
Some people maintain that Massachusetts should not accept more refugees. For example, on October 20, 2015 the Heritage Foundation - a research and educational institute on public policy - published an article which argued, “ISIS will most certainly try to ‘slip’ in some of their personnel with the refugees.” This perspective is simply wrong because not all refugees are associated with ISIS. You can’t judge a person based on a small group of people. We should treat refugees as individuals and not make false judgments about an entire group.
President Barack Obama stated in his speech to the United Nations earlier this year, “We’ve seen in America, hardworking, patriotic refugees serve in our military, and start new business and help revitalize communities. I believe refugees can make us stronger.” 

Refugees who come to America are hard workers and contribute to making the U.S. military stronger. They also help revitalize communities. Refugees can do lots of good things for us. They can change the world and make us stronger.
We know that refugees struggle very hard. For example, on September 20, 2015, Hillary Clinton stated, “There should be a focus on admitting the most vulnerable, like persecuted religious minorities, or those who had been brutalized.” 
Refugees are vulnerable because they lost their families, their homes, and almost everything. They need someone to help them out of the darkness. Why doesn’t Massachusetts give a hand to help them? 
This is a huge issue in the world. It would be both heartless and discriminatory if Massachusetts did not accept more refugees. Some say it is not our responsibility to take care of refugees. But imagine that you are refugee and you need help. Who will help you? Refugees need us to support them to have a better life. It is crucial to eliminate the refugee crisis.
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Renee Omolade, Program Coordinator at the Lewis Family Foundation, emceed the event.
Over a dozen students from across the city gathered at The Great Hall in Dorchester on Tuesday, October 25th to attended the mock debate, “They Don’t Want You to Vote,” hosted by Bigger Than My Block (BTMB).  

BTMB is a non-profit organization that tackles the issue of the low number of college graduates in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, by providing accessible resources which encourage teens to be on a path towards a college degree. Their educative event was aimed to inform both new voters and students who are still too young to vote, about the questions on the Massachusetts ballot and the importance of voting in both presidential and local elections.   

“When we think about why we want people to go to college, it's really about empowerment and giving them the best opportunity to live a sufficient life. So when we think about voting, it's also the same idea,” said Renee Omolade, Program Coordinator at the Lewis Family Foundation, who emceed the event. 

During the mock debate, question two on the November 8th ballot – which would authorize the state to add up to 12 new charter schools, at the cost of existing public schools - sparked an uproar. This question directly affects young people and their educational resources. 

Those voting “yes” on question two are in favor of opening new charter schools to give students more options, even if it means taking money out the of budget from public schools. Those voting “no”, believe in investing in the public schools that are currently open in order to make public education better for everyone. 

It's on questions like this that the youth voice must be heard, loud and clear. 

Amidst the pandemonium concerning the distribution of resources for charter or public schools, a heartfelt and passionate debate, similar to the fiery townhouse debates between the presidential candidates, transpired. 

No one knows more about the importance of voting in local elections than Monica Cannon, a Roxbury native who ran for State Representative earlier this year and lost by a mere 100 votes. 

“Your state representative votes on your budget for the city,” said Cannon, who served as a guest commentator at the event. “The odds of you meeting Hillary Clinton are slim to none.” Cannon makes a critical point. Although presidential elections get all the glory, voting in local elections is equally crucial. 

As the night progressed, the overall message to young voters remained the same: even if you feel your voice doesn’t matter or can’t be heard, young people still have a huge influence. It is important to vote in both presidential and local elections, despite the factors that may discourage you to do so. Its also critical that we do all of our research on ballot questions before casting a yes or no answer. 

 It’s a privilege to vote, therefore on November 8th, those who are 18 should take advantage of it. Without the option to vote, we are stripped of one of the significant rights we have as Americans. 

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AFH Photo // Hanh Nguyen
Kaylee Bonilla, 15, from East Boston, thinks that learning how to stay fit is an important part of the school day. 
“Gym offers so much for students, such as a healthy-maintained lifestyle,” Bonilla says. 
Phys-ed classes have long been a staple of the traditional American school system. 
But over time, teens say, some programs have not remained as muscular as they could be. 
And for many, that’s just fine. 
“Physical education doesn’t teach the reading, and writing skills we need,” says Jovana Michel, a sophomore at New Mission High School. “It doesn’t teach basic math skills that we will need in the long run.” 
Others feel, though, that their gym instruction comes on too strong. 
“I am told when to work out and how many hours I have to work out,” says Shameka Joseph, a senior who goes to school in Dorchester. “You should be able to choose and be productive at the same time without feeling forced.” 
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AFH Photo // Adriana Daliee
When Kevin Durant jumped to the Golden State Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer, he sent a bad message to young people. 
Had he come to Boston, it would have been a tough trip to a title, but KD could have put real meaning behind his star-player status by carrying the young Celtics on his back to a championship. 
Instead, KD is now seen as a ring-chasing slacker who took the easy way out by joining a team already stacked with talent. 
As teens, we often want to take the shortcuts to success -- only to find out later that we would earned so much more knowledge and gratification by putting in the extra work. 
The adults around us -- whether in our real lives or just in our hoop dreams -- are supposed to set an example for doing things right. 
In this case, KD the superstar sharpshooter clearly missed the mark. 
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The crowd rose from its seats this spring as the beat dropped and Clark D burst on stage. 
Clark “Clark D” Lacossade is a 17-year-old rapper from Boston Latin Academy who traces his budding career back to several years ago when his ELA teacher assigned a creative assignment involving complex sentences. 
Clark D produced a poem and recited it to a composed beat. 
“I felt like a king,” he says. 
Now he’s hitting major venues like the Middle East Downstairs. 
Inspired by J. Cole, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and others, Clark D says he tries to set himself apart by rapping, producing, and engineering his own music while writing lyrics that express the drive and determination to become successful. 
In 10 years, he says, “I imagine myself being an international superstar, entrepreneur, humanitarian…[and], most of all, very happy.” 
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AFH Photo // Mariana Melara
“Oh, Alexander Hamilton 
“When America sings for you 
“Will they know what you overcame? 
“Will they know you rewrote the game? 
“The world will never be the same, oh” 
Jennifer Browne, a senior at Boston Latin School, says that she’s not really a fan of rap music but she likes the “Hamilton”soundtrack. 
“ ‘Hamilton’ brings a different sort of life to that style of music by using it to explain something that normally isn’t explained [through music]: American history, Colonial American history,” says Browne. “It makes history come alive in it’s own new way that’s more relatable to the people of our generation.” 
Long-considered the domain of older audiences, musical theatre has become very popular recently -- among all age groups -- since the hip-hop hit musical “Hamilton” debuted on Broadway in August of 2015. 
The story about Alexander Hamilton’s life as one of America’s founding fathers will be touring nationally in 2017-2018 and is expected to make its way to Boston. 
The play’s impact is being felt not only on stage but also in the classroom. 
Mary Whelan, a freshman at BLS, says that her US history teacher incorporated “Hamilton” into a few of her lessons. 
“She showed us more of the educational songs about the battles and stuff,” Whelan says. 
Erica Jurus, a junior at BLS, says “Hamilton” has brought people together in a variety of venues. 
“We have a Facebook group for Broadway,” Jurus says, “and there are a lot of “Hamilton” fans on there.” 
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