Over the course of 8 weeks, Teens in Print and The BASE collaborated to bring youth journalism to even more Boston teens. 

Student athlete stereotypes, such as, “students who excel at sports, never do well academically,” is a common misconception. This belief about student athletes is continuously debunked at The BASE. 
The thudding of baseballs caught in leather gloves echoes through the hallways as students practice baseball drills and math drills, hitting practice and writing exercises. The BASE, a Boston-based non-profit organization, provides academic and athletic support to middle and high school aged students. They support student athletes with year-round baseball and academic training, access to college fairs and showcases, professional visits, and academic scholarships through partnerships with several colleges and universities throughout the country. The program isn’t exclusively for athletes. Some students don’t play sports at all and join strictly for the academic support.  
“We don’t have rules here, we have expectations,” said Elena Mendez, the Academic and Educational Coordinator for The BASE. All participants at The BASE have to “earn their spot” meaning they need to be serious, driven, active participants in the program. “Students are expected to show up to their practice or academic tutoring to prove their dedication and take full advantage of the opportunities provided to them,” said Mendez. She expects all student participants to be leaders among their peers, whether they’re in middle school or high school.  
Jesus Moscat, 17, has been attending The BASE for one year. “Ever since I stepped foot in here, I felt a big sense of family and everyone really embraces you with open arms,” he said.  
Moscat also stated that since receiving academic help, he has been getting his homework done more efficiently. “I don’t really procrastinate much anymore and they put an emphasis on getting work done.” 
The BASE is a free program open to students in and around Greater Boston with a majority of students coming from Boston public schools. They have a generous number of dedicated students participating regularly.   “We have about a couple hundred students throughout the year, and every day, we have an average of 50-60 youth coming in and out,” stated Mendez.  
If you are a Boston teen interested in learning more about The BASE, visit their website at www.thebase.org. Or, pay them a visit at 11 Walnut Park in Roxbury. 
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AFH Photo // Gilford Murphy
Inspired by the international organization "This I Believe," students at Madison Park High School wrote about their personal journeys describing the core values that guide their everyday lives.

I believe that every person deserves an adventure in their life. When I was in Puerto Rico, I always looked up at the sky and wondered about the culture of other countries. I wondered how they speak. I wondered if the weather was the same as in Puerto Rico, if the food tasted the same. I was curious about how snow looked and if it was as cold as ice. I wondered how it would be to speak another language, and to understand people when they spoke to me. I wondered if the beaches are the same as in Puerto Rico, or if they were clearer.  
I know every place has something special about it. I wondered if people from other countries were nice like people from my country. I knew if I went to another country I would lose my friends and everything I had there, even my family.  
When I was 11 years old, I went to New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and some other places. I have some good memories from these places that I will never forget, like that time I went to Manhattan to see where the Twin Towers were. Memories are important and traveling around the world is important, too.  
Some people believe that not everybody deserves an adventure in their life. I disagree with those people because most of the time they think other countries are the same as theirs. What they don't realize is that they are different, with different food and different cultures.  
China and Puerto Rico are different, for example. In Puerto Rico, people speak Spanish and in China people speak Chinese. In Puerto Rico they have their New Year on January 1. Meanwhile, China’s New Year is on February 16. It's amazing how people think it's all the same. If you travel then you'll see they are completely different.  
You can also have an adventure in your own country, but it is not the same as traveling to a new country and learning something new. Even though there are benefits and risks in traveling, I still believe that every person should try because it's good for your mind and life. Your mind could start seeing things differently and you could see how great the world really is. I have a big imagination because of all the places I have traveled to. It has helped my curiosity and confusion about other places.  
Traveling makes me happy because I get to see things I don't normally see and experience new things. I suggest people take a big step and enjoy traveling because not everybody is going to tell you about other places. Sometimes, you have to find out yourself.  
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AFH Photo // Geniya Ramirez
Inspired by the international organization "This I Believe," students at Madison Park High School wrote about their personal journeys describing the core values that guide their everyday lives.

When I was in El Salvador, I was one of the millions of immigrants that left their country because of violence and maras (gangs) in order to come for a better future.  
My grandmother, my two older sisters and I were part of the thousands of people that were threatened by the maras and afraid to go out. It happened when I was twelve years old. I was in sixth grade and I had to leave school in the middle of the year. Some people had already told us that where they lived, people were killed because they did not pay the bribes that the mareros asked for. My grandma told the police officers about that, and when she went to deposit the “fake money” where the mareros had told her, she went with the police officers. I was in my other grandma’s house with my sisters. I was afraid that something bad would happen, but the mareros did not go to the place. Then, after two days we left the state. 
After two months my mom and father decided that me and my sisters would come to the United States. At first, I was happy because I had not seen them for 10 years. They had come earlier, my father when I was in my mom’s belly and my mother when I was two years old. At the same time, I was upset because I did not get to say goodbye to my friends and other family members. 
My mom told my older sister to come to the United States first. My grandma asked her friends if they knew a “coyote” and one of them said yes. After two days, my sister put two pairs of clothes and two pairs of shoes in her backpack, and the owners of the house where we were living threw a party for her. After my sister left, my mom told us to come to the United States.   
In a few days, my other sister and I started to pack our clothes. In the evening, we had left the country and were in Guatemala with two coyotes, one man and one older woman. At first I was scared, but they gave us food and we went to parties with them like normal.  
In Guatemala, the coyotes owned a house in the country. We were there three days, and after the days passed I was feeling different -- I was feeling trust. Then we left. We were in the frontera, Rio Bravo between Mexico and Guatemala. We passed through the Rio Bravo in llanta, we had to stand up. Then we were in Oaxaca, Mexico. We waited for a bus, to go to another bus station. We waited three hours for the bus to approach, and then we passed through Chihuahua, Monterey and other states in Mexico. Then we were in Tijuana. After some days we passed la frontera between Mexico and the United States, but the migra got us and left us in a shelter with immigrants of different countries. It was in San Diego, California. 
In the shelter, the food was not good, the ham for lunch was frozen. Sometimes they did not give us food, just twice or once a day. And it was so cold, we did not even know if it was day or night. In the evenings, the police officers put on a movie for the children, Yogi Bear.  
After three days my mom bought plane tickets. A police officer took us to the airport and helped us because we did not speak English. We arrived in Boston, Massachusettes at 6:45 a.m. My mom, aunts, and uncle were waiting for us at the airport, and my cousin that lives in Washington D.C. came to Boston to see us.  
I think that everyone deserves a chance in this country because this country is the American Dream of Hispanic people.   
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AFH Photo // Genna Medina-Cook
Inspired by the international organization "This I Believe," students at Madison Park High School wrote about their personal journeys describing the core values that guide their everyday lives.

I believe that anything can happen at any time. I say this because of the tragedy that took place in Haiti on January 12, 2010.  
During the time of the earthquake, I lived in Port-au-Prince with my mom, sister and brother. We lived in a brick house which meant our chances of not surviving the earthquake were really high. Me and my family were eating corn meal with bean and sauce poule when all of a sudden the house started shaking. I got really scared and started running toward the front of the house and that’s when everyone else started running. My mom realized the bricks were going to fall in the direction I was running in, so she grabbed me and headed toward the back of the house so we could make our way through our neighbor's yard to get to the soccer field where everyone else was. 
Some people thought it was over and decided to go back to their home but there was an aftershock and the people who went back inside their home did not make it out alive. While I was at the field, it didn't seem like people cared about anything. To them the earthquake was over and there was no chance of it happening again. I even heard someone saying to his family that it was over, let's go home, it will be okay. To this day, I never heard about them. I don't know if they made it alive or not.  
We had to sleep on the soccer field for days. Some people were able to go back inside their homes and get blankets and things like that, but not everybody was able to do that because their homes did not survive, so we had to share blankets and anything else that everyone did not have access to. 
I still think anything can happen at any time not only because of the earthquake, but because of things that have been happening to me as I'm getting older. 
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AFH Photo // Gilford Murphy
Students at Boston Community Leadership Academy were assigned to write about school issues they feel strongly about. After meeting with the staff to become well-informed on the issues, they came up with arguments to share with their new headmaster.  

We are in school for seven hours, then go to work or play a sport, and end the day with a huge amount of homework. How can you ever find time for all that?   
I recently moved from Europe to Boston for a better education. I am reaching out to you to address an issue of dissatisfaction among the students who care about their GPA. Many students, like me, would benefit from X-block being a study block. 
Junior year is stressful, as you may remember from your own experience. Sleepless nights, constant worrying about your GPA, college tours, SAT’s -- it is all very overwhelming.  
Here at BCLA, we have X-block everyday rotating throughout the year. Many students are in a need of a study block and we don't have it. The use of X-block is clearly not working out as well as intended, so this is a good alternative because students will be able to finish their homework in the presence of the teacher who assigned it and will be able to ask questions. 
Every day I go to work at Sportsmen's Tennis Center and tutor little kids. After my job, I have a two hour tennis practice that drains my energy.  I get home at 8 p.m. and I still have four hours of homework to do. Having X-block as a study block would benefit students like me because they would get to finish most of their homework and have their questions answered by teachers. Then, when students go home later they know they have less homework, which will enable them to go to sleep earlier and be more refreshed in the morning. That would lead to fewer late students and an increase in grades. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the number of failures drop and the numbers of honor rolls go through the roof?  
If you give some students a study block, I know other kids will want it, too. That is why you should put boundaries. If a student wants a study block, their GPA must be decent so that teachers can see they actually care about their grades. 
I look forward to speaking to you about this and making BCLA’s X-block more productive for students. 
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