“I BECAME A ROCKER” BY JOSUE FLORES // CONTRIBUTING WRITER I lived in El Salvador. But I wanted to go to the US. I wanted an opportunity in a different country. In El Salvador, the gangsters began to kill people and took control. If you were a teen like me, they asked you to enter the gangster group and if you said no, they would kill you. When I came to the US, I missed my best friends but I also felt happy to learn another language. I began listening to heavy metal music. I became a rocker. In El Salvador, if they heard me listening to heavy metal, they’d think I was Satanic. But here, this helped me so much, how they expose their emotions: Don’t give up. You are not alone.

"‘NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU COME FROM’" BY ELIAN GONZALEZ // CONTRIBUTING WRITER When I lived in the Dominican Republic, my life was happy but my family was poor. When storms destroyed parts of our house, we did not have money to fix it. My mother had gone to the United States to earn money for the family when I was two years old. I lived with my uncles. They were old but had to work to keep me in school, which is expensive in DR. My mother was able to send about $30 every month for my food, clothes, and other expenses. Then, one day when I was playing video games, my phone rang. “Hello, who’s this?” I asked. It was my mother. “You are going to Boston,” she said. I stayed quiet for three minutes. “Really, mom, that is great!” I said after my surprise had worn off. Three months later, in November of 2014, we prepared for our move to the US. When we arrived in Boston, the officers asked questions in English but I could not understand what they were saying. “Why did I come here?” I later asked my mother. “Because you have more opportunities here than in the Dominican Republic,” she said. Now, when I think about it, I see that she was right. I can speak English and communicate with my teachers, my new friends, and my relatives in the US. After high school, I want to go to MIT and study engineering. I feel happy but I still sometimes miss DR. I believe in the saying, “Never forget where you come from."  
“NOW, ALL IS VERY DIFFERENT HERE” BY HEIDI HIDALGO // CONTRIBUTING WRITER
In Ecuador, I went to high school every day because I was a good student and had many friends. When I had homework on the Internet, I had to find a cyber business because we did not have it. Then I came to the United States, in 2014. Now, all is very different here. English is very difficult for me, but I am learning. I miss Ecuador. It’s my country. Maybe there is more opportunity here for my life, my future. I want to be a psychologist. People who have problems need a person who listens to them.

“I CAME TO THE UNITED STATES FOR MORE OPPORTUNITY” BY MELISSA GONZALEZ // CONTRIBUTING WRITER   I lived a very happy life in the Dominican Republic. I got good grades in school. I went to the beach with my friends and family to have fun. In 2014, I came to the United States for more opportunity. My life changed completely. People talked in English and I only understood a little. I missed my friends in DR. I wanted to go back but my mother told me that I have to get used to it here. Now, I love this country. I am learning the language. I have resources: more food, a better economy. I go to parties and the movies. Someday, I want to be a pediatrician.

I WANT TO BE A GOOD PERSON” BY MARCOS TAVERAS // CONTRIBUTING WRITER I’ve always thought about my future. When I was a baby, I wanted be an astronaut because I saw in the cool “Star Wars” movies that they are like heroes and have many adventures. I thought that going into space would be so good because I could take a selfie, put it on a website, and become a famous person for this. With all the money I was going to win, I was going to buy a big house, a Lamborghini, and maintain my family. Then, I didn’t want to be an astronaut anymore. I wanted to be an FBI SWAT because this has a lot of action. The problem is that you can die really quick. I also considered becoming a professional chef. I like to cook and people would say good things about me. Maybe I will pass high school, go to college, and become a computer engineer. I want to be a good person and teach my family how hard it is to be successful.

“I HAVE MANY GOALS IN THIS NEW LIFE” BY PAOLA ORTIZ // CONTRIBUTING WRITER When I lived in Guatemala, I always studied because my goal was to go to the university and be a professional person. Part of me wanted to be a teacher; in my class, I saw how they helped others understand things so they could become something in their lives. I also wanted to be a nurse because they help people, too. My life changed when my parents told me that I had to come to the United States to have a better life. I was 15 years old when I came here. My first day of school, I was so confused because I didn’t understand when someone wanted to talk with me in English. Now I understand English and I know how to write and read. I enjoy my life in this country. I have new friends and I have good grades. I have many goals in this new life because now I have more opportunities. I can be a nurse or a teacher in this country because I know Spanish and English.      

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  Kathy Lee says she is lured in by things that have a great price. “I can’t resist free temptations,” says Lee, 15, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. Oh yeah, she also can’t keep her hands off yummy spicy food. “I’m not supposed to eat it,” she says while giggling. Lee says that if she doesn’t learn to control herself better, she’s mostly worried about her weight and her money. Temptations are desires that provide enjoyment, though they can become distractions. Wanjing Li, 16, from the O’Bryant, says that falling into food temptations is not much of a problem. “I try to eat healthy,” says Li, “but I would still get it if I want it. I’m still young so I don’t have to worry about old people stuff.” Sonny Mei, 15, from the O’Bryant, says that on weekends he would spend about 12 hours playing video games. But after missing a homework assignment, he says he decided to quit because he was hoping to win an academic school award. “It interrupts your time for other things,” he says of temptations. This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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  Police can solve a problem or become a problem. School should be a safe place for students where there are no guns because it’s a place to learn. Seeing armed police might make students feel there is a danger in school. Yet, police can also protect the students and the staff. With every mass shooting there is a call for more law enforcement officers with guns. School officers are supposed to make necessary arrests, provide security, and prevent crime. Yet it’s clear that some officers don’t have the training or temperament. In October, the shocking video emerged of a teenage girl sitting at her desk in South Carolina who was angrily flipped and tossed by a school officer after she refused to leave a classroom where she was being disruptive. That student and others should look at school cops as role models. But many students in urban schools come from communities where police are not trusted, and they may have trauma from seeing police abuse citizens outside of school. Cops can be on call if trouble strikes. But teachers, headmasters, and counselors are the ones who can help students be safe. Students should feel like they are in school -- not prison.
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APPLY NOW! Want a job at TiP Summer Journalism Institute?
SUMMER JOB SQUAD: Interested in snagging one of the best summer jobs in the city? You can earn $250 a week -- plus free breakfasts and weekly field trips -- writing stories for the citywide youth newspaper, Boston Teens in Print. The session runs from July 5 to August 12. You must live in Boston and be attending high school in fall of 2016. Complete these steps:  Step 1:
  • You must register at  youth.boston.gov  and apply with SuccessLink.   
  • You must be eligible to work; to find out -->  
  • However, if you don’t qualify for the city’s SuccessLink you can still take part in the program for free and earn community service hours.
Step 2:
  • Fill out the online application below and then click on the submit form button. 
  • If you have any questions, please call TiP coordinator Ric Kahn at 617-541-2651 or e-mail him at ric.kahn@boston.gov 
 

The WriteBoston TiP Summer Journalism Institute

July 5 - August 12, 2016

Have you registered with the city's SuccessLink at youth.boston.gov using the WriteBoston requisition ID 2016-1467 ?

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Zero tolerance is when they crack down hard on students for breaking rules at school. Originally intended to make schools safer by taking action against youth caught with guns or drugs, sometimes the policy has gone too far, punishing students carrying headache medicine, for example. In some communities, critics also say that kids of color have been unfairly targeted. Adopting zero tolerance policies are far easier than taking the time to build real relationships with young men and women and counsel them, or find the root reasons behind their misbehavior. These clampdowns can push students to drop out of school by filling their records with suspensions and failing marks and making them repeat grades. Once on the street, these youth often make bad decisions and turn into full-time outlaws. Instead of becoming lawyers or doctors, they wind up needing the survival services of doctors or lawyers. We all want peace on the street. To have peace, we should not take away the very tool that allows for success. Education is that tool.
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