Public schools should teach sex ed to inform young people about human reproduction, lower the risk of spreading diseases, prevent unwanted pregnancies, and encourage healthy relationships. Opponents say that teaching sex ed in school will encourage young people to become sexually active before they are really ready. Furthermore, they say that teaching children about sex is for parents, not schools. But every public school student should have access to sex ed because it’s a way of maintaining a healthy society and lowering the risks of poverty.
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Malyun Hassan, a senior at the John D O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says she wants to be fluent in Arabic as part of her college experience because she already reads and writes it. “The college’s majors, in particular the language portion, is what I focus on,” she says. The mindset of students when looking for colleges is varied. Seniors can focus on everything from location to enrollment, diversity to range of courses. Eric Thomas, a senior at the O’Bryant, says he has already pinned down his first choice from the endless options: Northeastern University. “They have majors in criminology, and programs providing you with internships,” says Thomas, who aspires to be an FBI agent. Many teens are faced with the difficult choice of whether to leave their childhood neighborhoods for far stranger ones. With an already challenging atmosphere in college, some students don’t want to add to the stress by leaving their family obligations. It can also be a financial hardship to live on campus. “I want to stay close to home,” says Heven Wolde, a senior at the O’Bryant. “One, it will reduce the spending in food and room. But also my mom needs me around for certain things because she can’t speak English well.” This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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THE QUEST FOR EQUALITY IN EDUCATION The issue has continued to swirl around young people: whether all those in the Commonwealth should receive reduced in-state tuition to attend public colleges. Critics say that it is an unfair burden on taxpayers to foot the bill for those who are not here legally. Supporters counter that it is only fair to support all hard-working students and that it would be a revenue boon to state schools, as well. Here, in letters to state officials, students make their passionate case for what they feel it really means for every immigrant to live in the self-proclaimed land of opportunity.

“WE ALL SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS” Dear Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo, and the Joint Committee on Higher Education: My name is Carmen Pereira. I am a recent immigrant from Cape Verde. I am writing to you today about why Massachusetts should allow undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition. Anyone dealing with the problem of the high cost of college should receive in-state tuition to help them pay for it. It is only logical that we implement this because all immigrant students should get it. Just because undocumented immigrants do not have papers does not mean they are animals. People are all the same; we all should have the same rights. Undocumented immigrants work hard in school. They learn English. If they go to college and become educated they can help make Massachusetts great. Sincerely, Carmen Pereira

“THESE ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” Dear Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo, and the Joint Committee on Higher Education: My name is Alenny Puello Rivera. I am a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic. It does not matter where you live or come from, you should have a right to housing, food, a job, and a good education. These are human rights. Undocumented students should receive in-state tuition because they have the same right to go to college at the same price as documented immigrants. As a result, many more undocumented immigrants might enroll at a state college and

the colleges would make more money. The undocumented students would also benefit by having access to a good education. And if there is a victory, it will be a victory not merely for undocumented students but a victory for all students and immigrants in the state. Sincerely,  Alenny Puello Rivera

“EDUCATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE” Dear Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo, and the Joint Committee on Higher Education: My name is Christelle Narcisse. I am a recent immigrant from France. All undocumented immigrants who are familiar with not having in-state tuition would agree that it is unfair for them to pay more money than the legal residents of Massachusetts to go to college. Whether you are a documented or undocumented immigrant, education is the most important thing in your life. All

immigrants came to the United States of America for better opportunities. They want their children to have a better education than they had. The skills of the immigrants would make our state better. If we continue to offer access to education

only to some immigrant students, not everyone will have the same chance of going to college and this is not fair.

Sincerely, Christelle Narcisse

“HERE THERE ARE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES” Dear Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo, and the Joint Committee on Higher Education: My name is Daniela Oliveira. I am a recent immigrant from Cape Verde. All undocumented students should receive in-state tuition because we all have

the same rights to be an American. Also, we provide free education through grade 12 for those students but then effectively deny them the possibility of pursuing a higher education. Everyone has the right to go to school and college to be a wonderful person in this country because here there are so many opportunities. Sincerely, Daniela Oliveira

“IT WOULD MAKE MASSACHUSETTS GREATER” Dear Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo, and the Joint Committee on Higher Education, My name is Angeris I. Fuentes Paz. I am a recent immigrant from Puerto Rico. Massachussetts would get long-term benefits from educating these students because the more undocumented immigrants earn, the more they will pay in taxes and it would make Massachusetts greater. If we continue to only offer only in-state tuition to documented students, future generations will have a population that is uneducated, which can cause countless problems in the future.

Sincerely, Angeris I. Fuentes Paz

“FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL LIVE IN AN UNJUST WORLD” Dear Governor Baker, House Speaker DeLeo, and the Joint Committee on Higher Education: My name is Nicole Rivas. I am a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic. Massachusetts should allow undocumented immigrants to receive instate tuition because all immigrants want a new life and to see progress. Undocumented students put all their effort into learning a new language and working hard to earn money for college. Meanwhile, the state would have more educated people with a profession. If we continue to deny them, future generations will live in an unjust world. Sincerely, Nicole Rivas

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Before high school ends, I want to:
  • Earn honor roll;
  • Come to school on time for a week;
  • Quit biting my nails;
  • Finally accept a compliment; and  Make DR and AJ believe that they are beautiful. My list was bigger, but I have accomplished these already:
  • Tour at least five colleges;
  • Win a basketball game against my little brother;
  • Stop chewing gum for a week;
  • Make my friend fried chicken; and
  • Finish my “I Heart Diversity” project.
  • Spend as much time with my friends as I can before we part ways.
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Albana Hysa, 16, from Boston Latin School, believes that Donald Trump is not qualified to be president because he can’t relate to the average American. “He is in the upper class of society,” says Hysa. “He thinks he can be disrespectful to people who don’t have the same amount of money or isn’t the same race as he is.” While many mainstream media members and fellow Republicans are afraid to take on the despicable me that the Republican frontrunner appears to be -- from being rude and crude to everyone from Muslims to Mexicans, women and African-Americans -- many teens have no problem dumping on Trump. Takeshi Kumasaki, 15, from BLS, feels that Trump’s apparent need to insult those he disagrees with would not play well on the domestic or world stage. “The president has to unite America and the other continents because, then, what is the point?” says Kumasaki. Kevin Nguyen, 15, from BLS, says that Trump has displayed a toxic reaction to the traditional melting pot of American immigrants, urging them to speak English. “It is hard to learn another language when you have to grow up with one culture and to integrate quickly into another,” says Nguyen. Hysa thinks that Trump has a problem telling fact from fiction, and from not blurting out whatever offensive and outlandish idea pops into his head, because he’s just an entertainer. “He [had] a TV show,” Hysa says. “He’s a celebrity like Kanye West -- who would still be the better president.”
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