Cover Story
Not enough life skills to prepare us for the future
Kelly Thai
Cover photo // Alyssa Vaughn
The closer teens get to adulthood, the more intimidating it becomes. Even though excitement fills the air, being an adult brings a lot of unwanted responsibilities like paying bills, dealing with insurance and buying a house or car. When it comes to managing money or knowing how to cook, not every teen feels prepared for life after high school. 
This has not always been the case. In the early and mid-20th century, home economics courses were an essential part of American high school and college education. In the late 1950’s, half of American high school females were taught how to cook and manage money, according to the Boston Globe. Then during the Cold War, the U.S. decided to put a greater emphasis on science and math courses. This meant more public education funding went to advancing those subjects, which left home economics in the dark. 
High schools should still offer life skills as required courses because it benefits students after they graduate. Life skills courses, such as financial literacy and home economics, are important because not every teen has someone to teach them these skills outside of school. Learning them in school will allow students to feel more confident facing adulthood.
Elebetel Assefa, a senior at John D. O’Bryant High School, said, “I would be open to classes on necessary life skills because I have zero knowledge when it comes to general finance.” Assefa views life skills courses as a stepping stone for adulthood. “After high school, most students are adults and need to know certain things, because no one is going to be holding their hand anymore,” she said. 
Rayven Frierson, a senior at O’Bryant High School, believes life skills courses would make her life much easier. “I feel it would help us in the future. I would go into the world a lot more prepared,” she said. Frierson thinks life skills courses should be required because she wishes to know more about managing her finances.
Dalena Thai, a graduate from the University of Massachusetts Boston, reflected on how her lack of knowledge about personal finances affected her transition to college. “Life in college was a struggle because you had to pay for everything on your own, like tuition, life expenses, etc. I learned how to pay bills when I was a freshman in college.” Thai looked for guidance from older students.
Thai views life skills courses as an important factor in a student’s life after graduating because it would help them make quality choices. “If I was taught all the life skills that needed for me when I was out in the real world, I would not have struggled to learn these skills on my own,” she said. 
The problem goes back to teens not feeling prepared for adulthood, so we should be taught and exposed to topics like financial literacy and home economics in high school. If teens know the basics, we’ll be prepared in the future to be more financially stable and ready for success. 
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AFH Photo // Aijanah Sanford
The vibrant month of September is packed with many marathons including the 2017 Boston 5K Summer Series on September 21st, the Freedom Trail Run on September 22nd-24th, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA Island Run on September 23rd. This offers a great opportunity for Boston teens to put their interest in running toward a good cause.
There are many different types of runners. Some run competitively, while others run for fun, exercise, or a way to de-stress. Running has no boundaries. Despite the differences, all runners share one thing in common: their passion and enthusiasm. 
You don’t have to be fast or have a reason to run competitively or casually because through practice, you’ll get better. Ebony Smith, a sophomore at Excel Academy Charter High School, reflected on her decision to become a runner. “I became a runner because when I was younger, I always wanted to race my sisters and cousins.”
Julie Biegner, an avid runner, says she has loved running for as long as she could remember. “It probably started when I was around six and it just became a part of my life.”
There are many different ways to start running competitively. You can join your school’s track team, join a fitness or athletic center at any gym, or go to a track field at a park.
Biegner switched to running as a form of training instead when she got older. “When I was around 16, I joined my high school track team. That changed the way I ran with more of a purpose, to build speed and endurance as opposed to just running for fun and for exercise.”
Smith started running competitively in the 7th grade when she decided she wanted to improve. “Running is special to me because it is one of the only few sports in which a ball, stick, hoop, or net is not required. It is purely up to my stamina.”
People run for their own purpose and satisfaction. Biegner says “Running is something that I can call my own, that I do just for me. Anytime I’ve faced a big decision or had uncertainties in my life, running has been a way for me to put it aside for a bit.”
Running casually and competitively differs because running a marathon, for example, requires greater stamina and endurance. Beigner says preparing for a marathon builds discipline and consistency. Smith would love to run in a marathon in the future. “After a marathon, I would want to feel like I improved the world or worked for a good cause.”
As someone who has run the Los Angeles Marathon in 2006 and the Boston Marathon in 2012, Biegner recommends that teens who want to run start by running around their neighborhood. “As a beginner, don’t worry so much about speed or distance, just get a taste for how your body feels when you’re running, and how you feel after.” Depending on your area, it could be challenging to find places to run, but Biegner recommends to run are along the Charles, a reservoir, or along a beach. “A good running location is anywhere you don’t have to worry about cars or traffic lights.”
Checking out some training programs and plans online allows for teens to develop ways to be successful for a marathon; including healthy diets, sleeping, and strength building. “The cool thing about running is that you can do it anywhere, anytime,” said Biegner. “You don’t need any special equipment. Just some shoes and maybe a good music playlist.”
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Video
How street wear became high fashion
Anthony Castillo
Christian Otero
Jacob Downey
Over the years, the price of street wear has skyrocketed due to retailers meeting the growing demand of consumers. See how local businesses respond to the commercialization of what was once an inexpensive style. 

Produced by Christian Otero, Anthony Castillo and Jacob Downey at WriteBoston's Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute.
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Do homeless women have sufficient access to menstrual products?
Daisy Wang
Gabriella Diplan
Infiniti McCain
There are numerous organizations in Boston that tackle homelessness. However, one issue often goes overlooked: how homeless women deal with menstruation. See how local organizations are dealing with this issue. 

Produced by Daisy Wang, Gabriella Diplan and Infiniti McCain at WriteBoston's Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute.
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How gentrification is affecting Roxbury residents
Olly Ogbue
Rose Koumbassa
Saffiyah Coker
In recent years, buildings in Boston's South End have been replaced by luxury condos. But what does that mean for the long time locals and residents of the South End and Roxbury? 

Produced by Saffiyah Coker, Olly Ogbue and Rose Koumbassa at WriteBoston's Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute.
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Video
Why is the Lawn on D so popular?
Djibril Conte
Grace Higgins
Are you looking for an inexpensive Instagram worthy summer hang out spot in Boston? See this feature on Boston's Lawn on D, and then check it out yourself! 

Produced by Grace Higgins and Djibril Conte at WriteBoston's Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute.
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Cover Story
Affirmative Action: The Accepted and Rejected
Rose Koumbassa
AFH Photo // Kiara Maher
You finally got your college acceptance letter together with a brochure of the school showcasing their diverse student body. You automatically feel a connection and can imagine yourself on campus. For those students who were rejected, the decision may have stemmed from affirmative action. As colleges and universities across the United States struggle with issues of diversity, affirmative action was introduced.  
Through an executive order from President John F. Kennedy, affirmative action began as an assurance that federal contractors hire people regardless of race, creed, color or national origin. Over the years, the concept of affirmative action was expanded to include equal employment and educational opportunities.  
Some people would describe affirmative action as an act that helps erase the invisible social barrier caused by years of misfortune and inequality faced by minorities in the United States. For decades, society has disputed whether or not affirmative action actually works in favor of minorities, or increases racial injustice.  
Statistically, minorities in the U.S are prone to crimes in their communities, low standardized test scores and being most likely incarcerated. A long history of systemic segregation, discrimination and inequality pushed minorities into ghettos and underfunded schools, contributing to today’s reality. 
This pattern can have a huge effect on minority children, making it harder for them to get jobs and be accepted into colleges, due to years of oppression. Therefore, affirmative action works to make sure they aren't discriminated against and are given the same opportunity as others.  
17-year-old Alicia Brown, a senior at Boston Arts Academy, didn't know much about affirmative action until her English teacher made her watch a video about it. 
“Imagine being in critical condition and you need surgery. Who would you rather have the operation performed by?” asked Brown. “Someone who got accepted into Harvard Medical School because of their merits and academic strengths? Or, someone who got accepted because of their race?’’ 
Gladys Soto, a junior at Day and Evening Academy, is on the other side of the spectrum. “I think affirmative action is very important and necessary. When we look back at the history and the struggles that minorities in our country have faced, the last thing the government can do to help make up for it is provide us some overcompensation,’’ said Soto.      
Christopher Wright is the Dean of Admission and Enrollment Management at MassArt. He said that questions about affirmative action are “tough”, and it all depends on how it’s used. “Using affirmative action to check off a box to say you're a diverse institution might not be the best use of the law,” he said.  
When conducting outreach to potential students, Wright and his team make sure their outreach is diverse by visiting urban schools and local nonprofits so that at the end of the day, they have enough qualified candidates to create a melting pot.  
Wright believes that being fair and equal to all is most important. “Our job is to get people from all different types of backgrounds to consider our institution, and from there, only set those students up for success by admitting the ones that are qualified.”  
Michael Kauffmann, an English teacher at Cristo Rey Boston believes that when it comes to college admissions and hiring for jobs, it is both fair and beneficial to consider a variety of factors, including - but not limited to -  race. 
“I believe the ultimate goal is to have a truly representative society, where the teachers, policeman, lawyers, CEOs, and politicians look like the people whom they serve,” said Kauffman. “If we ever have that world, maybe we won’t need affirmative action, but just one glance at Congress will show anyone that we’re not there yet.”   
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