Culture Club
Same Old, Same Old: The Virtue Of Routines
AFH photo by LanVy Tran
How many of you have considered making a change in your life? Well, some changes may be impossible. You might not think about them or even wish to continue doing them but they just seem to happen naturally.
These are part of your routines.
Megan Mclean, 17, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says that these things we do again and again help us manage our time.
They can increase proficiency and decrease procrastination.
“You can only get better if you repeat it until it’s effcient,” she says.
Amanda Haynes, 16, from the O’Bryant, is a stylish girl who thinks that choosing your
clothes is an important part of the day. Therefore, she wakes up early -- sometimes at 4 am or 5 am -- with an image in her mind of what she wants to wear.
She may have to try on several things before she finds the perfect outfit, but in the end she feels she’ll look great.
Darlene Franco, 16, from the O’Bryant, says that it is instinctive to replay tasks -- they assist us in reaching our goals.
“Go with your routines,” she says. “Never change them because they are meant to help you with your life.”
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AFH Artwork by Nia McDonald
Karen Situ says she used to believe in mystical things due to all the movies that depicted them
“But as I grow up,” says Situ, a sophomore at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, “I don’t.”
Children will believe in practically anything, from ghosts and spirits to demons and bogeymen. 
These paranormal characters have haunted teens’ pasts in forms of nightmares that left them waking up in cold sweats.
Going along with the supernatural seems to lessen as kids get older.
But some still hold onto faith in unearthly beings.
“I’m not too much of a religious person,” says Natalie Nguyen, a sophomore at the O’Bryant, “but I have a belief in God and spirits.
Imani Clarke, a sophomore at the O’Bryant, says that as a Christian she, too, does not discount the existence of spirits, although she allows: “I have never had experience with them.”
Even teens who are skeptical of the unknown can still feel a little fright under the right circumstances.
“Though I no longer believe in it,” says Situ, “if you tell me scary ghost stories at night, then I would still get spooked.”
This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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Culture Club
The Voice: Public Speaking Can Help Create Change
Dwayne Corey Ross / AFH Artwork
Mageney Omar, a sophomore at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, thinks that public speaking is important because it’s something that everyone needs to master at one time or another.
“No matter what profession you want to pursue, there is going to be some form of talking,” she says.
Whether it’s to inform students during class presentations, or create buzz at political gatherings, or spur-on teammates at sporting events, public speaking is an important asset for teens because it can help rally support and create change. People’s voices are very powerful.
Still, standing in front of others can be nerve-wracking.
“One way is to practice public speaking with one person as an audience member, and continue adding people so that you’ll become more con dent when it’s time for you to actually present,” says Legacy Thornton, a sophomore at the O’Bryant.
Once you become comfortable, says Thornton, the activity can feel riveting.
“I like public speaking because I’m in the spotlight, and my voice is being heard,” she says. “What I have to say actually matters.”
Nardos Gosaye, a sophomore at the O’Bryant, says there’s no good reason to feel shy about it.
“Once I realize that I’m human and that everyone makes mistakes,” she says, “I forget my fear and go with the flow.”
This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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Anthony Garcia / AFH Artwork
Michael Harkess, 16, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, considers himself to be part of the proletariat.
“Although it is extremely difficult in today’s society,” he says, “social mobility is achievable for the lower class.”
He believes that as long as he works hard in school and graduates from college, he might be in a better position in the future. However, there is a huge obstacle facing him. That is, the exorbitant cost of college.
The solution: Government has to tax wealthier people more, he says, so that young people like him have a better chance to leap the social ladder.
Moving up from a socioeconomic class is a lofty goal but a harsh reality can be found on the ground.
Jonathan Duque, 16, from the O’Bryant, believes that many jobs don’t pay well enough for the working class to have a significant financial improvement.
The challenge to maintain a family, a job, and a good education at the same time, he says, may deprive him of accessing a higher social rank.
McCain Boonma, a sophomore from the O’Bryant, says that institutional racism and its effect on one’s environment can still be a barrier to social mobility, even for the middle class.
“Some people grow up with certain values,” says Boonma, “that hinder or boost their chances.”
This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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AFH photo by Janna Mach
If you could change one thing in your life....?
Sixteen-year-old Kimberlyn Jones, who attends the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says that she would like to modify her friends.
Jones says that she wants them to be setting the same goals for themselves as she does.
“I need more friends in my life that say ‘You can do it,’ ” she says.
For Sharon Nguyen, 16, from Boston Latin Academy, it would be an end to discrimination.
Nguyen says she’s faced it for being Asian.
Nguyen says that if people would stop judging each other, then everyone would have more pride.
“When someone talks bad about someone,” Nguyen says, “it makes them not want to share who they are. Too many people are hiding their true identity and potential.”
Fourteen-year-old Robert Isles, from New Mission High School, says he wants to alter his height.
He is five-feet-and-two-inches, he says, and is treated 
differently than taller teens.
“Being short,” he says, “you have to work harder to show people that you can do it.”
This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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