Samantha Lopez, 18, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, calls her best friend her diary because they talk every day. “I don’t have a physical diary, so she’s my verbal diary that holds my secrets,” says Lopez. Some teen girls call their best friends bestie, or BFF, or their “ride or die.” These days, many are adding “diary” to the list of nicknames. Calling your best friend your diary means that you can tell her everything -- your darkest secrets, the craziest moments, anything. “I love my diary because she is a trustworthy friend who I can tell anything and not worry that she would tell anyone,” says Sorrybinta Bah, 14, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. “When she tells me things, I won’t tell anyone.” Mariangely Rodriguez, 17, from BCLA, says that she checks in with her diary every day. She is not a backstabber, Rodriguez says. “I trust my diary enough to tell her everything,” says Rodriguez, “because I know for sure that whatever I tell her will stay between us.”
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Shaniel Walker, 15, from Tech Boston Academy, speaks genuinely about her best friend, saying that she always puts a smile on her face. She makes it clear that a best friend should be someone who is always there for you when no one else is. Depending on the individuals and the things that are important to them, a best friend can have a range of qualities. Some define a best friend as the one you’ve known the longest. Others say it’s that special someone who likes the same things as you. Cephas Doughlin, 18, from Tech Boston Academy, decribes hers as: “Trustworthy, like a personal journal. Anything I say stays between us two.” Many believe that best friends possess the same basic traits. Nephthalie Dejeanlouis, 16, from Boston Latin Academy, says, “I define a best friend as someone honest and loyal.”
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All of my friends complain about being grounded, but not me. My mother has tried so many different ways to discipline me, but they really didn’t phase me. When I was little, my punishment was to go to bed at eight. That didn’t bother me at all. I would just enjoy my beauty sleep. Then my mom tried to take away the TV . Prior to that, we hadn’t had cable for a couple of years, so I had already grown accustomed to not watching television. My mother decided to force me to read books. At the time, I didn’t read much, but she made the mistake of bringing me intriguing selections. I didn’t stop until I was finished with them all. Next, she had me do chores. Another course of action that failed. I already did chores every day. In fact, I was the only one of her kids who didn’t fight it. She didn’t make it hard, either, because she would talk to me while I did a chore and play loud music. My mom pretty much kept me entertained. Overall, the reason my mother cannot ground me is because I do not get as miserable as I am supposed to. I let everything run its course and don’t let things affect me. There are a limited number of options my mother has if she wants to punish me, which are basically no options at all, because I am unpunishable.
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Life is strange. What is the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you? Orlando Castaneda, 16, from East Boston High School, remembers the time he was in English class and he lost his phone. He asked everybody if they’d seen it. All his friends were searching for it. Finally, he reached down and touched his pocket. He started laughing. “I found my phone,” he said. F or Paolo Petriello, 16, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, it was the time five years ago that he broke his arm in the park. He was yelling in pain. “Everyone was staring,” he says. When he was little, Edgar Benitez, 18, from East Boston High, woke up once with gum in his hair. The only solution was to have his aunt cut it out. “That was really weird,” he says, “because I always slept with gum in my mouth and that never happened to me.”
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“I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.”

-- Miriam Makeba

Unlike many modern musicians who sing only for fame and fortune, Miriam Makeba used her voice and name to fight the apartheid system of government in South Africa that had blacks living under whites. She wasn’t just an entertainer; she was a civil rights activist. Makeba sang for the freedom of her people. She told the world of things happening in South Africa through her music until her death, at age 76, in 2008. As an example, her song “Soweto Blues” contains these lyrics: “There was a full moon on the golden city. “Looking at the door was the man without pity. “Accusing everyone of conspiracy.” Makeba was forced to live in exile for 31 years due to her outspoken political beliefs. “I just told the world the truth,” she was quoted as saying. “And if my truth then becomes political, I can’t do anything about that.” She returned home in 1990 after Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Miriam Makeba was a very humble person. She never played the big star. She gave love while receiving hatred. She got the name Mama Africa due to the kindness she showed others. On being an entertainer who had a message in her music, she said: “You are damned and praised, or encouraged or discouraged by those who listen to you, and those who come to applaud you. And to me, those people are very important.”
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