Cover Story
Trouble vision
Sixteen-year-old Jeffrey Laine knows he probably needs glasses but says he doesn’t have time to get his eyes checked. Not that he would wear his specs, anyway. “I don’t want to have glasses, because I know that I am going to forget them somewhere,” says Laine, who attends the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science.
He can see things better if he sits in the front of the class, but he prefers not to. That would mean always getting chosen to answer questions by the teacher. Laine’s solution? “I have to squint my eyes,” he says. Many teens don’t wear glasses since they think it makes them look nerdy. This holds true for adults, as well. A 2010 British study cited in the Daily Mail online found that scores of women across the pond would rather go through life squinting -- which decreases the entry of light and increases focus -- than spoil their looks by wearing spectacles. This is still happening despite the fact that many entertainment celebrities and sports stars can now be seen about town flaunting fancy eyewear. Some are also known to wear fake glasses -- thick frames with clear lenses -- just to look cerebral. Contact lenses are an option for some teens. Yet others find them uncomfortable, or too much trouble to put in and take out, or too expensive. Same with some glasses -- and many teens wouldn't be caught wearing anything other than costly designer brands. Still, medical experts say squinting should be only used as a short-term option for improving vision and can cause headaches. Amal Egal, 16, needs glasses but chooses not to wear them. “I hate how glasses look on me,” says Egal, from the O’Bryant. She says she would rather not deal with contact lenses and something touching her eyes. So she makes sure to tell her teachers at the beginning of the year that she needs to sit in the front of the room to see, and squints her way through the rest of the day. Anita Le, 16, says she hasn’t used glasses for two years now. “I’m always too lazy to get them fixed,” says Le, who goes to the O’Bryant. She will try to sit in front of the class, even though she does not like it. She, too, chooses to squint her eyes or get lost in a big blur.
Eye See • The Roman philosopher Seneca, born around the year 4 BC, was known to magnify his readings through a glass • The Roman emperor Nero, who ruled from 54 to 68 AD, held an emerald lens to his eye as he watched the gladiators do battle. • An ancient document indicates that the first wearable eyeglasses first appeared in Italy around 1285, inventor unknown. • Gold frames with crystal lenses burst on the scene for rich people in 1420. • Sam Foster introduced mass-produced sunglasses to America on beaches in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1929. • Many centuries before, around the 1100s, Chinese judges wore shades of smoky quartz -- not to block the sun but to hide their eye expressions from courtroom witnesses. Sources: Women's and Children's Health Network, ideafinder.com, "Spectacles and Other Vision Aids"
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Joseph Hunt, 16, a junior from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, is taking two AP classes and he thinks they are pretty challenging.
“These classes take a lot of my time,” says Hunt, “I do not get enough time to sleep.” Sometimes, Hunt says, he does not even have enough spare moments to spend with his family because he is too busy with school. Education is one of the most important factors in the growth of the country. Higher education can give you more opportunities in your life and the chance to have a great job.
At the same time, being a teenager can be the best days of your life -- but you need the opportunity to enjoy it. Markus Brown, an upperclassman from the South End/Lower Roxbury, is one step closer to college. To be successful, he says, you need to set realistic goals for yourself and strike a balance between work and play. “Being involved outside of school is what colleges look for,” says Brown. “Even though sometimes school asks for too much, sometimes you can just say no and take a break for yourself and spend time with your family during the weekend.” Seventeen-year-old Juan Crespo, from Madison Park High School, is still not sure what he wants to do in the future. He thinks that sometimes school gives a workload that is too heavy. But somehow, he says, he is still able to manage it all.
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Joseph Adedigba, 15, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, does not like rap music. He feels that every artist raps about the same thing, over and over. “It’s always about money and sex,” says Adedigba, who is from Nigeria. An overwhelming number of teens of color listen to rap music and enjoy it. By some estimates, the worldwide hip-hop community counts more than 20 million young people of different ethnicities among its adherents. Adedigba is one of the minorities who does not pay attention to it. He prefers country and gospel music. “Taylor Swift’s music is better than Drake’s music because it is more interesting and it has more feelings in it,” he says. Adedigba says that he does not feel like an outcast for not listening to rap. “My parents do not listen to rap and some people don’t either,” he says. Leslie Garcia, 14, from the O’Bryant, does not like the cursing and references to drugs and alcohol in rap. “I only listen to rap music whenever I am around my friends,” says Garcia. She feels that rap music has the same rhythms in every song. Garcia prefers alternative and pop music. “The music is different,” Garcia says. Garcia listens to Lana Del Rey, an alternative rock artist. “I like how Lana Del Rey does not swear and her songs have different beats,” says Garcia. “I don’t get a feeling when I listen to rap but when I listen to Lana Del Rey, I feel happy because her songs are upbeat.” Daniel Sanchez, 14, does not listen to rap because it doesn’t catch his attention and he believes it sends a bad message about women. “I’m pretty sure that rappers would not want their daughters to be like the women they are talking about in their songs,” says Sanchez, who is from the O’Bryant. Instead of listening to rap, he prefers music that is slow and soft. “I like songs that have a piano playing in the background,” says Sanchez. “It is very soothing.”
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Briana Williams, 17, from Boston Community Leadership Academy, says that her idol used to be Miley Cyrus -- but not anymore. Williams says that she used to like Miley because she was a good singer and actress. Williams’ favorite show was Miley as “Hannah Montana” on the Disney Channel. Now, Williams says her former role model makes her ashamed. “She is twerking, drinking, partying -- and I don’t like that,” Williams says. You all probably have that one person you looked up to. It doesn’t matter if that person was famous, a friend, or a family member. Then, sometimes that person changes and becomes someone you no longer relate to. Jocileny Barbosa, 16, from BCLA, says that she used to admire Amanda Bynes and her TV show, “What I Like About You.” Says Barbosa: “She was a good actress, she was so nice, and she was so pretty back then, and had inspired me to want to become an actress.” Now, says Barbosa, there are allegations that Bynes was on drugs and was causing major drama on Twitter -- and Barbosa is done with her. Eucaris Jimenez, 16, from BCLA, is a singer who used to be moti- vated by Britney Spears. “She had cool music and videos and was really famous,” says Jimenez. Jimenez has moved on from Britney. “She’s lost her prestige,” Jimenez says.
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Anger is the type of person who gets mad at everything and likes to fight a lot. Anger can be very mean to people because he feels like everybody is bullying him. He’s never nice. Anger wears army boots and heavy garments because he likes to be ready to fight. He carries a sword but hides it. Anger was born in a hole. He was stuck there for about five years. After the war, people gave him freedom. Anger’s best friend is Mr. Mad.
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